GoLowell: Multimodal Complete Streets Plan
This page contains all the information about GoLowell, the City of Lowell's Multimodal Complete Streets Plan. Click the following links or scroll down for the 2021 Shared Streets Pilots Survey Links!
- GoLowell Final Plan Report
- 2021 Shared Streets Pilot
- Branch Street Project
- Phase III Corridor Studies
- Phase II Network Design
- 2020 Shared Streets Pilots
- What is the GoLowell Project About?
- How You Can Get Involved
2021 Shared Streets Pilots
The 2021 Shared Streets Pilots Survey has closed. MassDOT awarded the City a $165,755 Shared Streets Grant to enhance safety for walkers, rollers, bikers, and drivers. Using this grant, we installed two quick-build projects with temporary materials in 2020, and two in 2021. These projects align with the goals of GoLowell and will enable us pilot the changes, learn from you, and decide whether to make them permanent in the future.
The two 2021 Shared Streets Pilots were:
The Pawtucket Boulevard project narrows down the road to one 12-ft wide travel lane and an 11-ft shoulder/ parking lane, while taking over the current shoulder with concrete barriers to increase the safety of pedestrians traveling on the sidewalk from the Sampas Pavilion to the intersection with Varnum Avenue. The path provides a safer connection from many residential streets in the Pawtucketville neighborhood to Department of Conservation and Recreation-owned Lowell Heritage State Park, the Sampas Pavilion, and Rynne Beach. Further, the path connects to the separated Merrimack riverfront trail to link the park to the Vandenberg Esplanade and the UMass Lowell Bellegarde Boathouse, about 4,500-ft. On May 22, 2020, two pedestrians died on this stretch of highway when a speeding driver lost control and struck and killed them on the sidewalk. This project would avoid further such tragedies by installing jersey barriers along the shoulder to defend pedestrians and cyclists from high-speed traffic. By removing a lane of travel, the project will also have the visual effect of narrowing the travel way, thereby discouraging and reducing speeding.
The Pawtucket Boulevard road diet pilot was removed in October 2021, and the road is back to the normal eastbound two-lane road. MassDOT is currently studying the impact of the road diet pilot on vehicle speeds and traffic volume on Pawtucket Boulevard. This data, along with the feedback gathered during the project, will inform long-term planning for the roadway and options to reduce speeding and increase convenient, safe, and pedestrian-friendly access to the river.
Merrimack and Cardinal O'Connell
The project at Merrimack Street and Cardinal O’Connell Parkway implements crosswalk safety improvements as well as transit stop enhancements. Pedestrian safety improvements include repainting the crosswalks at the intersections of Merrimack St/Cardinal O’Connell Pkwy and Market St/ Cardinal O’Connell Pkwy, as well as using paint, flex posts, and planters to create curb extensions to reduce the crossing distance for pedestrians. Transit stop enhancements include moving the bus stop on Merrimack Street to a safer location. This project will be a pilot for a permanent GoLowell project that began construction in 2021.
The flex posts in the pilot around Cardinal O’Connell Parkway and in front of City Hall are set to be removed in December 2021 prior to the first snowfall. The painted curb extensions, island, and bus stops will remain. The curb extensions and drive lane changes, among other pedestrian safety adjustments, have received general positive feedback. This feedback and other data collected will hopefully contribute to making some or all of these changes permanent at a later date.
Branch Street Project
Branch Street is an important commercial corridor of the Lower Highlands neighborhood and one of the most important for the City of Lowell. Nevertheless, there are challenges with pedestrian safety and ADA accessibility, faded and uneven crosswalks, cracked and damaged sidewalks, insufficient signage at mid-block crossings, and a high crash record in specific points throughout the entire corridor. The goal of the Branch Street project is to enhance the physical environment of a portion of Branch Street and Middlesex Street by improving its sidewalks, streetscape, and roadways that connect the Park with services and amenities used by the community to encourage walkability around the area and promote physical activity.
The City held a public webinar on July 8, 2021 to inform the public of this project. a recording of the webinar can be found below:
If you have questions or comments on the Branch Street project please contact the Department of Planning and Development at the DPD Projects Email.
Phase III Corridor Studies
The last public workshops for GoLowell were the week of December 7 for adding bike lanes, pedestrian improvements, and other improvements to three key corridors. Read on for information and links to the presentations for Chelmsford Street, Bridge Street, and Downtown/Acre (Appleton/Dutton/Broadway Streets). These concepts will be refined and prioritized in a ten-year plan. Then, the City will seek funding for the concepts ranked by their priority. When the City successfully finds funding, a design team will advance these rough concepts into detailed designs.
We are still accepting comments! Please email the GO Email to provide a comment on any of the corridor concepts.
- Separated two-way path
- Reconfiguring or removing one side of street parking
- Wider street planting buffers
- Accommodate bus stops
- Separated bike lanes on each side
- Narrowed traffic lanes and traffic calming
- Pedestrian safety and future bike network
- Pedestrian Bump-Outs
- Reconfiguring or removing selected parking
- Narrowed Traffic Lanes
- Alternative route for traffic-calmed bike boulevards
- Crossing the Bridge: Work with MassDOT to narrow lanes, add one bike lane, and make one sidewalk pedestrian only
- Accomodate bus stops and separated bike lanes
- Separated bike lanes
- Reconfiguring or removing one side of street parking
- Wider street planting buffers
- Floating bus stops
- Bus stop improvements
- Pedestrian safety and new sidewalks
- Narrowing or reconfiguring traffic lanes
The Phase II survey has closed. However, you can still watch the videos below from our Phase II kickoff meeting. The videos will tell you about our ideas for an improved downtown shuttle direct to downtown, a rush hour Crosstown Express bus from Drum Hill to Stadium Plaza, a citywide bike network, and citywide pedestrian improvements. Use the arrow buttons to scroll through the videos.
2020 Shared Streets
MassDOT awarded the City a $165,755 Shared Streets Grant to provide safe spaces for walking and biking. Using this grant, we installed three quick-build projects with temporary materials. These projects align with the goals of GoLowell and will enable us pilot the changes, learn from you, and decide whether to make them permanent in the future. The three projects were:
- Pawtucket Street: a two-way shared path for walking and biking extending from Francis Gate Park to LeLacheur Park. The path will be protected in some segments and striped in others to accommodate the funeral processions that use the street.
- VFW Highway: using jersey barriers, an extension into the travel lane to provide space to walk, bike, and recreate from the Sampas Pavilion to the intersection with Varnum Ave.
- Merrimack Street to Decatur Way [Suspended]: a two-way protected bikeway extending from Cardinal O'Connell Way to Decatur Street, providing a connection to the art alley at Decatur Way. In response to community feedback, we have decided to suspend this pilot project. We will investigate opportunities to use the project materials in a different location.
What is the GoLowell Project About?
To plan for a safer, healthier and more enjoyable multimodal transportation system for all residents and visitors to Lowell by:
- Increasing mobility and meeting the access needs of residents, commuters, visitors, and area schools’ faculty, staff, and students;
- Encouraging transit use in order to reduce parking demand in targeted redevelopment areas;
- Increasing the number of people riding bicycles in the City and reducing bicycle crashes
- Reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), delay and congestion, and improve travel time on the local roadway network;
- Foster environmental quality, conserve energy, reduce vehicle emissions, and address climate change through reduced greenhouse gas emission;
- Promoting economic development in the corridor and in the Greater Lowell region;
- Meeting the mission of LNHP to preserve and interpret the nationally significant historical and cultural sites, structures, and districts in Lowell;
- Enhancing the character, livability, and vibrancy of the community through quality urban design; and
- Ensuring the full and fair participation of the environmental justice communities throughout the transportation decision-making process.
- Increasing the number of people riding bicycles in the city and reducing bicycle crashes
- Easy, safe and predictable bus service
- Transit stop and transit line enhancements
- Safe bicycling routes and biking facilities
- Safe, accessible and enjoyable pedestrian routes
- Car-share and taxi accommodations