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Columbia Road Transportation Action Plan

We are planning safety improvements and better crosstown access for all users along Columbia Road.

The City of Boston’s Transportation Department (BTD) is leading a project called the “Columbia Road Transportation Action Plan.” Over the next 12-18 months, the City will lead a process to redesign Columbia Road.

The City and its consultant team will collect community feedback at different points throughout the process. Then, it will take this feedback to create potential options for the way the road could be redesigned. Next, it will bring these proposed options to the community for additional feedback. Then the City will select a final design.

This project is about more than just repaving the street and fixing sidewalks and crosswalks. A road redesign will consider the full experience of residents and commuters using the corridor. The project team will consider potential changes to the street’s travel lanes, sidewalks, and bus stops. We will work to make the experience of traveling along Columbia Road better for everyone

Why Now?

Columbia Road is one of Boston’s great main streets. The 2.5-mile long road connects Franklin Park at Blue Hill Avenue to Moakley Park and the waterfront. It is lined with houses, small businesses, places of worship, health centers, and beautiful historic buildings.

But Columbia Road’s existing design makes it hard for people to travel safely. The road is wide and the crosswalks are long. Cars and bicyclists share space on the road and traffic causes delays for bus riders and drivers. Columbia Road has fewer trees and greenspaces than other streets in the City making it a less pleasant place to walk.

Take our survey
We want to hear from you about the redesign of Columbia Road

Project Goals

  1. More ways to get around. The City envisions a future with better transportation options for everyone. The City wants to improve the experience of traveling along Columbia Road. Almost 6,000 people ride the MBTA 16 bus every weekday. This project will take into account the needs of public transit users, walkers, bikers, and drivers. 
  2. Safer street design. A high number of vehicle, pedestrian, and bike crashes happen each year on Columbia Road. In 2023 there were 46 crashes on Columbia Road. The project will increase safety for all users by adding interventions known to increase safety.
  3. A greener experience. Trees are important for human health and the environment because they create shade and cool the street. Columbia Road has fewer streets than many other streets in the City. The lack of shade on Columbia Road makes the surrounding community hotter in the summer. This project will add more trees and landscaping to bring down summer temperatures. The project will also add public art, benches, and lighting to create prettier places to walk and sit along the road.


  1. Immediate road and sidewalk improvements: The City will be addressing immediate concerns that can be addressed quickly. This will include repainting crosswalks and vehicle travel lanes, fixing potholes, and repairing uneven sidewalks. You will start to see improvements in spring/ summer 2024.
  2. Short-term pilot: We will collect community input to design and test a small-scale temporary change to the street. This will be used to encourage community conversation about transportation. The pilot will address one or more of the following goals: 1) Change street design to increase safety for walkers and bikers  2) Add trees or landscaping for more shade and a prettier road  3) Add more space for sitting, playing, or relaxing along the road 4) Improve the experience of riding the bus or the Fairmount Line. We will implement the project in Fall 2024, and it will include fun community events.
  3. Street Redesign Vision: The City is taking a new approach to public involvement. Our team will provide many ways to get involved in the process. In Fall/Winter 2024, we will lead community conversations about potential new design options for Columbia Road. We expect different designs may be recommended for different sections of Columbia Road. The process of developing a vision and design concept will be completed by June 2025.

Project Area

Learn More

The Early Action Project is a pilot program designed to enhance safety and beautify Columbia Road through low-cost, temporary improvements. By implementing quick and easy changes in our toolbox, such as traffic calming measures and public art, we aim to spark community engagement and conversation about the street’s potential. This project will serve as a testing ground for exploring long-term transportation solutions while collecting valuable feedback on the effectiveness of different strategies.

Learn more about the Columbia Road Community Advisory Team.

Past Events

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