Transportation Planning | Drive, Bike, Walk

Watertown's Transportation Network

Watertown is a densely populated community with approximately 35,000 people within 4.1 square miles. Watertown's transportation network has allowed the community to grow from a Colonial center of trade and farming in the 1600 and 1700s into an industrial center in the late 1800s and early to mid-twentieth century. The road system was expanded and improved to address the housing boom of the 1920s-and 1930s, as well as the more recent growth in housing after World War II.

Today, Watertown has a transportation network of approximately 80 miles of roads in what is primarily a built-out community. The network has served the community well despite the challenges of working with historic paths, which provided a basis for the current system. Watertown is now working on implementing innovative transportation improvements for better safety and more mobility of residents while considering its part in the regional network.

Contact and Notifications

Staff: Laura Wiener, Senior Transportation Planner - Email

Phone: (617) 972-6417 ext. 12183

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Project Description
Parking Management Plan Watertown is developing a Parking Management Plan for Watertown Square and Coolidge Square, to take a fresh look at our parking supply, demand for parking, and improve our parking system.  Ongoing
Bike Share Watertown joined with 8 contiguous communities to host the Bluebikes Bike Sharing System.  Go here for information on how to join and use the system, a system map, and recent ridership statistics here and here. Ongoing
Complete Streets The Town Council adopted a Complete Streets Policy, and approved a Complete Streets Plan, submitted and accepted by MassDOT.  A Complete Street is one that accommodates all users--Pedestrians, Drivers, Bicyclists, and Transit Riders. Complete
Charles River Connectivity Study A DCR project looking at bicycle and pedestrian connectivity issues within the Charles River Basin, including the Charles River Greenway from Watertown Square to Cambridge along the river. Completed
Community Path  A multi-use path connecting DCR's Watertown/Cambridge Greenway through Watertown Square to the Pleasant St corridor and the Charles River is partially constructed with new segments in the  planning stage. Currently the segment from Arsenal at Irving St. to Mt. Auburn Street via Taylor Street, is in the planning and engineering phase.  View current plans and a presentation to the Council Committees on Public Works and Economic Development and Planning. Ongoing
Main St Corridor This series of improvements for Main St from Moxley Field west to the Town line is under the control of MassDOT and the Town suggested two phases with Bike Lanes installed initially (completed) and bump-outs at a later date. 2012/Phased
MBTA's Better Bus Project The MBTA is examining its bus routes, under the "Better Bus Project".  Town Council submitted a letter requesting increased service for its residents and employees.
Mt Auburn St Corridor This study considers options for road improvements (bike lanes, etc.) for Mt Auburn St. from Mt Auburn Cemetery to Summer St.
Active Design
Watertown/Cambridge DCR Greenway DCR Greenway Phase 2, connecting Fresh Pond Parkway to Nichols Ave/Arlington Street, is under construction and anticipated to be complete in 2019.  The first phase is complete from School Street to Arlington Street. This project will connect Watertown to the larger Greenway system. Phase I complete, Phase II under construction
Bus Rapid Transit Bus improvements for the #71 and #73, include a dedicated bus lane on Mt. Auburn Street, starting at Cottage Street and going through Cambridge to Fresh Pond Parkway, to take the buses out of the traffic congestion during peak hours.  It also includes a right turn/queue jump lane on Mt. Auburn Street at School Street and at Walnut Street.  This will improve the speed and reliability of bus travel through Watertown. Completed
Transportation Management Association Watertown Transportation Management Association (WTMA) is a member-based, public/private non-profit organization that provides and encourages sustainable transportation options to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. The Town is a member along with many of Watertown’s large residential and commercial developments, including Tufts Health Plan, athenahealth, The Gables, and Watertown Mews. Current efforts include promoting transit, bike riding, and carpooling. The TMA is also exploring providing shuttle service in areas that are not well served by public transportation. Ongoing
Transportation Demand Management (TDM). Watertown requires developers to provide a plan that reduces car trips, in order to reduce congestion and carbon emissions. All new developments and additions over 10,000 square feet or 10 residential units must provide strategies to encourage their tenants to shift to alternative modes of travel—transit, walking, biking and carpooling. The goal is to aid in the Town-wide reduction of Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) trips by 20%. Methods might include charging separately for parking to discourage car ownership, improving access to transit, improving walking and biking conditions, and participating in the Watertown Transportation Management Association. Ongoing