The City of Somerville's 'Shared Streets' pilot program will provide more walking and cycling routes that allow for physical distancing. Routes will connect residents to essential services like food distribution sites, medical facilities, and grocery stores. The 'Shared Streets' initiative opens up low-volume or residential side-streets to pedestrians, cyclists, and other users while still allowing vehicle access for residents of the street, first responders, delivery drivers, sanitation trucks, and street sweepers. Subsequent routes will open throughout the summer, which will give City Mobility staff members time to evaluate each route and make changes as needed. Safety measures include signage and flexible barriers to alert all users to the shared use of these streets. Somerville’s program will use temporary materials that can be modified based on experience and feedback from residents with the pilot.
Somerville will also be temporarily widening sidewalks in central business districts to provide more room for customers to physical distance while waiting for pickup from stores and restaurants. Traffic cones and other movable barriers placed in the street a few feet from the curb will be used to create additional space for circulation and queuing. The city has also modified parking meters in many business districts to allow 15-minute pick up/drop-off activities that support local businesses.