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Cummins Highway

Our goal is to improve safety and access for every resident of Mattapan.

Public Works will reconstruct Cummins Highway from River Street to the intersection of Harvard Street and Wood Avenue.

With the help of the community, we will explore ways to improve the streetscape. We want to create a design that is safe, convenient, and comfortable for everyone.

  • New, accessible sidewalks
  • Safer crosswalks
  • Installation of new street lights
  • New street trees
  • Rebuilt road
  • Addition of better bike lanes

Have questions? Contact:

Public Works - Engineering Division

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Talk with the project team

You can talk with us every other Wednesday, from 3 - 7 p.m.

Get a 15-minute appointment

What's happening on Cummins?

Right now, a temporary redesign is in place.

The temporary redesign was installed to slow speeding drivers and to improve safety. It also creates additional space for physical activity and better connections to open space and parks. You can learn more about the temporary redesign below.

This is not the final design for Cummins Highway between River Street and Wood Avenue/Harvard Street. You will have multiple opportunities over the coming months to shape the final design.   

Safety on Cummins Highway

We began this project in spring 2019. Over the series of meetings we hosted in 2019 and 2020, residents of Mattapan and nearby neighborhoods shared a clear priority with us: a reconstruction project must address safety along the corridor. The clear community-based goal to improve safety corresponds with the data we have collected about Cummins Highway. 

Cummins Highway was identified as a high-crash corridor based on the volume of injury-causing crashes that occurred in 2015, 2016, and 2017. It is among the most crash-prone corridors Citywide.

On Cummins Highway, drivers regularly reached 40 mph despite the 25 mph speed limit.

Vehicle speed is directly related to the severity of a crash. At 40 mph, a pedestrian has an 80% likelihood of death. The likelihood of serious injury or death is nearly 50% when hit by a driver traveling 30 mph. Elders, youth, and people with disabilities are even more likely to be seriously hurt or killed in a car crash.

In October 2018, more than two-thirds of all drivers on Cummins Highway exceeded 35 mph. This speeding was rampant all day: between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., two in three drivers traveled at 30 mph or faster. Speeding rates significantly increased in the evening and early morning hours. We refer to people who drive more than 10 mph over the speed limit as "high-end speeders."

Our goal with the temporary redesign is to create a safer street for residents now, while we continue to work on a longer-term complete reconstruction. Though overall traffic in May and June 2021 is about 13% lower than October 2018, high-end speeders are down to around 6% of all drivers. This is a much safer environment for people in the neighborhood who are walking or driving. 

A chart tracks total percentage of drivers who exceeded 35 m.p.h. while on Cummins Highway east of Savannah Avenue. On October 28, 2018, the percentage was 34.6%. On October 25, 2018, the percentage was 39.2%. On August 12, 2020, the percentage was 10.7%. On August 13, 2020, the percentage was 10.3%. On September 16, 2020, the percentage was 6.9%. On September 17, 2020, the percentages was 7.7%. On December 7, 2020, the percentage was 12.8%. On December 8, 2020, the percentage was 15.2%. On May 25, 2021, th
High-end speeding on Cummins Highway has significantly decreased with the temporary redesign.

We have data from:

  • October 2018 (pre-pandemic)
  • August, September, and December 2020, and
  • May and June 2021.

You can read about how we collect data and what we found when we compared the data from 2018 to the data from 2020. You can also download spreadsheets of the original data files.

Speeding on Cummins: August 2018 through December 2020

Speed Data Spreadsheets

Air quality and Cummins Highway

The Environment Department helps Boston become more sustainable, resilient, and healthier city now and for future generations. Our colleagues helped us understand how transportation impacts air quality in Boston. 

Suffolk County, where we are, has the highest concentration of pollution from on-road vehicles. It is 88% above the state average. Air pollution disproportionately burdens:

  • people of color
  • individuals with lower educational attainment, and
  • households with an annual income of less than $20,000.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation account for about 30% of Boston’s total emissions. Around 65% of that comes from passenger vehicles. Tire wear, brake wear, and road abrasion cause about 85% of fine, inhalable particulate matter in the air. This particulate matter can:

  • exacerbate lung and heart ailments
  • cause asthma attacks or lung cancer, and
  • lead to both increased hospitalizations and mortality from cardiovascular diseases.

Traffic on “arterial” streets, like Cummins Highway, can cause similar levels of noise and air pollution to major freeways — or even greater levels depending on traffic conditions. Our reconstruction project is an important opportunity to improve air quality for Mattapan residents and others who use the corridor. We can improve air quality through vegetation and expanding access to active transportation. We can take advantage of technology improvements to buy lower-cost sensors to measure air quality.

On July 21, 2021, we co-hosted a virtual meeting to discuss the ways transportation policies and design influence air quality. We noted potential design changes possible with the Cummins Highway reconstruction project.

Watch the meeting (English)

Download the presentation (English)

Heat resilience and Cummins Highway

As part of Climate Ready Boston, the City is developing citywide solutions to:

  • reduce urban heat and heat risk, and
  • prepare for the long-term impacts.

Your experience of heat is more than just the weather. It is influenced by your own personal characteristics, such as age, as well as how the City is designed around you. Past policies and practices influence how you experience heat today. The end of Boston's streetcar system, transportation design manuals, and funding choices all increase heat vulnerability in Mattapan today.

Limiting reliable transportation choices means more people must drive everywhere. More traffic brings heat from tires, brakes, and exhaust pipes. One mile traveled by a personal vehicle creates as much heat as a 1500-watt space heater running for 70 minutes. Wide roads and paved areas with less tree canopy heat up during the day. That heat is stored in the neighborhood overnight in paved areas. This makes it hard to cool down and heat waves are even worse.

Through the Cummins Highway reconstruction project, we can incorporate design features that mitigate heat. This could include planting areas, trees, cooling public art, and more.

On July 8, 2021, we hosted a virtual meeting to share information about the City's heat resilience study. We also discussed opportunities to address heat through the Cummins Highway Reconstruction project.

Watch a recording (English)

Download the presentation (English / Spanish)

Share Your Thoughts

As we plan the final design for Cummins Highway, we want to hear your thoughts and ideas. 

Talk to the project team

You can talk with someone on the project team, one-on-one. We have virtual office hours every other Wednesday from 3 - 7 p.m. You can call or use video chat.

Sign up for an appointment

Want to submit comments by mail?

If you would like to submit comments via mail, you can download the survey in English, Haitian Creole, or Spanish.

Share Comments Online

You can submit any comments or questions you have regarding the temporary design trial on Cummins Highway through our online survey. The survey is available in:

See What Your Neighbors Have Said

We have been collecting feedback from residents. These comments influenced changes to the temporary redesign and will inform our final design plans. You can read what your neighbors have shared with us:

Previous Project updates

Past updates

In October 2020, the trial was extended to American Legion. In response to the feedback we received from the community, the orange barriers were replaced with flex-posts and pavement markings. These changes improved visibility for everyone. We will continue to monitor traffic, gather data, and collect feedback to evaluate this new phase. 

You can watch a virtual presentation of the Cummins Design Trial (Phase 2). You will be able to hear from Jeffrey Alexis as he provides a project summary. You'll also hear about the results of the first trial and the changes as we move into Phase 2.

Two men hold a board while two others stand in front of them. They are talking about changes to Cummins Highway

Thank you to all who came to talk to us at the Mattapan Farmer's Market about the continuation of the Cummins Design Trial and the updates for phase 2.

We provided a handout that you can download about the project.

View the presentation

The first phase of the Cummins Design Trial was created to simulate the preferred design. Our goal was to improve safety along the corridor in response to COVID-19. The temporary trial extended from Fairway Street to the intersection of Wood Ave/Harvard Street. We used orange barriers to introduce protected bike lanes. We continued to maintain on-street parking and provide turn lanes at intersections. 

We monitored the traffic, gathered data, and collected feedback during the trial to evaluate the results. For more information, you can view the presentations below: 

The first phase of the temporary design trial was part of Healthy Streets Boston. Click the image to watch a short-explainer about the trial and how it happened.

Click the image to view a project update recorded on July 2020 about the first phase of the design trial.

On Thursday, February 27, 2020, we held the third public meeting at Mattahunt Community Center. We continued the discussion of potential improvements for Cummins Highway. 

You can review and download the materials shared during the meeting.

On Tuesday, October 29, 2019, we held the second public meeting at Mattahunt Community Center. We continued the discussion of potential improvements for Cummins Highway. 

You can review and download the materials shared during the meeting.

On Thursday, April 11, 2019, we held the first public meeting at Mattahunt Community Center. We discussed potential improvements for Cummins Highway. 

You can review and download the materials shared during the meeting.

Map of area

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