We're working on a complete reconstruction of State Street between Surface Road to Congress Street. We plan to rebuild this historic street with:
- sidewalks that are accessible to the thousands of daily pedestrians
- upgraded street lighting
- safe bicycle accommodations, and
- vital commercial loading for small businesses.
There are no upcoming events available at this time.
Why rebuild State Street?
Today's State Street is used by tourists, nearby residents, small businesses, commuters, and people who are simply passing through to another destination. But, it hasn't been updated in a while.
- The condition of the roadway is poor and many sections of the sidewalk are inaccessible.
- Pedestrian space is inadequate. People are often walking in the street or crossing away from crosswalks.
- The curbside uses have not been comprehensively studied, creating an unorganized street.
- The rate of traffic crashes resulting in injury to people on foot or on bicycle is among the highest in the City.
What's happening now?
As part of Boston's Healthy Streets initiative, we used quick-build materials to test a redesign of State Street.
- We used thermoplastic paint and flexible delineator posts to create new pedestrian spaces, separated bike lanes, more visible crosswalks, and changes to curbside access.
- We have been collecting data regularly, including the volume of people using the street by foot, by bike, and by vehicle. We have also observed traffic conditions during busy times.
- This design does not reflect all the benefits of a full reconstruction. It does not address sidewalk condition and accessibility for persons with disabilities. It also does not update the lighting or improve the roadway condition.
During this temporary redesign, we found that:
- The number of injury-causing crashes was 57% lower for all modes (2020-2021), as compared to the two years of crashes prior (2018-2019).
- Despite COVID-related shutdowns, 15% more people were biking on State Street in June 2021 as compared to July 2019.
- Of the 212 surveys completed about the pilot design, 96% of State Street travelers were satisfied or very satisfied with the space allocated to pedestrian and bicycle use.
We are still working on the final design!
We shared our preferred design direction for State Street at a public meeting on June 15, 2022.
We are excited to move to the next step with the project, but we have much more work to do. We look forward to working with you to get the details right.
With this project, we must improve safety for people who are bicycling and walking.
State Street has been identified as a high-crash corridor by the City of Boston. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation finds that segments of State Street are among the highest crash locations for pedestrians and bicyclists in the Commonwealth.
In the City of Boston, we use a combination of data from EMS and the Boston Police Department (BPD) to understand where injury- and fatality-causing crashes happen. These are authoritative data sources. The City's EMS shares data on crashes requiring an EMS response. Because we do not track severity of injury by other data sources, the information from EMS helps us identify places where people are hurt in a crash. We use BPD information to confirm fatalities that result from a traffic crash.
We used methodology recommended in the Federal Highway Administration's Guidebook on Identification of High Pedestrian Crash Locations to:
- analyze EMS data, and
- identify high-crash segments for all modes of travel.
We scored each 1/2-mile segment of roadway based on the number of crashes resulting in an injury or death. Fatal crashes were weighted three times more than non-fatal injury crashes. We then overlap each segment in increments of 1/10-mile to identify those segments with the highest score. We last did this analysis using three years of data, from 2015 through 2017.
Vital pedestrian route
State Street is among Downtown's most important connections for people on foot.
Taking in iconic views or stopping at lunchtime favorites — thousands of people walk along or across State Street every day. During pre-pandemic summer months, people on foot outnumbered vehicles 3 to 1.
Tourists from around the world visit State Street, learning about its important place in Boston's history and taking in views of the Old State House. They can walk out to Long Wharf to watch ships on the Harbor, or to take a ferry. They may also be coming from a tour bus stop, which we've worked to place along the Rose Kennedy Greenway between Atlantic Avenue and Surface Road.
State Street is important for residents too. It offers access to MBTA stations and a link to the City north or south of Government Center. Even as office workers report remotely, many are still visiting State Street's restaurants at lunch or for an after-work break.
Keeping Traffic Moving
Before and during our pilot project on State Street, we have tracked the number of people using State Street.
Our initial ideas for State Street included closing portions of it to traffic. Although this was a popular idea, we heard from nearby residents and businesses that diverting traffic elsewhere would be problematic. There are few direct alternatives that connect Atlantic Avenue/Surface Road to Cambridge Street. While we explored some network changes, ultimately we found few routes that would meet the needs of our residents, businesses, and visitors.
We collected traffic volumes before and during the pilot. We also calculated travel time for drivers during the busiest parts of the day:
- a.m. peak hour
- midday peak hour, and
- p.m. peak hour.
Commonly asked questionsQuestions
Previous project updatesPrevious updates
In October 2020, we shared a virtual update on the State Street project. This video was shared on our project website and through our project lists. In this video, we covered:
- Context for the project, including network needs and crash history
- Design elements that will be part of the project, including wider sidewalks and safer crosswalks; a separated bike lane; flush street design; and pedestrian head-start signals.
- Option for redesigning each segment of State Street
- Potential changes to curb regulation on State Street and other nearby streets
- An update on the "quick build" temporary design using pavement markings, flexible delineator posts, and signage.
- Data collected in August 2020, including volumes by mode of travel
In July 2020, we shared a virtual update on the State Street project. This video was shared on our project website and through our project lists. In this video, we covered:
- City-wide plans, policies, and design guidelines that will inform the project
- Conditions on State Street, including sidewalk quality; curb regulations; variation in the width of State Street; the number of people who use the street by foot, by bicycle, and by vehicle
- A summary of public input received from October 2019 through June 2020
- The City's Healthy Streets program, including temporary traffic barrels and cones on State Street
In October 2019, we launched our public engagement process to help us redesign State Street. We set up tables and easels on State Street at Merchants Row. From 10:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., we chatted with people on the street about their ideas for a better State Street. We also launched an online survey to gather feedback.
The project was covered in the Boston Globe in January 2020.