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Centre Street Design Project

The City of Boston is working to make Centre Street in West Roxbury safer for all by redesigning the street to calm traffic between Lagrange Street and West Roxbury Parkway.

Centre Street, from Lagrange Street to West Roxbury Parkway, is in the heart of the West Roxbury Main Streets district, but has a history of speeding and crashes that have resulted in death and injury.  It can be challenging to cross the street, ride a bike, or even drive to access schools, the library, parks, recreational facilities, local businesses, and other destinations.

Having walk- and bike-friendly Main Streets districts was the top-voted project in Go Boston 2030. No matter how you arrive, some part of the trip involves walking. To that end, we're creating a plan to calm traffic on Centre Street and make it safer, more pedestrian friendly, and better for the many small businesses that line the corridor.

May 2024 Post-Construction Report

One year after the first public meeting for this project, construction of the Centre Street project is substantially complete. The city prepared a post-construction evaluation report. Key findings include:

  • Speeding (>= 30 mph) is down more than 75%. Most people are driving at or below the speed limit of 25 mph. Median and 85th percentile speeds have been reduced by 5 mph.
  • Travel Times have increased by about 1 minute during the daytime (8am-8pm) and less than 2 minutes during peak hours (3-5 pm on weekdays, 11 am-1 pm on Saturdays).
  • Re-routing was suggested by a navigation app about 3.3% of the time, vs 0.3% pre-construction. Staying on Centre Street was suggested more than 96% of the time.
  • Parking was reduced by 7 spaces out of 171 spaces on Centre St, and 2 spaces on Belgrade Ave. ADA spaces increased by 1 space. There are plans to add 3 more ADA spaces.

  • The City is proposing to install speed humps this year in the areas that include the most common alternate routes.

Completion of construction, minor adjustments to the design, and adjustments to the parking regulations in response to community feedback are ongoing.

Centre Street Post-Construction Report (May 2024)

December 2023 Construction Update

As of December 1, 2023, major pavement markings are substantially complete. The new lane configuration is in place and vehicles should park in marked areas, typically to the left of the bike lane.

Over the next several weeks, construction will continue with the following work still to be done:

  • Changes to traffic signal timing to help pedestrians and drivers move safely and efficiently with the new roadway layout
  • Implementation of new parking regulations, including the addition of short-term loading zones to reduce double parking
  • Installation of flex posts to improve sightlines and to keep crosswalks and merge areas clear
  • Additional pavement markings, such as turn arrows, yield markings, bus and bike symbols to make the new road layout easy to understand

Signal and sign crews are out working today and will be on-site throughout the week.

Centre Street Design configurations

November 2023 Design Update

In November we revised the final striping near the rotary at West Roxbury Parkway to create two travel lanes entering the rotary, and to end the bike lane at the crosswalk in front of the Roche BCYF Community Center. This design reflects the way that many cyclists currently navigate the rotary, which is to dismount and use the sidewalk and pedestrian crossings. It also enables drivers who wish to continue through on Centre Street to pass drivers waiting for the signal on West Roxbury Parkway.

In addition, we adjusted the number of short term parking spaces in a few locations to better match what we expect the demand will be. Here is a link to the updated design, and here is a link to the updated parking diagrams.

October 2023 Construction Update

With curb ramp work winding down, weather permitting, the next phase of the Centre Street Design Project will begin on Wednesday, November 1, and last through Friday, November 10. Crews will cold plane and reset castings (more details about the process below) along the corridor. Once completed, resurfacing is scheduled to begin on Thursday, November 9, and last through Friday, November 17. Throughout construction, we’re asking residents to be aware and adhere to no parking signs.

Resurfacing involves 4 distinct steps:

  1. Milling/Cold Planing: We will remove the top two inches of asphalt — this removes the layer of asphalt that has been cracking. You will notice after this step that the remaining asphalt is lower than the manhole covers. The surface of the road will also feel grooved. The edges of manhole covers will be sprayed in a bright color. We often mark manhole covers with cones or barrels to alert vehicle and bicycle traffic. This step typically takes one or two days.
  2. Reset Castings: The contractor and utility companies will ensure that manhole covers are level with the new asphalt layer. Please note: This is the most time intensive and loudest part of the resurfacing job. 
  3. Resurfacing the Street: The new asphalt surface is put on the roadway. 
  4. Replace Pavement Markings: We install the permanent pavement markings several days to weeks later, allowing the asphalt to cure.

As we encourage resident feedback during any roadway safety project, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact 311. We have more information on the 4 phases in the resurfacing process.

Ramp work (excavation, grading, pouring) by our contractors is scheduled to begin on , October 9, and will last approximately three weeks. Work will entail making existing ramps ADA compliant. Once completed, contractors will begin milling, resetting castings, and resurfacing the road from Bellevue Street to Belgrade Avenue and marking lanes for the updated configuration. Please note: The nature of this construction work is weather dependent, so there could be delays or changes to the schedule.

Roll Plan - October 2023

August 2023 Design Update

Over the past several months, we have received extensive feedback about the Centre Street Safety Project. Based on that feedback, we have made a number of design changes, most notably increasing the width of the primary travel lanes to better accommodate buses and to provide more comfort for people entering and exiting parked cars. In some places, we have reduced the width of the bike lane to provide space for wider travel lanes. We are no longer considering most of the previously proposed bus stop relocations or the use of modular floating bus stops, though the design and placement of existing bus stops has been refined. We have also made a number of changes to planned curb regulation, including the addition of more short-term parking spaces to accommodate delivery, loading, and pickup/dropoff.

The full list of changes is below:

  • Made the travel lane 11’ wide to comfortably accommodate buses, except at Belgrade, where the right turn lane is 11’. This is because most of the buses turn right at this intersection.
  • Made the bike lane 4’ wide with a 3’ buffer in places where there is parking on both sides of the street.
  • Included flex posts at the intersections but not along the length of the bike lanes.
  • Eliminated the floating bus stops. Standard curbside bus stops will be used.
  • Added a left turn lane at the end of Belgrade where it intersects with Centre St
  • Eliminated the right turn lane eastbound at Willow Street. The number of right turning vehicles doesn’t meet the criteria for having a separate turn lane.
  • Added daylighting on Greaton, Manthorne, and Redlands roads
  • Modified parking durations to have fewer 4-hour spaces, and more short term parking spaces for pickup/dropoff, delivery, and loading operations. Clustered the short term parking spaces to accommodate large vehicles.
  • At Lagrange Street, the westbound bus stop will move from the location in front of Walgreens to the far side of the intersection. The eastbound bus stop will remain in the existing location, on the far side of the intersection.
  • At Bellevue Street, the eastbound bus stop will move closer to the corner but will remain on the near side of the intersection
  • Near Willow Street, the eastbound bus stop will move closer to the corner but will remain on the near side of the intersection, and the westbound bus stop will move from the near side to the far side of the intersection
  • On Belgrade Avenue, the northbound bus stop will move further south of the intersection so that buses have room to move into the new left turn lane at Centre Street
  • Pedestrian signalization will change from push button activated exclusive phasing to automatically activated concurrent phasing with leading pedestrian intervals, except at Lagrange Street, where the signal will remain push button activated exclusive.
  • Left turns from Centre Street to side streets will be fully protected except at Belgrade Avenue
  • At Belgrade Avenue, right turns from Centre Street eastbound onto Belgrade and left turns from Belgrade onto Centre Street will be fully protected, while left turns from Centre Street to Belgrade will be concurrent with a leading pedestrian interval. 
  • We will do before/after vehicle counts for three days on Centre Street and on side streets identified as potential cut-throughs - see list below. This will be used to determine whether any additional interventions are needed on the streets surrounding Centre St.
  • In addition to traffic counts, we will use data from navigation apps to determine whether diversions from Centre Street have increased, and if so where traffic is flowing

Centre Street:

  • North of Lagrange St
  • Between Willow St and Corey St

Westbound Side Streets:

  • Redlands Rd
  • Maple St
  • Corey St
  • Hastings St
  • Park St
  • Richwood St
  • Mount Vernon St
  • Temple St


Eastbound Side Streets: 

  • Willow St
  • Corey St
  • Park St
  • Bellevue St
  • Lansdeer St
  • Saint Theresa Ave

Roll Plan - August 2023

Project area

Centre Street Base Map
The project area consists of Centre Street, from Lagrange Street to West Roxbury Parkway. 

Addressing Safety and Design Approach

  • Crossing Centre Street is stressful, especially for older adults and families with children.
  • Driving can be challenging when making left turns.
  • Slower speeds would make it more comfortable to walk and enjoy Main Streets businesses.
  • Customers need to be able to access the street’s small businesses.
  • Deliveries need to be made with minimal traffic impacts.
  • Minimize impact to on-street parking.
  • Ensure sufficient road capacity on Centre Street so that traffic is not diverted onto side streets.
  • Accommodate the Lyndon School pick-up & drop-off to ensure student and parent safety.
  • One travel lane each direction plus left turn lanes provides:
    • more predictable turns
    • fewer traffic lanes to cross while turning, and
    • less weaving to pass drivers who are waiting to make a left turn.
  • Simplified traffic pattern prevents speeding and “double threat,” where drivers pass stopped vehicles without seeing a pedestrian in the crosswalk.
  • Retimed signals for better coordination and more time for pedestrians to cross.
  • Bus stop adjustments to meet MBTA guidelines to provide more even spacing and better bus maneuvering.
  • Parking-protected bike lanes along most of the corridor.
  • Better management of curb space for loading, deliveries, pick-up/dropoff activities, and short-term parking.

Common Questions

  • We will not be removing any traffic signals on Centre Street. The existing signals that are missing from the diagrams in the May 31 presentation will be corrected when an updated design is posted on the website, by the end of July.
  • A tech memo to support the design is posted online. We collected speeds and traffic volumes in two locations on Centre Street for 3 days, and turning movement counts at 9 signalized intersections for a 12 hour period on one day in January 2023. Similar analysis was conducted in 2019.
  • There are three major safety advantages of going from four lanes to three:
  1. It creates room for a left turn lane. a) People who want to turn left can get into their own lane and not feel pressure from drivers behind them who want to go straight. It also eliminates weaving around someone waiting to make a left turn. b) A driver in the left turn lane only needs to wait for a gap in one opposing lane of traffic versus two. c) At signalized intersections, we can have separate left turn phases for drivers making a left from Centre Street onto a side street. 
  2. It reduces the double threat problem for pedestrians, where one driver stops for a pedestrian, and a driver in the second lane proceeds without seeing the pedestrian because their view is blocked by the first driver.
  3. It reduces the opportunity for speeding. With only one travel lane, drivers can only go as fast as the person in front of them. Driving at a slower speed improves safety because: a) It reduces the driver's stopping distance and widens their cone of vision. b) It reduces the force of a collision and decreases the likelihood of severe or fatal injury, especially for crashes involving older adults.
  • Centre Street already has a large number of signalized intersections. While signals allow for the safe movement of pedestrians and vehicles, they also introduce delay for people walking and driving. Adding traffic signals at all unsignalized crosswalks would increase driver travel time more than the proposed changes by adding to the stop-start experience of driving on the corridor. Additionally, the currently unsignalized intersections are unlikely to meet federal MUTCD guidelines for the addition of traffic signals. The planned design is intended to improve safety while minimizing the amount of additional delay for people driving.
  • Reducing the number of travel lanes from four to three is important to do because it will reduce the opportunity for excessive speeding at all times of day and all days of the week, even without additional traffic enforcement. The design change also addresses crosswalk visibility issues. The Boston Police Department has at times conducted enhanced enforcement on Centre Street. When the City measured speeds in 2023, they had returned to pre-enforcement levels. The Boston Police Department has indicated that their staffing levels do not allow them to provide continuous enforcement.
  • Automated enforcement with traffic cameras is not currently legal in Massachusetts and therefore is not an option on Centre Street.
  • Flashing lights which pedestrians activate with a push button, also known as Rapid Flash Beacons, can be used as a supplemental safety device at a crosswalk without traditional traffic signals. While they can help reduce crashes, they do not fully address the visibility issues where a vehicle stopped in one lane obscures the view of a pedestrian to a driver traveling in the adjacent lane. They also do not reduce speeding or address left turn crash risk. Use of multiple beacons in close proximity diminishes their value as drivers tend to tune out a large number of flashing lights.
  • Bus lanes are most appropriate in locations with a high frequency of buses and a large number of riders. Centre St. has neither relative to other places in Boston with bus lanes. In addition, bus lanes would prevent the addition of left turn lanes, which are essential to the flow of vehicles on the street. Without left turn lanes, cars traveling through would be forced to wait behind left-turning cars adding more delay.
  • A small number of parking spaces will be removed to enhance visibility of pedestrians and cyclists at the intersections. In the draft design, 95% of the parking spaces would be retained. We will update this figure if it changes during the final design.
  • Double parking usually happens when people need to park for a short period of time, and they can’t find a space or don’t want to be blocked in. We will create more short-term parking spaces to support the need for loading, pickup, takeout and delivery, and other short-term activities.
  • We based our draft parking proposal on a study completed in 2019 by MAPC that showed parts of the corridor where there were many free spaces and people parking for longer than two hours. We reduced the number of four hour spaces in a revised plan that we will post on the website by the end of July.
  • Boston Transportation Department has been hiring additional parking enforcement staff to increase parking enforcement throughout the city, including in West Roxbury.
  • We will collect speed data and traffic counts in January of 2024 in the same locations where we collected them in January of 2023 to see if speeding has been reduced. Reductions in crashes will take a longer time to assess.
  • The design for Centre Street is intended to accommodate current traffic volumes with minimum additional delay to avoid increasing cut through traffic on side streets. To verify any impacts, we will do traffic counts along selected side streets before and after the project is in place and will evaluate the results over the winter. We will report back our findings in the spring along with a mitigation plan if a substantial increase is observed on any of the side streets.
  • The city’s Safety Surge program prioritizes speed humps on residential streets using risk-based criteria, including crash history and demographics most likely to be injured in a crash. While most residential streets in Boston will eventually get speed humps, the streets immediately adjacent to Centre Street will come in future years.  However, if we observe a substantial increase in traffic on side streets after the Centre Street project is implemented, we will accelerate speed hump installation as part of a mitigation plan. .
  • The traffic signal at Belgrade and the West Roxbury Parkway is owned by DCR. We are reaching out to see if adjustments could be made to the timing of that signal to help process more vehicles during the afternoon peak hours.
  • Changing street direction can have unintended consequences on neighboring streets that could make it difficult for people to access their homes. We reserve this tool for very limited situations and use it on a case-by-case basis.
  • We have chosen to start with the core Centre Street business district, subject to additional evaluation, we are open to extending the project area to include more of Centre Street and Spring Street in future years.
  • No two streets are ever exactly the same, but there are several other area streets that provide a useful comparison. Like Centre St, both examples are thriving neighborhood business districts with a similar volume of weekday vehicular traffic served by a single lane in each direction with turn lanes.
  1. In Cambridge’s Central Square, Massachusetts Avenue between Main Street and Albany Street provides a single travel lane in each direction, turn lanes at some intersections, a southbound bus lane, parking, and protected bike lanes. The street is a similar width to Centre St and  serves through traffic while supporting a mix of local businesses. 
  2. In Brookline, Harvard Street through Coolidge Corner has a single travel lane in both directions with turn lanes at some intersections. It has parking on both sides and unprotected bike lanes between the parked cars and the travel lanes. The street serves a high-frequency bus route (#66) and a large number of pedestrians.

The Centre Street project is designed around the specific geometry, traffic patterns, and local business needs of the street. However, the examples above show how similar lane configurations can function well, provide safety for all road users, and support local businesses.

Provide your comments

Want to provide comments about the project? Please use our online submission form:

Leave your comments

Community Meetings and Drop-ins

In 2019 we began a process of engaging with businesses, community groups, local associations, and other interested parties about the need for safety improvements on Centre Street.

As we re-engage in 2023, we will work to ensure that public concerns and aspirations are reflected in plans developed for safety improvements on Centre Street.

  • A Community Meeting was held on May 31, 2023: See link below to download the presentation
  • Additional drop-in hours were held at the West Roxbury Branch of the Boston Public Library on June 12, 15 & 16, 2023.

Project Presentations


We met on May 31, 2023, at 6 p.m. at the Ohrenberger School in West Roxbury.

Proposal for parking shared at the May 31 meeting, for comment:
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