Work begins on Hammond Pond Parkway safety improvements

After months of waiting and preparation, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation has started work on safety improvements to the Hammond Pond Parkway.

Approved in 2022, the $11.3 million project is aimed at boosting both safety and accessibility for bicyclists and pedestrians traveling near Chestnut Hill between Beacon Street and Route 9.

“Not only is this project important to the regional transportation network, it helps ensure our parkways provide neighborhoods with safe and accessible connections to economic centers and natural resources,” DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo said in a statement announcing the start of the work. “This project will make this busy road safer for the community while increasing green space for recreation and promoting sustainable transportation.”

The project will be done in phases and is expected to be completed in 2025.

The first phase will cut the roadway from four lanes to two and install new traffic signals and other safety features.

The renovation will create a 12-foot-wide path for pedestrians and bicyclists along one side of the parkway and a 4-foot path for pedestrians on the other side, to keep walkers and riders safe from vehicles.

“I’m thrilled to see the Healey Administration investing in these improvements to help pedestrians and bicyclists access recreational spaces along the Hammond Pond Parkway in Newton with more ease,” State Sen. Cindy Creem said in the announcement. “These improvements also present an opportunity to encourage greener transportation options that are necessary for meeting our climate mandates.” 

The Hammond Pond Parkway—which stretches about two miles from Beacon Street to Horace James Circle—gives bicyclists access to the Hammond Pond Reservation and the Webster Conservation in an otherwise heavily developed area near Route 9.

Bicycle safety has been a growing concern in Newton, a city of about 88,000 people that’s experienced population and traffic growth along with the rest of the region.

Earlier this year, a Tufts professor was killed when a UPS vehicle crashed into his bicycle on Watertown Street.

The city is currently developing a massive bicycle and pedestrian safety plan, and the Hammond Pond project fits with the goals of that plan by connecting well-traveled bicycle routes and conservation areas across the city.

“We are excited that the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation is moving forward with this transformational work to create a true parkway along a heavily used one-mile section of Hammond Pond Parkway between Beacon Street and Route 9 in Newton,” Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said. “The $11.3 million investment by Gov. Healey and DCR Commissioner Arrigo in Newton improves access into our two largest open green spaces at Webster Woods and the Hammond Pond Reservation, creates a safer and more inviting environment for Newtonians walking, rolling, and biking, adds a lot of plantings, and repaves a heavily worn road surface.”