Left Turns Banned to Improve Cyclist Safety at Intersection in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Three left turns that used to be legal in Inman Square are now banned as city leaders push to improve safety at one of the most dangerous intersections in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The signs went up Thursday, alerting drivers they would no longer be able to make left turns from Hampshire Street to Cambridge street in either direction. Left turns are also off limits from Cambridge Street to Antrim Street.

What some say is an inconvenience, others are calling a solution for the area prone to crashes.

There were more than 250 crashes involving cyclists near Inman Square last year. Amanda Phillips was killed while riding her bike at the intersection this year.

"It was just really tragic that something happened before they had a chance to act," Cambridge city councilor Jan Devereux said. "But this has given us new urgency and new momentum."

The momentum comes after a push from advocates including the Boston Cyclists Union. It has led to improvements that include clearer bike lanes and more signage, not just in Iman Square but also in Porter Square where Bernard Lavins was killed last month.

"Theres going to be a longer term change because its not enough," Cambridge city councilor Nadeem Mazen said. "It's got to be fully safe. It's got to be better designed in order to be safe for all modes of transportation."

City leaders hope to reconfigure the entire intersection, but that would not begin until September 2017 at the earliest after gathering public feedback. In the meantime, those caught making illegal left turns will be ticketed.

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