Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Visualizing Street Widths in the Boston area

There has been a lot of discussion in the Allston task force about street widths in the area there. Since Google Maps and StreetView gives us a great way to measure the widths of streets and look at their profiles, here are many streets in Boston—most of them commercial streets but some others shown as well. They start from narrow streets in the oldest neighborhoods and range to the widest streets of the Seaport (I left out highways and streets with transit reservations). This should be a good resource for looking at what different street widths can accommodate. 

Note that these widths are building-to-building, or the outside edge of the sidewalk on each side. 

There seem to be groups of streets, and how a street is built is often very different even when the width is similar. In Boston, there are many streets that are 36 feet wide, 50 feet, 60 feet, 66 feet, 80 feet, 90 feet and 98 feet (many major roads are this wide, and their character varies significantly). Very few roads are any wider than that, except for some streets in the Seaport which are 132 feet wide. Here are streets shown, from narrowest to widest.

20 feet, Margaret Street, North End.

32 feet, Temple Street, Beacon Hill. 

32 feet: Melrose Street, Bay Village.

36 feet: Pinckney Street, Beacon Hill.

36 feet: School Street, Downtown.

50 feet: Mount Auburn Street, Harvard Square, Cambridge.

50 feet: Washington Street, Downtown Crossing.

50 feet: West Newton Street, South End.

58 feet: Centre Street, Jamaica Plain.

58 feet, Tremont Street, Downtown

60 feet: Elm Street, Davis Square

60 feet: JFK Street, Harvard Square.

66 feet: Cambridge Street, Inman Square.

66 feet: Charles Street, Beacon Hill.

66 feet: Harvard Ave, Allston.

75 feet: Beacon Street, Back Bay.

80 feet: Washington Street, Brookline Village. 

82 feet: Mass Ave, Back Bay.

82 feet: Kneeland St, Chinatown

82 feet: Columbus Ave, Egleston.

90 feet: Newbury Street, Back Bay.

90 feet: Boylston Street, Copley Square. 

90 feet: Columbus Ave, South End.

90 feet, Main Street, Kendall Square (under reconstruction).

98 feet: Cambridge Street, Beacon Hill .

98 feet: Brighton Ave, Allston.

 98 feet: Cambridge St, Allston.

98 feet: Mass Ave, Central Square.

98 feet: Mass Ave, north of Harvard

98 feet: Summer Street, Seaport.

98 feet: Tremont Street, South End.

98 feet: Boylston Street, Fenway.

98 feet: Mass Ave, South End

110 feet: Columbia Road, Uphams Corner.

120 feet: Blue Hill Avenue.

132 feet: Seaport Blvd

132 feet: Congress Street, Seaport.


  1. Can you clarify - is this curb to curb or does it include sidewalk too?

    1. "Note that these widths are building-to-building, or the outside edge of the sidewalk on each side." #reading

  2. Hey Unknown, my "wilco" comment is an admission that I'd forgotten to include that and had updated it. Thanks for yelling at helpful commenters!

  3. You have opened a revealing discussion on street widths in the Boston. Nice to come here.