Washington Street is wide enough to accommodate parking, traffic lanes, bike lanes, and safer, more attractive pedestrian access. Eunice Kim, a recent Bike Newton Steering Committee Member and graduate student at the Tufts School of Public Policy, researched and wrote a bike lane feasibility study. Currently, the street-scape is both unsafe and unfriendly for non-motorists, but there are many potential improvements that would add both to safety and aesthetic appeal. She also collaborated with Northeastern University engineering students on a creative plan to make Washington Street into a complete street.
In this plan, some parts of Washington Street would have one car travel lane in each direction; this design is fully supported by studies of traffic counts. Other parts would have more than one travel lane in each direction. The critical philosophy in road design is to base decisions on actual and projected road usage by all forms of transport: cars, trucks and buses, bicycles, and pedestrians. Many parts of Washington Street have too many car travel lanes for the number of cars, which has diminished the total road share of pedestrians and cyclists. In the parlance of urban planners, Washington Street needs to go on a road diet.