Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

March 4, 2015

Campaign Finance – 2015 Cambridge City Council Candidates

Filed under: 2015 Election,Cambridge,campaign finance,elections — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 4:53 pm

This year (2015) is a municipal election year and new candidates are already emerging. Just to get the ball rolling, here is where the campaign accounts stand for incumbents and known challengers for Cambridge City Council. This information will be updated as the year progresses.

It will be interesting to see how the new individual contribution limit of $1000/year (up from $500/year) affects campaign receipts and expenditures.

City Council Campaign Finance - 2015 (updated Mar 4)

CandidatesStartEndOpenReceiptsExpendBalanceNotes
Benzan, Dennis1-Jan-1528-Feb-15$8207.45$4650.00$2593.78$10263.68
Carlone, Dennis1-Jan-1528-Feb-15$4272.67$6252.84$300.00$10225.51
Cheung, Leland1-Jan-1528-Feb-15$6002.06$4942.71$4357.77$6587.00
Courtney, Kim1-Jan-1528-Feb-15$0.00$628.74$193.04$435.70
Devereux, Jan1-Jan-1528-Feb-15$0.00$8870.00$403.78$8466.22
Kelley, Craig1-Jan-1528-Feb-15$2601.58$0.00$0.00$2601.58
Maher, David1-Jan-1528-Feb-15$28741.21$800.00$1494.25$28046.96
Mazen, Nadeem1-Jan-1528-Feb-15$12273.54$2448.47$2698.97$12023.04
McGovern, Marc1-Jan-1528-Feb-15$6098.45$3924.63$942.39$9080.69
Simmons, Denise1-Jan-1528-Feb-15
$7447.29$2900.00$854.00$9493.29
Toomey, Tim1-Jan-1528-Feb-15$18782.29$801.46$1529.85$18053.90
vanBeuzekom, Minka 1-Jan-1528-Feb-15$7380.40$0.00$85.00$7295.40

The table can be sorted by category in ascending or descending order by clicking on the category name in the top row.

You can also look up these periodic reports yourself at the OCPF website.

March 2, 2015

In Like a Lion: Mar 2, 2015 Cambridge City Council meeting

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 5:05 pm

In Like a Lion: Mar 2, 2015 Cambridge City Council meeting

In Like a LionHere’s my list of interesting agenda items. Additional comments may follow after the meeting (not my usual practice), but here are a few words for now:.

Reconsideration #1. Councillor Mazen notified the City Clerk of his intention to file reconsideration of the vote taken on Feb 20, 2015 failing to adopt an order that the City Manager is requested to identify an organization or organizations to study and present options to the City Council regarding possibilities for publicly funded municipal elections that takes into account issues unique to Cambridge. Order failed of adoption 3-4-1-1 and Reconsideration was filed by Councillor Mazen on Feb 23, 2015.

My great suspicion is that this initiative is part of a greater plan for this year’s municipal election to portray any candidate who accepts money from a property owner/developer as inherently "unclean" in the "clean elections" sense of the word. Perhaps a better measure would be the percentage of a candidate’s campaign receipts that originate from outside Cambridge or from ANY identifiable "special interest group." At least commercial property owners in Cambridge have a direct interest in the future of the city.

Manager’s Agenda #5. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the City of Cambridge retaining the noteworthy distinction of being one of approximately 34 municipalities in the United States with three AAA ratings from the nation’s three major credit rating agencies. [Attachment]

There is simply no way to disassociate this year’s round of great bond ratings with the tragedy of Brian Murphy’s death that occurred while City officials were in New York City meeting with the rating agencies.

Charter Right #1. That the City Manager is requested to create and fund the position of ombudsman, with degrees of both organizational independence to serve as an advocate and organizational ties to be effective, to serve as a liaison with and an internal advocate for community members. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor McGovern on Order Number Ten of Feb 20, 2015.]

Just vote it down. City employees already do a fine job assisting the public, and for everything else there are nine city councillors from which to choose to represent you and any concerns that you may have.

Charter Right #2. That the City Manager is requested to contact the current owners of the Vail Court property and demand that graffiti be removed, exterminators assess the property, and any other maintenance that would improve the appearance and safety of this building be conducted immediately. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Mazen on Order Number Seven of Feb 23, 2015.]

In addition to the obvious deplorable state of this property, it should be obvious to anyone who heard the debate last week on this matter that this is as much about Councillor Mazen’s "special relationship" with this property owner as anything else. If he can resolve it, he’ll be able to claim some credit. Otherwise, enjoy that albatross, councillor.

On the Table #12. That the City Manager is requested to instruct the Community Development Department to abandon the "Complete Street" plan for Pearl Street. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Toomey on Order Number Seven of Jan 5, 2015. Placed on the Table on the motion of Councillor Cheung on Jan 29, 2015.]

I expect the Council will just leave this permanently On the Table rather than seize the opportunity to define limits on how much residents can be abused in the name of a proposal that never achieved anything close to consensus in that neighborhood.

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to confer with local business associations, the Arts Council, and other appropriate city departments to determine the feasibility of hosting a series of "End of Winter" Festivals in our City Squares (Harvard, Central, Inman, Porter, Huron Village, and Kendall) to celebrate our city’s resilience and strength.   Vice Mayor Benzan, Councillor McGovern, Councillor Cheung and Councillor Toomey

Having proposed exactly this sort of thing a week or so ago, I do hereby declare this to be the best damn proposal on this entire agenda. Bring on Martha and the Vandellas.

Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Information Technology Department to create a space on the city website, where agendas can be made available prior to committee meetings.   Councillor Mazen

This is a good start, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Every City Council committee should have (and maintain) its own web page that indicates all the business that has been addressed by that committee, what matters are currently under consideration (along with all relevant documents), and any future plans under consideration by the committee. – Robert Winters

February 27, 2015

Catching Up on the Cambridge News (Feb 27, 2015)

Filed under: Cambridge — Tags: — Robert Winters @ 1:28 pm

Parking Space Saver Removal Operations Begin on March 2
Efforts to Occur on Regularly Scheduled Trash Collection Days

The WorksOn March 2, 2015, the Department of Public Works (DPW) will begin to remove parking “space savers”. This includes any items placed in the roadway to hold an on-street parking spot (ie chairs, toters, barrels, crates). Items will be removed from each neighborhood on its regularly scheduled trash collection day.

“We understand the challenges that residents and businesses have experienced due to the near back-to-back snow storms that have impacted the region, Your patience and cooperation has helped us significantly with our snow removal operations,” said City Manager Richard C. Rossi. “Any major snow storm in an urban setting will cause on-street parking challenges. While we are sensitive to and acknowledge the effort that goes into shoveling out a vehicle that is parked on a public street, City regulations do not allow for space savers.”

Article 18 section 8 of the City of Cambridge Traffic, Parking, and Transportation Regulations states that “No person shall place, erect or cause to be placed or erected within any roadway, any fixture or structure unless or until a permit has been issued by the Traffic Director.” Public Works has not removed space savers during past month because of the demand that record snow clearing operations have placed on personnel and equipment. While snow clearing continues, the current status of operations is such that trash collection trucks are now able to incorporate the removal of space savers in their weekly collection efforts.

For current information on snow operations visit Cambridgema.gov. Updates are also available on Twitter at @CambMA and Facebook at CambridgeMA.Gov. The City is utilizing the hash tag #CambMASnow on Twitter to help the public follow the conversation.


Do You Have What it Takes to be a Cambridge Police Officer?
Register for the 2015 Police Officer Written Exam

Cambridge PoliceDo you or someone you know possess integrity, courage, and a willingness to help those in need? Perhaps you are ready to pursue a career as a police officer!

The City of Cambridge is currently recruiting applicants to take the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Open Competitive Examination for Police Officers scheduled for Saturday, Apr. 25, 2015. An Informational Open House for Cambridge residents will be held Monday, Mar. 9, from 6-7:30 p.m., at the Robert W. Healy Public Safety Building, 125 Sixth St., Cambridge. Check out this informative new video from Cambridge Police Department. For more information, call 617-349-4332, 617-349-3374 or 617-349-4331.

The Open Competitive Examination for Police Officers is held to establish an eligible list from which to fill Police Officer vacancies in civil service cities and towns, and MBTA Transit Police. This eligible list may also be used to fill Police Officer vacancies in non-civil service jurisdictions. The early application deadline for the next Open Competitive Examination for Police Officers is March 13, for a $100 fee and the final deadline is March 26, for a $150 fee. To apply, visit www.mass.gov/civilservice or call 617-878-9895.

More job information is available online at www.CambridgeMA.gov/Jobs or by contacting Personnel@cambridgepolice.org.


Cambridge Works Transitional Jobs Program Graduates 14th Class

Feb 20, 2015 – Cambridge Works, the City’s transitional jobs program for younger residents (age 18-35) who haven’t been able to get or keep jobs, celebrated its 14th graduating class during a special ceremony Feb. 19, at Cambridge City Hall. The program provides a temporary job with the City of Cambridge, and/or other partner employers, while also offering intensive case management, soft skills development and job search assistance to help participants secure an unsubsidized job upon program completion.

Cambridge Works is coordinated through the Office of Workforce Development for the Department of Human Services Program (DHSP).

Mayor David P. Maher congratulated the graduates from the latest class. “We are so proud of you,” Maher said. “We are all so lucky to live in a community that cares deeply about its residents and works hard to get it right. This is a community that is built on neighborhoods and the people that live here. And this program is about government and businesses coming together to effect positive change.”

A former Cambridge Works graduate, Chris Rodriguez, returned to give the recent class some words of advice, encouraging them to never give up and reminding them of the dedicate staff team that will be there for them even after the program has ended, to help them secure employment utilizing the skills they learned.

Comments from the Cambridge Works Class of 2015:
“I’m grateful to them (referring to staff at Cambridge Works) for believing in me and coaching me through tough times.” – Christine Boireau

“The support of the staff and my fellow participants helped me become an enhanced version of myself. The reflection I see in the mirror is of someone who is equipped with the tools needed for success. Thank you.” – Isaiah Jackson

Cambridge Works graduates - Feb 2015
Cambridge Works participants and program staff


Forward FundHOW WILL YOU MOVE CAMBRIDGE FORWARD?

The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA) announced on Feb 18, 2015 the establishment of the Forward Fund, a new microgrant program intended to support innovative pilot projects by non-profit organizations, community groups, and small businesses throughout Cambridge. They will be awarding Planning & Design grants up to $2,500 and Capital grants up to $10,000 for a wide variety of projects that contribute to the civic and social capital of Cambridge.


Select Stories from the Cambridge Chronicle (the paper of record):

Cambridge Planning Board wants more info on Central Square zoning petition (Sara Feijo, Feb 25, 2015)

First step toward redeveloping Volpe Center (Erin Baldassari, Feb 25, 2015)

Cambridge City Council rejects study of public campaign funding (Monica Jimenez, Feb 25, 2015)
[Note: the actual vote was 3-4-1-1 and one councillor has filed for Reconsideration]

A ‘visionary’ leader: Friends, colleagues pay tribute to Cambridge’s Brian Murphy (Erin Baldassari, Feb 11, 2015)

February 22, 2015

Flotsam and Jetsam – Coming up at the Feb 23, 2015 Cambridge City Council meeting

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 10:47 pm

Flotsam and Jetsam – Coming up at the Feb 23, 2015 Cambridge City Council meeting

“Flotsam and jetsam are terms that describe two types of marine debris associated with vessels. Flotsam is defined as debris in the water that was not deliberately thrown overboard, often as a result from a shipwreck or accident. Jetsam describes debris that was deliberately thrown overboard by a crew of a ship in distress, most often to lighten the ship’s load. The word flotsam derives from the French word floter, to float. Jetsam is a shortened word for jettison.”

Most of the business from the three delayed or cancelled City Council meetings was taken up on Friday, Feb 20 at the first of these twin meetings, but there are a few items left, including all of the Calendar. Before getting to the flotsam and jetsam on Monday’s agenda, I would like to say a few words about something extraordinary that took place at the Friday meeting. Specifically, the City Council showed some resolve, and I hope this continues – especially if and when more serious matters are before the Council later this year. We sure could have used this last year when the misguided Carlone Petition was dragged out for months even though only fools believed it ever had the votes of more than 2 or 3 councillors (and it needed as least 6 to be ordained). Of course the Carlone Petition was really all about political organizing and not especially about governance.

Specifically, there was an Order on the Friday agenda contained in a report from a Government Operations Committee meeting that called for developing one or more approaches to publicly financed municipal elections in Cambridge. There are many reasonable people who can make a good case for doing this at the state and/or federal level, but I have not yet heard any convincing rationale for doing this for our municipal PR elections. There has also been more than a passive suggestion that such "clean elections" would be a response to implied corruption among elected city councillors who have accepted donations from major property owners/developers. I have never personally seen any evidence of this. There is also a very low threshold for candidacy in the municipal elections – just 50 valid signatures – and Councillor Kelley has convincingly proven that you don’t need a big bankroll to be reelected as long as you can maintain the respect of the people who have voted for you in the past. New candidates often face a challenge in wrestling away #1 votes from incumbents or corralling their own quota of ballots from uncommitted voters to gain election, but the most recent election showed that it’s not impossible and it may even be getting easier in this day of social media.

Councillor Kelley asked simply: "What’s the problem that this proposal is trying to fix?" That’s exactly the point. Normally I would have expected the City Council, out of some misguided notion of courtesy, to kick this can down the road, generate a shelf full of studies, waste lots of staff time and ultimately say, "Never mind." This time, they voted and defeated this pointless initiative on a 2-4-1-2 vote (2 Yes, 4 No, 1 Abstain, 2 Absent). Had there not been two councillors absent, I suspect it would have been a 3-5-1 or a 3-6 vote. [Note: Mazen arrived late and added his YES vote to make this 3-4-1-1.] In any case, I would like to commend Councillors Cheung, Kelley, Toomey and Mayor Maher for their resolve in throwing this overboard. There may yet be discussion about this in Government Operations, but at least the Council will then be deciding whether or not to do something prior to drafting plans for how it is to be done.

Another Order that called for the creation of an "ombudsman" position came close to a similar fate, though ultimately it was made subject to the Charter Right by Councillor McGovern. Anyone who has ever dealt with the Community Development Department or just about any other City Department knows just how helpful and cooperative (to a fault) most City staff are. Councillor Toomey and Vice Mayor Benzan also correctly pointed out that one of the most fundamental roles a city councillor plays is as a go-between when residents feel they need an advocate. I really had hoped the City Council would have just voted this Order down, but the Charter Right is nondebatable and we’ll just have to wait until another day (maybe Monday) to see what happens.

Oh, yeah, and on Friday they also talked a lot about snow. That’s why they’re our representatives. We’ve all been talking a lot about snow.

As for this Monday’s agenda, there are only the 12 Orders pulled (most as a courtesy to Councillor Mazen who did eventually show up over 2 hours late to the meeting) plus the items on the Calendar. The only remaining items of some interest to me are these (and there may be some misnumbering caused by the unusual nature of this double-meeting):

Charter Right #2. That the City Manager is requested to create and fund the position of ombudsman, with degrees of both organizational independence to serve as an advocate and organizational ties to be effective, to serve as a liaison with and an internal advocate for community members.   Councillor Cheung, Councillor Carlone and Councillor Mazen [Charter Right exercised by Councillor McGovern on Order Number Ten of Feb 20, 2015.]

See my comments above or in my notes for the Fri, Feb 20 meeting. I’m not sure if this item can be properly acted upon yet. If the interpretation is that these twin meetings are really formally the same meeting, then we’ll have to wait until the March 2 meeting before the City Council can take up the question.

On the Table #11. That the City Manager is requested to instruct the Community Development Department to abandon the "Complete Street" plan for Pearl Street. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Toomey on Order Number Seven of Jan 5, 2015. Placed on the Table on the motion of Councillor Cheung on Jan 29, 2015.]

Again, see my comments in my notes for the Fri, Feb 20 meeting or in my notes for the Jan 29 meeting. There are much better ways to make Pearl Street better for all users, and the City Council really should send a message that it’s not OK to railroad residents based on a biased and nondemocratic process to force an outcome based on the agenda of a select group of individuals, especially when that agenda will compromise resident parking needs and other curbside activities and yield no net safety or environmental benefits. – Robert Winters

February 21, 2015

Plowing, or sweeping under the rug?

Filed under: Cambridge — jsallen @ 7:59 pm

The photo of the Western Avenue bikeway with this post has been making the rounds in bicycling advocacy circules, accompanied with praise for Cambridge’s plowing it.

You can praise the plowing all you like, but in terms of safety, it amounts to window dressing, distracting from problems which would not exist except for the segregated bikeway: with the snowbanks, bicyclists and motorists are both going to have to come nearly to a complete stop at every crossing to see each other in time to avoid collisions. Streets, on the other hand, even narrowed by snow, are wide enough that the cyclists can ride away from the edge, and motorists can poke out far enough to see approaching traffic without the risk of collisions.

The bikeway is also too narrow for one bicyclist safely to overtake another. The street is wide enough for anyone — bicyclist or motorist — to overtake a bicyclist, though maybe not always wide enough for one motorist to overtake another, what with the snow. It is narrower too because of the space that was taken out of it for the bikeway. The street also most likely is clear down to pavement within a day or two after a snowfall, and it is crowned so meltwater drains to the curbs. The bikeway is going to be a sheet of ice if there are thaw/freeze cycles, unless there is a very heavy application of road salt.

Bicycling is already difficult enough in winter without the added difficulties and hazards imposed by this bikeway.

western_avenue_winter

February 20, 2015

Catch Up – The City Council will have a Special Meeting on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 at 9:00am

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 9:29 am

Catch Up – The City Council will have a Special Meeting on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 at 9:00am

City SealIn order to catch up on the multiple meetings cancelled due to snow, the City Council will have a Special Meeting on Fri, Feb 20 at 9:00am. Any business not addressed at that meeting will carry over to the regular meeting on Mon, Feb 23 at 5:30pm. City councillors have been requested to resubmit any new items for the following (Mar 2) meeting. The most notable agenda items (at least to me) are these:

Resolution #15. Resolution on the death of Brian Murphy, Assistant City Manager for Community Development.   Councillor Simmons

The people who work at CDD are my neighbors and friends, and Brian was a great friend to me personally and to many other people throughout Cambridge and elsewhere in Massachusetts.

Manager’s Agenda #2. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a requesting that the City Council refile and again refer the Normandy/Twining Zoning Petition to the Planning Board.

Order #28. Refiling of Normandy/Twining Petition to amend the Zoning Ordinances to amend Article 20.000 of the Zoning Ordinances and the zoning map of the City of Cambridge by adding a new section 20.800 entitled Mass and Main Residential Mixed Income Subdistrict within the Central Square Overlay District.   Mayor Maher

This re-filing is necessary because of the snow cancellations that prevented the scheduled Planning Board meeting to occur within the legally required time frame. Meanwhile the Cambridge Residents Alliance, a.k.a. the Peoples’ Revolutionary Front to Stop Everything has already drafted its TalkingPoints Memo for its drone activists to recite at meetings explaining why new housing near transit is bad for people.

Manager’s Agenda #6. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to amendments and other related documents associated with the proposed Plastic Bag Ordinance.

The proposed amendments are all well-founded and should be given proper consideration by the City Council prior to ordination.

On the Table #10. That the City Manager is requested to instruct the Community Development Department to abandon the "Complete Street" plan for Pearl Street. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Toomey on Order Number Seven of Jan 5, 2015. Placed on the Table on the motion of Councillor Cheung on Jan 29, 2015.]

I have commented on this previously, so I’ll simply say that the City Council should pass this Order. If not, the majority of city councillors who have expressed support for this rebuke will have been played by those who want to use delay in order to solidify their propaganda. Sometimes a rebuke is exactly the right thing to do. There are better plans circulating for Pearl Street that would designate it as a bike/ped priority street without segregating cyclists and compromising resident parking needs and other curbside activities.

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Mayor to reach out to representatives and city officials in Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Everett and Somerville to gauge interest in forming an inter-city committee which would meet three times per year to discuss and develop strategies for common issues that would be best handled regionally with support from the state.   Councillor McGovern, Vice Mayor Benzan and Councillor Cheung

Order #9. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate departments and elected officials from Somerville to arrange a public meeting of the two cities to discuss regionalism and potential regular scheduling.   Councillor Mazen

Again, I have commented previously about the idea of a standing intercommunity committee of local elected officials from Cambridge and its neighbors. It would be a good way to address more regional concerns, especially in the areas of housing and transportation.

Order #10. That the City Manager is requested to create and fund the position of ombudsman, with degrees of both organizational independence to serve as an advocate and organizational ties to be effective, to serve as a liaison with and an internal advocate for community members.   Councillor Cheung, Councillor Carlone and Councillor Mazen

This policy order is an insult to all of the good people who work for the City who have been consistently helpful to residents in practically every way. I sincerely hope the City Council has the wisdom to reject it.

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Dennis A. Benzan, Co-Chair of the Economic Development and University Relations Committee and Councillor Nadeem A. Mazen, Chair of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts & Celebration Committee conducted a STEAM Summit on Dec 10, 2014 to present research by the STEAM Working Group and to present the Working Group’s recommendations.

Order #25. That the City Manager is requested to determine the feasibility of executing the recommendations of the STEAM Working Group with the appropriate City departments.   Councillor Mazen, Vice Mayor Benzan, Councillor Carlone and Councillor McGovern

I have also commented on this previously. Suffice to say that the intention of these efforts is commendable and I hope that we can capture the interest of young people in every possible way to find a future that takes full advantage of those industries and educational institutions that are all around us in Cambridge. I am not yet convinced that a City Council-inspired plan is the best approach. What is really needed is some re-thinking among all local educational institutions about how to best match Cambridge residents, especially very young Cambridge residents, with the wealth of opportunities all around them. This should be as much about inspiration as facilitation.

Order #29. That the City Manager is requested to work with all relevant City staff to revise the proposed zoning for the Volpe site to include an option for a 7.5 acre public park as originally planned.   Councillor Carlone

We all like parks and open space, but I’m not yet convinced that this proposal is about creating amenities so much as simply blocking new construction, including the construction of new housing. It’s definitely worth pointing out that the original 7.5 acre proposal predates the donation of open space that grew out of the Alexandria re-zoning process. No plan should remain static as circumstances change, and until very recently very few people actually believed that the Volpe site might actually become available anytime soon.

Order #32. That the City Manager is requested to instruct the City Solicitor to release a legal opinion regarding the discretion of the Planning Board to deny special permits, even when the special permit criteria have been met, reflecting in particular on the bearing that the case Humble Oil and Refining Company vs. Board of Appeals of Amherst has on discretionary authority of the board.   Councillor Mazen

Give us a break. This effort to politicize the Special Permit process expired with two-thirds of the latest Teague Petition.

Committee Report #6. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk transmitting a report from Councillor Timothy J. Toomey, Chair of the Government Operations, Rules and Claims Committee for a public hearing held on Jan 20, 2015 to discuss changing the method by which surplus votes are transferred in Municipal elections whether the Fractional Transfer Method could replace the Cincinnati Method and whether this requires a Chapter change and to discuss the Clean Election Law.

This committee meeting only began to scratch the surface of the two topics – (a) practical changes to the Cambridge municipal elections, and (b) the pros and cons of public funding for local elections. I look forward to the continued conversation. – Robert Winters

February 17, 2015

Cambridge Snow Emergency Updates (Feb 14 – Feb 17)

Filed under: Cambridge — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 7:44 pm

The Snow Emergency Parking Ban will be lifted at 7:00am on Wed, Feb 18.

  • Trash/Recycling is one day behind this week due to the holiday. If your trash/recycling is not collected, please leave it out an additional day for crews to pick up. Please call Public Works with any questions, 617-349-4800.
  • Residents parked at Harvard’s 52 Oxford St. Garage and MIT’s 65 Waverly St. lot must exit by 9:00am on Wednesday.
  • Residents parked at Green St. Garage & One Kendall Square Garage must exit by 9:00am on Wednesday or stay, and pay for parking.
  • Residents at Cambridgeside Galleria Parking Garage Levels 4 or 5, and at the City’s First Street Parking Garage can stay for free until Sunday, Feb 22 at 8:00pm. After that, they can opt to stay and pay regular fees.

Feb 16, 2015 – Cambridge Snow Operations & City Services Update

Snow WalkA Cambridge Snow Emergency Parking Ban remains in effect until further notice. City offices and programs will be open on Tuesday, Feb. 17. Rubbish and recycling will be one day behind schedule for the week due to President’s Day holiday.

In light of the nearly 90 inches of snow that Cambridge has received over the past three weeks, the City is taking extraordinary measures in order to maintain emergency vehicle access to all roadways. This includes:

  • Removal and hauling operations to widen main arteries, secondary streets and dead-ends prioritized by public safety officials;
  • Converting certain two-way streets to temporary one-way streets; and
  • Maintaining the snow emergency parking ban until further notice.

1) Removal and Hauling Operations
Crews resume snow removal and hauling operations throughout Cambridge Monday, Feb 16 at 9:00pm. The City expects to have over 100 pieces of equipment on the road at this time. In addition to prioritized main arteries, crews will be addressing secondary streets and dead-ends as identified by public safety officials.

What does this operation involve?
A team of operators will use bobcats, loaders, and dump trucks to remove piles of snow, most particularly on corners and on dead-ends. Not all snow on a street will be removed, but clearing will be done to ensure emergency vehicle access.

Removal and hauling is primarily an overnight operation due to traffic challenges during daytime hours, though certain locations may be done during the day if feasible. This work is expected to take numerous evenings to complete, and may continue into next week.

How are streets selected for this operation?
Streets are selected for removal based on consensus by Public Works, Police, Fire, Emergency Communications, and Traffic & Parking that widening the street is critical for maintaining emergency access, and that standard plowing and salting operations is insufficient to achieve that access. The
purpose of these operations is to ensure emergency vehicle access. Given the huge volume of snow, the City is unable to provide removal and hauling at all streets.

2) Converting certain two-way streets to temporary one-way streets
Public safety officials are evaluating certain two way streets that have been narrowed due to snow, and will be converting some of these to temporary one-way streets. The City expects to begin this program in East Cambridge in the next several days, and potentially expand to other streets as feasible.  Additional details about program will be posted once finalized.
3) Maintaining the snow emergency parking ban until further notice.
A citywide parking ban began at 7:00pm on Saturday, Feb 14 and will remain in effect until public safety officials determine it is safe to lift the ban. We thank residents for their cooperation in helping us to keep roadways clear.

We also thank local garages that have partnered with us to offer residents parking during these repeated snow emergencies. Please note that Green St Garage, First St. Garage and the 50 Oxford St. Garage are currently full. Please see alert at www.cambridgema.gov for more information about available parking.

Public Safety Is Our Top Priority
Despite the challenging weather conditions we face, the City has devoted the personnel and resources necessary to maintain public safety. We will continue snow clearing efforts into the coming week and beyond.

For more information about the City’s overall approach to snow operations, and the response to the Presidents’ Day Weekend Blizzard, see alert at www.cambridgema.gov.


Sat, Feb 14 – A Snow Emergency will go into effect starting at 7:00pm for Cambridge. Happy Valentine’s Day.

The City of Cambridge is declaring a Snow Emergency Parking Ban Saturday, Feb 14 at 7:00pm. Parking will be prohibited on streets signed No Parking during Snow Emergency. Towing operations will begin at this time. Please note that some streets may still maintain temporary no parking signs even after the ban is lifted due to the current conditions. Free off-street parking is available to Cambridge residents with Resident Parking Permits issued by the city’s Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department at the locations listed below from the time the ban goes into effect until 2 hours after it is lifted. Please note that other locations we generally make available during a ban, such as First Street and Green Street Garages, are currently full due to the current conditions.

CambridgeSide Galleria Parking Garage. Free parking is valid for the upper garage only, Levels 4 and 5; enter on First Street at Sears. Vehicles parked in the lower garage (Levels A, B & C) will be asked to pay the regular parking fees. Generally free resident parking is available from the time the declared snow emergency is in effect until 2 hours after it is lifted. Due to the extensive amount of snow that has accumulated in the area, persons with a Cambridge resident parking permit can park at this location from now until Sunday, Feb 22, 2015.

52 Oxford Garage. This is a Harvard owned and operated garage. It is open to City residents with a resident parking permit on a space available basis for no fee from the time the declared snow emergency is in effect until 2 hours after the ban is lifted. Space is limited, and availability is on a first-come, first-served basis. The University reserves the right to cease admittance due to capacity limitations and operation issues.

65 Waverly Street. This is an MIT owned surface lot at the corner of Sidney, Waverly and Erie adjacent to Fort Washington Park. Parking is free with a resident permit until 2 hours after the ban has is lifted.

One Kendall Square Garage. This is a privately owned garage next to the Kendall Square Cinema. Parking is free for Cambridge residents with a resident parking permit on their vehicle until 2 hours after the ban is lifted. The garage entrance is at 389 Binney Street.

We are currently experiencing delays in trash collection due to weather conditions. If your trash was not collected on Friday, please leave it out and it will be collected on Saturday. Check this site for more updates and information or call Public Works at 617-349-4800.

City Offices will be closed on Monday, Feb 16 in observance of the Presidents’ Day Holiday. There will be no trash or recycling pickup Monday, Feb 16, and routes will be one day behind schedule for the rest of that week. Any regular programs scheduled for Feb 14 will take place, however programs for Feb 15, including War Memorial programs, have been cancelled.

DPW crews continue to work to keep main roadways clear. Property owners are asked to do the best they can under the extremely challenging conditions to clear sidewalks, corner crossings, catch basins and fire hydrants of snow. Business owners are requested, if there is a disability parking space on the street near their storefront, to please take the extra time to shovel a clear path to that space. In particular, shovel a space wide enough so that vans with lifts can deploy the lift onto the sidewalk.

The historic amounts of snow that have fallen in the past two weeks have created special challenges for the city and the region. Even with plowing and snow removal, streets in Cambridge and the Greater Boston Area remain narrow. The MBTA continues to experience weather related failures and delays and has announced that service will be suspended on Sunday, Feb 15. Please see more on this at www.mbta.com.

Drivers should allow additional travel time, exercise patience during slower traffic patterns, and use extra caution at intersections and crosswalks. Prior to traveling, residents are asked to ensure that snow is cleared from the top of their motor vehicle to create safer conditions for those travelers around you. Drivers should use their best judgment when considering whether to park in areas where large snow piles are still alongside the curb, to ensure they do not block the flow of traffic.

Updated information will be available at www.cambridgema.gov. In addition, the public is encouraged to follow updates on Twitter at @CambMA and on Facebook at CambridgeMA.Gov. The City will be utilizing the hash tag #CambMASnow on Twitter to help the public follow the conversation. Members of the public can also call 617-349-4800 or 617-349-4700 for information. Members of the public are encouraged to sign up to receive notification of snow emergency parking bans at http://www.cambridgema.gov/AlertNetwork.

Rooftop snow - 364 Broadway

February 10, 2015

Cambridge Snow Emergency and Parking Ban (Feb 8-10)

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council,schools — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 6:05 pm

City of Cambridge to Lift Parking Ban on Wednesday, February 11 at 7:00am
City announces free off street parking for Cambridge Residents
at Cambridgeside Galleria Parking Garage and First Street Garage

Feb 10, 2015 – Cambridge will be lifting the Snow Emergency Parking Ban at 7:00am on Wednesday, February 11. Residents who are taking advantage of the free off street parking program will have until 9:00am on Wednesday to exit the Green Street Garage and the One Kendall Square Garage before being charged.

Residents parked at Harvard’s 52 Oxford Street Garage and MIT’s 65 Waverly Street lot must exit these locations by 9:00am.

The City is announcing an extended free parking program being offered at both the Cambridgeside Galleria Parking Garage and the City’s First Street Parking Garage through February 22 in recognition of the historic amounts of snow that Cambridge has received during the past few weeks, including the 18.5 inches of new snow that fell over the past few days.

Residents with a valid 2015 City of Cambridge resident parking permit on their vehicle who are having difficulty finding street parking or are traveling for February school vacation week can participate in the extended free parking program at the Cambridgeside Galleria and First Street Garages until Sunday, February 22 at 8:00pm. Parking for this program at the Cambridgeside Galleria Parking is restricted to the upper garage, levels 4 and 5. The upper garage entrance is located on First Street, closest to Sears. The First Street Garage is open, subject to availability. Vehicles without a 2015 Cambridge resident parking permit will be charged full parking rates.

Residents currently parked in the First Street garage do not have to exit once the parking ban is lifted; however, residents who parked their vehicle at the Cambridgeside Galleria need to exit and reenter through the First Street entrance and park on levels 4 or 5.

In addition to this free short-term program, the City of Cambridge offers a year-round discounted parking program at the First Street Garage to Cambridge residents with a current City of Cambridge resident parking permit on their vehicles.

Even with plowing and snow removal, streets in Cambridge and the Greater Boston Area are getting narrower due to snow accumulation. Prior to traveling, residents are asked to ensure that snow is cleared from the top of their motor vehicle to create safer conditions for those travelers around you. Drivers should use their best judgment when considering whether to park in areas where large snow piles are still alongside the curb, to ensure they do not block the flow of traffic.

Any parked vehicle that obstructs a 10 foot wide safe travel lane will be ticketed and towed.

Updated information will be available at www.cambridgema.gov throughout the storm. In addition, the public is encouraged to follow updates on Twitter at @CambMA and on Facebook at CambridgeMA.Gov. The City will be utilizing the hash tag #CambMASnow on Twitter to help the public follow the conversation. Members of the public can also call 617-349-4800 or 617-349-4700 for information. Members of the public are encouraged to sign-up to receive notification of snow emergency parking bans at http://www.cambridgema.gov/AlertNetwork.


UPDATE: All Cambridge City Offices and Cambridge Public Schools will remain closed on Tuesday, February 10. The Snow Emergency/Parking Ban remains in effect. Tuesday’s curbside trash and recycling pick up will occur as scheduled.

City of Cambridge Announces Parking Ban and Closures
Parking Ban in Effect; Curbside Trash/Recycling pick-up on Schedule;
All City Offices, Programs, and Public Schools closed Monday, February 9

SnowpocalypseFeb 8, 2015 – A Snow Emergency Parking Ban went into effect at 4:00pm today (Sun, Feb 8). [City Notice] Cambridge residents with a current Resident Parking Permit issued by the Department of Traffic, Parking and Transportation can take advantage of the City’s free off street parking program during the declared snow emergency parking ban. A complete list of off street locations as well as a listing of streets with parking restrictions during a snow emergency can be found at www.cambridgema.gov.

Curbside trash and recycling collection will occur on Monday as scheduled. Due to the large amount of snow received in the area, trash and recycling trucks may not be able to get to all streets scheduled for a given day. If this does happen, DPW asks residents to leave their trash/recycling out on the curb for pick up the following day. In the event the roadway conditions do not allow for trucks to access the roadway the following day, residents should remove all trash and recycling from the curb and place their contents curbside the following week on their regularly scheduled day.

All City offices and programs, as well as the Cambridge Public Schools, will be closed on Monday, February 9. All public meetings, including the City Council meeting, have been cancelled for Monday. Additional information regarding school closings can be obtained by calling 617-349-6513 or visiting www.cpsd.us. Information about rescheduled meetings will posted to the City’s website.

The Department of Public Works (DPW) will be working around the clock for the duration of this prolonged storm. “We are all in this together,” said Owen O’Riordan, Commissioner of Public Works, asking property owners to do the best they can under current conditions to keep sidewalks, corner crossings, catch basins and fire hydrants clear of snow.  “The historic amount of snow that we have received during the past two weeks – over 50 inches now – is trying everyone’s patience. The City’s snow operations have been in effect nearly continuously since January 25. Our primary focus right now is ensuring that emergency vehicles can access major arteries, neighborhood streets and dead ends. The City will continue to clear streets and sidewalks for many days to come, including the nearly 23 miles of sidewalks alongside schools, city buildings, major squares and high volume bus stops.”

Property and Business owner’s participation in clearing sidewalks will help the City return streets and sidewalks to safe, passable conditions as quickly as possible. When it snows or is icy this winter, please think about all the people who might be using your sidewalk and the challenges they may face if snow or ice is not fully cleared. City Ordinance requires that owners remove snow and ice from all sidewalks next to their property. The path on shoveled sidewalks must be wide enough for someone using a wheelchair, walker, or stroller (at least 3 feet, preferably 4 feet wide).  Corner properties must clear sidewalks on all sides surrounding the property and clear ramps at cross-walks. Additionally, business owners are requested, if there is a disability parking space on the street near your storefront, to please take the extra time to shovel a clear path to that space. In particular, shovel a space wide enough so that vans with lifts can deploy the lift onto the sidewalk.

The historic amounts of snow that have fallen in the past two weeks have created special challenges for the City and the region. Even with plowing and snow removal, streets in Cambridge and the Greater Boston Area are getting narrower. Additionally, the MBTA has experienced numerous weather related failures and delays. Commuters should allow additional travel time, exercise patience during slower traffic patterns, and use extra caution at intersections and crosswalks. Prior to traveling, residents are asked to ensure that snow is cleared from the top of their motor vehicle to create safer conditions for those travelers around you. Drivers should use their best judgment when considering whether to park in areas where large snow piles are still alongside the curb, to ensure they do not block the flow of traffic.

Updated information will be available at www.cambridgema.gov throughout the storm. In addition, the public is encouraged to follow updates on Twitter at @CambMA and on Facebook at CambridgeMA.Gov. The City will be utilizing the hash tag #CambMASnow on Twitter to help the public follow the conversation. Members of the public can also call 617-349-4800 or 617-349-4700 for information. Members of the public are encouraged to sign-up to receive notification of snow emergency parking bans at http://www.cambridgema.gov/AlertNetwork.

Off Street Parking is available at the following locations:

  • Galleria Mall. Enter on Cambridgeside Place, Between P.F Chang’s and The Cheesecake Factory Entrance. Residents of Cambridge can park for free in the Cambridgeside Galleria Garage from the time the declared snow emergency is in effect until 2 hours after it is lifted.
  • First Street Garage. Enter on Spring Street. Parking is free if you have a Cambridge resident parking permit from the time the declared snow emergency is in effect until 2 hours after it is lifted.
  • Green Street Garage, Central Square. Parking is free if you have a Cambridge resident parking permit from the time the declared snow emergency is in effect until 2 hours after it is lifted.
  • 52 Oxford Garage. This is a Harvard owned and operated garage. When a Snow Emergency is declared it is open to City residents with a resident parking permit on a space available basis for no fee from the time the declared snow emergency is in effect until two hours after the snow emergency is lifted. Important — vehicles parked in this garage must exit no later than two hours after the ban is lifted. Space is limited, and availability is on a first-come, first-served basis. The University reserves the right to cease admittance due to capacity limitations and operation issues.
  • 65 Waverly Street. This is an MIT owned surface lot at the corner of Sidney, Waverly and Erie adjacent to Fort Washington Park. Parking is free with a resident permit from the start of the snow emergency until 2 hours after it has been lifted.
  • One Kendall Square Garage. This is a privately owned garage next to the Kendall Square Cinema. Parking is free during snow emergencies for Cambridge residents with a resident parking permit on their vehicle from the time the City’s declared snow emergency is in effect until two hours after it is lifted. The garage entrance is at 389 Binney Street.

Keep those fire hydrants clear of snow!
Map of Cambridge fire hydrants – Zoom in for a closer look.

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