Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

May 23, 2015

Catching Up on the Cambridge News (May 23, 2015)

Filed under: Cambridge,Fresh Pond — Tags: — Robert Winters @ 12:19 pm

Catching Up on the Cambridge News (May 23, 2015)

Memorial Day Parade and Observance May 25

Memorial Day ParadeThe Cambridge Veterans’ Organization (CVO) and Cambridge Veterans’ Services will hold their annual Memorial Day Parade and Observance on Monday, May 25, 2015. The Parade will begin with a cannon salute by the MA Bicentennial Battery at 9:30am, on the Cambridge Common and proceed through Harvard Square, up Mount Auburn Street to Coolidge Avenue, and conclude at the Cambridge Cemetery on Coolidge Avenue. Cambridge Mayor David Maher and CVO President Philip Anderson will serve as parade commentators.

Parade participants will include: veterans’ groups, elected officials, police and fire personnel, color guards, bands, drill teams and youth organizations.

Following the parade, a Memorial Day Observance will be held at the Cambridge Cemetery. (Approximate start time: 11:00am) CVO President Philip Anderson will serve as Master of Ceremonies. CVO Chaplain Paul Kim will give the Invocation and Benediction and City of Cambridge Police Sargent and Massachusetts Army National Guard Veteran Maj. Thomas Glynn will deliver the keynote address.

Mayor David Maher will give the greetings of the city and City Councillor Marc McGovern will read the City Council’s Memorial Day Resolution. Amigos School 4th graders will lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and a CRLS Drama student will read the Governor’s Memorial Day Proclamation.

In addition, a CRLS student vocalist will sing the National Anthem, America the Beautiful and God Bless America. Bagpiper, Edward O’Callaghan will Play “Amazing Grace.” The CVO Rifle team along with the Massachusetts Bicentennial Battery will render a rifle salute, and Bugler, Robinson Pyle will blow “TAPS.”

Following the memorial observance, the Women’s Auxiliary of the Veterans’ of Foreign Wars accompanied by local elected officials will hold a brief memorial ceremony at the Weeks Bridge in honor of the Cambridge servicemen and women who were lost at sea.

The public is cordially invited to attend all of the Memorial Day events and activities.

Immediately following the day’s events, a collation, hosted by the Cambridge Veterans’ Organization will be held at the VFW Mt. Auburn Post, #8818, located at 688 Huron Avenue.

THERE IS VERY LIMITED PARKING AVAILABLE AT THE VFW. COLLATION ATTENDEES ARE ENCOURAGED TO RIDE THE VETERANS TROLLEYS THAT WILL BE LOCATED AT THE CEMETERY. THE TROLLEYS WILL RETURN YOU TO THE CAMBRIDGE COMMON OR THE CEMETERY AFTER THE COLLATION.

For further information, please call Cambridge Veterans Services at (617) 349-4761.


Exhibit: Magazine Beach – A Place Apart – On View at City Hall
Where & When: at City Hall, May 11-June 4

Magazine BeachSee how Cambridge’s second largest park came to be, from an island surrounded by marshes to a gunpowder depot and, later, a favorite Charles River swimming beach. As a public space, the site has inspired many plans and schemes. Consider the courses taken and passed by as we plan for the park’s future – this year.

Magazine Beach – Its History and Your Stories!
When & Where: Cambridge Sr. Center, 806 Massachusetts Ave. on Thursday, May 28 at 1:00pm

Magazine Beach Park, at the bottom of Magazine Street, is Cambridge’s second largest park, and it has long been a favorite swimming and picnicking site. Hear about its long history, about Captain’s Island and its powder magazine, and its becoming a popular beach for Charles River bathers. We’re eager to hear your stories, too!

Library Program: Renaissance on the Cambridge side of the Charles
Where & When: Main Branch, Cambridge Public Library on Thursday, June 11 at 6:30pm

While the Esplanade has long been the jewel on the Charles, the Cambridge river parklands, at long last, are beginning to receive their due. Hear the latest about North Point Park’s skate park and Magazine Beach and Greenough Boulevard improvements. Presenters from the Charles River Conservancy, Solomon Foundation, Cambridgeport Neighbors Association’s Magazine Beach Committee, Mass. Dept. of Conservation & Recreation (DCR), and the City of Cambridge will share current projects.

Magazine Beach


Cambridge Fire Department Receives American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline EMS Silver Award

Cambridge FireCambridge Fire Department, along with PRO EMS of Cambridge, have jointly received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® EMS Silver Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

Every year, more than 250,000 people experience a STEMI, or ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction, a type of heart attack caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication.

Unfortunately, a significant number don’t receive this prompt treatment. Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate STEMI patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. Mission: Lifeline’s EMS recognition program recognizes emergency responders for their efforts in improving STEMI systems of care and improving the quality of life for these patients.

Emergency Medical System providers are vital to the success of Mission: Lifeline. EMS agencies provide access to 12-lead ECG machines (devices that measures the electrical activity of the heartbeat and can help medical personnel determine if a heart attack has occurred), and follow protocols derived from American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines. The correct tools and training allow EMS providers to rapidly identify the STEMI, promptly notify the medical center, and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.

Agencies that receive the Mission: Lifeline Silver award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for the entire year, and treat at least eight STEMI patients for the year.

“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. “Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can shave precious minutes of life-saving treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals. We applaud Cambridge Fire Department and PRO EMS for achieving this award that shows they meet evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.”

“Cambridge Fire Department and PRO EMS are dedicated to making our units among the best in the country, and the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is helping us accomplish that by implementing processes for improving STEMI systems of care with the goal of improving the quality of care for all STEMI patients,” said Cambridge Fire Chief Gerry Reardon. “We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in emergency medical care for STEMI patients.” For more information, contact Assistant Chief Gerard Mahoney, Phone: 617-349-4970. For more information about the program, visit: heart.org/missionlifeline.


Cambridge Public Library Awarded Six Prizes by Massachusetts Library Association

Children's Room, Cambridge Main LibraryMay 21 – The Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) presented the 22nd biennial public relations awards to the winning applicants at the Association’s Annual Conference at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. Winners were chosen by a panel of independent judges from the public relations, advertising, press, and graphic design fields. Evaluation criteria included messaging, originality, and presentation. Entries were submitted for 20 categories, including brochures, community reading programs, social media, and Websites.

The Cambridge Public Library received five awards in the logo, booklist, community reading program, summer reading program, and newsletter categories. The Library also received first prize in the merchandise category for its tote bags promoting library confidentiality.

Library graphic designer, Luke Kirkland was presented with the awards by the MLA Public Relations Committee at the 2nd Annual Awards Gala and Dinner.

"The Cambridge Public Library is proud of Mr. Kirkland’s work which is visually engaging and representative of the highly professional programs and services offered to our community," said Susan Flannery, Director of Libraries.

Last year, the Cambridge Public Library checked out 1.4 million items and offered 3,000 programs to more than 87,000 individuals.

The Massachusetts Library Association advocates for libraries, librarians, and library staff, defends intellectual freedom, and provides a forum for leadership, communication, professional development, and networking to keep libraries vital. MLA has been working libraries for over 100 years, representing members from all library types in the Commonwealth. For more information visit www.masslib.org.


Mayor David Maher Announces 25th Anniversary of Cambridge Pride Brunch

May 21 – Today, Mayor David P. Maher announced that 2015 marks the 25th Anniversary of the City of Cambridge’s Pride Brunch, a tradition that honors the service of individuals working toward equal access and social justice for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people.

This year, Mayor Maher, along with the City Administration and the Cambridge GLBT Commission will hold the event in the Sullivan Chamber in Cambridge City Hall on Saturday, June 13 at 9:00am, at 795 Mass. Ave.

Refreshments will be provided and the annual program celebrating the progress for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people in Cambridge will begin at 9:30am. The program will include a ceremony presenting the annual Bayard Rustin Award to a person of color with an outstanding history of service to the Cambridge GLBT Community. Community recognition awards as well as the Rose Lipkin award to a Cambridge Rindge and Latin School student will also be presented.

Bus transportation will be provided to the Boston Pride Parade after the Brunch, departing Cambridge City Hall at 11:15am.

RSVPs to this event are appreciated (but not required) and can be made to Mayor Maher’s Office at (617) 349-4321 or mayor@cambridgema.gov.


StoryWalk Cambridge – Can You Find all the Pages?
Friday, May 29, 5:30-7:30pm, Donnelly Field

(Behind King Open School, between Willow and Berkshire streets).
Rain Location: King Open School Cafeteria

The Agenda for Children, the Center for Families and the Cambridge Health Alliance invites families to come and join us for a reading adventure at Donnelly Field.

Pages from the children’s books Forest Bright, Forest Night and One Hot Summer Day will be posted along the field. Parents and kids can enjoy free pizza, books, arts and crafts, along with a special performance by Silly Sally.

For more information about StoryWalk, contact Priscila de Calvache at 617-665-3825 or pcardoso@challiance.org.


Community Preservation Act Committee Public Meeting on Project Recommendations June 16

The Community Preservation Act Committee will hold a public meeting Tuesday, June 16, at 6:00pm, at Cambridge City Hall, Sullivan Chamber, 795 Mass. Ave. The meeting agenda will include providing the public an opportunity to suggest and recommend projects for CPA funding for Housing, Open Space and Historic Preservation in FY16. For more information, contact Karen Preval at 617-349-4221 or kpreval@cambridgema.gov.


Cambridge Announces Formation of Foundry Advisory Committee
City Manager seeking volunteers to serve on committee

City of CambridgeThe Cambridge City Manager is seeking volunteers to serve on a new Foundry Advisory Committee that he is establishing. This group will advise and provide regular updates to the City Manager as well as providing regular updates to the Executive Director of the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA) on proposed uses within the Foundry building, which will be redeveloped and operated consistent with the vision and objectives that grew out of an extensive community planning process.

In evaluating potential uses, programs, and use of shared spaces for creativity and innovation at the Foundry, the Committee will take into account the interior configuration, ongoing operations, changing demand and market forces, updates in technology and innovation, and other outside impacts. The Committee will also review any proposals for significant capital changes to the building as they affect the Foundry’s objectives.

Meetings are anticipated to occur quarterly, although more frequent meetings may be required in the initial stages of the redevelopment process. The Committee will provide annual updates to the CRA Board at regular Board meetings, which will provide the public with information regarding its activities and provide a forum for input. Members of the Committee will be initially appointed by the City Manager to staggered terms of 1-3 years.

The City Manager seeks individuals with demonstrated ability to work effectively on a team with diverse opinions to craft consensus recommendations. The City Manager’s intention is to create a committee that includes experience and expertise in related topic areas, as well as representation from various neighborhoods within the city, and local non-profit and community organizations.

Additional information regarding the Foundry building is available on the project webpage: www.cambridgema.gov/foundry

To apply, please send a letter by June 12, 2015 describing your interest in the Foundry Advisory Committee as well as any relevant experience and qualifications to:
Richard C. Rossi, City Manager
City of Cambridge, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139
Email: citymanager@cambridgema.gov
Fax: 617-349-4307


City of Cambridge Announces Safer Truck Partnership with Volpe National Transportation Systems Center

DPW TruckMay 18, 2015 – Today, Mayor David P. Maher and City Manager Richard C. Rossi announced a partnership with the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center to install truck side guards on city-owned trucks in order to enhance safety for pedestrians and bicyclists traveling in Cambridge. The city intends to install these side guards on heavy-duty vehicles in an effort to lead by example in Massachusetts and to encourage private entities to do the same.

These efforts dovetail with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets, which was launched on Jan 22, 2015, by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

“Cambridge has always led the way with progressive multimodal transportation options for our residents. Now we are stepping up once again to lead the charge to make our streets safer and to mitigate the deadly consequences of common traffic collisions,” said Mayor Maher.

“The Mayors’ Challenge was designed to help small and large cities increase the safety of all bicyclists and pedestrians,” said Secretary Foxx. “These truck guards are another safety feature that can help save lives in Cambridge and other communities around the country.”

“Cambridge has decided to quickly and definitively make changes to its fleet to establish a new standard for safety in our community and the private sector,” said City Manager Rossi. “I’m immensely proud of how the city and federal government have come together to work to protect our residents.”

Side guards, which are installed on large trucks to protect bicyclists and pedestrians from falling underneath the vehicle, helped reduce bicyclist fatalities by 61 percent and pedestrian fatalities by 20 percent in side-impact crashes with trucks in the United Kingdom after side guards became required, starting in 1986. Side guards are devices intended to sweep aside a pedestrian or bicyclist in a side-impact crash, rather than being swept underneath the vehicle.

Volpe and the City of Cambridge are jointly working on a vehicle redesign strategy that will establish recommendations for implementing truck side guards, blind spot mirrors, and other vehicle-based technologies on the city-owned truck fleet. In addition to reviewing international best practices and safety data for developing the recommended technical specifications, operational and human factors issues will also be considered, such as:

  • Installing additional blind spot mirrors, lenses, or cameras intended to increase a driver’s field of view and situational awareness of bicyclists and pedestrians in the vicinity of a truck;
  • Posting educational messaging inside and/or outside of large trucks intended to increase awareness of all road users about avoiding blind spots and other specific hazards; and
  • Integrating the recommended safety countermeasures into the vehicle bodies and operations of the city’s truck fleet, on up to 50 identified vehicles starting in the fall of 2015, to lead by example and to encourage the private sector truck fleets to follow.

DPW Truck“I see Volpe’s first partnership with the City of Cambridge as an exciting opportunity to bring together the complementary strengths of our two government agencies,” said Dr. Alex Epstein, the Volpe team lead. “Even more importantly, this partnership is likely to save lives if the side guards and other truck-based safety initiatives succeed as expected, advancing transportation innovation for the public good.”

This initiative was brought to the attention of the City of Cambridge from social media. By coincidence, a member of Mayor Maher’s staff was walking by the scene of a crash sometime after a bicyclist had collided with a garbage truck. Thanks to the quick response of emergency personnel, the young father who had been on his bicycle was already being treated at a local hospital. Crews had started to remove the twisted frame of the bicycle from underneath the truck when Alanna Mallon, from the Mayor’s Office, walked by. She posted a picture of the bicycle frame on social media, which happened to reach Alex Epstein at the Volpe Center.

Within an hour of the picture being posted, Dr. Epstein was on the phone with the Mayor’s Office to arrange a meeting about the potential to work with Volpe on installing truck side guards. Not only was a meeting arranged with the City Manager, Deputy City Manager, Commissioner of Public Works, and Police Commissioner about this effort, but Dr. Epstein also testified at a Cambridge City Council meeting shortly after speaking with the Mayor’s Office to expand the dialogue about implementing truck side-guard solutions.

“Accidents between trucks and cyclists are unfortunately not out of the ordinary for urban communities in Massachusetts,” said Mayor Maher. “What is unique, however, is the speed with which Cambridge was able to engage with the talented folks at Volpe and to help institute a solution for our city in record time.”

DPW Truck


City Council Committee Hearing on the Net Zero Action Plan
Tuesday, June 9th 4:00pm to 6:30pm
City Hall, Sullivan Chamber, 795 Mass. Ave.

The City Council’s Health and Environment Committee, chaired by Councilor Leland Cheung, will be holding a public hearing on Tuesday, June 9th from 4:00pm to 6:30pm in Sullivan Chamber, City Hall. The purpose of the hearing is to discuss a proposed framework for the goal of setting Cambridge on the trajectory to becoming a “net zero community.” All are invited to attend this hearing. [more information on the Net Zero Action Plan]


Celebrate Cambridge Water, Sustainability and Community at Fresh Pond Day May 30

Join the Cambridge Water Department at its 8th annual Fresh Pond Day on Saturday, May 30, from 11am-3pm to celebrate Fresh Pond Reservation, Cambridge’s in-city drinking water reservoir and urban wild. This event is free and open to all; all dogs must be leashed.

The festivities are held around the Water Treatment Facility at 250 Fresh Pond Parkway. Use of public transit and bicycles to get to the event is strongly encouraged, especially for those wanting to participate in the bike parade! Visitors arriving by car are asked to park at the Tobin School on 197 Vassal Lane.

Fresh Pond DayFresh Pond Day is an occasion for all ages to jubilate in honor of Fresh Pond Reservation, which protects the City’s drinking water supply, is critical wildlife habitat, and provides Cantabrigians with a green, recreational oasis.

The day’s schedule of events includes:

  • Stories with Doria – 11:30am
  • Wildflower Walkabouts – 11:30am and 1pm
  • Wildlife Parade – 12:30pm (feel free to bring a costume – sign and mask making will be offered all morning!)
  • Live Wildlife Demonstrations – 1pm to 3pm
  • Treatment Facility Tour – 1pm (Open House all day)
  • Bee Hive Talk & Tour – 1pm
  • Bicycle Parade – 1:30pm (decorate at the flair station!)
  • Kingsley Park Restoration Tour – 2pm
  • Nature Drawing – 2pm

All-day highlights include: live music by Lux, Second Line Social Aid & Pleasure Society Brass Band, and the Wicked Pickers; kids’ activities, StoryWalk and book giveaway; face painting; truck climb-aboards; bike tune-up and flair stations; dog training clinics; pedi-cab rides; a chance to meet and greet with City staff and community groups; and more!

Feel free to bring a picnic. Rain does cancel the event. For schedule and weather updates, and to get involved, visit www.cambridgema.gov/freshpondday, or contact Kirsten Lindquist at 617-349-6489, klindquist@cambridgema.gov.

May 18, 2015

Coming up at the May 18, 2015 Cambridge City Council meeting

Filed under: Cambridge,Central Square,City Council,planning — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 2:26 am

Coming up at the May 18, 2015 Cambridge City Council meeting

Mass+MainThere are plenty of items from which to choose on this week’s agenda, but there’s really little doubt that the one to watch is the vote to ordain the Normandy/Twining petition that would allow a significant number of new apartments to be built at the eastern end of Central Square, a.k.a. Lafayette Square.

Manager’s Agenda #19. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation on the Normandy/Twining (Mass and Main) Zoning Petition. The Planning Board recommends adoption with suggested modifications.

Unfinished Business #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Dennis A. Benzan and Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Apr 1, 2015 to continue discussions on the Normandy/Twining petition. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after May 11, 2015. Planning Board Hearing held Feb 24, 2015 and continued on Apr 28, 2015. Petition expires May 27, 2015.

Communications – 30 letters in support of Normandy/Twining Petition and 21 letters opposing Normandy/Twining Petition.

The necessary votes appear to be there to ordain this petition, but the real story is the political dynamics surrounding it. The Cambridge Residents Alliance (CResA), an unregistered political action committee disguised as a non-profit civic association, was born a few years back in response to the very things this petition would bring, i.e. additional height and residential density in Central Square. Back then it was the prospect of apartment buildings popping up on Prospect Street and Bishop Allen Drive and a residential tower behind the firehouse in Lafayette Square. Those ideas were either withdrawn or put on permanent hold. Other ideas were floated during the C2 process that helped to shape their recommendations, but the prospect of something actually being built only began to materialize at the end of the C2 process when the Quest properties in and around Lafayette Square were sold. There was little doubt that something would be done with these properties.

Objectively speaking, there’s a lot to be said for bringing significant new housing to this location, especially with a sizable number of units set aside for people with low/moderate income. There’s also some great possibilities in terms of ground floor retail and what people these days like to call "placemaking". It’s also very significant that a residential building is being proposed rather than an office or lab building.

On the other hand, this is also an opportunity for politics and we’ve seen a lot of that lately. There was an organized effort to turn an Ordinance Committee meeting on this petition into a tribunal directed at any city councillor who ever took a dollar from a property owner or developer. Poorly researched investigations into other Normandy-owned properties led to slanderous accusations propagated on various listservs. CResA activists and their scribes promoted conspiracy theories about City departments trying to work around the Zoning Ordinance and evade planning. A well-considered (and courageous) letter sent out by Councillor Kelley over the weekend has sparked some angry responses from the perpetually closed-minded. Through it all we’ve seen incumbent city councillors slandered while new candidates bulk up their campaign accounts and try to recruit feeder candidates for the November election – all of this over the building of new homes (near transit) where people can live.

It’s worth noting that a significant amount of public testimony on this matter has been in support of the Normandy/Twining petition, and many people who are not taking sides on the issue at least generally acknowledge that if there is to be residential density in Cambridge this is a pretty sensible place for it to be located.

Manager’s Agenda #20. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation on the Chestnut Hill Realty Zoning Petition. The Planning Board recommends adoption.

This appears to be just a technical improvement of a zoning change enacted a couple of years ago.

Order #4. Support of House Bill 340 that calls on the Department of Education to not approve PARCC for Massachusetts public schools; calls on the state to not require high-stakes standardized tests be used as a requirement for high school graduation for at least the next three years; and that the state establish an Educational Review Task Force to examine the effectiveness and impact of these high-stakes standardized tests.   Councillor McGovern and Councillor Kelley

This is a matter that has lots of people pretty charged up. I teach mathematics primarily to university students, but I also have quite a few high school students in my Harvard Extension School classes. You’ll never hear me arguing against the need for better standards in mathematics education – especially when it comes to challenging students to aim higher. Part of that means having some standardized testing and I don’t especially care what form that testing takes as long as it’s fair. I also have never been of the "every kid gets a trophy" mindset, but I do think it’s important that every kid have a path to graduation even if it means adjusting the path. Not all kids are destined to win Nobel Prizes, but everyone deserves a chance to one day have a chance at economic opportunity – especially in a city like Cambridge. Minimal standards won’t help to achieve that goal. Is PARCC better than MCAS? I don’t know, but I sure wish people would just make a good decision and go with it.

Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to review the attached seven recommendations submitted as part of the Apr 30, 2015 Housing Committee hearing minutes and instruct the City Solicitor and the Acting Assistant City Manager of the Community Development Department to prepare appropriate zoning language to achieve these recommendations.   Councillor Simmons

Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on Apr 30, 2015 to continue the Apr 22, 2015 discussion on the incentive zoning study from the Community Development Department.

While the political people have been obsessing over Normandy/Twining, housing in the Alewife area, and the ultimate legal resolution of the Sullivan Courthouse, there has been an ongoing review and update to some of the financial mechanisms that help to fund various affordable housing initiatives via fees derived from new non-residential development. The recommendations contained in this Order are mostly timely and appropriate, but I’m skeptical about any effort to tie linkage fees to job training programs or the City’s living wage ordinance for reasons similar to why unionized labor requirements should not be written into the Zoning Ordinance. Not all good standards and practices should be bound into law. Some things, like lease covenants requiring tenants to not seek residential parking permits, are best left as agreements and understandings rather than governmental requirements.

Order #16. That the Cambridge City Council officially go on record supporting the efforts and progress of the Cambridge Community Development Department related to the C2 study and we look forward to considering the zoning and non-zoning recommendations when presented to the Council.   Mayor Maher and Vice Mayor Benzan

Ideally, once the Normandy/Twining zoning petition is settled, there should be renewed interest and greater seriousness about the C2 study and its recommendations. Sometimes it takes a serious development proposal to motivate people to actually get serious. This isn’t the only example of that principle in action.

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Chair of the Transportation and Public Utilities Committee for a public hearing held on Mar 25, 2015 to receive updates and to discuss next steps for the shared-use, rails-with-trail path along the City’s Grand Junction Corridor.

As I testified at the hearing, the most interesting parts of this proposal are how it will connect to places outside of Cambridge. It has the potential to create much better links between destinations at/near MIT to housing in Somerville and across the Charles River. At the Somerville end there are better and worse ways to align this route to the planned Somerville routes and the right-of-way being planned for the Green Line Extension. The primary bicycle facilities will always be the existing road network, but it’s great to make better use of abandoned and underutilized rail assets to create more and better connections. – Robert Winters

May 5, 2015

Cambridge Police Department Announces Series of Bike Safety Month & Bike Week Initiatives

Filed under: Cambridge,cycling,transportation — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 1:23 pm

Cambridge Police Department Announces Series of Bike Safety Month & Bike Week Initiatives

With National Bike Safety Month and Bay State Bike Week taking place in May, the Cambridge Police have a number of events, initiatives and materials planned to increase the safety of all people who walk, cycle or drive.

Events
Officers and City employees will be stationed at highly trafficked areas in the city and will provide giveaways, fliers with bike safety tips and address any questions or concerns at the following areas.

Date Time Location
Monday, May 11 7-9am Central Square*
Tuesday, May 12 7-9am Alewife T Station*
Wednesday, May 13    7-9am    Harvard Square*
Thursday, May 14 7-9am Kendall Square*

*Free breakfast, as available, generously provided by Charles River TMA

On-Bike Training & Bike Rides
Bike MonthThere are a number of bike rides and training-related activities taking place in May that the Cambridge Police will be involved with, all of which residents are highly encouraged to participate in:

  • The MA Walk & Bike to School Day is taking place Wednesday, May 6 at 7:00am at the Vassal Lane Upper School.
  • There will be bike tune-ups and games on Wednesday, May 12 at the Cambridge Public Library, which is located at 449 Broadway, from 12-2pm.
  • CPD, Community Development Department (CDD) and the City of Cambridge will be taking part in Bike Tours of Cambridge on Saturday, May 16 at 10am. Ride details are available here.
  • A free on-bike training course, which is geared for new bike riders and covers the basics of riding a bike, will take place at Danehy Park on Saturday, May 16 from 2-6pm. The training is sponsored by CDD and jointly instructed by the Cambridge Police and Mass Bike. Interested participants must RSVP with jlawrence@cambridgema.gov.
  • A Healthy Aging Dinner & Focus Group on Wednesday, May 20 from 6-8pm that will focus on the conversation about barriers to bicycling for people ages 50+. Interested participants must RSVP with jlawrence@cambridgema.gov.
  • CPD, CDD and many in the City of Cambridge will be participating in the Walk/Ride Day Corporate Challenge Outreach Event on Friday, May 29 from 7:30-10am.

Be sure to view a complete list of events coordinated by the Community Development Department on their website.

Bicycle Patrol
With the warmer weather, the Cambridge Police Department once again has a full staff of bicycle patrol officers riding the city streets. These officers not only help provide residents with a greater sense of safety around the city, but they will also be promoting safe driving, riding and walking, as well as enforcing traffic laws in the Commonwealth. One area of emphasis will be keeping bicycle lanes clear from illegally parked vehicles. Cambridge Police will also aggressively seek and look to mitigate bicycle theft.

Increased Enforcement
Thanks to a Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program Grant funded by Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Cambridge Police are collaborating with a number of community and regional partners to reduce overall crashes and injuries in the City through enhanced enforcement efforts now through September 2015.

Electronic Sign Boards
The Cambridge Police are soliciting bicycle safety-related tips and messages on Twitter and Facebook for the City’s electronic sign boards, which will be stationed in Inman Square, Central Square and other areas throughout May. CPD encourages residents to submit their suggestions in the comment field on Facebook. Each board can feature up to 18 characters at a time (36 with two rotations).

Additional Education
In addition to the initiatives previously mentioned, the Cambridge Police will be leveraging their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels to educate bicyclists, motorists and pedestrians about the rules of the road, as well as offer theft prevention tips. The Department is also currently working on a series of Public Service Announcements in conjunction with the City’s Bicycle Committee (CBC) to provide a deeper understanding of riding, driving and walking in Cambridge from a bicyclist’s perspective.

content taken from Cambridge Police Dept. press release


Editorial comment
I can’t let Bike Month go by without mentioning a thing or two about some of the realities of the emerging bicycling infrastructure that is (unfortunately) favored by some individuals working for the City of Cambridge.

Perhaps the most common problem I see are bike lanes painted on streets in such a way that right-turning motor vehicles are encouraged to turn across the bike lane at intersections. This is common along Massachusetts Avenue westbound from MIT heading toward Central Square, and I see near-misses daily. In those locations it would be much safer without the bike lane or with the lane reconfigured so that right-turning vehicles would be directed to move as far right as possible prior to turning – as required by state law. Cyclists being "right hooked" by turning vehicles is probably the most common cause of crashes.

Another reality that I witness every day is the dysfunction of the Vassar Street "cycle track". This sidewalk-based bike facility was constructed in such a way that delivery vehicles, taxis, and other vehicles have no other option than to drive up onto the sidewalk (and the cycle track) in order to do what they need to do. I don’t fault the drivers in any way since there really is no other practical option. I’m entertained when I see official City photos of this facility showing nothing but right-way cyclists riding along an unobstructed path. The everyday reality is that cyclists routinely ride wrong-way on this track and pedestrians generally make no distinction between the track and the rest of the sidewalk. It’s like an obstacle course of pedestrians, parked vehicles, and turning vehicles and an accident waiting to happen. The better option is to ride in the roadway, but the right-of-way has been narrowed to the point where you generally have to "take the lane" to ensure your safety. Crossing Vassar is easily the riskiest part of my daily commute.

If I could have one wish granted it would be that City officials seriously reevaluate some of their decisions regarding bicycling infrastructure. – Robert Winters

Dysfunctional streets

May 4, 2015

Quatro de Mayo at the Cambridge City Council – May 4, 2015 Agenda Highlights

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge Redevelopment Authority,City Council — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 12:47 am

Quatro de Mayo at the Cambridge City Council – May 4, 2015 Agenda Highlights

News!Here’s a quick look at what’s on deck for Monday. The most significant items are Manager’s Agenda #1-6, the appropriation and loan authorization orders for capital budget items totaling $67,200,000. There’s also an appropriation order of $6,000,000 in Manager’s Agenda #10 "to facilitate necessary initial capital improvements to the Foundry building." After the Public Comment period (and hopefully starting at the scheduled time) there will be a 7:00pm public hearing on a proposal by the City of Cambridge to dispose of a long-term leasehold interest in the Foundry Property at 101 Rogers Street to the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA) and on a request for diminution of the full disposition process.

Here are the big ticket items:

Manager’s Agenda #1. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $37,750,000 to provide funds for various water pollution abatement projects, including construction of sewer separation, storm water management and combined sewer overflow reduction elimination improvements within the City’s Agassiz Neighborhood, Alewife Watershed, Area IV Neighborhood, and Harvard Square areas as well as the Sewer Capital Repairs Program.

Manager’s Agenda #2. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $5,000,000 to provide funds for a Comprehensive Facilities Improvement Plan.

Manager’s Agenda #3. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $4,600,000 to provide funds for surface improvements to the Harvard Square area including Eliot Street, Eliot Plaza, Brattle Street, and Brattle Plaza.

Manager’s Agenda #4. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $150,000 to provide funds for the purchase and installation of mechanical components to ensure the operational integrity of the elevator at the Robert W. Healy Public Safety Facility.

Manager’s Agenda #5. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $15,700,000 to provide funds for various School building infrastructure projects including the design and construction for the King Open/Cambridge Street School and Community Complex, roof replacement at the Kennedy Longfellow School, and a new boiler at the Fletcher Maynard Academy.

Manager’s Agenda #6. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $4,000,000 to provide funds for the reconstruction of various City streets and sidewalks.

Manager’s Agenda #10. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $6,000,000 from Free Cash to the Public Investment Fund Public Works Extraordinary Expenditures account to facilitate necessary initial capital improvements to the Foundry building consistent with City Council Policy Order O-16 adopted on Mar 17, 2014, and to support the reuse of the building according to the vision and objectives identified through a robust community process.

Presumably the following item of Unfinished Business will also be discussed during the 7:00pm hearing on disposition of the Foundry building.

Unfinished Business #4. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an update on the Foundry Building process, including the City’s plans to collaborate with the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (the "CRA") to redevelop the Foundry building in a way that meets the vision and objectives expressed by the City Council and the community.


Manager’s Agenda #11. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a proposed framework for your consideration concerning the goal of setting Cambridge on the trajectory to becoming a "net zero community", with focus on carbon emissions from building operations.

There’s a lot that can be said about this topic, but your homework assignment is to read the report first. It’s available as a Word document, but if you prefer PDFs, try these:

Net Zero Framework (the main report) Appendix E (Greenhouse Gas Reduction)
Appendix A (Best Practices) Appendix F (Solar Potential)
Appendix B (Building Energy) Appendix G (Summary)
Appendix C (Energy Supply) Appendix H (Netzero Task Force members)
Appendix D (Actions) Appendix I (Net Zero Action Plan)

Resolution #6. Congratulations to Patrick W. Barrett III on passing the Massachusetts Bar Exam.   Councillor Toomey

There’s a crowd of us out here in the bleacher seats cheering.


Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on Apr 22, 2015 to continue discussion on the incentive zoning study from the Community Development Department.

The recent Nexus Study recommends an increase in the contribution rate "from the current $4.58 to $10-$12 per square foot of new commercial development, expansion of the uses that would be subject to the ordinance, removal of the special permit trigger which currently limits the applicability of the incentive requirements to projects needing certain special permits, elimination of the 2,500 square foot exemption, continuation of the 30,000 square feet building size threshold, maintenance of a uniform housing rate for all uses and continuation of adjustments to the contribution rate by the Consumer Price Index." [You should read the committee report for more detail on what this all means.] Some activists/candidates would like to raise it to $24 per square foot (or even higher), but it’s likely that cooler heads will prevail.

That’s all for now folks. – Robert Winters

Powered by WordPress

%d bloggers like this: