Central Square Post Office, 770 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
The Cambridge Consumers’ Council and the Public Works Department will be hosting a Cambridge Shred Day Event snow or shine in collaboration with Central Square Post Office, the Office of the Attorney General, the Executive Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations. Dispose of important documents safely.
Information will also be available to consumers on tips to avoid identity theft, fraud and scams and the City’s recycling and composting programs. For more information, contact: Laura M. Nichols at 617.349.6150 or email@example.com.
Cambridge InsideOut Episode 41 - News and Views (Part 1).
This episode was broadcast on March 4, 2014 at 5:30pm. Co-hosts are Susana Segat and Robert Winters. The main topics we touched on were (1) Democratic caucuses and statewide elections, (2) an update on the options for the Foundry Building, and (3) the possibility of public restrooms for people who use the Cambridge Common (which will soon see significant improvements). [On YouTube]
Cambridge InsideOut Episode 42 - News and Views (Part 2)
Broadcast March 4, 2014 at 6:00pm. Co-hosts are Susana Segat and Robert Winters. Topics include the disposition of the Sullivan Courthouse, naming rights for T stations, School Committee policy change regarding middle school mathematics, the MIT report on the need for graduate student housing, and the promise of the opening of H-Mart soon in Central Square. [On YouTube]
Candidate Open House Information Session on Tuesday March 11
The City of Cambridge will hold a Candidate Open House Information Session Tuesday, March 11, 6-7:30pm, Cambridge City Hall, 795 Mass. Ave.
Do 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 Firefighter! The City of Cambridge is currently recruiting applicants to take the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Open Competitive Municipal Service Written Examination for Firefighters to be held on Saturday, April 26, 2014.
The Municipal Firefighter Examination consists of two components: the Written Examination and the Physical Abilities Test. Candidates must take and pass both components in order to be placed on the eligible list for appointment in a civil service city or town. The early application deadline is March 17, 2014, with an application fee of $200. Applications will be accepted no later than March 31, 2014, with a fee of $250.
For examination instructions and publications, visit www.mass.gov/civilservice or call the examination hotline at 617-878-9895.
Mar 1 - I read the following quote today on Facebook (apparently part of a new petition campaign): "Cambridge friends: The tsunami of development around Concord Ave & Alewife (2,400 new units & counting) is already having a giant impact on everyone's ability to access and enjoy open space at Danehy and Fresh Pond. The city is granting special permits right and left without any master plan or serious attempts to alleviate the transit and environmental impacts."
I don't know, but the familiar language ("tsunami of development") suggests this is yet another installment from the "Cambridge Residents Alliance" crowd, the group whose motto should really be "I was able to buy my house in Cambridge, but now it's time to shut the gates to the city." I remember a time not so long ago when Cambridge was widely considered a welcoming place, especially when it came to the provision of housing, including "affordable" housing. The quote above makes it brutally clear that the "Alliance" people are primarily objecting to housing - even though most planners agree that the impact of housing on traffic is relatively small compared to commercial development.
Perhaps it's time to consider a name change for the Cambridge Residents Alliance (and its bunkmate, the "Association of Cambridge Neighborhoods"). The name Cambridge Residents Opposed to New Housing seems so much more to the point. - RW
City Manager's Report of Foundry Building (for Monday, March 3 Special City Council meeting)
Feb 26 - Remembering Carl Barron, a Central Square icon (by Erin Baldassari, Cambridge Chronicle)
Central Square Library Branch to Reopen March 10
The Cambridge Public Library is pleased to announce that the Central Square Branch will reopen Monday, Mar. 10. In celebration of the grand reopening, the Central Square Branch is hosting a week of events to welcome back our patrons!
Mon, Mar 10: Our grand reopening! Stop by to say hello, catch up with your neighbors and fill up a free red CPL bag with new, exciting titles.
Wed, Mar 12: Meet Branch Manager, Jason Yee, from 2-3 p.m. and learn what's new at the Branch!
Fri, Mar 14: Fine amnesty for any overdue materials returned to the Central Square Branch and free replacement cards!
During the week of Mar 10-14, drop by any morning between 10-11am and join us for coffee.
The Central Square Branch closed for the installation of a new elevator, the final stage of a series of major improvements made by the City of Cambridge to benefit the Branch and its users within the last few years. Projects included a new HVAC system, significant electrical upgrades and an expansion of the Literacy Center to twice its original size. Additionally, all of the computers in the Tech Center were upgraded and the Center will reopen with expanded evening hours.
From Central Square to Lechmere - Preview of the Feb 24, 2014 Cambridge City Council meeting
Here are a few comment-worthy items on this week's agenda:
Manager's Agenda #4. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-04, regarding an update on when the Central Square Branch Library will reopen.
The Manager informs us that "We anticipate the reopening no later than March 10th, weather permitting. In the meantime, please know that the book drop will remain open for the duration of the project."
Applications & Petitions #5. An application was received from Zevart Hollisian requesting permission for a curb cut at the premises numbered 300 Massachusetts Avenue; said petition has received approval from Inspectional Services, Traffic, Parking and Transportation, Historical Commission and Public Works. No response has been received from the neighborhood association.
This is in reference to the project now under construction that was the subject of a contentious zoning petition a year ago. Though the petition ultimately passed unanimously, I would be surprised if some disgruntled activists showed up now to obstruct the necessary curb cuts.
Applications & Petitions #8. An application was received from Massachusetts Institute of Technology requesting permission for a temporary banner across Massachusetts Avenue at Norfolk Street, fifty-seven banners on poles in Harvard Square, ninety-three banners on poles along Massachusetts Avenue from Memorial Drive to Harvard Square, sixteen banners on poles along Broadway from Ellery Street to Felton Street and eighteen banners on poles along Massachusetts Avenue from Inman Street to Bigelow Street announcing the Cambridge Science Festival Apr 18-27, 2014. Approval has been received from the Electrical Department.
I highlight this item only for the purpose of noting the date of this year's Science Festival (April 18-27). Every year brings something new and interesting.
Resolution #8. Resolution on the death of Carl F. Barron. Mayor Maher
Carl Barron was one of the most generous civic benefactors that Cambridge has known over many decades. Never shy about expressing his point of view and backing it up financially, Carl funded scholarships for CRLS graduates and improved health care facilities at Mount Auburn Hospital. He was the Central Square merchant who stayed in Central Square when everyone else was fleeing to the suburban malls. When we first met in 1992, we had little in common other than our dedication to the improvement of Central Square and the fact that we appreciated each other's sense of humor. Times change and Central Square is changing, but many of us will still remember Carl for all that he did for the area during some of its toughest days.
Resolution #20. Congratulations to the Central Square Business Association, House of Vans and the Middle East on the Snochi Winter Festival. Councillor Cheung
Speaking of the changing Central Square, did you ever think we'd have a pop-up winter carnival with snowboarding in Central Square? Well, last week we did.
Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and report back to the City Council on the matter of the closure of Lechmere Station before a new station is completed and operational and provide time lines for the new Lechmere Station development and plans for the current Lechmere site. Councillor Toomey
In addition to Councillor Toomey's concern about potential disruption to people who need to access the Green Line at Lechmere, he also wants "time lines for the new Lechmere Station development and plans for the current Lechmere site." This was a hot topic a couple of years ago when various neighborhood people were circulating the idea of a year-round market that might be developed as part of the current Lechmere Station site when it is vacated and the station moved to the other side of the McGrath Highway as part of the Green Line extension. What are the current plans for the Lechmere site?
Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Police Commissioner and other appropriate City personnel and then report back to the City Council on the feasibility of installing a permanent Cambridge Police Officer within City Hall to better ensure the safety of the public and the people who work within the building. Councillor Simmons
I'm curious not only about the need expressed in this Order but also as to why it's being submitted now. Cambridge City Hall has seen its share of controversy over the years, especially during the days of rent control, but it's actually been relatively nonconfrontational through it all. Councillor Simmons' argument could be made for just about any building that is publicly accessible, but it's not at all clear that City Hall has any greater need for a dedicated police presence that any other place. Should the proposed policy be implemented, I expect that the City Hall Police Officer will have a lot of time on his or her hands. This doesn't seem like the best way to deplot police resourses. I could perhaps understand it for public meetings with large attendance, but otherwise it seems unnecessary.
Order #7. That the City Council go on record urging local business owners to make a concerted effort to shovel a path to parking meters immediately in or around their establishments. Councillor Simmons
Perhaps this Order should be amended to urge local business owners to also shovel out the bike posts in front of their businesses. Motor vehicles are not the only vehicles that need a parking space that can be accessed.
Communications & Reports from City Officers #2. A communication was received from Mayor David P. Maher regarding a retrospective talk on the career of Roger Boothe, Director of Urban Design, on Tues, Feb 25, 2014 at 5:30pm at the Main Library.
I do hope they record this event and make it available for later viewing. Roger Boothe will be retiring this month. He has been an invaluable resource within the Community Development Department for as long as I can remember. He's also a hell of a great guy. - Robert Winters
Members Sought for Council on Aging Board
The Cambridge Council on Aging is seeking interested individuals to serve on its board and help advocate for important senior issues.
The purpose of the board is to promote and encourage existing and new services and activities intended to enhance and improve the quality of life of older persons in the city; advise the City Manager on all matters pertaining to the welfare of elderly Cambridge citizens; and advocate for Cambridge elderly residents. Board members also support Council on Aging/ Senior Center staff with community outreach for services, benefits, activities and programs available to them. Applicants must be age 60 or older and a Cambridge resident.
Interested applicants should submit a letter describing any applicable experience by Friday, March 14, 2014 to:
Richard C. Rossi, City Manager
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Letters can also be faxed to 617-349-4307 or sent via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please contact Susan Pacheco, Executive Director of the Council on Aging at 617-349-6220 or at email@example.com.
Very Sad News: Carl Barron has passed away
Carl Barron, member of the Central Square Advisory Committee and longtime President of the Central Square Business Association, passed away on Saturday (Feb 15) at the age of 97. [Note on centralsquare.com][Boston Globe Obituary]
Service: Thursday, Feb 20 at 10:00am, Beth El Temple Center, 2 Concord Ave., Belmont. Burial will follow at Adath Jeshurun Cemetery, Grove St., W. Roxbury.
Memorial observance will be at the Mount Auburn Hospital on Thursday from 5-8pm and on Friday from 5-7pm. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Barron Center for Mens Health, c/o Mount Auburn Hospital, Development Office, 330 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge, MA 02138.
March Programs at Fresh Pond Reservation
These events are FREE and open to the public. Children are welcome in the company of an adult.
|A Remembrance of Chip Norton, Watershed Manager for the Cambridge Water Department: http://www.friendsoffreshpond.org/calendar2014/photopages2014cal/jan14/p01-13-14chipnorton.htm|
|CONTAINER GARDENING WITH NATIVE PLANTS
Date: Monday, March 10
Time: 6 to 7:30pm
Place: Walter J. Sullivan Water Purification Facility, 250 Fresh Pond Pkwy
No space or time for an in-ground garden? No problem! Join this workshop led by Dan Jaffe of New England Wild Flower Society for advice on how to successfully grow native New England plants in pots. Now's the time to start planning for the growing season! Registration required: call 617-349-6489 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Date: Saturday, March 15
Time: 2 to 4:30pm
Place: Maynard Ecology Center, basement of Neville Place 650 Concord Ave.
Take a walk with naturalists Larry Millman, Tom Murray, and Elizabeth Wylde as we explore the Reservation in search of fungi, insects, plants, birds, and anything else that shows signs of life in these lengthening days of early spring. There is a lot happening in, on, and above ground! We may even find some species that are new to our Reservation species lists. Dress for the weather and wear boots for walking off-path. Register for important parking information.
|WELCOME SPRING BIRD WALK
Date: Saturday, March 22
Time: 9 to 11am
Place: Register for meeting location and parking information
Spring is the season that birders dream about! Songbirds are abundant, active, vocal, and in full breeding plumage. During this walk we may see birds courting, building nests, defending territories, or eating voraciously in preparation for the next stage of their northward migration. Beginners are welcome. We have binoculars to lend and will show you how to use them.
|THE MEADOW PROJECT: A MOVIE
Date: Sunday, March 30
Time: 2 to 4pm
Place: Maynard Ecology Center, basement of Neville Place,650 Concord Ave.
If you are tired of mowing your lawn or looking at the monotony of grass, this film may inspire you. It addresses ecological problems caused by the extensive planting of non-native grass lawns in the United States. Through her own experience, producer Catherine Zimmerman shares her insight on turf alternatives that offer great health, aesthetic, and ecological benefits. We will have refreshments and time for discussion.
Please register for each event that you plan to attend. You will receive information on parking after you register. E-mail Elizabeth Wylde at email@example.com or call (617) 349-6489 and leave your name and phone number.
Offered by Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation
Would you like to join Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation? Membership in Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation costs only $10 per year ($5 for seniors and students, $15 for families). To join, fill out a membership form available in the Ranger Station information racks, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call 617-349-6489, or visit our website at www.friendsoffreshpond.org to download a form.
Keep up to date on events at the Pond. Visit the Friends group website at http://friendsoffreshpond.org to learn more about Friends group activities and the reservation and its inhabitants.
• This winter and spring Grow Native Massachusetts is offering a series of free nature-related "Evenings with Experts" lectures at the Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway. Details are at www.grownativemass.org.
• Sign up for the City of Cambridge's informative "Recycling and Composting Newsletter" by e-mailing email@example.com.
|AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.|
|Sat, Mar 8, 2014. Middlesex Fells, Malden. 6-mile. hike, some rocky steep hills to cliff views including waterfall w/lunch at pond. Moderate-rated hike, not for beginners. 10:00am-2:30 pm. Bring lunch/water/hiking shoes. Meet on Washington St. side of Oak Grove T sta. From Rte. 93 exit 32 in Medford take Rte. 60 E 1.2 mi., L on Highland Ave. 0.5 mi., R on Glenwood St. 0.6 mi., L on Wash. St. 0.1 mi., R into T sta. lot (fee) or park on street. Email if severe weather. No dogs. L Mike Tuohey.||Sun, Mar 9, 2014. Bay Circuit Trail, Concord. Slow-paced walk of about 5 miles along section of Bay Circuit Trail. Bring lunch, water & appropriate gear for conditions, Meet 10:00am at Mill Brook Tarry. From Concord center, take Lowell Rd. about 0.5 miles to Parking at Tarry. L Jerry Yos.|
|Sat, Mar 15. Middlesex Fells, Winchester. Hike/snowshoe; decision made on Thursday (contact L before Thursday if you'd like notification of the decision). 10am. Wedgmere Station (Lowell Line). Return for 1:30pm train. Bring water and lunch. From Route 3, take Church Street for 0.3 miles and turn right on Bacon Street. Continue 0.4 miles to parking lot on Mystic Valley Parkway. I-93 Exit 33 (Medford) to South Border Road. Head west 2.2 miles, then take Mystic Valley Parkway. Go 0.9 miles and turn right (Bacon Street) under tracks to parking lot on the left. Storm cancels. L Betsy Goeke.||Sat, Mar 15. Weston Conservation Land. Moderate 7-mi. hike/snowshoe to Sears Land and Cat Rock , 9:30am-1:30pm. Bring lunch & water. Meet at Kendall Green RR sta. From Rte. 95/128 exit 26 in Waltham , take Rte. 20 E 1 mi., L onto Rte. 117 W 1.6 mi., L onto Church St. 1 block. Train from N. Sta. Storm cancels. L Marc Hurwitz.|
|Sun, Mar 16, 2014. Wayside Inn to Sudbury Valley Memorial Forest. Approximately 4 miles on back roads and trails, 1:00-4:00pm. Meet at first parking lot on left across from The Wayside Inn. From I-95 exit 26, take Rte. 20 W 11 mi., then R at sign for Wayside Inn & go 0.25 mi. to pkg. on L. Bring snacks/water and sturdy waterproof footwear. L Gail Zwink.||Sun, Mar 16. Williams Barn and Sorhaug Woods, Groton. 1:00pm. This hike has a bit of everything, from a low-lying beaver pond, to upland woods, to open orchard, to the highest point in Groton. About 2 hours. Meet at historic Williams Barn on Chicopee Row, 42.62651N 71.56098W. L Olin Lathrop.|
|Tues, Mar 18. Historic Streets of Boston. Leisurely 4-mi walk. Back Bay, South End, Beacon Hill. 6:45-9:00pm. Meet outside Park St. T-stop at wall/fence abutting Park St. Walk ends at Charles Station; early options to leave near Arlington, Park St. stations. Storm cancels. L Marc Hurwitz.|
Mon, Mar 10
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber) - meeting cancelled
Mon, Mar 17
5:30pm City Council meeting. City Manager will submit recommendation for water/sewer rates. (Sullivan Chamber)
Tues, Mar 18
3:00pm The City Council's Civic Unity Committee will conduct a public meeting to discuss issues of diversity in the City of Cambridge. (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Mar 24
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Wed, Mar 26
5:30pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing on a re-filed zoning petition by the City Council originally filed by Christopher H. Lutz, et al. requesting the City Council to amend the Zoning Map of the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge by rezoning an area on the northern border of Richdale Avenue from Upland Road to Walden Street from its C1-A designation to residential C-1. This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
6:30pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing on a re-filed zoning petition by the City Council originally filed Michael Phillips, et al to amend Section 17.20 of the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge as follows by increasing the setback requirement abutting Linear Park and to clarify language defining "form and density compatible with the adjacent residential neighborhood" by limiting the number of dwelling units in a single structure. The petition would create a new Section 17.26 - Access to streets, a new Section 17.27 - Transfer of Development Rights, a new Section 17.28 - Transfer of Development Rights to preserve Publicly Accessible Open Space, and amend Section 17.28.2 to include Special District 2 in the Areas of Special Planning Concern. This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
Thurs, Mar 27
5:30pm The City Council's Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebration Committee will conduct a public meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Mar 31
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
We Heart You – and Reducing Waste!
We Heart You – and Reducing Waste!
Love is in the air and we love how fantastic you are. J We’re getting closer to the City’s goal is to reduce trash 30% from 2008 levels by 2020, or 16 lbs of trash per household per week. In 2013, Cambridge households generated 1.3% less trash than 2012, or 18.3 pounds of trash per week per household (15,724 tons of trash). Long term, our goal is to hit 5 lbs/week by 2050. Gotta love the good ‘ol “3 Rs”: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and in that order. But let’s add 3 more and make it the “6 Rs”: Repair, Rot (Compost), and Rethink. Visit our Get Rid of It Right page with info on donating and recycling just about anything. Together, we can protect the climate, save the City money, feel good and conserve resources for our kids. Please share the love! Tell your neighbors, friends and family in Cambridge about this eNewsletter, thank those who make recycling happen at your building: your maintenance manager, property manager, custodian, or neighbor, or you!
MBTA Role in Jump-starting Development of the Cambridge Center Project
The purpose of this narrative is to provide additional information about the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority's (CRA) Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project and to describe the role of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA) in helping to jump-start development of the CRA's Cambridge Center Project in 1979-1989, a major factor in helping to attract high-tech companies to locate in the East Cambridge industrial area. UMTA provided the MBTA with critical financial assistance made available under President Carter's Urban Initiatives Program.
To understand the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project, it must be divided into two phases:
Phase 1. 1963-1979. The objective was to transform a 43-acre blighted urban industrial area into vacant land for construction of improvements.
In 1965, when the City of Cambridge approved the CRA's original Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project, it anticipated that the Project would attract NASA-related private development to replace a blighted industrial area of old, deteriorated and underutilized buildings with a modern, attractive industrial area which would generate tax revenues and jobs. In 1970, when NASA withdrew from the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project and transferred its interests in the Kendall Square Project to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the feeling in Cambridge was that the project had been delivered a tremendous setback because it lost its major developer; a severe blow to the city's efforts to expand its economic base.
The 1970-77 period involved two major activities:
(2) The resolution of planning issues in order to amend the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Plan to designate new reuses for the land. Activities included negotiations between the CRA, DOT, and the U.S. General Services Administration to retrieve the rights to develop 10 acres of vacant land left behind by NASA; and rejection by the Cambridge City Council of four redevelopment plans prepared by a task force comprised of representatives from a cross section of Cambridge organizations working with the CRA.
In 1976, the CRA engaged the Urban Land Institute's (ULI) advisory panel services to review the Kendall Square Project and propose ways to help break the multi-year planning deadlock. Among the "Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations" of the ULI panel:
• Only a few properties in the country have a broader array of locational advantages as the Kendall Square area and the opportunities associated with the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project: Cambridge Center is a unique opportunity area, one that should be reserved to maximize its locational advantages.
• The MBTA's Kendall Station subway is one of the more spectacular assets affecting the redevelopment potential of the CRA's Cambridge Center project (emphasis added).
• Attracting developers will not be easy. Citizen concerns, political pressure, economic uncertainty, the absence of a united and strong development process, high taxes, environmental constraints, contentious political climate, and congested surface transportation have combined to create a credibility problem with the real estate development community relative to the City of Cambridge. With few exceptions, the lack of credibility has been a severe restraint to real estate development in Cambridge.
• These development problems are such that all but the most determined developer, the one who perceives a very close relationship between locational advantages and development opportunities, will be deterred from coming into the community (emphasis added).
Engaging the ULI greatly helped to break the planning deadlock because the panel's expertise gained the confidence of the Cambridge City Council and the CRA. The panel advised the CRA to make extraordinary efforts to impress potential developers by efficiently completing site preparations and all major pre-physical development activities. The CRA responded by removing legal and technical impediments to development by completing an Environmental Impact Statement; securing plan and zoning amendments; carrying out a $7-million public improvements program; and implementing traffic circulation plans, such as widening Binney Street to provide direct major access to Memorial Drive.
In 1977, Cambridge City Council approved a mixed-use development plan for the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project. For marketing purposes the name Cambridge Center was adopted to refer to the 24 acres in the Kendall Square Project Area separate from the land occupied by DOT. In 1978, the CRA invited proposals to develop Cambridge Center, and in 1979, selected Boston Properties as the initial developer.
Phase 2. 1980-Present. The objective was to sell the vacant land created during Phase 1 for private development.
Because of the disorderly events of the 1970's, expectations regarding development of the CRA's Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project were gloomy. Mortimer Zuckerman, one of the two Boston Properties principals, was aware of the difficulties: "It was a very bleak time when the Kennedy Space Center moved to Texas...There was just a lot of land there" (Woolhouse, "Making a High Tech Mecca", Boston Globe, June 26, 2011)".
The CRA realized that to overcome Cambridge's credibility problem with the real estate community, it had to establish a reputation for being able to work efficiently and effectively with Boston Properties in stimulating private development of the Cambridge Center Project. The MBTA was about to provide the CRA with the opportunity to establish that reputation.
The MBTA operated three facilities in the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project area: the Kendall subway station (Kendall Station), bus layover facilities, and a traction power substation. The Kendall Station was old (built in 1912), dilapidated, obsolete, with dimly lighted platforms. The traction power substation was considered to be obsolete and a blighting influence, and its 50' high fire-damaged brick facade dominated the heavily travelled Main Street eastern entrance to the Kendall Square area.
The MBTA recognized that because of the improvements designated for the CRA's Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project, the MBTA facilities would have to be modernized. During the mid-1970's, the MBTA and the CRA staffs met to coordinate plans regarding future reconstruction efforts. It was decided that reconstruction would be integrated with the CRA's redevelopment activities, and the CRA's Concept Design Plan for the Kendall Square Project would be used as the standard for urban design amenities.
By coincidence, Jimmy Carter was the U.S President from 1977 to 1981, and his Urban Policy plans included shifting the allocation of federal resources to favor urban areas. Priority was to be given to projects that leveraged the expenditure of federal funds and strong incentives would be awarded to projects engaged in efforts to attract private investments to urban areas. The effort would be called the President's Urban Initiatives Program.
Kendall Station Urban Initiatives Project
"The project's financial assistance will be used to provide Kendall Station improvements in support of a major urban redevelopment effort and to stimulate private investments for urban improvements... The CRA has designated Boston Properties as developer for Cambridge Center and Boston Properties is expected to generate $150 million of private investment over the next 10 years and produce in excess of one-million square feet of office, hotel, retail, and open space. More immediately, Boston Properties is prepared to begin construction in October, 1979, of the first office building (13 stories) involving 250,000 square feet of space and costing approximately $20 million. This initial investment could be followed the next year with a second building of the same magnitude".
UMTA designated the Kendall Station project as an Urban Initiatives Project, agreeing that "the proposal has excellent characteristics for effectively achieving the President's intentions in calling for an UMTA Urban Initiatives Program". The Kendall Station Urban Initiatives Project involved the CRA, the MBTA, and Boston Properties. It included Parcel 4 of the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project, a triangular 5-acre site bordered by Main Street, Broadway and Sixth Street around the Kendall Station.
Initially, because of budgetary constraints, the MBTA programmed construction of the Kendall Station improvements for the late-1980's and called for only a modest renovation of the existing facilities and entrances; and the program for the traction power substation provided only for replacement of electrical equipment, with no provision for replacing and relocating the building. This schedule was of grave concern to the CRA because the Kendall Station, in its present antiquated condition, would have an adverse effect on the initial marketing efforts by Boston Properties to attract private development to the area.
At that time, Boston Properties marketing efforts highlighted the locational advantages of the Kendall Station: (1) The MIT campus was in the immediate neighborhood. (2) Two subway stops easterly from the Kendall Station was downtown Boston, and two subway stops westerly was Harvard University. (3) The MBTA public transit system provided access to virtually the entire Boston Metropolitan Area. (4) The Kendall Station was within easy walking distance of any location within the Cambridge Center Project area. The CRA believed that an efficient and timely transformation of the Kendall Station from old, dilapidated and obsolete to a modern, attractive, and well-designed subway station, and the simultaneous construction of buildings by Boston Properties and public improvements by the CRA could have a dramatic positive effect on Boston Properties' marketing efforts. Also it could stimulate private development of the vacant land in the rest of Cambridge Center; and might influence the real estate community's perception of Cambridge's credibility.
The CRA requested (1) the MBTA reschedule construction of the Kendall Station to start during the early 1980's, and the proposed station improvements be upgraded to match the CRA's design standards; and (2) the traction power substation be replaced and relocated so that it could be subsumed within the private development occurring on-site. The MBTA was supportive, but because the MBTA system had operated at a loss during the past five years, it had determined that "no part of the costs associated with the Kendall Station Urban Initiatives Project can be financed from MBTA revenue".
Designation of the Kendall Station modernization plans as an UMTA Urban Initiatives Project also qualified the MBTA for the maximum amount of Federal assistance, making it eligible to receive funding from UMTA. Accordingly, UMTA provided the critical financing the MBTA needed to reschedule construction of the Kendall Station to begin sooner, upgrade design standards, and relocate the new traction power substation.
Then a rare event took place in the City of Cambridge. Two public agencies - the CRA and the MBTA - and a private developer - Boston Properties - initiated meetings to discuss the funding, design and construction details of the Kendall Station Urban Initiatives Project. They entered into a variety of formal and informal arrangements to cooperate in the planning and development around the Kendall Station. Their arrangements extended from land use planning and urban design to land acquisition and transfer policies, construction activities, and the maintenance of public and private improvements. For example:
• The Kendall Station modernization would include lengthening the subway platforms from four cars to six cars, relocating the stations entrances, and upgrading the stations interiors.
• The MBTA's new traction power substation would be integrated with the improvements planned by the CRA and Boston Properties.
• The CRA's design standards for the renewal area would be used to plan project improvements related to the Kendall Station reconstruction.
• The CRA was awarded a $5.1-million grant to provide transit-related improvements and urban design amenities, including street and sidewalk improvements, a bus contraflow lane, a Transit Plaza, an urban park at the gateway to the project, and pedestrian connections to nearby neighborhoods.
• The MBTA dug a huge excavation across Main Street and abutting vacant land. The excavation was for the expansion and renovation of the Kendall Station (to be constructed by the MBTA); and for an area to provide services to the buildings on Parcel 4 (to be built by Boston Properties). The building service area was to be located under a Transit Plaza (to be built by the CRA) so that it would be out-of-sight.
• The new northerly entrance to the subway (to be built by the MBTA) would abut the Transit Plaza (to be built by the CRA) and include an extended canopy from the wall of an office building (to be built by Boston Properties). The canopy would provide the MBTA patrons with a covered walkway and direct access to a food court (to be built by Boston Properties).
• The three parties collaborated on the location and design of the new traction power substation (to be built by the MBTA) so that a 12-story office building (to be built by Boston Properties) could be constructed on air rights over it.
• As construction was completed by the MBTA and Boston Properties, the CRA was to construct public improvements in the abutting public ways.
The redevelopment of Parcel 4 was a team effort by the CRA, the MBTA, and Boston Properties. The renovations by the MBTA in modernizing the Kendall Station, and by the CRA in constructing public improvements and urban design amenities, created an environment to reinforce Boston Properties' marketing efforts to attract highly-qualified companies to locate in the Cambridge Center Project.
Transit Plaza contributions
(NOTE: The Transit Plaza was subsequently modified.)
"Galaxy at Murphy Park"
The CRA considered Galaxy to be one of the most attractive features of Cambridge Center.
The centerpiece of Galaxy was an environmental structure which featured a 5-foot-in-diameter "earthsphere" placed in a fountain. Water spray - during the warm months - , or steam - during the cold months - enveloped the sphere to create the appearance of "floating" on clouds. Surrounding the fountain were 12" moon-globes which were perforated in individual patterns. At nighttime, the globes were illuminated from within and its shadows cast light and patterns on the pavement around the globes; and when steam from the earthsphere passed over the globes, rays of light were visible coming through the perforations. Surrounding the fountain were benches for sitting; two rows of trees and shrubs; and grassy open spaces.
Boston Properties was responsible for operating, maintaining and repairing "Galaxy".
Urban Initiatives Project 1989
National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO)
• The MBTA modernized and expanded the Kendall Station by relocating station entrances, lengthening the station platforms, and renovating the station's interiors; and constructed a new traction power substation to replace the old, outmoded one.
• Boston Properties marketing operations attracted qualified competent companies to locate within the Urban Initiatives Project area, resulting in the construction of 1.1-million square feet of mixed-used development, including two 12- to 13- story retail, office buildings; a 13-story office building constructed on air rights over the MBTA traction power substation; a 25-story hotel; a 4-story retail, office building; and a 863-car garage with a one-acre open space roof–top garden.
• The CRA constructed public improvements throughout the area: streets and sidewalks, landscaping, Transit Plaza, Galaxy park, and pedestrian walkways.
• UMTA provided the critical financing the MBTA needed to reschedule and upgrade its Kendall Station facilities. UMTA considered the Kendall Station Project to be a successful Urban Initiatives Project because it attracted private investments to the Cambridge urban area, and "a model for other cities on the positive impact that transit accessibility can have on community development".
• The joint public-private cooperative effort helped to create an environment that supported Boston Properties' marketing operations and provided a jump-start to generate momentum to develop Parcel 4.
In 1979, when the MBTA submitted its application for Kendall Station designation as an Urban Initiatives Project, the CRA's expectations were that the Cambridge Center Project would be completed in about ten years and produce 1.7-million square feet of mixed-use development and generate $200-million of private investments. Thirty years later, the Cambridge Center Project is in its last phase, and upon completion is projected to have produced 3-million square feet of mixed-uses, and generated about $1-billion of private investments, $15-million of property tax revenues and about 6,000 jobs.
The joint public-private team enterprise in the successful redevelopment of Parcel 4 was a factor in the real estate development community's apparent re-evaluation of its skepticism about the development climate in the City of Cambridge. Starting in the 1980's, private investments were made to develop the rest of the Cambridge Center Project, and subsequently a flood of development occurred in the East Cambridge industrial area.
P.S.: Robert F. Rowland was the CRA Executive Director in the 1970's when planning to integrate the CRA's and MBTA's urban redevelopment operations in the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project were initiated, and which resulted in the designation of the Kendall Station as an Urban Initiatives Project.
Thad J. Tercyak Professional Resume
Cambridge Civic Journal:
Urban Land Institute:
Journal of Housing:
Urban Land Institute (ULI) , Advisory Services Panelist:
Professional Resume, summary
Feb 12 - The Cambridge City Council subcommittees for 2014-2015 were announced yesterday. The main change was a consolidation of the existing standing committees to reduce their number from 17 to 11. Quorums for each committee were also established. The hope is that the work of each committee will now be more substantial and productive. One thing that should be noted is that the number and focus of City Council committees has not been constant over the years. For a little taste of history, here is the list of the 23 standing City Council subcommittees from the City's 1938 Annual Report (published 75 years ago):
Americanization and Education
Elections and Printing
Parks and Cemeteries
Public Property and Public Institutions
Roads and Bridges
Rules and Orders
Wires and Lamps
(0 meetings, 1 scheduled)
|Benzan (Co-Chair), Carlone (Co-Chair),
Cheung, Kelley, Mazen, McGovern, Simmons, Toomey
(committee of the whole - mayor ex-officio, quorum 3)
(0 meetings, 0 scheduled)
Benzan, Carlone, Cheung, Kelley, Mazen, Simmons, Toomey
(committee of the whole - mayor ex-officio, quorum 3)
|Government Operations, Rules, and Claims
(0 meetings, 0 scheduled)
|Toomey (Chair), Cheung, Mazen, McGovern, Simmons
(5 members, quorum 2)
(0 meetings, 0 scheduled)
|Simmons (Chair), Benzan, Kelley, Mazen, McGovern
(4 members, quorum 2)
|Economic Development and University Relations
(0 meetings, 0 scheduled)
|Benzan (Co-Chair), Simmons (Co-Chair), Carlone, Mazen, McGovern
(5 members, quorum 2)
|Human Services & Veterans
(0 meetings, 0 scheduled)
|McGovern (Chair), Benzan, Kelley, Mazen
(4 members, quorum 2)
|Health & Environment
(0 meetings, 0 scheduled)
|Cheung (Chair), Carlone, Mazen, McGovern
(4 members, quorum 2)
|Neighborhood and Long Term Planning,
Public Facilities, Art, and Celebrations
(0 meetings, 0 scheduled)
|Mazen (Chair), Benzan, Carlone, Toomey
(4 members, quorum 2)
|Transportation & Public Utilities (0 meetings, 0 scheduled)||Carlone (Chair), Benzan, Cheung, Kelley
(4 members, quorum 2)
(0 meetings, 0 scheduled)
|Simmons (Chair), Benzan, Cheung, McGovern
(4 members, quorum 2)
(0 meetings, 0 scheduled)
|Kelley (Chair), Carlone, Simmons, Toomey
(4 members, quorum 2)
Feb 8, 2014 - Mass. Senate President Murray Won’t Seek Re-Election (CBS Boston)
Leaving Cincinnati? Feb 10, 2014 Cambridge City Council Agenda Highlights
Here are a few Agenda items that sparked some interest.
Manager's Agenda #5. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the Early Education Services Task Force.
As the report states, "The charge to the Task Force is to identify a range of possible options for expansion of early childhood services and to explore the benefits and challenges of each option." Candidates and elected officials have talked for some time about the value of early education services as an effective means of preventing future achievement gaps and other hardships. Many people believe that directing these resources early may lessen the need for corrective action later. We have now apparently entered into the planning and implementation phase of this initiative.
Manager's Agenda #6. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-03, regarding the progress of the Eastern Cambridge Kendall Square Open Space Planning Committee.
The ECKOS planning study committee has been meeting for much of this past year to develop an initial vision and goals for the entire open space network in Kendall Square and vicinity building upon the K2C2 Planning Study. There is now underway a planning and design competition. My only question is where they will be locating the miniature golf course. I'm dead serious. Think about how amazing it would be to have a sculpture garden that doubles as a mini-golf course.
Manager's Agenda #7. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-02, regarding a report on determining whether Councillors "replying all" to emails, addressed to the firstname.lastname@example.org on business that may subsequently come before the Council are unintentionally violating the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law.
Though everyone applauds the goal of transparency in public process and open meetings that encourage civic participation, one really has to wonder if we've now gone way over to the other side when every interaction among elected officials and between elected officials and the public entails the risk technically violating this law. I simply cannot believe this was the intention of the legislature when they drafted the current version of the law.
Manager's Agenda #9. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the City of Cambridge retaining the noteworthy distinction of being one of approximately 33 municipalities in the United States with three AAA ratings from the nation's three major credit rating agencies.
We've come to take Cambridge's credit-worthiness for granted, but it's the result of the City administration and the City Council maintaining a steady financial plan even as we've undertaken some very ambitious and expensive projects. We often hear about Cambridge's "free cash" and excess levy capacity whenever someone wants the City to break the bank to pay for another public amenity, but maintaining such a buffer is precisely why our bond ratings are so good.
Unfinished Business #3. That City Council Rule 35A be amended to provide that no suspension of the rules shall be required for late ceremonial resolutions filed after the close of the meeting agenda or before resolutions are voted on at the meeting. [Order Number Eight of Feb 3, 2014 Placed on Unfinished Business on Feb 3, 2014.]
Unfinished Business #4. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk transmitting a letter from Mayor David P. Maher regarding the Ad-Hoc Committee relative to changes to Rule 26 of the City Council Rules. [Communication and Report from City Officers Number Four of Feb 3, 2014 Placed on Unfinished Business on Feb 3, 2014.]
It was interesting to hear some of the back-and-forth at last week's City Council meeting about these proposed rules changes. The most significant changes are the reduction of the number of City Council Committees from 17 to 11 and the establishment of quorums for each of these committees. The proposals are simple, sensible, and workable (in spite of being called "fierce and complicated" by one observer). If all goes well, the rules changes (mainly the consolidation of committees) will be voted at this meeting and the City Council committee appointments will be made public. I'm looking forward to seeing how well this group of nine works together on specific matters in committee.
Resolution #1. Congratulations to State Representative Marjorie Decker for spearheading an amendment to fund a total of $13.5 million in Cambridge infrastructure transportation projects that was unanimously passed by the members of the State House of Representatives. Vice Mayor Benzan
Though it clearly takes more than one representative in a House of 140 members to bring home the bacon, it's good to see Marjorie Decker and the entire Cambridge delegation getting the job done. My understanding is that the Mass. State Senate and ultimately the Governor still have to weigh in before the deal is done. The noted $13.5 million is for the design and reconstruction of roads and sidewalks in Harvard Square and on River Street. There is also $3 million for completing the design and construction of the Inlet Bridge connecting North Point Park to the O'Brien Highway; $1.5 million for the design of a rail trail in the Grand Junction Railroad corridor in Cambridge, Somerville and Charlestown; $1.3 million for the Watertown Greenway which runs from Watertown to the Fresh Pond Reservation in Cambridge; $500,000 for construction at Fresh Pond Parkway and Mount Auburn Street; and $500,000 for a new pedestrian bridge at Alewife. None of this is final, but the signs are good.
Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to confer with all relevant city departments and engage with the leadership of Globe Direct to ensure that Cambridge residents who have not subscribed to weekly Globe Direct circulars and have indicated that they do not wish to receive more are promptly removed from further distribution lists. Councillor Cheung, Councillor McGovern and Councillor Carlone
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor David P. Maher, Chair of the Ordinance Committee for a public hearing held on Dec 19, 2013 to conduct a public hearing on an amendment to the Municipal Code in Chapter 8.68 entitled relating to Plastic Bag Reduction.
The topic of Order #3 is also contained in the committee report, i.e. those unnecessary red plastic bags containing advertisements that now litter Cambridge porches, sidewalks, and anywhere else they can toss them. The main subject of the committee report is a proposed ban on plastic shopping bags that's been kicked around for the last year or two. I need to point out that opinions are not unanimous in the recycling advocacy world on this topic. If plastic bags are replaced by paper bags, this is not necessarily a net positive from an environmental point of view. The hope is that the use of reusable grocery bags will greatly increase, and a proposed mandatory fee on paper bags is meant to encourage this. It's also worth mentioning that many Cambridge residents (perhaps most) do their grocery shopping outside of Cambridge, e.g. the Somerville Market Basket, and may bu only minimally affected by this proposed ordinance.
Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Law Department and the Election Commission to determine what steps would be necessary to change the method by which surplus votes are transferred in municipal elections and whether the Fractional Transfer Method could replace the Cincinnati Method. Councillor Carlone
This is a good Order but it needs at least one more "Whereas" to emphasize the real reason why this reform should be considered. Allow me to go through this point by point (and you can feel free to tune this out if you've heard this before):
First, let's be clear that a candidate does not need to reach the election quota in order to be elected. The purpose of the quota to to limit the number of ballots a winning candidate is allowed to keep in order to assure proportional representation. It does happen in some elections that candidates elected late in the process do not reach quota, but all other candidates have then been defeated and the number of candidates is reduced to the number to be elected.
It's true that the Cincinnati method involves an element of chance, and that never sits well with people. It is, however, a fair system in that there is no systematic bias for or against any individual candidate, election precinct, or any subset of the electorate. The fact that shuffling and then recounting the ballots may give slightly different results is a serious problem, especially if there's a close election.
The primary reason why a change should be considered to a system that is independent of ballot order is not because the current method in unfair, but rather because it creates a perverse incentive for a losing candidate to seek a recount solely to take advantage of this random element. The recent Recount cost an additional $109,604 and served only to prove the relative accuracy of the original scan of the ballots. [It should also be noted that much of this cost is caused by the substantial time needed to recreate the original ballot order. If this sequence didn't matter, things would go a lot faster and cost far less.]
The Fractional Transfer Method noted in the Council Order is a ballot-order-independent method, but it must be noted that this requires somewhat more than simply changing the way surplus ballots are transferred. An equally important aspect of the method is how it deals with the election of a candidate during a round. In order to not have ballots transferred early in the round be treated differently than those transferred later in the round, it's necessary that candidates be allowed to go over-quota during the round and then have their total reduced to quota using the same fractional transfer rules. The Fractional Transfer Method is actually the default option for the tabulation software Cambridge uses. The use of the Cambridge Rules is an optional set of rules built into the software.
The real purpose of the Order is to get information from the Law Department and the Election Commission about what steps would be required in order to make a change. The Election Commission can make changes to the procedures by simple majority vote to another method consistent with the principles of the law, but only to another method in use at the time of enactment of the law (1938), and there is no evidence of Fractional Transfer being in use anywhere at that time. The real goal should be to add this method to the list of permissible methods now that it can be done simply and quickly using modern technology. It is likely that this can be accomplished via a Home Rule Petition and a subsequent Special Act of the State Legislature. However, it's important to also clarify how such a change might affect other provisions in the law, e.g. the right to a manual recount. It would perhaps be best if the standard for a recount could be clarified so that verification of voter intent followed by a computer count would be the preferred procedure should there be a call for a recount.
In anticipation of future conversations about this, today I carried out the Fractional Transfer Method and compared it with the Cincinnati Method for 7 City Council elections from 2001 through 2013. I will be happy to share the results with anyone who is interested (the winners are the same, by the way, though order of election does change in some elections). I also plan to do this for School Committee elections over this same period. - Robert Winters
A new report is estimating that the greater Boston area will need another 435,000 new housing units by 2040 to lure new workers and accommodate an aging population. [Reports available here]
Note: When comparing the peak population of Cambridge back in the 1950s (over 120,000) to what it is today (perhaps 107,000) it's important to keep in mind that families were typically much larger then. It's also the case that what people find acceptable in terms of living space and amenities has changed dramatically over six decades. This translates into considerably more "units" of housing (and higher density) in Cambridge if the population should rise to levels close to what they were in days of yore.
Cambridge councillor eyes bid for lieutenant governor (Boston.com, Political Intelligence)
Cambridge city councillor Leland Cheung is planning to announce a bid for the state’s lieutenant governorship, advisers said Tuesday.
K2C2 Final Reports Released
The final reports for Kendall Square and Central Square are now available for download. Zoning discussions based on the recommendations of the K2 and C2 Advisory Committees, which are encapsulated in these reports, will continue in 2014.
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
This comprehensive planning effort guided by stakeholder advisory committees, City staff, and a team of multidisciplinary consultants led by Goody Clancy, developed a vision and master plan for Central Square, Kendall Square, and the area South of Main Street (including the Osborn Triangle) connecting the two squares. Both final reports are divided into two parts; in each case you will need to review both parts to read the entire report.
2014 City of Cambridge Scholarship Applications Now Available
Applications for the 2014 City of Cambridge Scholarship are now being accepted. The City Scholarship fund provides financial assistance to Cambridge residents who wish to pursue post secondary education. Through this program, the City has awarded thousands of dollars to college-bound high school seniors and others who want to pursue higher education.
Scholarships are possible thanks to the generosity of Cambridge residents, businesses and taxpayers who support the annual fund. In 2013, the City awarded 60 scholarships of $2,500 each. With increasing costs of higher education and continued economic uncertainty, the scholarships help ease financial burdens for recipients.
Applications may be obtained at Cambridge Public Schools, all Cambridge Public Library branches and at Cambridge City Hall. Interested residents may also download the application from the City’s Website, www.cambridgema.gov, under the useful links section at the bottom. The deadline for the FY14 scholarship application, and all supporting documentation is March 10, 2014.
- Must be a resident of Cambridge; (All ages may apply);
- Must be attending, have received admittance to, or have an application pending at an accredited education institution beyond the high school level prior to the award date (May 2014);
- Scholarship is paid directly to education institution and must be used during 2014-2015 academic year;
- Prior recipients are NOT eligible as the City Scholarship Award is one-time only.
The City of Cambridge Scholarship fund is administered by the Finance Department. A Scholarship Committee comprised of six Cambridge residents who are appointed by the City Manager, reviews and ranks each application. Committee members do not see the name of the applicant to ensure a completely fair review process. Each application is evaluated and ranked based on academic achievement, financial need, community & extracurricular activities and special circumstances.
Checks made payable to the City of Cambridge Scholarship Fund may be mailed to: Cambridge Scholarship Fund, City of Cambridge, P.O. Box 2005, Cambridge, MA 02139 or dropped off in person at the Finance Department Cashier’s window during regular business hours. Contribution Forms and City of Cambridge Scholarship Applications can be downloaded from the City’s website, www.cambridgema.gov under Quick Links.
For more information, contact Irene Kostakis at 617-349-4220 or email@example.com.
Episode 1 (Sept 10, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut - The Sequel" featured PR voting in Cambridge
Episode 2 (Sept 10, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut - The Sequel" introduced this year's municipal election candidates
Episode 3 (Sept 17, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" addressed some of the Big Issues in the City Council election
Episode 4 (Sept 17, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" addressed some of the Big Issues in the School Committee election
Episode 5 (Sept 24, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" features guest Anthony Galluccio (Part 1)
Episode 6 (Sept 24, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" features guest Anthony Galluccio (Part 2)
Episode 7 (Oct 1, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" features phone interviews with City Council candidates (Part 1)
Episode 8 (Oct 1, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" features phone interviews with City Council candidates (Part 2)
Episode 9 (Oct 8, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" features visits from School Committee candidates Elechi Kadete and Patty Nolan
Episode 10 (Oct 8, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" features visits from Cambridge School Committee candidates Patty Nolan and Joyce Gerber.
Episode 11 (Oct 15, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Alice Wolf (Part 1)
Episode 12 (Oct 15, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Alice Wolf (Part 2)
Episode 13 (Oct 22, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Jesse Kansen-Benanav (Part 1)
Episode 14 (Oct 22, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Jesse Kansen-Benanav (Part 2)
Episode 15 (Oct 29, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with City Council candidates Dennis Carlone and Dennis Benzan
Episode 16 (Oct 29, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with City Council candidates Denise Simmons and Minka vanBeuzekom
Episode 17 (Nov 12, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - A detailed look at the 2013 Cambridge election results and possible recount
Episode 18 (Nov 12, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - Boulder vs. Cincinnati vs. Fractional transfer methods in Cambridge's PR elections
Episode 19 (Nov 19, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - Notes on a possible Recount
Episode 20 (Nov 19, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - On Vacancies and Cambridge Boards & Commissions
Episode 21 (Nov 26, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Marjorie Decker
Episode 22 (Nov 26, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - Analyzing the ballot data
Episode 23 (Dec 3, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - The Recount Commences
Episode 24 (Dec 3, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - Looking Deeper at the Ballot Data
Episode 25 (Dec 10, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - Focus on Porter Square with guest John Howard (Part 1)
Episode 26 (Dec 10, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - Focus on Porter Square with guest John Howard (Part 2)
Episode 27 (Dec 17, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - Updates and the end of the 2012-13 City Council term
Episode 28 (Dec 17, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - Reflections on the exit of four city councillors
Episode 29 (Jan 7, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Alice Turkel (Part 1)
Episode 30 (Jan 7, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Alice Turkel (Part 2) and comments on mayoral election
Episode 31 (Jan 14, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": A Conversation with City Councillor Marc McGovern (Part 1)
Episode 32 (Jan 14, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": A Conversation with City Councillor Marc McGovern (Part 2)
Episode 33 (Jan 28, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": Discussing Foundry options with guest Rozann Kraus (Part 1)
Episode 34 (Jan 28, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": Discussing Foundry options with guest Rozann Kraus (Part 2)
Episode 35 (Feb 11, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Denise Simmons (Part 1)
Episode 36 (Feb 11, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Denise Simmons (Part 2)
Episode 37 (Feb 18, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": A Conversation with State Senator Sal DiDomenico (Part 1)
Episode 38 (Feb 18, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": A Conversation with State Senator Sal DiDomenico (Part 2)
Episode 39 (Feb 25, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": A Conversation with Brian Corr of the Cambridge Peace Commission
Episode 40 (Feb 25, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": A Look Back at the Early Days of Cambridge Recycling
Episode 41 (Mar 4, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": News and Views (Part 1)
Episode 42 (Mar 4, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": News and Views (Part 2)
Watch it on CCTV every Tuesday at 5:30pm and 6:00pm. The co-hosts are Susana Segat and Robert Winters.
Hubway to Pilot Year-Round Program in Cambridge
Cambridge-based Hubway Stations to Remain Available throughout Winter
Hubway, the metro-Boston area’s public bike share system, will continue to be available to riders throughout winter at almost all Cambridge-based stations. While Hubway has always operated on a seasonal basis in its two and a half year history, this year the City of Cambridge is piloting a plan to provide year-round Hubway service.
“We are pleased at the opportunity to pilot Hubway service year-round,” said Cambridge City Manager Richard C. Rossi. “We’re committed to supporting sustainable transportation options, and we are excited to continue the program this winter season. We do ask for everyone to use care when riding under winter conditions and also request your patience and understanding as we work with whatever nature brings us in terms of weather.”
Almost all stations in Cambridge will remain operational throughout the winter, though the station at Lafayette Square/Main Street will be removed from the street for the season. The Lechmere station will be moved to the sidewalk just east of Lechmere Station. All station updates will be posted on the station map at www.thehubway.com/stations, www.hubwaytracker.com, and on the Spotcycle app for smart phones, www.spotcycle.net. Annual members may continue to use the Cambridge stations during the season at no additional cost. 24-hour, 3-day passes and monthly passes will be available for purchase as usual.
As part of the pilot program, snow removal will become part of the daily responsibilities of the Hubway field team. The team, coordinated by Hubway’s dispatch office, is on the street from 6am–10pm every day, and is stocked with equipment to keep stations clear of snow and ice.
Users should bear in mind that the regular seasonal closing of stations in Boston, Brookline and Somerville city/town limits will begin as early as Monday, Nov. 18. Most stations will remain open through Wednesday, Nov. 27. Station closures will be posted in advance on Hubway’s website at www.thehubway.com/news, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/hubway and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Hubway.
During extreme inclement weather conditions, Hubway may temporarily close the system and public announcements will be made via social media and the Hubway website. Station alerts will also be emailed to annual and monthly Hubway members, and all riders can consult the Spotcycle app to learn whether or not bicycles are available. In the event of a system closing, riders will be able to return bikes to all stations securely, but will not be able to check bikes out.
To prepare for cold-weather bicycling, there are a number of things riders should keep in mind:
- Wear layers, but remember that riding will warm you up. If you get hot as you ride, pull over and remove a layer, but always keep your ears and hands shielded.
- Local bike shops offer bike-appropriate gloves and earmuffs that do not obstruct the use of your helmet.
- Plan your route ahead of time.
- Always plan for an alternative mode of transportation in case a blizzard hits or if you simply decide that riding is no longer comfortable for you.
- Each rider has a different comfort level in inclement weather. If you are uncomfortable for any reason while biking, stop riding and walk your bike to the nearest docking station. If you are cold, make your way indoors to warm up.
- Be aware that visibility is particularly limited during the winter, with fewer daylight hours, glare and foggy conditions. Hubway bikes have 24-hour lights, but it is also a good idea to wear light colored clothing and reflective materials if possible.
- Use extra caution under wintry conditions, as roads may not be completely cleared of snow and ice. You are always permitted to ride in the general travel lane (not only the bike lane) and should do so if the bike lane is snowy or icy.
The Advent of PR in Cambridge
originally published in the Cambridge Civic Journal on Feb 12, 1998
April 2 - Well, that was fun. Thanks to everyone for being such a sport on April Fool's Day.
Central Square Advisory Committee 2011/2012 Recommendations (Nov 28, 2012)
The Neverending Study of Central Square
Aug 11, 2012 - While preparing to write a series of essays on Central Square, I put together the following list of Central Square studies culled from a variety of sources. I have originals for most of these. If you know of any others, please let me know. - Robert Winters
June 1980 - CDD booklet entitled "Facade Improvements" with focus on Central Square
Apr 1983 - "Central Square Report" produced by City Council's Central Square Subcommittee (study began in 1980 or 1981)
1987 - A report produced in 1987 about a Subcommittee that allegedly built on the 1983 report (may be same as Central Square Action Plan)
Nov 1987 - Central Square Action Plan
May 1993 - Results of the "Mayor's Forum on Central Square"
Oct 1993 - Report by the Committee to Promote and Enhance Central Square Now!
Aug 1994 - A Study of the Visual Images and Signage of Central Square (CDD)
May 1995 - An Urban Design Plan for Central Square (executive summary)
May 2001 - Summary Notes from "A Conversation about Central Square"
Feb 2000 - The Gibbs Report, Central Square Commercial Market Study
Oct 2004 - Central Square, Cambridge - Rising Fortunes at a Regional Crossroads (Rekha Murthy)
Dec 2004 - Reviving a Traditional City - Central Square, Cambridge, gets a facelift (Rekha Murthy)
June 2005 - Street Media: Ambient Messages in an Urban Space - a photographic analysis of Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Rekha Murthy)
THE TASTY DINER of HARVARD SQUARE - A film by Federico Muchnik (33½ minutes)
FYI - Current Rules and Goals: Cambridge City Council & Cambridge School Committee
City Council Rules 2010-2011 (adopted January 4, 2010 and amended April 5, 2010)
City Council Goals - FY2010-2011 (approved February 2, 2009)
City Council Committees (for the 2010-2010 term)
School Committee Rules (adopted January 7, 2008)
School Committee Goals (adopted October 7, 2008)
June 7, 2009 - Once upon a time there was a civic organization in Cambridge known as the Cambridge Civic Association (CCA). It was formed in 1945 out of several organizations that had been existed through the 1930s and that had lobbied the state legislature to create the Plan E Charter option (1938) which featured a city manager form of government and proportional representation elections for city council and school committee. These reforms were central to model charter reform movements active in the United States from the early 1900s. The central theme of the CCA in its early days was "good government" in the sense of being anti-patronage and for professionally managed local government. This changed with the introduction of rent control at the end of the 1960s after which the CCA shifted leftward and became permanently lashed to the mast of the rent control vessel. Though the CCA still exists on paper (I believe), it rapidly declined after the statewide abolition of rent control (late 1994) and essentially disappeared a decade later (early 2005).
I bring up the ghost of the CCA today only to point out that when it was created it had some very admirable goals. Here's the original Mission Statement of the CCA:
Purposes: This association is formed for the following purposes:
- 1. To promote businesslike, honest, and efficient conduct of local government, open to public scrutiny.
- 2. To induce residents to take an active interest in the affairs of the City of Cambridge.
- 3. To encourage and support the candidacy of men and women seeking election to public office and to support intelligent, wholesome leadership in public affairs.
- 4. To assure that the best qualified persons are appointed to positions in the City government after consideration of all qualified candidates.
- 5. To promote among the citizens of Cambridge equitable distribution and benefit of public services and equal opportunity for economic security, education, and social advancement.
These are pretty good founding principles for a civic organization and I'm tempted to say that some should be incorporated into the recently adopted City Council's Goals for FY2010 (adopted Feb 2, 2009). In fact, of the 22 current goals, the only one that comes close is: "An increased level of recruitment and opportunities for membership on boards and commissions." The current Council goals emphasize things like "fostering community" via block parties and such, though one has to wonder if the City should be promoting these activities or just getting out of the way so that people can foster community on their own. The goals also seem to put some emphasis on developing "successful nightlife campaigns" while mentioning nothing about promoting ordinary "daytime" economic activity that supports the everyday needs of residents.
One founding principle of the CCA that fell into disuse over the years is listed above as #3: To encourage and support the candidacy of men and women seeking election to public office and to support intelligent, wholesome leadership in public affairs. Indeed, I can personally testify to the fact that in its dying years the only reason the CCA made endorsements at all was because the CCA-endorsed incumbents wanted the benefit of having an advertised CCA slate of candidates that would help secure their reelection. There was precious little effort to recruit new candidates or to support them. Today, the benefits of incumbency are greater than ever. The cost of political campaigns have become absurdly high and most of the incumbents now have (City paid) staff who are inevitably political appointees who directly or indirectly assist in the reelection efforts of their bosses. The deck is increasingly stacked against challengers. Furthermore, the salary and benefits for elected councillors are now so sweet that it is unlikely that any of them would ever want to move on to another job.
With this background in mind, I would like to encourage all Cambridge residents to help level the playing field by finding out about this year's challengers for seats on the Cambridge City Council and the Cambridge School Committee. This is not meant as a dig against any particular incumbent as much as an appeal to support the challengers in what is a difficult and laudable effort. Please see the Cambridge Candidate Pages for the current list of expected candidates. Then use your own judgment - don't expect me or anyone else to do it for you.
Speaking of this year's municipal election, there are some activists who are now expending great effort to attack the City Manager and most of the current City Council. That is not nor has it ever been the intention of the Cambridge Civic Journal or its editor. Candidates are now being seduced by financial promises from one angry fellow with a Brattle Street address and a basketful of grudges. Former CCA Executive Board members from its darkest and most manipulative days are oozing up from the civic swamp trying to at last make good on their failed campaigns of the early 1990s to oust city manager Bob Healy.
It's entertaining to watch people who have primarily earned disrespect in their civic efforts try to capitalize on the recent Monteiro jury decision as a means of realizing their decades-old vendettas. Conveniently forgotten in their recent letters to Cambridge's "oldest weekly newspaper" are the many achievements of City Manager Bob Healy, the strong financial position of the City, and the recent 8-1 vote of confidence bestowed upon Mr. Healy in granting him a three year contract extension. Also missing in this testimony is the fact that virtually all affirmative action in the hiring of employees and department heads has taken place on Mr. Healy's watch. These letters also fail to divulge how long these writers have been carrying their jealousy and anger toward Mr. Healy for actually orchestrating progress in Cambridge while the best they could ever do is snipe from the sidelines. - Robert Winters
This Old Land of Cambridge - The true story of the geological history of Cambridge - by George Ehrenfried
Sadly, George passed away (Jan 5, 2010) at the age of 96. He led many a geology-themed hike with the AMC Local Walks/Hikes.
Selected City of Cambridge References:
Mass. General Laws Chapter 54A (governing Cambridge's PR elections)
Pen Portraits of Prominent People - by Henry J. Mahoney Editor, Cambridge Sentinel - 1923
This book was published c. 1923 and features very witty one-page “pen portraits” (with photo) of prominent Cantabrigians of the day. I'll be adding names alphabetically as time permits. There are 182 portraits in the book.
It comes to mind that there may be some value in expanding these profiles to other prominent Cantabrigians who arrived on the scene after 1923, including prominent Cantabrigians of today. With this in mind, I extend the invitation to any and all who may wish to contribute their own “pen portraits” of Cambridge people. Contributions do not necessarily have to be in the style of Mr. Mahoney. Inclusion is, as always, subject to the erratic discretion of the editor.
Special thanks to Karen Welch for sending me the book. - RW
Political History of Cambridge in the 20th Century
Which People's Republic
Cambridge School Volunteers is looking for people who can give one to two hours per week to help students in the Cambridge Public Schools, grades K through 12. No experience necessary. Call 617-349-6794 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Oliver Wendell Holmes – Morning Exercises of December 28, 1880
As recorded in the book 250th Anniversary of the Settlement of Cambridge (1881)
Robert Winters, Editor
Cambridge Civic Journal
(about me - updated!!)
The Cambridge Civic Journal is an independent newsletter of civic affairs in the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is published as a public service by Central Square Publications. All items are written by Robert Winters unless otherwise noted. [Of course, I do sometimes forget.]
Thoughts for these times:
''This is our fucking city, and nobody is gonna dictate our freedom. Stay strong.'' -- David Ortiz
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“The Number One thing I would emphasize is that journalists and bloggers would do well to see themselves as partners in the provision of information and that each can benefit greatly from the other. I’ve never seen this as a competition. It is especially true these days that local papers and young journalists are not very well-versed in the communities they serve. Much of the institutional memory has either died out or been bought out.” -- Robert Winters, mathematician and creator of the Cambridge Civic Journal, an online publication about Cambridge, MA (rwinters.com)
Jorkin: “Come, come, Mr. Fezziwig, we’re good friends besides good men of business. We’re men of vision and progress. Why don’t you sell out while the going’s good? You’ll never get a better offer. It’s the age of the machine, and the factory, and the vested interests. We small traders are ancient history, Mr. Fezziwig.”
Fezziwig: “It’s not just for money alone that one spends a lifetime building up a business, Mr. Jorkin…. It’s to preserve a way of life that one knew and loved. No, I can’t see my way to selling out to the new vested interests, Mr. Jorkin. I’ll have to be loyal to the old ways and die out with them if needs must.”
Scrooge: “I think I know what Mr. Fezziwig means, sir.”
Jorkin: “Oh, you hate progress and money, too, do you?”
Scrooge: “I don't hate them, sir, but perhaps the machines aren’t such a good thing for mankind, after all.”
Memorable scene in "A Christmas Carol"