Keep those fire hydrants clear of snow!
Map of Cambridge fire hydrants - Zoom in for a closer look.
Wed, Jan 28 - The City’s Snow Emergency Parking Ban was lifted at 4:00pm on Wed, Jan 28.
City of Cambridge Snow Operations Continue into the Weekend
Public Schools and City Buildings Re-open Thursday, January 29
Jan 28, 2015 – As Cambridge Public Schools and City offices prepare to reopen on Thursday, January 28, the Department of Public Works (DPW) will be continuing snow operations well into the weekend.
While the citywide Snow Emergency Parking Ban was lifted at 4:00pm today, there are still many streets that will be marked with temporary “No Parking” signs. Because of the total accumulations received during the blizzard, there are many streets that—while passable to motor vehicle traffic—would be impassable to emergency vehicles and MBTA buses if parking were restored at this point. Residents and visitors are encouraged to check posted signs regularly in order avoid being ticketed and towed. The City will continue to monitor the need for these signs, and will take them down as soon it is safe to do so.
Regardless of whether a street has a parking restriction in place, any vehicle parked so far from the curb as to obstruct the safe flow of traffic is subject to ticketing and towing. Drivers should use their best judgment when considering whether to park in areas where large snow piles are still alongside the curb, to ensure they do not block the flow of traffic.
The City will begin snow clearing and removal along high volume bus routes on Thursday evening. These routes include approximately 200 MBTA bus stops, nearly 2/3 of the total in the city. All bus stops, crosswalks, and ramps along these routes will be cleared of snow and ice. Crews can work quickly and efficiently during nighttime hours as pedestrian, cyclist, and motor vehicle traffic are extremely low.
This work requires the use of heavy equipment, and will take several nights to complete. Crews appreciate the public’s patience as the City works to ensure safe, accessible travel for all users.
Nighttime clearing routes for bus stops, crosswalks, and ramps include:
- Cambridge Street - Lechmere station to the Cambridge Common
- Massachusetts Avenue - Memorial Drive to the Arlington Line
- Concord Avenue - Cambridge Common to Fresh Pond Parkway
- Mt. Auburn Street - Belmont line to Massachusetts Ave
- Western Avenue
- River Street
- Huron Avenue – Concord Avenue to Fresh Pond Parkway
- Rindge Avenue
- Prospect Street - Cambridge Street to Massachusetts Avenue
- Pearl Street
- Brookline Street
- Green Street - Brookline Street to Western Avenue
- Granite Street
- Aberdeen Avenue
Residents with questions about snow removal operations can contact the Department of Public Works at 617-349-4800. Inquiries regarding traffic and parking can be addressed by calling the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department at 617-349-4700.
City of Cambridge Continues Snow Operations
Emergency Operations Center Monitors City Response
Tues, Jan 27, 2015 – Overnight, the City of Cambridge had more than 130 pieces of apparatus working to keep the major roads clear of snow and ice. The City clears over 125 miles of streets and 23 miles of public sidewalks. “So far, the Cambridge has received between 12 and 15 inches of snow,” said Owen O’Riordan, Commissioner of Public Works. “As residents and business begin the process of digging out, I want to remind them to not shovel snow into the roadway, to clear at least a three foot path on all sidewalks abutting one’s property, and to clear snow around fire hydrants, catch basins, and crossway ramps in their neighborhood.” DPW crews will be working around the clock to clear the snow from city roads and sidewalks.
The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) continues to coordinate and monitor the City’s response to the storm. “We were fortunate last night that there were not any major incidents. Since last night at 5pm, there have been only 3 motor vehicle accidents,” said Richard C. Rossi, City Manager. “Residents cooperated with the Snow Emergency Parking Ban, used caution during last night’s commute, and adhered to the travel ban imposed by the Governor. This type of cooperation helps the City focus on snow operations. The City only had to tow 65 vehicles citywide. A decade ago we would have towed hundreds of cars. I ask that residents use caution when going outside, watch for plows on the street, and take breaks often when shoveling snow.”
Last night, Cambridge opened a temporary Emergency Shelter at the War Memorial Recreation Center, 1640 Cambridge Street. The shelter is pet friendly, fully accessible, and able to accommodate individuals requiring additional assistance. No residents have had to take advantage of the shelter so far. Citizens with questions about the shelter should call the Emergency Communications Center at 617-349-3300. Information on how people should prepare prior to heading to the shelter is available on www.cambridgema.gov.
The City has not experienced any significant power outages or public safety events. Residents are reminded to report any power outages directly to NSTAR at 800-592-2000. Downed tree limbs and wires in the public way can be reported to 617-349-3300. Residents should not approach downed tree limbs and should use extreme caution to avoid downed wires as they could still be live.
The City encourages residents to consider relatives, friends and neighbors that live alone, are elderly, or have a medical condition. Please check in by phone or in person with elders and people with disabilities to ensure that they are safe or if they are in need of assistance with clearing snow.
The City’s Snow Emergency Parking Ban will remains in effect until further notice.
Updated information will be available at www.cambridgema.gov throughout the storm. In addition, the public is encouraged to follow updates on Twitter at @CambMA and on Facebook at CambridgeMA.Gov. The City will be utilizing the hash tag #CambMASnow on Twitter to help the public follow the conversation. Members of the public can also call 617-349-4800 or 617-349-4700 for information. Members of the public are encouraged to sign-up to receive notification of snow emergency parking bans at http://www.cambridgema.gov/AlertNetwork.
Note: The Cambridge Public Schools will again be closed for Wednesday, Jan 28.
Note: City Buildings will again be closed on Wed, Jan 28. All programs and public meetings have been cancelled.
Mon, Jan 26, 2015 – The City of Cambridge is preparing for the approaching blizzard. Updated information will be available at www.cambridgema.gov throughout the storm. In addition, the public is encouraged to follow updates on Twitter at @CambMA and on Facebook at CambridgeMA.Gov. The City will be utilizing the hash tag #CambMASnow on Twitter to help the public follow the conversation. Members of the public can also call 617-349-4800 or 617-349-4700 for information.
Below are important updates from the City:
- A Snow Emergency Parking Ban is effective as of 4pm on Monday, January 26.
- Vehicles parked on streets that are signed “No Parking during a Snow Emergency” will be ticketed and towed until the ban is lifted.
- For a listing of facilities that provide free parking during snow emergencies, visit http://camb.ma/1thd1ab.
- All City buildings and programs will close at 6pm on Monday, January 26.
- All City buildings and programs will be closed on Tuesday, January 27.
- Public meetings scheduled for January 26th and January 27th have been cancelled or postponed. Updates on new dates will be available on the City’s website.
- Cambridge Public Schools will be closed on Tuesday, January 27.
- Curbside trash/recycling collection is cancelled for Tuesday, January 27. Collection will be delayed by one day for the remainder of the week.
- MBTA will not be operating on Tuesday, January 27.
With the potential for heavy snowfall and strong winds, some areas may be affected by power outages. Please report any outages directly to NSTAR at 800-592-2000.
In addition to following updates on the city’s website and social networks, members of the public are encouraged to sign-up to receive notification of snow emergency parking bans at http://www.cambridgema.gov/AlertNetwork.
SNOW EMERGENCY and PARKING BAN (on posted streets) will go into effect in Cambridge starting at 4:00pm on Monday, January 26. Also, Governor Baker has declared a ban on motor vehicle travel beginning at midnight tonight (Mon 1/26) and continuing until further notice has been issued. There are exceptions for public safety vehicles and public safety workers, and other essential travel. Details of the exceptions to follow. Governor Baker also announced that the MBTA will shutdown at midnight tonight (Mon 1/26) and will not operate on Tuesday 1/27. A State of Emergency for the entire Commonwealth was declared today (1/26/15) as of noon (12:00pm).
Early Marathon Monday - Coming up at the January 29, 2015 Cambridge City Council meeting
NOTICE: Due to the expected snowstorm this meeting has been postponed
This should be a rollicking meeting (still up at the high school) with plenty of interesting and controversial items on the agenda. Honestly, there are enough significant items to fill the agendas of several meetings. To provide time for a fair discussion of all of them, this would be a good time to use the Charter Right option to spread some of them over the next several weeks. It may also be wise to refer some of them to the appropriate Council subcommittees for more detailed discussion. Here are some of the items that are especially noteworthy together with some brief comments.
Manager's Agenda #3. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an appropriation of $10,000 for the Healthy Aging through Healthy Community Design grant from the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging to the Community Development Grant Fund Other Ordinary Maintenance account which will allow for the Community Development Department to collaborate with the Council on Aging and the Cambridge Public Health Department to ensure that the bicycle network planning process incorporates measures of and actions for mobility and accessibility for the 55+ population on bicycle infrastructure.
Manager's Agenda #5. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the status of the reconstruction plan of Pearl Street.
Charter Right #2. That the City Manager is requested to report back on any progress made in acquiring state funding for design and construction of the portion of the Watertown branch B&M Line railroad property to construct the Watertown-Cambridge Greenway and on the feasibility of a low-cost, temporary paving solution for the Greenway in order to realize the community benefits while the path awaits permanent construction. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Toomey on Order Number Two of Jan 5, 2015.]
Charter Right #4. That the City Manager is requested to instruct the Community Development Department to abandon the "Complete Street" plan for Pearl Street. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Toomey on Order Number Seven of Jan 5, 2015.]
These are some of the bike-related items on the agenda. Manager's Agenda #3 is a bit mysterious to this 55+ daily cyclist since I've always understood the "bicycle infrastructure" to be the street network. There are, unfortunately, some people in the City administration who are convinced that cyclists need to be segregated into separate facilities rather than share the roads with motor vehicles. This is also the central issue with Manager's Agenda #5 and Charter Right #4 which is a proposed City Council Order to stop the City from removing all parking from one side of Pearl Street in order to segregate those pesky cyclists. My sense is that the Order in Charter Right #2 was only delayed as a response to the Pearl Street plan in order to force a discussion. There is, however, a big difference between making use of an abandoned rail line as a bike/pedestrian path and radically changing the way an existing residential street functions.
Expect some serious self-righteous commentary during Public Comment about how the unenlightened residents of Cambridgeport are standing in the way of progress by not bending over and accepting what is being shoved at them.
Manager's Agenda #6. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a communication from Director of Environmental Health Sam Lipson relative to proposed amendments to the Tobacco Ordinance along with new red-lined draft amendments addressing the most recent changes requested by the Council at its meeting of Dec 15, 2014 regarding e-cigarettes being banned in workplaces and hookahs being allowed in restaurants. Also attached is the Appendix A list of parks and plazas (Option B) that was previously sent to the Council.
Unfinished Business #15. 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 Oct 30, 2014 to discuss a proposed amendment to the Municipal Code in Chapter 8.28 entitled "Restrictions on Youth Access and Sale of Tobacco Products and Smoking in Workplaces and Public Places. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Jan 5, 2015.
Not much to say on this other than to observe that the last several City Council meetings have brought out a significant number of people passionately opposed to the banning of smoking in public parks.
Manager's Agenda #11. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-116, regarding a report on Cambridge Youth Programs usage rates and space.
This report reminds me of similar reports back around 2000 that showed less than full utilization of some of our well-intentioned youth programs and facilities.
Manager's Agenda #15. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of Joseph Barr as the Director of the Traffic, Parking & Transportation Department, effective Mar 2, 2015.
Welcome back, Joseph.
Manager's Agenda #21. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-103, regarding a report on making the Foundry Building available for a major installation of the 2015 Fab Lab Conference.
Manager's Agenda #24. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a Disposition Report for the Foundry Building.
The evolving story of "The Gift" continues.
Manager's Agenda #22. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-144, regarding the drafting of a framework for a Community Benefits and Mitigation Plan. [Attachment]
Manager's Agenda #23. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the Incentive Zoning Nexus Study.
Both of these reports have been a long time coming, and the substance of either one of them could dominate an entire City Council meeting. Read the reports and form your own opinions.
Resolution #1. Congratulations to Yoni Appelbaum on being named The Atlantic's politics editor. Councillor Cheung
Yoni Appelbaum is an incredibly insightful fellow, and The Atlantic chose well in naming him as their politics editor. Perhaps he can exchange notes with Thomas Edsall, a son of Cambridge, who currently writes a weekly New York Times opinion column and who was political editor of the Huffington Post from 2007 to 2009 after working many years as a newspaper journalist.
Resolution #86. Congratulations to Jim Braude on being named the new host of Greater Boston. Councillor Toomey
Another great choice of our friend and former Cambridge City Councillor Jim Braude.
Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Mayor to reach out to representatives and city officials in Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Everett and Somerville to gauge interest in forming an inter-city committee which would meet three times per year to discuss and develop strategies for common issues that would be best handled regionally with support from the state. Councillor McGovern, Vice Mayor Benzan and Councillor Cheung
Order #9. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate departments and elected officials from Somerville to arrange a public meeting of the two cities to discuss regionalism and potential regular scheduling. Councillor Mazen
I have spoken with several city councillors during this past year about this very idea and I think it's an idea whose time has come, especially in regard to regional housing and transportation planning and economic issues of mutual interest. Somerville has big plans for Union Square and there's a need to expand housing opportunities in the urban core of Greater Boston. Few would disagree about the need for a more coordinated discussion of regional transportation. Some of our elected officials and their counterparts in neighboring cities and towns would be well-suited for this kind of inter-city committee.
Order #6. That the attached amendment to the Municipal Code entitled "Prohibition on the Use of Polystyrene Based Disposable Food Containers," together with the input of the Recycling Advisory Committee, be referred to the Ordinance Committee for a hearing and report. Councillor Cheung
On balance this is probably a good thing but, as we saw with the discussion of the proposed plastic bag ban, the alternatives are not always so obviously beneficial from an environmental perspective.
Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to contact the current owners of the Vail Court property and demand that graffiti be removed, exterminators assess the property, and any other maintenance that would improve the appearance and safety of this building be conducted immediately. Councillor McGovern, Vice Mayor Benzan and Councillor Simmons
The Vail Court saga continues. Perhaps the political contributions of the property owners to local City Council campaigns can be redirected toward rodent extermination and graffiti removal. That might be a good step toward clean elections.
Order #8. That the City Manager is requested to ask all City Departments to have documents and presentations made available to the public and the City Council at least three business days in advance of the scheduled meeting to allow ample time for review. Councillor McGovern and Councillor Carlone
Why stop there? Each City Council committee should have its own web page where information on all matters before the committee is posted so that it's easy to understand all issues that have been decided, are under consideration, or are planned to be taken up by that committee. Instead of City Council personal aides, there should instead be staff charged with gathering, organizing, and posting this information and facilitating the business of the committee. Each Roundtable meeting should also have a page containing all relevant reference material, but meetings should not be postponed simply because of late submissions of reference materials.
Order #10. That the City Manager is requested to create and fund the position of ombudsman, with degrees of both organizational independence to serve as an advocate and organizational ties to be effective, to serve as a liaison with and an internal advocate for community members. Councillor Cheung
I'm sure there will be a number of people speaking during Public Comment in favor of this proposal. I respectfully disagree with that point of view. There are plenty of helpful City staff who are always available to assist the public, but advocacy should be left to residents and their various organizations.
Order #12. That the City Manager is requested to take the necessary measures to formally designate the 2nd Floor meeting room at the City Hall Annex, located at 344 Broadway, as the Bayard Rustin Meeting Room. Councillor Simmons
Bayard Rustin was a great man, but it is perhaps advisable to reserve the naming of public meeting rooms for distinguished Cantabrigians.
Order #15. That the City Manager is requested to work with applicable boards and commissions to assist them in clarifying yearly goals and initiatives, to provide increased administrative oversight and accountability where necessary, and where possible, discuss ways to increase resident involvement. Councillor Mazen
I'm not quite sure what the real intention of this Order is. Most if not all of the City's boards and commissions already do set annual goals and objectives. Public input is generally very welcome, but it's not always so easy to know the specifics of what is before a given board - even if they have a posted agenda. It is, however, a lot better than it used to be.
Order #16. That the City Manager is requested to report to the City Council any existing agreements that may have been signed between the City of Cambridge and Boston 2024, the US Olympic Committee, or any other organizations representing Olympic interests and that the City Manager is requested to bring any proposed agreement regarding the Olympics to the City Council for discussion and debate prior to signing. Councillor Cheung, Councillor Toomey, Councillor Carlone and Councillor Kelley
Perhaps I'm misreading this, but it sure seems as though we're setting Cambridge up to be voice of the Loyal Opposition in all matters relating to the 2024 Olympics bid. Boston employees will be under a gag order and all of the criticism will be routed through voices in Cambridge and Somerville.
Order #17. That the City Council go on record in support of the We the People Act. Councillor Carlone and Councillor Mazen
It's a sure bet that some people will step up to the microphone in support of this Order. The referenced Act centers on a proposed U.S. Constitutional amendment in response to the Citizens United decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Order #18. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested not to enter into any future contracts to obtain electricity from TransCanada and to investigate the possibility of entering into an agreement to obtain up to 100% renewable power for all municipal electricity needs. Councillor Carlone
Buy the cheapest electricity regardless of the source. Focus your advocacy on making alternate energy sources more economically competitive rather than just making economically poor choices based on political criteria.
Order #19. That the City Manager is requested to work with all relevant City Staff to explore the potential for installing composting facilities inside City Hall and other key municipal buildings. Councillor Carlone
Perhaps the intention of this Order is to facilitate organics collection at City Hall and other municipal buildings. That's NOT the same thing as installing composting facilities in these buildings which will likely be problematic and ill-advised.
Order #23. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority to determine if they can be of further assistance in understanding how the portion of the [Grand Junction Multiuse] path from Binney to the Somerville border can be completed and to report back to the City Council. Councillor Toomey
Order #24. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Assistant City Manager of Community Development and report back to the City Council with language that could create a Grand Junction Overlay District that would help to create incentives and ensure the completion of the Grand Junction Multiuse Path. Councillor Toomey
Anything that helps to facilitate the improvement of this corridor to support a multi-use path is worth it - as long as future rail passenger service can still be accommodated. This corridor has great potential for linking Cambridge and MIT with new and existing housing in Somerville and Allston and beyond.
Order #25. That the City Manager is requested to determine the feasibility of executing the recommendations of the STEAM Working Group with the appropriate City departments. Councillor Mazen, Vice Mayor Benzan, Councillor Carlone and Councillor McGovern
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Dennis A. Benzan, Co-Chair of the Economic Development and University Relations Committee and Councillor Nadeem A. Mazen, Chair of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts & Celebration Committee conducted a STEAM Summit on Dec 10, 2014 to present research by the STEAM Working Group and to present the Working Group's recommendations.
I can't speak to the specifics and I'm still skeptical of the focus on creating new agencies and new staff positions to support this, but I do agree with the underlying goals. I would much prefer realigning existing staff in the schools and elsewhere to achieve the goal of matching local residents, especially those who have been traditionally disadvantaged, with job opportunities in fields requiring science, mathematics, and engineering skills.
Order #26. That the City Manager is requested to determine the feasibility of creating a survey in collaboration with the Community Development Department and other appropriate departments to gather data on the positive impact of the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance on the lives of Cambridge residents and families and to determine the feasibility of hosting a town hall meeting where tenants and families who benefit from the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance can come together to share their experiences and provide valuable feedback on how to perfect the program. Vice Mayor Benzan, Councillor McGovern and Councillor Cheung
Together with the Incentive Zoning Nexus Study and possible revisions to the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, we may see a lot of activity this year on the various tools for producing housing and other benefits from the money generated by new development.
Order #27. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate departments to determine the feasibility of renaming Area 4 "The Port." Vice Mayor Benzan
There's really no need for a feasibility study for a change like this. Just do it and have future documents reflect the change. It will be a little confusing having one neighborhood called Cambridgeport and another called The Port. Perhaps we should again refer to them as The Upper Port and The Lower Port. There's also the annoying little detail that there hasn't actually been a port in either neighborhood for ages. Perhaps we should also change the name of a part of North Cambridge to The Brickyards in honor of another discontinued use. - Robert Winters
Likely City Council Challengers for 2015 (as of Jan 14, 2015)
Courtney, Kimberly S., 2 Ware St., Cambridge, MA 02138 - filed organizational papers Jan 9, 2015
Devereux, Janis A., 255 Lakeview Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138 - multiple people reporting
vanBeuzekom, Minka Y., 20 Essex St., Cambridge, MA 02139 - announced intentions
Likely School Committee Challengers for 2015 (as of Jan 18, 2015)
Elechi Kadete, 10 Laurel St., Cambridge, MA 02139 - stated on C-Port listserv
Thurs, Jan 29
4:00-6:00pm Affordable Housing Trust Meeting (Ackermann Room, City Hall)
5:30pm City Council meeting (Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, 459 Broadway) - rescheduled from Monday
Mon, Feb 2
5:30pm City Council meeting (Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, 459 Broadway)
Tues, Feb 3
7:00pm Planning Board meeting (Citywide Senior Center, 806 Mass. Ave.)
1. Update by Brian Murphy, Assistant City Manager for Community Development
2. Adoption of the Meeting Transcript(s)
3. Board of Zoning Appeal Cases
4. Town Gown Presentations (followed by Public Comment)
Hult International School of Business
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Wed, Feb 4
5:30-7:30pm Transit Advisory Committee meeting (Senior Center, 806 Mass. Ave.)
5:30pm Cambridge Election Commission meeting. (1st Floor Meeting Room, 51 Inman St.)
1. Assistant Director's Report
2. Commissioners' Reports
III. PUBLIC COMMENT
IV. ACTION AGENDA
1. 2015 Annual Census
Thurs, Feb 5
4:30pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to continue discussions on the zoning petition filed by Whitehead Institute to amend the Zoning Ordinance, Sections 14.32.1 and 14.32.2 to provide for an increment of 60,000 square feet of GFA to be allowed by special permit in a portion of the MXD District, in Section 14.70 by retitling "Special Provisions Applicable Within the Ames Street District" and by adding a new Section 14.72 "Special Provisions Applicable Outside the Ames Street District. (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Feb 9
5:30pm City Council meeting (Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, 459 Broadway)
Wed, Feb 11
5:30pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss a proposed amendment to the Municipal Code entitled Plastic Bag Reduction together with proposed amendments and regulations for Checkout Bags. (Sullivan Chamber)
January 12 - There is a City Council/Planning Board Roundtable Meeting tonight at 5:30pm in the Attles Meeting Room at CRLS (the last City Council meeting there before moving back to the nicely refurbished Sullivan Chamber in City Hall on January 29). The topic of this Roundtable is city-wide planning (presumably in the context of the upcoming city-wide comprehensive planning process which will likely be a central theme for this year and beyond). It's also likely that there will be some discussion of some proposed procedural and other changes for the Planning Board, especially in the areas of Special Permit applications. Here are two documents prepared for this meeting:
As with all Roundtable meetings, there will be no public comment, no votes will be taken, and the meeting will not be televised.
Also of potential interest is this meeting scheduled for tomorrow:
Tues, Jan 13
6:00pm The City Council's Housing Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the production of language for a city-wide affordable housing overlay district to be considered by the City Council and to identify areas in the city that would be best suited for an affordable housing overlay district. (Sullivan Chamber)
When I see a meeting notice like this, I really wish that City Council subcommittees had their own separate web pages where background materials would be posted prior to any scheduled meeting. This is one of the suggestions for an improved Planning Board process, but the same wisdom should apply to City Council committees. I have a few clues what this meeting may be about, but it's just an educated guess. - RW
On Wed, Jan 21, 2015, the City of Cambridge will officially launch its Open Data Portal during a community training event held at CCTV, 438 Massachusetts Avenue, from 6-8pm. This event, co-sponsored by CCTV, will include a brief overview of the Open Data Movement, a Q&A with members of the Open Data Community, and a hands-on training provided by representatives of Socrata, the cloud based platform powering Cambridge’s Open Data portal. Computer terminals will be available during the event, though participants are encouraged to bring laptops or tablets to help ensure enough computers are available. This event is free and open to the public.
“Cambridge’s Open Data Initiative reflects the City’s commitment to using technology to increase accessibility to and transparency of information owned by the City,” said City Manager Richard C. Rossi. “Cambridge’s Open Data Portal is one means through which the City can foster engagement and collaboration with its citizenry.”
The portal went live in July for a six month review and internal staff training period. During this time, the site was accessible to the public and the city also engaged with Code for Boston, the local brigade chapter of Code for America, and the Open Data Discourse (ODD) Street Safety Challenge.
The overall goal for Cambridge’s Open Data Initiative is to make government data available in easy to find and usable formats, therefore creating meaningful opportunities for the public to help solve complex challenges. Other goals of the City’s Open Data Initiative are: providing greater access to city data; creating greater transparency; improving delivery of city services; and realizing social and commercial value.
The public can access Cambridge’s open data at http://data.cambridgema.gov.
The Open Data Portal gives citizens the opportunity to access and use public information. Datasets can be reviewed, compared, analyzed, and used to create different visualizations such as graphs, charts, and maps, all within the Socrata Platform. Socrata's Open Data Portal has been implemented in multiple government organizations across the country and even across the world.
Event information is available at www.cambridgema.gov.
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Cambridge Community Television: an award-winning, nationally recognized community media center that provides tools and training to foster free speech and creative expression, involving people from across the city as producers and viewers of media that is informative, engaging and as diverse as the Cambridge community. CCTV operates local cable channels 8, 9 and 96, offers hands-on media production and technology workshops for people of all ages, runs NeighborMedia.org, an innovative citizen journalism project, and a vibrant Youth Media Program, hosts computerCENTRAL public computer labs, and manages a dynamic, media-rich website at cctvcambridge.org.
Socrata: the world’s leader in cloud solutions for open data and data-driven governments. Its innovative customers include the cities of New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Melbourne and Eindhoven; the states of New York, Illinois and Texas; US Health and Human Services; Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; the UN, the European Commission, and the World Bank. Socrata’s solutions – including the recently launched Open Data Network™ which unleashes the full potential of government data to help drive connected communities around the world – assist government leaders in improving transparency, modernizing citizen access to information and bringing data into every decision, all with unprecedented speed and cost savings. Delivered as turnkey services, Socrata’s technologies unlock data trapped in enterprise silos, mobilize and transform it into useful information that everyone can easily access, visualize, share and reuse. To learn more about Socrata, visit www.socrata.com.
Code for Boston - a Code for America Brigade: a volunteer civic innovation organization created by Boston-area developers, designers, urban planners, and data geeks with an interest in solving civic and social problems through the use of creative technology.
Open Data Discourse (ODD): collaborates with non-profit and government agencies to leverage their open, public data to inform data-driven public policies and social research. ODD connects citizens to open data and provides an innovative outlet for civic participation. ODD develops insights from data and impacts policy by establishing a discourse between citizens, stakeholders, and policy makers.
Cambridge residents are encouraged to renew their Resident Parking Permits, if they have not already done so, prior to the expiration date of Jan 31, 2015 to avoid getting a ticket on Feb 1. Renew online at, www.cambridgema.gov/traffic, by Mon, Jan 26 to avoid the walk-in lines at the Traffic Department and allow time to receive your 2015 permit via mail. Please note that you must have an active 2014 residential parking permit in order to renew online.
New this year, households without vehicles that have an active 2014 visitor permit may also be eligible to renew online.
The winning entry from the 2015 Resident Permit Photo Contest was Alewife T Sculpture submitted by Takako Tokuoka. The City is again offering the opportunity for residents to make a voluntary contribution. Proceeds will be allocated to the City’s climate change initiatives. For more information, call 617-349-4700 or visit: www.cambridgema.gov/traffic.
Jan 14, 2015 – Today, the City of Cambridge officially advances to the Semifinal round of the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a national competition that is challenging communities across the U.S. to rethink their energy use. At a press event in Washington, D.C. today, Cambridge was announced as one of the 50 communities who are leading the way on energy efficiency.
“We are excited to get underway in this competition and to establish Cambridge as a national leader in energy efficiency in the United States,” said Mayor David P. Maher. “For many years, Cambridge has been a strong advocate for a variety of innovative sustainability methods and the Prize competition will help challenge our city to contribute further to a high quality of life for our residents. Competitions like these bring out the best in municipalities and Cambridge is thrilled to be a part of it.”
Cambridge is working on many levels to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions to make the city more sustainable. The city, Harvard University, MIT and a group of major business partners created the Cambridge Community Compact for a Sustainable Future to leverage the intellectual and entrepreneurial capacity of the business, non-profit, education and municipal sectors in Cambridge to foster collaboration on creating a healthy, livable and sustainable future. Last year, the Getting to Net Zero Task Force advanced the goal of putting Cambridge on the path towards becoming a net zero community, with the focus on carbon emissions from building operations. The City Council passed the Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance that will provide data and transparency around how energy is used in large buildings citywide, with the goal of providing the marketplace data to enable better implementation of energy efficiency opportunities. In Kendall Square, the city’s largest area of energy use, a new model of public-private partnership is being piloted using the EcoDistricts Framework, which emphasizes the integration of smart infrastructure, green buildings and community engagement to achieve district-scale sustainability. All these initiatives are occurring while the city is conducting a climate change vulnerability assessment. The energy competition will heighten the City of Cambridge’s drive to unite the entire community to embrace energy efficiency on a large scale.
“The City of Cambridge is committed to sustainability and we recognize that serious gains in energy efficiency are needed to reach our climate change mitigation goals,” said City Manager Richard C. Rossi. Participating in this competition will help invigorate the community around innovative ways to save energy as we look to putting Cambridge on the trajectory of becoming a net zero greenhouse gas emissions community.”
“Cambridge as well as cities across the county, have told us that this Prize gives them the momentum to accelerate their energy efficiency efforts,” said Dr. Francis Slakey, Founder and Executive Director of the Georgetown University Energy Prize. Slakey continued, “these Semifinalist communities are leading the way for other small- and medium-size cities and counties to secure their energy efficient future.”
“The competition looks truly like America,” said Dr. Slakey. “Not only do these communities come from across the map, they represent the nation’s full political, social and economic diversity. Some are paying the highest prices for energy, some have the ambition to be carbon net-zero, but all communities share the goal of transforming America's energy future.”
To learn more about the Georgetown University Energy Prize and to track the competition’s progress, visit www.guep.org, or follow the Prize on Twitter (@GUEnergyPrize) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/guenergyprize).
Helpful Resources to Get Rid of It Right
Helpful Resources to Get Rid of It Right
Extra Tools? Extra Time?
Winter Farmers Markets
This winter, be sure to check out two winter farmers markets in Cambridge. Email us at email@example.com if you can go on behalf of Cambridge Recycling and talk to people about ways to reduce waste…
2015 Collection Schedule
During holiday weeks, trash, recycling and yard waste collection is delayed one day. There is no collection on legal holidays, including New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Patriot's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Collection on those days and the remaining weekdays occurs one day late, including Saturday. Check the 2015 collection schedule.
Get Your Trash Numbers Fix!
Help the City meet its goals to reduce “trash” 30% from 2008 levels by 2020 and 80% less by 2050. For households, this means 16 lbs of trash per week by 2020 and 5 lbs/week by 2050. Up to 25% of what we throw away is still cardboard, paper, and containers! The average household could recycle at least 5+ more lbs/week or 260 more lbs/year. Consider how to reduce food waste in the first place, or compost what’s left. Choose to reuse and learn how to repair broken items. Visit our Get Rid of It Right page for where to donate clothing, furniture, household goods, electronics, and more.
Take the 50% recycling pledge today at www.cambridgema.gov/recycle and get a free sticker!
Jan 9, 2015 – The Cambridge Public Library has received the 2015 National Honor Award for Architecture from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). A jury of nine professionals selected the project as one of 11 buildings nationwide to receive this prestigious award. The AIA Honor Jury states that “the architecture skillfully joins the library to its clearly delighted community,” and describes the “graceful, transparent” new building as “offering great expanses of beautiful sunlit space with vistas of the surrounding park.”
The Cambridge Public Library, which reopened in November 2009, includes a striking new glass building of 76,700 square feet joined to the restored 27,200 square foot landmark, designed in 1887 by Van Brunt & Howe and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building has capacity for over 275,000 books, 90 computer stations, community meeting rooms and a 220-seat auditorium. Over 2,000 patrons visit the building every day. The project also includes an underground parking garage with a 33,000 square foot green roof and the restored Joan Lorentz Park. The building is a model of innovative sustainable design with the first of its kind double-skin curtainwall in the U.S. The front façade has a 3’ deep airspace, multi-story flue, and movable 12” sunshades that create thermally-comfortable and glare-free reading spaces. The library was designed by William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc. (Lead Architect) with Ann Beha Architects (Associate Architect/Historic Building Architect), both of Boston.
This award represents one of the 22 honors and awards that Cambridge Public Library has received since it opened in October 2009, including the 2010 Harleston Parker Medal for “The Most Beautiful Building in Boston” from the Boston Society of Architects (BSA).
Cambridge City Manager Richard C. Rossi noted, “During the library project planning process, Cambridge residents expressed a desire that their new main library serve as the civic heart of our community. The evident delight with which our residents use the library every day is probably the best acknowledgment that we have achieved their goal.”
"We fully embraced Library Director Susan Flannery's vision that the building must feel like a library, that you must see books the minute you walk in.” said William L. Rawn, Co-Principal for Design, FAIA, LEED AP. “We think this vision has led to the building becoming a literal Town Common for the City of Cambridge."
Here are a few comments from library users:
“The library is like an oasis in the busy and sometimes callous world. A calm, light-filled, pleasant, clean, and open place to do my work alongside people who look as diverse as Cambridge itself. It feels like home. I love the fact that there are dozens of people waiting to go in when the doors open. And I love the calm, helpful, and friendly staff. Thank you!” – Alice LoCicero
“Every time I walk into this building, I am filled with overflowing gratitude and happiness. It is such a gift to me – and our community!” Liz Salomon
“The library is a beautiful and welcoming place where everyone has access to a vast array of resources for free! At the library, everybody is equal. Knowledge, entertainment, communication, culture, and climate control are all available here to people of all socioeconomic levels. I love the library!” – Janis Navikas
“I think the Cambridge Public Library is a testament to all that is great about Cambridge – it was conceived and built with great thought about every detail, to ensure that everyone would feel welcome and every culture would be represented. It embraces new thinking about what a library and a public space should be, yet pays respect and honor to the past.”
“Cambridge Public Library is a gem. From the friendly customer service provided by library staff, to the light-filled spaces available for reading, working, or just day-dreaming, to the amazing collection of media of all kinds, this library provides a haven of rich resources, available for all, and I, just as one patron, am deeply grateful.”
The City of Cambridge is seeking residents from Riverside, Neighborhood 10, Neighborhood Nine, Agassiz and Mid-Cambridge, as well as members of the Harvard Square business community, who would like to serve on the Harvard Square Advisory Committee.
The Committee will review all major development actions in the Harvard Square Overlay District; provide a forum within which a wide range of perspectives on development actions can be heard; advise both public agencies and private interests of development and urban design issues raised by a development or planning proposal; and suggest avenues of research which might be pursued to resolve identified conflicts; and make the project better fulfill both public and private objectives for the Harvard Square Overlay District. The Committee also reviews and comments on applications for variances and special permits in the district.
The Committee will meet as required on project review needs. Participation in previous Harvard Square planning activities and understanding of development and design issues are desirable. Final selection of Advisory Committee members will be made by City Manager Richard C. Rossi.
To apply, send a letter by Friday, February 6, 2015 describing interest in the Harvard Square Advisory Committee and any experience working on similar issues to: Elaine Thorne, Cambridge Community Development Department, 344 Broadway, Cambridge, 02139 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Perhaps it's time to rein in the Cambridge Bicycle Committee
The Cambridge Bicycle Committee (or, to be more precise, current and former members and others who share their mindset) has a Facebook page [Cambridge Bikes!]. It's been interesting hearing what some of the members are saying in response to Councillor Toomey's proposed Order questioning the removal of parking on one side of Pearl Street from Central Square to the Charles River in order to segregate cyclists. Here are some gems:
Tom Meek - The message is the city wants to get more people on bikes.... Don't like it make a pretty $$$ on your house and move elsewhere where you can buy a pad with a big driveway for 1/2 as much lol
Matt Carphree - Street parking in Cambridge costs the user less than 7 cents a day. A nickel, and two pennies to rent 200 square feet of prime real estate in one of the thirty most population dense cities in the USA. Hellas yeah if I was on that crack, I'd fight anyone threatening to take it away!
Matt Carphree (Parking scarcity is never a supply problem. It's a pricing problem)
Douglas M. Kline - In addition to the points already made (to amplify one, an annual resident parking sticker should cost at least $1,000 and as much as $2,000 in some neighborhoods and that would put a dent in the demand for on-street parking), no one promised that on-street parking would always be available and life is full of risk. Car owners have a lot of nerve assuming that they will always have what they should never have been given in the first place. Also the distinction between adding cars and taking away spots is hardly more than semantic unless you intend to take away a spot for each car that is sold or whose owner moves away and doesn't expect to regularly use the space any more such that spots for cars currently owned by current residents are grandfathered in and others are eliminated and all on-street parking will eventually be eliminated.
The more I hear from these people of the Cambridge Bicycle Committee the more I am convinced that they're out of control and that Councillor Toomey's Order is both timely and appropriate. Rarely have I seen this level of self-righteous hostility in Cambridge - and I'm a year-round daily cyclist. - Robert Winters
PS - Here's a sterling example of a graphic that violates every principle of statistical survey design:
The image on the left suggests a cyclist about to be run over by a bus. That's the image used to illustrate the Pearl Street design option the Bicycle Committee and its staff does not want you to choose. It's in the online survey instrument they circulated among people they hope will vote the way they want. The inclusion of this graphic renders the survey invalid. That's Statistics 101.
(1) There were many people there for the Public Comment portion of the meeting addressing the proposed changes to the Smoking Ordinance - specifically the prohibition of smoking in public parks and outdoor patios of restaurants. One definitely gets the sense that any support for those proposed prohibitions is quickly going up in smoke.
(2) Discussion of Reconsideration #1 bordered at times on the ridiculous. It seems that the real issue may simply have been the failure to take a vote to close discussion at the previous meeting before disposing of the underlying matter (Teague Petition - Part 1 passed to 2nd Reading, other parts left in committee for further discussion). Reconsideration failed 3-6 with only Councillors Carlone, Cheung, and Mazen in favor and the vote of the previous meeting stands. Late in the meeting Councillor Mazen brought up Part 1 (uniformizing expiration dates for zoning petitions) and it was ordained unanimously as expected.
(3) There was a good discussion between the City Council and representatives of the Cambridge Police Department that covered a number of topics. Vice Mayor Benzan was prominent in that discussion and spoke of his brother being a Cambridge police officer and of Deputy Superintendent Joseph Wilson having previously been his Assistant Scoutmaster. This was definitely one of those "little town within the big city" moments.
(4) There were several Late Orders at the end of the meeting on which some councillors exercised their Charter Right to delay discussion and consideration until the next regular City Council meeting (Jan 26). Perhaps the most significant was a proposed Late Order from Councillor Toomey that the City Council go on record opposing any plans to remove parking along the length of Pearl Street to create a separated bike lane (as opposed to an ordinary bike lane striped on the road surface) and to instruct the Community Development Department to abandon the "Complete Street" plan for Pearl Street. There will, no doubt, be a lot of public comment on this later this month. - RW
Looking ahead - January 5, 2015 Cambridge City Council meeting
Here are a few items of interest at the first meeting of this brand new municipal election year. Though the Sullivan Chamber in City Hall appears to be fully renovated, this meeting is taking place in the Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room at CRLS.
Reconsideration #1. Reconsideration filed on Dec. 16, 2014 by Councillor Mazen on Part (2) relating to granting special Permits in Section 10.43, remained in committee. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Dec 29, 2014 Part (1). Planning Board Hearing held Nov 18, 2014. Petition expires Feb 10, 2015.
The Teague Petition consisted of three parts - the obvious, the misinterpreted, and the absurd. The obvious part calls for making the expiration dates for zoning petitions consistent between state law and the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance. This first part was passed to a 2nd Reading on Dec 15 and is expected to be ordained shortly. The misinterpreted part is the basis of Mazen's filing for Reconsideration. At issue is the distinction between the phrases "Special permits will normally be granted" vs. "Special permits may be granted". There was a Late Order passed at the Dec 15 meeting asking for further clarification. The Planning Board unanimously recommended leaving the "will normally be granted" language intact and the City Council on Dec 15 voted to leave the matter in committee. Councillor Mazen apparently disagreed and feels that the proposed new language should have been passed to a 2nd Reading. In truth, the Planning Board has always had discretion in the granting of Special Permits and the existing language is perfectly consistent with this. The 3rd part of the Teague Petition that "All permits, including, but not limited to, Building Permits, Special Permits, and Variances shall comply with the Master Plan for the City of Cambridge" was a non-starter for a variety of reasons.
Manager's Agenda #13. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the authorization to borrow an amount not to exceed $39,000,000 for the purpose of refinancing existing General Obligation Bonds to acquire lower interest rates than those currently being paid.
Excerpts: "The purpose (of this Order) is to refinance existing General Obligation Bonds to acquire lower interest rates than those currently being paid."... "While the City received favorable interest rates at the time of the sale of these bonds because of its Triple A rating, current market conditions would allow the City to refund the remainder of the eligible maturities (those with 10 years or longer remaining in principal and interest payments) to realize savings of approximately $190,000 annually through 2028, which equates to $2.4m in gross savings."
Resolution #8. Resolution on the death of George L. Hinds, Sr. Councillor Toomey
Resolution #12. Resolution on the death of Sister Mary Mark Pizzotti, DM. Mayor Maher
Having lived in Cambridge for only 37 years, I don't always appreciate the passing of significant Cantabrigians. In the case of Sister Mary Mark, I only know of her role at Sancta Maria through the words of others. George Hinds, on the other hand, has been a neighbor of mine for all the years I've lived here. He died on Christmas Day at the age of 85. I knew him first about 30 years ago as that grumpy guy who didn't appreciate when I would sometimes park my old VW Beetle near his house. As the years passed, talking with George became an indispensable part of my walking down Fayette Street, and I always looked forward to talking with him. I will really miss seeing him. George's son and other family members will, no doubt, continue the tradition among the sidewalk ambassadors of Fayette Street.
Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to report back on any progress made in acquiring state funding for design and construction of the portion of the Watertown branch B&M Line railroad property to construct the Watertown-Cambridge Greenway and on the feasibility of a low-cost, temporary paving solution for the Greenway in order to realize the community benefits while the path awaits permanent construction. Councillor Mazen, Councillor Kelley and Councillor McGovern
I don't believe anyone will object to the intent of this Order. Off-road options for biking and walking, when they become available, are great additions as linear parks and as transportation resources. I don't know that I agree with temporary solutions as they have a way of becoming semi-permanent. There's really no down side for Cambridge or our neighboring towns in getting this done. I only wish we had better inter-governmental mechanisms to make these kinds of things happen with fewer bureaucratic delays.
Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to report back on Policy Order #5 of May 19, 2014 regarding the feasibility of taking the Vail Court lot by eminent domain for the “public good.” Vice Mayor Benzan
This blight has existed for ages and it's about time something was done. I don't know what the best use is for this property or whether an eminent domain taking is the best course of action, but there needs to be some pressure applied. When this Order was passed 8 months ago, some explanation was offered by one city councillor who knows the owner and who has used that abandoned property as a parking space for the bus he used during his 2013 campaign,
PS - It will be interesting to see what the City Council does with the following:
LATE ORDER Jan 5, 2015
Age Distribution of Voters in Cambridge Elections: 2007-2014
Note: Data used for this analysis comes from the Cambridge registered voter database and voter history files for the respective years. Voters without specified birthdates have been excluded (very small number). In addition, a small number of public safety officials are also not included in the publicly available registered database.
Cambridge City Council Campaign Receipts: 2013 - 2014
(candidates exceeding 500 #1 votes in Nov 2013 election)
Ranked by Percent Receipts from Cambridge
Ranked by Percent Receipts from Real Estate Interests
Note 1: The totals for Leland Cheung include all money raised for his campaign for Lt. Governor, including $118,981.92 from the candidate.
Note 2: The reports for Nadeem Mazen contain many errors - wrong dates, many missing addresses, etc. The data has been corrected to the best of this writer's ability and patience.
Note 3: The totals above include money loaned or given by the candidates. Since they are all Cambridge residents this greatly affects the totals and the percentages coming from Cambridge addresses.
Note 4: In some cases, candidate loans have since been repaid. The data shown has not been adjusted for this.
Note 5: Some additional receipts for 2014 may still be recorded. The tables may be updated to reflect this.
Note 6: The individual campaign contribution limit of $500 per year has been raised to $1000 per year starting in 2015.
Candidates listed alphabetically including total receipts, receipts from Cambridge addresses,
receipts from political action committees (PAC), receipts from identifiable real estate interests (RE),
percent from candidate (loan or donated), percent receipts from Cambridge,
percent receipts from PACs, percent receipts from identifiable real estate interests
|Candidate||Total Receipts||Cambridge||PAC||RE||Loan||% Cambridge||% PAC||% RE|
January 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:
|Reservation Exploration for Families with Ranger Jean
Date: Thursday, February 19
Morning Session: 10 to 11am, meet at Black's Nook
Afternoon Session: 1 to 2pm, meet at Lusitania Meadow
Come dressed and ready to explore Fresh Pond for signs of life. We may go off trail so wear your boots, hats and mittens! Kids 8+ bring an adventurous adult, but leave your dogs at home. Pre-registeration is required. Limited to 16 people for each session – so register early! One session per family per day, please. Contact Ranger Jean: email@example.com.
|Reservation Exploration for Families with Ranger Jean
Date: Friday, February 20
Morning Session: 10 to 11am, meet at Lusitania Meadow
Afternoon Session: 1 to 2pm, meet at Black's Nook
Come dressed and ready to explore Fresh Pond for signs of life. We may go off trail so wear your boots, hats and mittens! Kids 8+ bring an adventurous adult, but leave your dogs at home. Pre-registeration is required. Limited to 16 people for each session – so register early! One session per family per day, please. Contact Ranger Jean: firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Eyes on Algae at Fresh Pond
Date: Monday, February 23, 2015
Time: 6 to 7:30pm
Place: Walter J. Sullivan Treatment Facility, 250 Fresh Pond Pkwy
Understanding our Cantabrigian water system isn't only about chemistry and physics; it's also about understanding the flora and fauna in it! Come learn more about how Water Department staff are monitoring and researching algae communities in Black's Nook, Fresh Pond, and Little Fresh Pond. You'll also get the chance to inspect some of our local algae species under a microscope! PLEASE REGISTER! contact Kirsten at (617) 349-6489 or email@example.com.
Evergreen Tree Identification Workshop
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. Upcoming Programs
• The Fresh Pond Reservation Stewardship Program
• 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 and grownativemass.org/programs/eveningswithexperts in particular. First Wednesdays of the Month, 7:00-8:30pm.
• 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, Jan 31. Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary, South Natick. 10:00am. Moderate pace 2-2½ hour walk in Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuary. Bring snack, water. Depending on weather, bring snow shoes or traction devices for boots. No dogs; $5 charge for those not a Mass Audubon member, $1 for those not an AMC member. Heavy rain/snow cancels. L Lisa Fleischman, CL Mary Wisbach.||Sat, Jan 31. West Quincy Quarries & Granite Railway. 5.5-mile walk to Granite Railway & quarries, some rock scrambling and steep sections, 10:30am-2:30pm. Bring lunch/water/hiking shoes. Meet at Shea Ice Rink, Willard St., Quincy. From SE Expressway Exit 8 in Quincy, go south 0.6 miles on Willard St. Or from I-93/Route 128 Exit 6 in Braintree, go north 0.7 miles. Or for public transit take Bus 238 from Quincy Center T station. Email if severe weather. Bring traction devices/snow shoes if snow. L Mike Tuohey.|
|Sun, Feb 1. Pond Meadow, Braintree. Easy/moderate 4-mi. walk/snowshoe. 9:45am-12pm. Bring snack/water/hiking poles/sturdy footwear/traction devices/snowshoes. Meet Braintree lot. Rte. 3 S (past Braintree split) exit 17 to traffic circle, 3rd R (Union Street) east 0.7 mi., R (Middle St.) 0.7 mi., L (Liberty St.), immediate R into lot. Storm cancels. L Marc Hurwitz.||Sun, Feb 1. Annual Soupe de Poisson Hike, Blue Hills, Milton. Walk in honor of Meade Bradner. We meet at 12:30pm at the Blue Hills for a short hike then walk into Ponkapoag Camp for hot fish chowder. Bring $2.00, a cup and a spoon. Register w/CL Corinne Waite. Ls Jim Goyea, Loretta O’Brien.|
|Sat, Feb 7. Middlesex Fells, Medford. Slow-paced nature walk in the Bellevue Pond area focusing on plant ID and fun and interesting natural history of evergreens and other easily recognizable plants of winter. 9:30am-12:30pm. Rte. 93 to Exit 33. At rotary, go right onto South Border Rd./Winchester and continue a couple of hundred yards to Bellevue Pond Parking Lot on right (opposite #68 South Border Rd, Medford). Parking limited/arrive early. Steady rain or heavy snow cancels. L Boot Boutwell.||Sun, Feb 8. Blue Hills, Quincy. Snowshoe 6 miles in the Chickatawbut section, the most remote area of the Blue Hills Reservation. Will hike 7 miles in hilly areas if no snow, 10am-3pm. Meet at Shea Ice Rink, Willard St., Quincy. From SE Expressway Exit 8 in Quincy, go south 0.6 miles on Willard St. Or from I-93/Route 128 Exit 6 in Braintree, go north 0.7 miles. Or for public transit, take Bus 238 from Quincy Center T station. Call if weather questionable. Joint with Friends of the Blue Hills. L Steve Olanoff.|
|Sun, Feb 8. Burrage Pond, Hanson. 5-mile hike, 10:00am-12:15pm on abandoned cranberry bog, sandy trails featuring open water and marshland. From Rte. 27 in Hanson, Pleasant Street for 0.2 mi., take sharp right to Hawks Ave. across the tracks, left on dirt road at fence, past building to trailhead. GeoCode N 42 01 49.1 W 70 51 32.3. Bring water and snack. Email if severe weather. Bring traction devices/snow shoes if snow. L Mike Tuohey.|
Closing Out the Year - Dec 15, 2014 Cambridge City Council Agenda
This will be the last City Council meeting for the year. Here are a few items that piqued my interest:
Manager's Agenda #1. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as members of the Board of Zoning Appeal, effective Dec 15, 2014:
The rejuvenation of the City's boards and commissions continues. The application deadlines for several other boards expired recently and we should see additional appointments with the new year. It's worth noting that there are other current opportunities for citizen involvement, including the new Participatory Budget Pilot Program. Next year will also bring out lots of participants in the Citywide Comprehensive Planning process. Next year will also be a municipal election year, so if you have ever considered candidacy, this is probably the time to start thinking more seriously about it.
Manager's Agenda #2. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation on the Teague, et al Zoning Petition.
Committee Report #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 Nov 12, 2014 to discuss the zoning petition filed by Charles D. Teague, et al. to amend the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance to clarify the existing ordinance so that said ordinance can be enforced: to (1) align the zoning amendment expiration date in the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance to be the same as state law; (2) align the Special Permit criteria with adjudicated state law; and (3) require that the master plan be followed whereas following the master plan is optional under state law.
There were three parts to this petition. The first part called for a technical correction in the expiration dates for zoning petitions and was noncontroversial - a simple correction that the City Council should have addressed more than a year ago when they were first alerted to the discrepancy by the City Solicitor. The Planning Board endorsed this correction. The second and third parts of the petition were soundly rejected by the Planning Board for a variety of reasons and presumably the City Council will see things similarly. Additional comments may be found here. Mr. Teague is becoming something of a serial petitioner who generates far more heat than light.
Manager's Agenda #4. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the results of the bi-annual City of Cambridge Citizen Telephone Survey for 2014.
As the Manager's communication notes: "Affordable housing/housing was reported as the 'single most important issue facing the City of Cambridge today' by 18% of respondents in this year's survey. This is up from 8% in 2012 and replaces education (10%) as the most important issue identified. Traffic/bikes, a new issue this year, was also identified as the 'most important issue' by 10% of survey respondents. Other new issues raised in the 2014 survey include development/overdevelopment (3%), construction (2%), climate change (2%), and parking (1%)."
Statistical surveys are not always so easy to interpret, but one thing I've always noted in these bi-annual surveys is the disconnect between the priorities of the activist community and the priorities of the residents at large. A big challenge as we enter into the Citywide Comprehensive Planning process will be to promote participation by people representing the whole city and not just those who have the spare time (and the fervor) to go to meetings. It's also very likely that priorities are not uniform across the city. In some locations traffic congestion will be a far greater issue than the affordability of housing, while in other locations the opposite will be the case. The activists will promote the view that the city is going to hell in a handbasket yet the surveys consistently indicate general satisfaction. So it goes.
Manager's Agenda #10. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the revised ordinance titled "Checkout Bag Ordinance", the related regulations and application for exemption. [Attachments]
Unfinished Business #10. 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 8.67 entitled relating to Plastic Bag Reduction. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Feb 24, 2014.
Communications & Reports #1. A communication was received from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone regarding the Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance.
Councillor Carlone has expressed interest in having this matter voted at this meeting. Several points are worth noting. First, a significant number of Cambridge residents do most of their shopping outside of Cambridge due to access and affordability (can you say "Market Basket") , so a City ordinance will likely have limited effect. Second, it's so simple for people to bring their own durable bags for their regular shopping and it's bewildering that many people continue to come home with unnecessary plastic bags. Third, there are differences between the originally proposed "Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance" and the modified "Checkout Bag Ordinance" with related regulations forwarded by City staff. On balance, the latter is the preferred alternative. Above all, there should have been (and hopefully soon will be) a lot more promotion of reusable bags in addition to the enactment of prohibitions and penalties.
Manager's Agenda #12. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the Final Landmark Designation Report for the C.F. Hathaway & Sons Bakery at 15-33 Richdale Avenue, received from Executive Director of the Historical Commission Charles Sullivan.
I'll simply once again express my gratitude to the Cambridge Historical Commission for all their research and excellent publications. They're all keepers.
Manager's Agenda #17. 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.
It's been interesting witnessing the dynamic between the practical and financial necessities of carrying out a project like this and the desires of interested parties to gain some measure of control. In a way it's like a microcosm of the difference between managed government and highly politicized government. All things considered, I'll take the former.
Resolution #2. The Cambridge City Council go on record commending the STEAM Working Group, the STEAM Summit Steering Committee, and the STEAM Summit presenters and thanking all of the attendees for supporting the Economic Development & University Relations and the Neighborhood & Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts & Celebrations committees' initiative to take actionable steps toward creating a better, more prosperous future for learners of all ages. Vice Mayor Benzan and Councillor Mazen
While I applaud the effort, especially the sincere desires of Vice Mayor Benzan for whom this has consistently been a high priority, as an educator I find myself somewhat skeptical of the outcomes. I have seen so many iterations of "the next big thing" in education - the New Math, technology in the classroom, a parade of new curriculum promising to cure all ills, differentiated instruction, flipped classrooms and more. In the end it will always come down to the personal connection between teachers and students. In some respects this latest initiative is reminiscent of the days of trade schools and "manual training" - what was old is new again. I really do hope that great things come of this latest installment, especially insofar as there's such a pressing need to connect all young residents to the economic opportunities necessary for social mobility that are available locally. [Did that sound too lofty coming from me?] In any case, good luck!
If there's one thing I wish would have happened it would be to have a collaboration between mathematics people from all levels of education in Cambridge (elementary schools through Harvard and MIT) getting together to develop a comprehensive view and plan to make the greatest impact outside of the context of City Council subcommittees. Perhaps there are still some opportunities for such a collaboration.
Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to initiate a program to deploy body cameras for police. Councillor Cheung
Order #2. That the Civic Unity Committee schedule a meeting to discuss the local impact and ramifications of these recent events upon Cambridge and the City Manager is requested to ensure that the appropriate City personnel are available to participate in this meeting, and to ensure that proper notice goes out to the community to ensure that those who wish to attend and take part in this conversation can do so. Councillor Simmons
As others have pointed out, there would be a huge contradiction between forbidding surveillance cameras on city streets while installing them on every police officer. It would be worthwhile to at least have the hardware available for optional use by police in appropriate situations. Regarding Order #2, I do hope that a discussion of street obstructions is part of the agenda. Freedom of speech and the right to obstruct (either roadways or abortion clinics) are not interchangeable. Rallies and marches are as American as apple pie, but people still have a right to go about their business. - Robert Winters
We're taking some time off from Cambridge InsideOut. We expect to be back on the air in January 2015.
Recent Broadcasts of Cambridge InsideOut [complete list of shows]
June 10 - Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 63 and 64 with Glenn Koocher
We had a great time doing these shows with the man who invented the original Cambridge InsideOut - Glenn Koocher.
Watch Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV every Tuesday at 5:30pm and 6:00pm. The co-hosts are Susana Segat and Robert Winters.
|MBTA Role in Jump-starting Development of the Cambridge Center Project Kendall Station Urban Initiatives Project, 1979-1989
By Thad Tercyak, Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, Associate Director, 1968-1990
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.
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.
The Advent of PR in Cambridge
originally published in the Cambridge Civic Journal on Feb 12, 1998
April 2, 2013 - 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)
2013 - K2C2 Final Reports
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"