Cambridge City Council meeting - October 1, 2018 - AGENDA
CITY MANAGER'S AGENDA
1. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the votes necessary to seek approval from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue of the tax rate for FY2019.
Hearing Held; 12 Orders Adopted 9-0
1. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to proposed amendments to the following ordinance: and proposed amendments to Chapter 14.04 of the Cambridge Municipal Code (the "Fair Housing Ordinance). Fair Housing (passed to a 2nd Reading) Awaiting Home Rule Legislation - before proposal can be ordained.
2. That the proposed Municipal Code entitled “Street Performers” in Section 12.16.170 as amended on June 25, 2018 by Policy Order #15 be placed on Unfinished Business awaiting revised ordinance language from the City Solicitor after consultation with the Arts Council based on the recommendations in the Committee Report dated June 25, 2018.
APPLICATIONS AND PETITIONS
1. An application was received from Meghan Shaw of the Cambridge Energy Alliance, requesting permission for a temporary banner across JFK Street at Mt. Auburn Street announcing the October is Green Energy Month, 100% renewable Electricity from Oct 2, 2018 thru Oct 29, 2018.
2. An application was received from Cambridge Public Health Department requesting permission for a temporary banner across 795 Massachusetts Avenue in front of City Hall announcing Cambridge Family Literacy Fun Day from Oct 22, 2018 thru Nov 5, 2018.
3. An application was received from MIT Visual Arts Center requesting permission for fifteen temporary banners on Ames Street where the List Center is located, to promote the Center’s upcoming exhibition Introducing Tony Conrad: A Retrospective.
1. A communication was received from Audrey Schulman, regarding Merrimack Valley explosions and Feeney Brothers.
2. A communication was received from Audrey Cunningham, regarding the immediate freeze of Feeney Brothers utility services.
3. A communication was received from Charles Hinds, regarding the proposed cannabis dispensary.
4. A communication was received from Peter Valentine, regarding Good Enough.
5. A communication was received from Peter Valentine, regarding seating in front of our main government buildings.
6. A communication was received from Councillor Dennis Carlone, regarding a draft of the city of Cambridge's Envision process. Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan
[I am curious why this is listed among the regular communications and why the names of two city councillors are listed with it. This really should be part of Communications & Reports from other City Officers.]
7. Communication from Naomi Orensten, 66 Reed Street, regarding Policy Order # 1 on food allergies.
8. Communication from Charles Franklin, 162 Hampshire Street, regarding Policy Order # 4 and safer roads.
1. Resolution on the death of Cody Vendetti. Councillor Toomey
2. Resolution on the death of Nicola Biasella. Councillor Toomey
3. Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Councillor Simmons
4. Resolution on the death of Nelia Baia. Councillor Toomey
5. Resolution on the death of Jeffrey "Jeff" Culver. Councillor Toomey
6. Resolution on the death of Kathleen "Kay" Foster. Councillor Toomey
7. Retirement of Carole Sousa from the Department of Human Services. Mayor McGovern
8. Congratulations to Betsy Bard, Vincent Ernest Siders on the play Act Up & Vote! Councillor Siddiqui
9. Happy Birthday wishes to Red T. Mitchell. Councillor Simmons
10. Happy Birthday wishes to Polly Allen. Councillor Simmons
11. Congratulations to the East Cambridge Business Association on its successful 9th annual "Smoke This Rib Fest." Councillor Toomey
12. Happy Birthday wishes to Gina Dottin. Councillor Simmons
13. Happy Birthday wishes to Anthony Petruccelli. Councillor Simmons
14. Happy Birthday wishes to Reverend Lorraine Thornhill. Councillor Simmons
15. Happy Birthday wishes to Steven A. Tolman. Councillor Simmons
16. Happy 110th Anniversary to Saint Bartholomew's Church. Councillor Simmons
17. Congratulations to Adriane Musgrave and Brian Rogan on the birth of Maxton Musgrave Rogan. Mayor McGovern
18. Resolution on the death of Helen Glikman. Mayor McGovern
1. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Department of Human Service Programs, the Department of Public Works and the Department of Public Health to identify ways to raise awareness about the prevalence of food allergies and decrease the level of risk posed by food remnants left in public parks and playgrounds. Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Carlone
2. The City Manager is requested to confer with the Director of the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and any other relevant City departments to install a four-way stop sign at the intersection of Sixth and Hurley Streets and to work in conjunction with the newly formed East Cambridge Planning Team Traffic Safety Committee on improving pedestrian and bicycle safety in the East Cambridge area. Councillor Toomey
3. That the Government Operations, Rules and Claims Committee schedule a hearing on the proposed “Cambridge Publicly Financed Municipal Election Program” and the “Cambridge Municipal People’s Pledge Program” as soon as possible and report back to the City Council with a plan for implementation no later than the City Council meeting scheduled for Nov 19, 2018. Councillor Toomey
Order Adopted, Referred to Gov't Ops., Rules & Claims Committee
4. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Director of the Traffic, Parking and Transportation department and any other relevant city departments to study the potential of utilizing the Icelandic crosswalk design in an intersection in East Cambridge. Councillor Toomey
5. That the City Manager is requested to work with any relevant City departments and with the various programs and facilities that serve Cambridge’s most vulnerable populations, including at food pantries in the city, to install racks for the purpose of displaying brochures and/or information regarding the various city programs that support vulnerable residents. Mayor McGovern, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Siddiqui
6. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with the appropriate City personnel to seek a formal response from CVS as it relates to a racial profiling incident. Councillor Simmons
7. That the Envision Cambridge draft recommendations should be reviewed by the entire City Council in respective committees. Councillor Carlone, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Siddiqui
Charter Right - Simmons
8. Recognition to those who brought the MLK School construction to a successful completion. Councillor Zondervan, Mayor McGovern, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Mallon
9. That the City Council go on record in recognizing October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and support the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Councillor Mallon, Councillor Simmons, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui
10. Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department to provide the City Council with a list of streets where it is recommended that the speed be reduced to 20 MPH. Vice Mayor Devereux
1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Transportation & Public Utilities Committee, for a public hearing held on Sept 12, 2018 to discuss the guiding policy and safety priorities for regulating and permitting shared electric scooters to operate in Cambridge.
Report Accepted, Placed on File
2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Transportation & Public Utilities Committee, for a public hearing held on Sept 20, 2018 to discuss reducing the speed limit to 20 MPH on residential streets citywide and the creation of 20 MPH safety zones on certain other streets.
Report Accepted, Placed on File, Order #10 Adopted
COMMUNICATIONS AND REPORTS FROM OTHER CITY OFFICERS
1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez City Clerk, transmitting a communication from Mayor Marc McGovern, communicating highlights from School Committee Meeting Sept 25, 2018.
Placed on File
2. A communication was received from Councillor Carlone, transmitting Envision Cambridge's draft recommendations submitted by Community Development with his planning and Urban design comments.
Referred to Order #7
Mon, Oct 1
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
6:30pm Tax Rate Hearing (Sullivan Chamber)
Tues, Oct 2
3:00pm The Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss a petition filed by the City Council to amend Articles 2.000, 4.000, 6.000 and 11.000 of the Zoning Ordinance to establish provisions for Cannabis Uses. This Hearing is to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
Wed, Oct 3
4:00pm The Economic Development & University Relations Committee will conduct a public hearing to further discuss a City-based Cannabis Social Equity Program and Policy Order #10 from June 25, 2018. (Sullivan Chamber)
Tues, Oct 9
1:00pm The Health and Environmental Committee will conduct a public hearing to receive an update on progress towards the Zero Waste goals and to discuss successes and challenges of the citywide composting and recycling programs to date. (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Oct 15
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Tues, Oct 16
3:00pm The Neighborhood & Long-Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebrations Committee will meet to discuss CMA 2018 #196 and any other matter related to Jerry’s Pond. (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Oct 22
5:30pm The City Council will conduct a Roundtable/Working Meeting to discuss the Envision process. This Meeting is to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
Thurs, Oct 25
10:00am The Human Services and Veteran’s Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the Summer food program update. (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Oct 29
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Nov 5
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Nov 19
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Nov 26
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Dec 3
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Dec 10
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Dec 17
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Dec 31
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
TEXT OF ORDERS
O-1 Oct 1, 2018
VICE MAYOR DEVEREUX
WHEREAS: The City’s public parks are a valuable resource for all Cambridge families, especially those who do not have access to private outdoor spaces where children can play; and
WHEREAS: It is of paramount importance to preserve the ability of all children in the City to safely share play areas and playground equipment in public parks; and
WHEREAS: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the prevalence of food allergies among children has increased in the past 20 years by at least 50 percent, and that 1 in every 13 children is now affected by food allergies; and
WHEREAS: Residents have expressed concern that food remnants that could cause a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction are routinely found on, underneath and around play structures in Cambridge public parks; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with the Department of Human Service Programs, the Department of Public Works and the Department of Public Health to identify ways to raise awareness about the prevalence of food allergies and decrease the level of risk posed by food remnants left in public parks and playgrounds, and report back to the City Council on this issue.
O-2 Oct 1, 2018
WHEREAS: A number of residents have voiced concern about the safety of many intersections in the East Cambridge area; and
WHEREAS: The intersection of Sixth Street and Hurley Street is especially problematic due to its’ close proximity to the Kennedy Longfellow School and a very active tot lot and playground; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Director of the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and other relevant City departments to immediately install a four-way stop sign at the intersection of Sixth and Hurley Street; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to instruct the Director of the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and the Police Commissioner to work in conjunction with the newly formed East Cambridge Planning Team Traffic Safety Committee on improving pedestrian and bicycle safety in the East Cambridge area.
O-3 Oct 1, 2018
WHEREAS: In recent years the Cambridge City Council has expressed its interest in implementing a publicly funded campaign finance program to encourage candidates to run for City Council and School Committee by “leveling the playing field” of campaign fundraising and expenses;
WHEREAS: On Apr 30, 2018, an Order was submitted to the City Council proposing the “Cambridge Publicly Financed Municipal Election Program” and the “Cambridge Municipal People’s Pledge Program” and the Council unanimously agreed to refer the proposed programs to the Government Operations, Rules and Claims Committee for a hearing; and
WHEREAS: During Council discussion of these programs it was noted that any approval of a publicly funded campaign finance program occur in a non-municipal election year to allow for any such program to be effectively implemented in a municipal election year; and
WHEREAS: To date, the Government Operations, Rules and Claims Committee has not scheduled a hearing on the proposed programs and the non-municipal election year is coming to an end; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the Government Operations, Rules and Claims Committee schedule a hearing on these programs as soon as possible and report back to the City Council with a plan for implementation no later than the City Council meeting scheduled for Nov 19, 2018; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to televise this hearing.
O-4 Oct 1, 2018
WHEREAS: Iceland has developed a crosswalk design which uses a three-dimensional paint method to give the illusion of a raised section of the crosswalk; and
WHEREAS: This crosswalk design is consistent with national standards and provides increased visibility and has led to the reduction of speed by motor vehicles; and
WHEREAS: There has been increased traffic congestion in the East Cambridge area which has led to increased public safety concerns; and
WHEREAS: Residents of East Cambridge have expressed interest in the implementation of the Icelandic crosswalk design in the area to see if it helps alleviate the traffic issues of the area; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Director of the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and any other relevant City departments to study the potential of utilizing the Icelandic crosswalk design in an intersection in East Cambridge and report back to the City Council the results in a timely manner.
O-5 Oct 1, 2018
WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge offers many programs to support residents who struggle with issues of income insecurity and poverty, including but not limited to, Inclusionary Zoning housing options, fuel assistance programs, and supports for seniors; and
WHEREAS: The Cambridge City Council and the City of Cambridge have often talked about ways to improve communication and outreach to those who would benefit from these programs; and
WHEREAS: Cambridge is home to many food pantries where those who would benefit from support often visit; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with any relevant City departments and with the various programs and facilities that serve Cambridge’s most vulnerable populations, including at food pantries in the city, to install racks for the purpose of displaying brochures and/or information regarding the various city programs that support vulnerable residents.
O-6 Oct 1, 2018
WHEREAS: On the late afternoon of May 6, 2018, a person of color attempted to enter and patronize the CVS located in Central Square, as he had done countless times before, and was immediately stopped in the store’s front lobby by a CVS employee who told him that he was barred from patronizing the store; and
WHEREAS: The customer, a gentleman in his late 60s, inquired multiple times why he was being prevented from shopping in this CVS and was repeatedly told only that he was barred from the store, and this exchange, which took place in full view of numerous other customers, went on for several minutes and was deeply embarrassing and unsettling to this individual; and
WHEREAS: Ultimately, a friend of the barred customer happened to enter the CVS, saw the scene as it was unfolding, and was able to intervene and vouch for the individual’s good character, and only then was the individual allowed to go about his shopping in the store; and
WHEREAS: The individual who experienced what has all the hallmarks of being racially profiled brought his concerns to a member of the City Council, and when that elected official sent a letter dated June 12, 2018 to the store’s manager inquiring about what measures would be taken to ensure similar episodes of racial profiling will not take place in this CVS going forward, the letter was completely ignored; and
WHEREAS: Cambridge is a community that prides itself in regularly declaring that hatred and racial profiling have no place here, and it is beyond unsettling that any of our local business establishments would tolerate such behavior from their employees or that they would fail to provide assurances that measures are being taken to ensure that racial profiling will not take place in their businesses going forward; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with the appropriate City personnel to seek a formal response from CVS on this matter and to report back to the City Council in a timely manner; and be it further
ORDERED: That the Chair of the Civic Unity Committee is requested to schedule a hearing on what mechanisms are in place for the City to formally relay concerns to local businesses when the City is made aware of instances of possible racial profiling in these businesses.
O-7 Oct 1, 2018
VICE MAYOR DEVEREUX
WHEREAS: Envision Cambridge is a community-wide process to develop a comprehensive plan for a more livable, sustainable, and equitable Cambridge created with extensive input from those who live, work, study, and play in our city; and
WHEREAS: Envision Cambridge will create a shared vision for our future with comprehensive recommendations on a broad range of topics such as climate and the environment, community wellbeing, economy, housing, mobility, and urban form; and
WHEREAS: The Community Development Department has completed draft recommendations for the Envision Cambridge community planning process; and
WHEREAS: The Envision Cambridge draft recommendations should be reviewed by the entire City Council in respective committees; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the Cambridge City Council review and comment on the City’s draft recommendations in committee; and be it further
ORDERED: That the Climate & Environment Working Group recommendations be referred to the Committee of Health & Environment; and be it further
ORDERED: That the Community Wellbeing Working Group recommendations be referred to Human Services & Veterans; and be it further
ORDERED: That the Economy Working Group recommendations be referred to the Committee of Economic Development & University Relations; and be it further
ORDERED: That the Housing Working Group recommendations be referred to the Housing Committee; and be it further
ORDERED: That the Mobility Working Group recommendations be referred to the Committee on Transportation & Public Utilities; and be it further
ORDERED: That the Urban Form Working Group recommendations be referred to the Committee on Neighborhood & Long-Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts & Celebrations Committee.
O-8 Oct 1, 2018
VICE MAYOR DEVEREUX
WHEREAS: The Martin Luther King and Putnam Avenue Upper school recently received a LEED Platinum rating from the US Green Building Council, the highest possible rating, making it one of the most energy efficient schools in the nation and an example for the rest of the state and country to follow; and
WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge wishes to celebrate this honor and recognize the City & School Department employees as well as the City Council & School Committee members (both past and present), the architectural team from Perkins Eastman, the construction team from Rich-Caulfield MLK Venture, and all the labor unions whose hard work and vision brought this project to a successful completion; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with the Mayor to plan a suitable recognition event before the end of the year and invite former City Manager Rich Rossi, as well as former Mayor Henrietta Davis to attend.
O-9 Oct 1, 2018
VICE MAYOR DEVEREUX
WHEREAS: The month of October has been designated as National Domestic Violence Awareness month since 1989; and
WHEREAS: On a national level, domestic and intimate partner violence affects 30% of women and 10% of men, is the leading cause of injury for women, and costs $5.8 billion per year in direct medical costs and lost productivity; and
WHEREAS: The LGBT community is disproportionately affected by domestic and intimate partner violence, with 44% of lesbian women, 61% of bisexual women, 37% of bisexual men, 26% of gay men, and up to 50% of transgender people, report experiencing rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lives; and
WHEREAS: The prevalence of domestic and intimate partner violence in Massachusetts is comparable to the national level, but with a disturbing uptick in both domestic assaults and domestic violence related fatalities between the 2016 and 2018; and
WHEREAS: Needs assessments conducted in the City of Cambridge have cited that “everyone is or has been touched by domestic and/or sexual abuse”, highlighting the truly universal nature of this problem and the urgency of solving it; and
WHEREAS: The Violence Against Women Act is up for reauthorization at the end of September 2018, and this act has been used to provide resources for survivors, increase penalties for gender-based violence, and establish a National Office of Violence Against Women in the Department of Justice; and
WHEREAS: The VAWA remains the only piece of federal legislation that includes explicit civil rights protections for LGBTQ communities, and also contains much needed provisions for Native Americans and victims of human trafficking; and
WHEREAS: The national political climate and discourse surrounding domestic violence has been extremely negative, making it critical for local leaders and communities to unequivocally support survivors; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Council go on record in recognizing October 2018 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and show its support for the vigil taking place on Wed, Oct 3rd at 6:00PM on the steps of City Hall; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Council go on record in support of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which expires at the end of September 2018; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Clerk be and hereby is requested to forward suitably engrossed copies of this resolution to the Cambridge Congressional Delegation on behalf of the entire City Council.
O-10 Oct 1, 2018
VICE MAYOR DEVEREUX
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to direct the Director of Traffic, Parking and Transportation to provide the City Council with a list of streets where it is recommended that the speed be reduced to 20 MPH; and be it further
ORDERED That the City Manager be and here is requested to report back to the City Council with this recommended list of streets.
TEXT OF COMMITTEE REPORTS
Committee Report #1
The Transportation & Public Utilities Committee held a public hearing on Sept 12, 2018, at 1:01pm in the Sullivan Chamber.
The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the guiding policy and safety priorities for regulating and permitting shared electric scooters to operate in Cambridge.
Present at the hearing were Vice Mayor Devereux, Chair of the Committee; Councillor Carlone; Councillor Mallon; Councillor Zondervan; Mayor McGovern; Councillor Siddiqui; City Manager Louis DePasquale; Deputy City Manager Lisa Peterson; Assistant City Manager for Community Development Iram Farooq; Deputy Director, CDD Khalil Mogassabi; Director of Environmental and Transportation Planning, CDD, Susanne Rasmussen; PTDM Officer, Stephanie Groll; Director of Traffic, Parking and Transportation, Joseph Barr; Assistant Director of Streets Brooke McKenna; City Solicitor Nancy Glowa; Commissioner of Public Works Owen O’Riordan; Deputy Public Works Commissioner John Nardone; Lee Gianetti, Director of Communications and Public Relations; and City Clerk Donna P. Lopez.
Also present were Eric Bourassa, MAPC; Scott Mullen, Director of Expansion, Lime; Hannah Smith, Government Manager Relations, Bird; Karl Alexander, 23 Madison Street, Somerville; Bruno Alves, Newton; Ivan Li Huang, 250 Kendall Street; Megan Morrow, 188 Willow Avenue, Somerville; Bill Halpern, 98 Allston Street; Jacob Colbert, 157 Walden Street; Brendan Kearney (WalkBoston), 45 School Street, Boston; Tim Stein, 72 Tremont Street; Frederick Hill and Susan Burris Hill, 14 Soden Street; Joseph Aiello, 207 Charles Street; Harry Grillo, Boston; and Judy Bright, Upland Road.
Vice Mayor Devereux convened the hearing and explained the purpose. She announced that the hearing was being televised. An agenda was distributed (ATTACHMENT A).
Vice Mayor Devereux gave opening remarks (ATTACHMENT B). She stated that the City is planning a pilot program for the operation of electric shared scooters. She stated that state law requires a rear brake light and turn indicator and these scooters do not comply. She is hopeful that this can be sorted out with MassDOT and the stakeholders, so a pilot can be launched.
City Manager DePasquale explained that there are questions and potential conflicts between state law and city ordinances when it comes to electric shared scooters in Cambridge. He stated that the City is working hard to resolve the questions so that an e-scooter pilot can be legally implemented under both city and state law. He stated that the City’s hands are tied until the state law changes. He acknowledged the work of the Community Development, Public Works, Traffic and Law Departments and the City Manager’s Office, who have all worked hard on this issue since Bird scooters arrived uninvited in the City this summer. The City supports making a shared electric scooter program a reality, but how to make it work for the residents presents questions to work through This is a mobility issue for the City. He stated that the goal is finding how the City can make this happen while meeting both state and local requirements.
Ms. Rasmussen gave a presentation (ATTACHMENT C). She explained the definition of shared scooters and their anticipated usage and the requirements to operate such scooters. Such scooters can travel up to 15 MPH and have a range of 20-35 miles on a full battery charge. The range can vary based on a variety of conditions and use. The scooters are removed during non-operating hours (nighttime) by the operators to be recharged and redeployed the next day. A scooter with an insufficient charge will not show up in the app as available to ride. There are a growing number of scooter companies operating nationally. The City is aware of at least twelve scooter companies. Lime and Bird are among the leading competitors. She noted that Spin has announced that they are converting their business from dock less bikes to scooters. She noted that ride hail companies also are entering the scooter market. The scooter companies have attracted significant speculative venture capital investment. She spoke about the attractions and benefits of using the scooters as well as the challenges and risks. She stated that injury reports are being seen with this new mode of transportation from hospitals in California. The small wheels could make riding a scooter risky in some conditions. It is not permitted to ride a scooter on the sidewalk. If the scooter is parked carelessly it could fall over and block the sidewalk.
Under state law they can only be operated between sunrise and sunset. The City has no experience of how scooters would operate in snowy conditions. The availability of scooters could entice some walkers to ride a scooter instead for some trips (for instance in very hot weather or when wearing shoes that aren’t comfortable for walking longer distances). The degree of mode shift that scooters could trigger is unknown at this time. She explained that Bird placed 100 scooters on the streets in Somerville and Cambridge on July 20, 2018, without notifying or seeking permission from either city. After a determination was made that these scooters do not comply with state law due to not being equipped with directional signals and brake lights, the City sent a cease and desist operation to Bird, who had not obtained a license to operate in Cambridge. When Bird declined to cease operations, the City began to impound any of their scooters found here. She commented that it is the intention of Bird and Lime to seek a license to operate in Cambridge in the near future. She highlighted the state regulation, Chapter 90 Section 1E, which outlines the current definition of a “motorized scooter.” She further explained that the regulations require the operator to be eighteen years of age or older, wear a helmet, refrain from riding on the sidewalk and operate only sunrise to sunset.
Ms. Rasmussen stated that the City amended the Traffic Regulations previously to address scooters. The municipal regulations are not the same as state regulations. In Cambridge operation can occur one half-hour before sunrise and one half-hour after sunset. Operators can be sixteen, if they wear a helmet. Scooters cannot be ridden on sidewalks, parks or off-road paths. The speed limit is 25 MPH. She stated that scooters cannot pass when they go in the same direction and must be safely parked. Where bikes are prohibited, so are scooters. She stated that these are the current municipal regulations and if the legislature amends the state requirements for scooters, riders would be permitted to operate under the Cambridge Traffic Regulations. She noted that currently the legislature is not in formal session and any regulatory changes would need to take place in informal session or not be addressed until January 2019 or after. She stated that in addition to complying with the regulations, scooter companies in Cambridge would be required to obtain a Display of Merchandise Permit under Chapter Twelve of the Municipal Code to park a scooter on a City property (the public way, which includes streets and sidewalks). These companies would need to obtain a license from the City.
Ms. Rasmussen spoke about other communities where scooters are operating. She noted that scooter share was launched one year ago in California. It is necessary to have new regulations that address scooters because existing regulations do not serve either the municipality or the user. She stated that Community Development Department has looked at general guidance issued by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and scooter regulation models that are either in place or pending in six other US cities. There are no requirements/guidelines for snowy conditions available. She highlighted the elements that should be incorporated into supporting scooter regulations. There should be a new regulation for scooter operations in Cambridge to be included in the Municipal Code. She spoke about the need for a license fee structure to be created. This could include revenue sharing for operation.
She spoke about other factors to consider such as: how long a permit for the operation of a scooter would be granted, whether there would be a minimum/maximum number of scooters permitted to operate, how violations would be handled, and what fines might be assessed for violations. These details would need to be worked out before a pilot program could be launched.
She spoke about the City not becoming responsible for insurance claims for the use of the scooters. She spoke about the safety measures especially if the scooter is not operating properly and what happens in these situations. She spoke about amending the City’s regulation to have a different current maximum speed (25 MPH), which is too fast for these stand-on devices. The scooter companies can set and control the top speed their scooters can travel. They can also set the geographic operating zones. The City is interested in sharing data for usage frequency and routes. There are also equity and user education considerations. Information could be published throughout the City in different languages. The vehicles should be deployed in an equitable manner (all areas) to serve the community as a whole. She spoke about pricing as it relates to income disparities in the community. There should be an effort to engage the community on this issue. Staff has both operational and enforcement needs to be considered. She spoke about a regional scooter roll out. She explained that there is a desire from neighboring communities to launch similar programs. MAPC has offered to play a role and assist in developing regulations. She stated that regulations may be ready by early 2019 and to coincide with the new legislative session. This is the time to think about the regulatory framework for other micro-mobility issues.
Councillor Carlone asked whether if someone buys their own scooter, these rules will apply. Ms. Rasmussen responded in the affirmative; the responsibility would be on the individual. But if the scooters are being deployed as a business, then the corporation would be responsible. Councillor Carlone asked about an identification on each scooter, such as a license number. Ms. Rasmussen stated that the scooters deployed by companies are clearly marked. Mr. Barr stated that a system is going to be created to be able to have a unique identifying mechanism by the companies.
Councillor Carlone asked about parking; the City wants to expand bike parking and it makes sense to combine the two where possible, not in the way of pedestrians. He stated that if a scooter is lying down on the sidewalk, the City may be liable, not just the provider, if there is injury. Ms. Rasmussen stated that where there are a lot of scooters in other communities there are parking corrals, but the scooters can be ridden and left anywhere. Councillor Carlone stated his concern is prime locations in the City where someone may trip. Commissioner O’Riordan stated that to the extent that resources allow, the City is picking up bikes that are parked inappropriately and the same would be done with scooters. There will be regulations stating that scooters cannot interfere with pedestrian use of the sidewalk. Scooters will be confiscated at a charge.
Ms. Farooq spoke about the license plate notion. She stated that it would work as an identifier when there is a company in charge, but the challenge is that there is no statewide or regional regulation and if they cross jurisdictional boundaries this cannot be regulated. She spoke about privately owned scooters being so portable that they are taken inside similar to a foldable bike.
Councillor Carlone cited the photographs in the presentation, noting that many scooters were on the sidewalk.
Councillor Zondervan asked if the display of merchandise fee would be per scooter or per company permit. City Solicitor Glowa stated that a license fee for the company to use the sidewalk and any other regulatory fee would be separate from this fee. Councillor Zondervan was concerned about 5-6 scooter companies doing business in Cambridge. Ms. Rasmussen responded that no conclusions have been made about the number of scooter companies operating in Cambridge. The City will start by thinking about the right number of scooters to be operating. There would need to be an approach to limit the number of companies operating or the total number of scooters. Councillor Zondervan spoke about the bike share agreement with BlueBikes. Ms. Rasmussen stated that the City owns the system; dock less bikes and scooters are a different situation. Councillor Zondervan asked about the timeline; does this mean that there will be no scooters until 2019? Ms. Rasmussen stated that as long as scooters do not comply with state regulations they cannot be permitted to operate in Cambridge.
Councillor Mallon asked for confirmation that it is because of non-compliance with the state regulations that the City needs to wait until state regulations are changed to move forward. Ms. Rasmussen responded yes, or unless the equipment changes to comply. She stated that there are two possibilities. Either the regulations change, or the equipment changes to meet the regulations.
Vice Mayor Devereux asked whether if MassDOT was willing to write a letter to clarify the legislative intent it would this give the City the ability to run a pilot program until the legislation is changed. Mr. Barr stated that the MassDOT legal counsel has stated they have no authority to do this; this is a state law. He stated that until the current state law is changed scooters must comply with the law.
Scott Mullen, Lime, noted that the City has done their homework. He stated that Lime’s equipment has identifying numbers on them in two places, a QR Code and a six-digit number.
Councillor Carlone asked can a pedestrian read them as the scooter drives by. Mr. Mullen responded in the negative. He stated that regarding parking, new “tip-over technology” has been implemented so the company is alerted if a scooter has fallen over. The roving operation teams get to the scooters quickly and correctly park them if they tip over. He stated that when ending a trip on a scooter the user needs to document how it is parked by taking a photograph. The parking job is rated in the app.
Hannah Smith, Bird, read a prepared statement (ATTACHMENT D). She stated that Bird scooters also have tip-over technology. She stated that users need to affirm by photograph that the scooters have been properly parked when ending their ride. She stated that Bird scooters have a QR Code and a six-digit number also.
Councillor Siddiqui asked about safety issues and injuries related to scooters; is this information tracked? Ms. Smith stated that Bird does keep this information. This is a new form of transportation that people are getting used to and hospitals are noticing this, too. Mr. Mullen stated that this information is tracked. Scooters are new, and it is not seen that this equipment is inherently unsafe. He stated we are not seeing any level of injuries that is not in line with cycling.
Councillor Carlone stated that in Santa Monica, CA up to 70 hospital visits due to scooter-related injuries have been reported. The news report he saw stated that these injury levels are believed to be due in part to the fact that scooters are new, and people are learning to use this equipment.
Vice Mayor Devereux asked about liability and indemnification for the companies. Mr. Mullen responded that they follow industry standards, similar to those followed by BlueBikes. Vice Mayor Devereux asked if she were riding a scooter and ran into a pedestrian would she file a claim with her auto insurance company. Vice Mayor asked what kinds of conflicts potentially happen, and whether there is any way we can think proactively to try to protect people who are either on a scooter or injured by a scooter, or whose personal property is damaged. Mr. Mullen stated that this is like any shared network, where if a user is not within the terms of the user agreement, then the responsibility is on the user, but if they are operating properly it is a different story. Ms. Smith echoed Mr. Mullen and stated that Bird indemnifies the cities where they operate. She further stated that the Bird has a broad sweeping insurance policy, and as long as the riders are within the terms of service. Vice Mayor Devereux asked whether a user can subscribe themselves to some type of insurance policy.
City Manager DePasquale stated that the best case may be a pilot in early 2019, assuming that something happens at the legislature. The City needs to do internal work and once the legislation passes the City may be able to do something in July.
Councillor Zondervan asked why the identifier cannot be placed on the scooter as a license plate so that it is easier for the consumer to report an incident. He stated that this could be a requirement in the City’s regulations. Mr. Mullen stated this can be investigated. He stated that there is not much physical real estate on the scooters and he did not know how big a license plate needed to be to be seen.
Vice Mayor Devereux asked the staff what the City will be doing and said that she would like to use MAPC as a convener to streamline the regulations. She wanted industry standards and industry safety standards set. Mr. Barr stated that the City is working collaboratively with MAPC on this issue. This is a valuable tool to work together to resolve the issues.
Councillor Mallon asked the scooter company representatives whether there is a faster adoption rate by women to scooters than to bike sharing and whether there are differences in adoption rate by gender or by socio-economic status. Mr. Mullen stated this demographic data is not automatically collected from users. He stated that based on Washington, DC survey results, the annual household income of the average scooter riders is less than bike riders. He noted a woman wearing a skirt or dress may be much more likely to get on a scooter than on a bike, especially in very hot weather. Ms. Smith stated that the socio-economic communities that were favorable to scooters averaged a yearly income of $25,000-$50,000. She noted that scooters serve and come into transportation-starved areas. Councillor Mallon spoke about lower-income communities not being as well served by the current transit opportunities. Ms. Smith stated that Bird has a discount program for low-income communities that waives the base fare for every ride, to fill the purpose of extending accessibility to transportation options to the largest number of people possible.
Vice Mayor Devereux opened the hearing to public comment at 2:07pm.
Eric Bourassa, Director of Transportation Planning with MAPC, stated that MAPC will be glad to help to be a regional coordinator of regulatory approach. He stated that delaying pilot programs to 2019 makes sense. There is a great deal of interest in this, from a variety of regional cities and towns, including Newton and Arlington. He stated that in the long-term there will be more types of innovative and on-demand mobility sharing options in the future, and the biggest issue is where all these devices will be parked and stored. He stated that in the past and present cities have dedicated a lot of public space to parking automobiles, and we must question whether more of that space can be reallocated to parking scooters and other mobility devices.
Ken Halpern, 98 Allston Street, spoke about the omission of any reference to San Diego. He stated that when Lime inundated the city with scooters and bikes there was a real traffic jam on the sidewalks. He was almost struck by a scooter. He stated that as a pedestrian he is concerned that scooter users will opt for the least dangerous area to ride, which is the sidewalk, and thus threaten pedestrians, and make walking less pleasant. He urged caution in the adoption of this technology, and doing business with these types of companies, since they are startups. He urged that the City should wait to move forward with this industry until the companies have more accountability to their shareholders. This is not in the best interest for Cambridge. Scooters will be used instead of walking. The use of lithium ion batteries and other components of the scooters are also bad for the environment. He stated that he is not arguing that these alternative transportation options shouldn’t be encouraged, however he cautioned that the tradeoffs are not as obvious as the proponents would like to make them seem.
Jacob Colbert, 157 Walden Street, stated that as a mobility impaired individual, he wants strict enforcement of operation rules, but he is also anxious for scooter use because it will help with his one-mile walk to the T every day, which is painful. He pointed out that there is a great deal of residential parking where scooters could park, and there is no reason that this space should be saved for cars.
Brendan Kearney, 45 School Street, Communications Director, WalkBoston, stated that WalkBoston’s position is that sidewalks should be reserved as a safe space for pedestrians and wheelchair users. If users of micro-mobility devices are riding on the sidewalks, that indicates that riding in the street is unsafe, and this should be addressed and remedies. Transportation options that are safe and get people out of single-occupancy vehicles can be positive additions to the mobility mix. He expressed appreciation to the City Council and City Staff for being very intentional about this process. He spoke about 40,000 deaths yearly from car crashes. He stated that 80 individuals in Massachusetts die every year from being struck by a vehicle. He stated that just last week a woman in Cambridge was struck and killed by a motorist who then fled the scene of the accident. He provided suggestions for adopting micro-mobility. He spoke about the City’s Vision Zero goals, strategically planning a bike network, redesigning streets to encourage slower speeds, creating safe lanes for low-speed travel, and creating more bike and scooter parking. He agreed with MAPC about rethinking curb management. He stated that these suggestions can be viewed at walkboston.org/dock less.
Tim Stein, 71 Tremont Street, stated that as a pedestrian, driver, cyclist and resident, his view is that scooters are not good for each of those groups of people. The advantage to scooters is that they are dock less, but the way they tend to be parked is a disadvantage to the City. He stated that to him scooters are more like litter than a means of mobility. He stated that scooters can travel as fast as cars at 20 MPH; bikes do not even travel this fast. The scooters travel in the bike lanes and can be a hazard to cyclists. He is distressed that it is inevitable that the City will have scooters. He urged caution by the City on this and encouraged the City to regulate these devices severely. Vice Mayor Devereux explained that the Bird and Lime scooters are capped at 15 MPH and won’t be traveling 20 MPH on the street.
Frederick Hill, 14 Soden Street, spoke in favor of the scooters. He would use a scooter instead of his car. He spoke about how much shared, dock less bikes are used and stated that with the right socialization and fines, scooters can be safe on the street. He believes this is a solvable problem. He stated that a lot of land, money and effort is dedicated to cars; he loves his car, but there are many negative consequences from cars, and we deal with them. Scooters are a piece of the puzzle that will make Cambridge a better city, if done right, and he looks forward to using them.
Susan Bueti Hill, 14 Soden Street, is legally blind and she spoke about accountability. She suggested being able to scan an improperly parked scooter’s barcode and report it directly. She spoke about training individuals on how and where to use scooters and making it clear where they will be allowed. She does not want them allowed on Memorial Drive on the bikeway because pedestrians share this path. She stated that scooters are quiet and move quickly. She has a concern about this. She asked if a horn or buzzer can be put on them, because she will not know when she steps into the street that she is stepping in front of a fast-moving vehicle. Vice Mayor Devereux stated that the scooters are equipped with a bell.
Megan Morrow, 188 Willow Avenue, Somerville, stated that she rides an electric bike. She is supportive of mobility initiatives that get people out of their cars. She has two concerns about safety. The first is regarding the timing of sunset and sunrise. During the winter, scooters may not be able to be used for commuting to work if they are only allowed to operate during the shorter daylight hours. The second safety concern is concerning signaling. She stated that taking your hand off the handlebars to signal a turn on the scooter is difficult.
Harry Grillo, Boston resident, stated that he has used the Bird scooter. He does not want scooters to be considered as a second-class travel mode. When a number of trips are taken, the City can reduce car usage. He stated that when restrictions are included such as riding with a helmet and only riding during daylight hours, usage is not encouraged. He wants to see the City come up with solution to parking and provide more space for these vehicles. He has the same concerns with illegally parking bikes, and loading trucks blocking the bike lanes as he does with an improperly parked scooter. He wants to see improvements to the transit network that will support these types of micro-mobility.
Joseph Aiello, 207 Charles Street, spoke about local and regional solutions and first- and last-mile options. He spoke about the $1 per scooter per day pledge by Bird for improving sidewalk infrastructure, maintaining bike lanes and repairing roads. Scooters would be a relatively quiet addition to our streets. He is glad the City is not going down a bad road by pursuing lawsuits with Bird.
Judy Bright, 283 Upland Road, spoke about driver’s licenses. She stated that per the state regulations for scooters, a driver's license is required. She questioned this policy; she stated that you do not need a driver's license to ride a bike. She stated that requiring a driver’s license seems like a barrier to the use of scooters.
At 2:31pm Vice Mayor Devereux closed public comment.
Vice Mayor Devereux spoke about the requirement to provide a driver's license for the use of scooters and asked the companies if they have a work-around for those who do not have a driver's license. Ms. Smith stated that the license is required by the company for age verification, but they could use another form of acceptable identification. Mr. Barr stated that if there will be changes in the state law, the City needs to think what it wants in those regulations.
Vice Mayor Devereux asked about reporting problems with scooters. She asked whether SeeClickFix would work for collecting this information. Commissioner O’Riordan responded that Public Works Department is overloaded, but SeeClickFix can be used to report problems.
Ms. Smith spoke about the creation of a software pipeline where complaints can go directly to the scooter company with a window of time to address the complaint. Mr. Mullen stated that the Lime consumer app or consumer number can be used to report issues directly.
Vice Mayor Devereux stated that local regulations would restrict scooters from off-road paths. She stated that the City should think about this because it would prohibit scooter use on paths. She stated that the planned Cambridge-Watertown Greenway, for example, could be wide enough to be used for scooters.
Councillor Zondervan stated that there is a positive side to the driver's license requirement because the operator of the scooter should have some understanding of the rules of the road. He suggested creating another type of license that allows someone to learn the rules of the road but not necessarily operate a motor vehicle. He asked the scooter companies if they needed to identify the user. Mr. Mullen stated that when an account is needed for Lime, an identification is not needed but they defer to local regulation. Councillor Zondervan spoke about having three separate lanes; car, trucks and. buses, one for bikes and one micro-mobility vehicles. He asked if there is a way to prevent scooters operating on the sidewalk. Mr. Mullen stated that GPS is not reliable; but there are other ways that Lime is exploring. Ms. Smith stated that the GPS can get confused getting down to spaces of 12” or less. She stated that Bird is thinking through more specific ways to address this.
Councillor Mallon stated that if scooters are viewed as shared mobility such as Hubway (BlueBikes), which asks for a date of birth and no information about her driver's license. She asked is there a different reason why you ask for a driver's license rather than a date of birth. Ms. Smith said the company needs a way to verify someone is 18. She stated that the company does not want children riding the scooters because the vehicles are fast and travel on the road.
Councillor Mallon stated that BlueBikes must have the same issue, but they do not require this information. She was concerned that this is an accessible mode of transportation and wants it to be accessible to low-income users, so she wants to remove barriers. Ms. Smith agreed and wanted to find the most equitable solution. Councillor Mallon stated that the state regulations also require a driver's license and she stated that the City needs to know how it will be advocating with the MAPC and asking for the right thing for Cambridge. She wanted this conversation in June before scooters were placed on the City sidewalks without warning. Vice Mayor Devereux stated that BlueBikes uses the honor system in terms of age. She stated that if the City were operating a municipal bike share program on the honor system then the City could be comfortable for other devices. Mr. Barr stated that this is assuming that the state law is changed. He stated that if this were removed from the state requirement it would not be difficult to remove from the municipal regulations. Ms. Rasmussen stated that the Traffic Regulations states 16 or over as well as for BlueBikes. There is an age limitation without documentation.
Mayor McGovern asked whether if a scooter is left on a sidewalk as an obstruction, what is the turnaround time to rectify the situation? Mr. Mullen responded that his company has a contractual obligation to respond within three hours, but they are usually much quicker. He stated that the negative impact is easily mitigated. Ms. Smith stated that Bird removes devices obstructing sidewalks in less than thirty minutes, or as quickly as possible. Mayor McGovern referenced possibly thirteen different scooter companies that may want to operate in Cambridge and stated that the City needs to discuss how to deal with this many different players. He stated he is concerned with enforcement. The police are going to be asked to perform this enforcement and they are not represented at the hearing today. He does not see BlueBikes blocking sidewalks or left in the neighborhoods because they are docked. He spoke about issuing penalties to the companies to hold them more accountable. He stated that safety is the City’s responsibility. He wants this done in the safest manner.
Councillor Carlone stated that this is a competition; companies will be asked to submit a proposal that will be evaluated. A decision will be made. He stated that this should be limited by either the number of scooters or number of companies allowed in the City.
Vice Mayor Devereux stated that there would not be thirteen companies operating in Cambridge because it would be self-limiting economically. She asked if other companies, other than Bird and Lime, are requesting to operate here. Ms. Rasmussen stated that Lyft has expressed an interest. Vice Mayor Devereux asked about whether a municipal scooter company operated by Cambridge/Boston/Somerville/Brookline has been discussed. Mr. Barr responded in the negative. Ms. Rasmussen stated that the operational responsibilities are significant. Ms. Farooq said that when considering a long-term commitment to scooters, these policy questions are at the forefront. The City needs a unified strategy. Vice Mayor Devereux spoke about the mobility study that CDD is already starting.
Councillor Kelley was not able to attend the hearing but submitted his comments (ATTACHMENT E).
The following communications were received and made part of the report:
Communication from Jennie Nevins in support of a scooter pilot program (ATTACHMENT F).
Communication from Ian Schneider, PhD Student, institute for Data, Systems and Society, MIT, urging the City to move quickly to implement a permitting system for electric scooters (ATTACHMENT G).
Communication from James Williamson, 1000 Jackson Place, urging the City before it moves on to a new mode of transportation it should demonstrate that the City has a solid grip on regulating bicycles (ATTACHMENT H).
Councillor Zondervan stated that there is a fifteen-minute requirement in the City ordinance to clear an obstruction from the sidewalk; it should apply to scooters.
Mr. Mullen stated that this is an opportunity for Cambridge to determine what it wants and shape the outcomes the city is seeking. This is a chance to re-envision how we move around the city, and how we solve problems that arise. Lime’s municipal partners have access to the company’s open data dashboard from the start, to help improve planning decisions.
Ms. Smith stated that she is grateful for the partnership on this. Bird wants to come to Cambridge and to create a new transportation system from scratch.
Vice Mayor Devereux thanked all those present for their attendance.
The hearing adjourned at 3:01pm.
For the Committee,
Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, Chair
Committee Report #2
The Transportation & Public Utilities Committee held a public hearing on Sept 20, 2018, at 3:03pm in the Sullivan Chamber.
The purpose of the hearing was to discuss reducing the speed limit to 20 MPH on residential streets citywide and the creation of 20 MPH safety zones on certain other streets.
Present at the hearing were Vice Mayor Devereux, Chair of the Committee; Councillor Carlone; Councillor Kelley; Councillor Mallon; Councillor Zondervan; Councillor Siddiqui; Director, Transportation and Environmental Planning, CDD, Susanne Rasmussen; Public Works Commissioner Owen O’Riordan; Director of Traffic, Parking and Transportation Joe Barr; Brooke, McKenna, Assistant Director for Street Management, Traffic; Patrick Baxter, Traffic Engineer; Deputy Superintendent of Police Jack Albert; Police Lieutenant Rick Riley; City Solicitor Nancy Glowa; and City Clerk Donna P. Lopez.
Also present were Louisa Gag, (Livable Streets Alliance) 70 Pacific Street; Brendan Kearney (WalkBoston); Robert Winters, 366 Broadway; Judith Nathans, 511 Putnam Avenue; and Jean Turner, 130 Oxford Street.
Vice Mayor Devereux convened the hearing and explained the purpose. She announced that the hearing is being privately audio recorded. She stated that the City succeeded in receiving approval from the state reset the default speed limit citywide to 25 MPH and to create 20 MPH safety zones, which it has done in the five main Squares. She stated that many residents express concern to the Council about cars speeding on residential streets especially the ones used as cut-through routes by people trying to avoid congestion. The use of GPS navigation apps has increased this. She stated that the reason for this hearing is to discuss whether the City can reduce the speed limit to 20 MPH on more residential streets.
Mr. Barr stated that the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department has received requests for more safety zones, and this issue came up from a Policy Order directed to his department. The City is seeking input from the City Council and the public as to where the City can go from here. He is looking for the Council’s policy guidance to help set the criteria on controlling the speed of cars in the City.
Ms. McKenna spoke about the next round of safety zones. A presentation was given entitled “20 MPH Safety Zones” (ATTACHMENT A). She stated that a small difference in speed can have a huge effect on the outcome of a crash. Local control gave the City the ability to have a 25 MPH speed limit citywide, with a 20 MPH limit for safety zones. She spoke about what safety zones allow the City to do. She compared the default speed and the safety zone speed. Safety zones must have signs posted indicating the speed limit of 20 MPH. In March 2018, the City instituted safety zones in all the Squares throughout the City. She explained why Squares were chosen to be the first safety zones. The Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and the Vision Zero working group have discussed what their next steps are for expanding safety zones.
She spoke about equity in relation to Vision Zero. She stated that a car traveling 25 MPH may be perceived differently depending on the area of the City, and that the same speed may seem faster or slower in different types of streets in the City. She stated that residents express that 25 MPH feels too fast on residential streets. She spoke about the City’s traffic calming program.
Ms. McKenna stated that an analysis was performed to review the high-crash areas of the City. The Squares are high-crash areas. Next the high-priority locations near schools and playgrounds were reviewed. There is an ⅛-mile buffer zone around each high-priority area, and around high-crash areas. She noted that many of these locations are already included in the Square safety zones. She stated that this method does not address all the concerns about residential streets, though.
Councillor Carlone stated that he does not see any reason why a car has to go fast on a residential street. Growing up, he played ball in the street in New York, and it should be a safe space. If we want to promote families’ interests, we must reduce speeds; they go together. Creating safety zones in the Squares makes sense. He stated that all residential streets should be 20 MPH. This is obvious to him. He stated that major ways should not necessarily be 20 MPH, however.
Councillor Zondervan spoke about a recent traffic fatality of a pedestrian that led to a stabbing in Watertown. He suggested experimenting with switching some of the specific streets that residents have requested to be 20 MPH for a time so see how it goes, and then revisiting the issue. He noted that enforcement can be a red herring. If some drivers take the message and slow down, it could have an impact on other streets. He spoke about the data: all residential streets are not created equal. He stated that more dense areas have more crashes. He spoke about how it feels to go a certain speed depending on the street; on Galileo Way, a speed that might seem too fast on other streets seems too slow. He suggested that the City could try the experiments and then justify changes later. He stated that too much signage could present an issue, as well.
Councillor Mallon spoke about traffic enforcement and how this is accomplished in the Squares. She wanted to just make the changes and not experiment, and supported changing the speed limit for all residential streets to 20 MPH. She suggested using pavement markings for the 20 MPH rather than installing upright signs. She stated that with the increase in traffic in Inman Square, cars are looking for faster routes along residential streets, and vehicles are often speeding on these streets as a result. She spoke about micro-mobility devices like scooters and the anticipated need to decrease cars’ speed so that it is closer to the speed of micro-mobility devices.
Councillor Kelley stated that he would reduce the speed limit on every street to 3 MPH if he could. He stated that changing the speed limit citywide to 20 MPH is legally possible, and this change should be made immediately. Perception is important, and the City is relying too heavily on crash data before making changes.
Vice Mayor Devereux stated that she is in the “just do it” camp. She feels violated when motorists speed down her street. She noted that we are all evolving to look at streets differently. The streets are a public shared space and drivers may need to give some things up. She favored putting markings on the pavement but said she does not care that there are too many signs. She stated that a 25 MPH speed limit on Huron Avenue may be realistic, but all the streets that feed into it should be capped at 20 MPH.
Vice Mayor Devereux asked about using cameras for speed enforcement. Mr. Barr stated that this method requires state authority. The EZ Pass is the only instance where this is used. He explained that New York had to deactivate its speed cameras. The City supports using speed cameras but does not have the legal authority to do so at this time.
City Solicitor Glowa stated that in cases where cameras reading license plates have been used, it is difficult to prosecute because it is hard to prove the identity of the driver. She further stated that this would require home rule legislation. Councillor Kelley supported camera usage and stated that the City could issue a violation similar to a parking ticket (rather than a moving violation that goes on the driver's record) if it uses cameras for speed enforcement.
Councillor Carlone spoke about crash statistics that show slower speeds can save lives. He expressed concern about the perpetrators who are routinely and knowingly driving over the speed limit.
Councillor Mallon asked how cameras used for speeding fit with the Surveillance Ordinance. She asked Deputy Superintendent Albert about enforcement of 20 MPH. Deputy Superintendent Albert stated that the police track the car using a radar gun and he is not seeing speeding in the Squares. Congestion slows traffic down to 20 MPH.
Councillor Zondervan stated that an interesting aspect is that the default speed of 25 MPH cannot posted except at jurisdictional boundaries, so if we made more streets 20 MPH where signs are required to be posted, people might assume that every street was 20 MPH. He stated that the camera issue is controversial with running red lights but makes sense for speed. This would be a technology that would be regulated by the Surveillance Ordinance.
Mr. Barr stated that many programs do treat cameras as a parking ticket and have few privacy issues. In the last state legislative session there was an omnibus bill that included speed cameras, but the legislation did not go through.
Vice Mayor Devereux talked about when residential streets are reconstructed, and traffic calming features are added; if the speed limit was set at 20 MPH then the road design itself should support lower speeds, so there might be less need for enforcement.
Vice Mayor Devereux opened public comment at 3:45pm.
Louisa Gag, Livable Streets Alliance, stated that reducing speed increases safety. She stated that when Boston’s default street speed limit was reduced it was shown to increase safety. The faster a car is going, the more likely a person walking or riding a bike is to be seriously injured during a crash. She spoke about implementing Vision Zero and designs such as raised crosswalks that increase safety. She submitted her comments (ATTACHMENT B).
Brendan Kearney, Walk Boston, spoke in favor of 20 MPH. He thanked Representative Denise Provost for putting safety zones into the state bill. He stated that the City could ask for lower speeds on state roads but that the state would have to approve. The IIH study eliminates the need for doing a traffic study before reducing a speed limit. He spoke about consistency of safety zones and that people may think 20 MPH is citywide. Boston’s process was more robust, and many communities wanted this. There is a broad desire for slower streets.
Robert Winters, 366 Broadway, stated that if the state passed legislation to reduce the speed to 15 MPH the City Council would approve this. He spoke about 85 percentile and in the 15 percentile is the scofflaws and will not be affected by this. He is in favor of a lower speed limit throughout the city. Doing this where it makes sense is fine. He spoke about the geometry of the streets and said the speed should be determined by the width of the street. It is silly that all streets be 20 MPH. He spoke about legislature for 15 MPH for a shared street.
Jean Turner, 130 Oxford Street, stated that she mostly bikes and walks, but when she rents a car she goes 20 MPH. Those who drive faster do not see things such as crosswalks. She stated the Oxford Street feels residential to her. There is a safety zone around the Baldwin School, but there is also an after-school program and the whole street should be slower.
At 3:56pm Vice Mayor Devereux closed public comment.
Vice Mayor Devereux suggested that the City staff come back with recommendations for all the residential streets that could be reduced to 20 MPH. She stated that Oxford Street is effectively one long school zone because there are so many students crossing around Harvard and Lesley. She noted that there are a lot of entirely residential streets in Cambridge where 20 MPH makes sense.
Mr. Barr spoke about doing this based on geometry. He stated that Oxford Street has for a long time had a successful traffic calming. 20 MPH feels right because of the street design.
Councillor Carlone spoke about arteries and main roads in the City that will not have a lower speed. He stated that the neighbors on Oxford Street had to fight for the redesign.
Vice Mayor Devereux spoke about streets with MBTA busses and asked whether the MBTA would resist reducing the speed limit on bus routes if it would affect their schedules. Mr. Barr noted that busses are not made to travel fast. He spoke about emergency vehicles.
Councillor Kelley asked why we would not want to also reduce the speed on the major thoroughfare where the conflicts are. It would send the message that Cambridge is a slow city.
Vice Mayor Devereux stated that there are a few main streets that are not designed to go this slow, such as the underpass at Massachusetts Avenue and Cambridge Street.
Vice Mayor Devereux made the following motion:
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to direct the Director of Traffic, Parking and Transportation to provide the City Council with a list of streets where it is recommended that the speed be reduced to 20 MPH; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and here is requested to report back to the City Council with this recommended list of streets.
The motion carried on a voice vote of four members.
Councillor Zondervan commented that setting 20 MPH on Broadway would not impact the traffic congestion.
Vice Mayor Devereux submitted a communication received from Ivers Bever and Reed Witherby, 37 Larch Road, in support of lowering the speed limits to 20 MPH throughout Cambridge (ATTACHMENT C).
Mr. Barr stated that lowering the speed limit citywide does not provide more personnel for enforcement. Automotive enforcement can be looked at. Streets where the speed limit is reduced would be studied for the impact of the change after the fact.
Vice Mayor Devereux thanked all those present for their attendance.
The hearing adjourned at 4:11pm.
For the Committee,
Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, Chair
AWAITING REPORT LIST
16-26. Report on the possibility of the City Council implementing a zoning change, on the permitting of all new restaurants where a wood-fired oven is used as a significant method of food preparation. On a communication from Councillor Kelley requesting that this matter be forwarded to the 2018-2019 Legislative Session.
Councillor Carlone, Councillor Devereux, Councillor Kelley (O-5) from 4/4/2016
16-42. Report on plans for the former Riverside Community Health Center on Western Avenue, including transfer of ownership of the building to the City and the process for determining future usage. On a communication from Councillor Kelley requesting that this matter be forwarded to the 2018-2019 Legislative Session.
Vice Mayor McGovern (O-1) from 5/2/2016
16-83. Report on drafting possible legislation and other recommendations for interim actions to identify and address the public health impacts of any commercial wood-fired ovens. On a communication from Councillor Kelley requesting that this matter be forwarded to the 2018-2019 Legislative Session.
Mayor Simmons (Calendar Item #4) from 10/31/2016
16-101. Report on the potential of building below market rental housing on City-owned parking lots along Bishop Allen Drive. On a communication from Councillor McGovern requesting that this matter be forwarded to the 2018-2019 Legislative Session.
Vice Mayor McGovern, Mayor Simmons (O-4) from 12/12/2016
16-108. Report on whether people displaced and qualify for Emergency Status who are using Section 8 in other cities or towns can retain their resident preference for the purpose of Inclusionary Housing. On a communication from Councillor Kelley requesting that this matter be forwarded to the 2018-2019 Legislative Session.
Mayor Simmons, Councillor Toomey (O-4) from 12/19/2016
17-22. Report on the potential growth of next-generation wireless technology in the City, to include: the expected footprint of citywide coverage from just one company and what market competition might produce; the integration of public and private infrastructure to support the network; what local standards the City might hope to maintain relative to aesthetics and safety; and how this new technology fits into our Broadband access plans. On a communication from Councillor Kelley requesting that this matter be forwarded to the 2018-2019 Legislative Session.
Councillor Cheung, Councillor Devereux, Councillor Kelley (O-14) from 2/27/2017
17-60. Report on the feasibility of making the section of Kinnaird Street between River Street and Western Avenue into a one-way. REFERRED BACK TO THE CITY MANAGER TO ARRANGE COMMUNITY MEETING ON MOTION OF VICE MAYOR MCGOVERN ON NOV 13, 2017 . On a communication from Councillor McGovern requesting that this matter be forwarded to the 2018-2019 Legislative Session.
Vice Mayor McGovern, Mayor Simmons (O-4) from 8/7/2017
17-87. Report on a schedule for resubmitting a revised draft of the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance that incorporates clearer wording and/or more clearly explains each section in less technical jargon and is more coherent in its entirety, with the goal of seeing such an Ordinance adopted by the end of this City Council term. On a communication from Councillor Kelley and Councillor Devereux requesting that this matter be forwarded to the 2018-2019 Legislative Session.
Councillor Carlone, Councillor Devereux (O-8) from 9/18/2017
18-4. Report on exploring mechanisms for achieving greater levels of snow clearing by the city and increase the public response during major snow events or heavy snow winters.
Councillor Zondervan, Mayor McGovern, Vice Mayor Devereux (O-5) from 1/22/2018
18-6. Report on information regarding electronic device usage by City-elected officials.
Councillor Toomey (O-7) from 1/22/2018
18-7. Report on the possibility of changing the snow removal exemption to include two and three-family houses.
Councillor Toomey (O-1) from 1/29/2018
18-9. Report on necessary repairs to the Gold Star Mothers Park and all play and water feature, including drainage issues, with an eye towards mitigating the impacts of local construction and the development of a plan with the community for improving this significant piece of open space.
Councillor Mallon, Councillor Toomey (O-3) from 1/29/2018
18-10. Report on creating a list of mitigated meeting and conference room private spaces that are available to the public, what the exact eligibility of using these spaces is, and making the list available to the public.
Councillor Toomey (O-5) from 1/29/2018
18-11. Report on the potential of utilizing trenchless technology, micro tunneling and/or pipe jacking to lessen the time and impact on the residents of Gore Street.
Councillor Toomey, Councillor Kelley, Councillor Mallon (O-6) from 1/29/2018
18-12. Report on maximizing the community benefits from and mitigating the impacts of the Cambridge Crossing sewer construction.
Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Toomey (O-8) from 1/29/2018
18-15. Report on any other relevant City Department to gain a sense of who is purchasing buildings in Cambridge.
Councillor Simmons (O-3) from 2/5/2018
18-21. Report on the feasibility of initiating a formal transit study and action plan of the Alewife area in response to unanimous concerns of the Envision Alewife Working Group.
Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Kelley, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Siddiqui (O-7) from 2/26/2018
18-27. Report on why there continues to be significant audio and video difficulties during live internet broadcasts of City Council meetings.
Councillor Simmons (Calendar Item #1) from 3/5/2018
18-37. Report on the possibility of accepting the City of Boston's invitation to join their intergenerational housing pilot program.
Councillor Mallon, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Toomey (O-1) from 3/26/2018
18-38. Report on inventory of all City-owned vacant buildings and lots and the City's plans for them, if any.
Councillor Mallon, Councillor Simmons, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui (O-2) from 3/26/2018
18-40. Report on notifying the owners of the former Harvard Square Theater to provide a firm schedule for when they will submit their application to the Cambridge Historical Commission and a projected timeline for the rest of the process.
Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Carlone (O-8) from 4/2/2018
18-44. Report on ensuring an additional commitment of $20 million from the City’s budget is devoted over the next five years toward the City’s efforts to preserve and create affordable housing units.
Councillor Simmons, Councillor Siddiqui (O-6) from 4/23/2018
18-53. Report on an updated schedule for resubmitting a revised draft of the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance that incorporates suggestions from the Light Cambridge Committee by June 11, 2018.
Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Carlone (O-1) from 5/14/2018
18-58. Report on the Housing Committee and how the City could establish a method of eviction data collection.
Councillor Simmons, Councillor Siddiqui (O-5) from 5/21/2018
18-60. Report on a small business parking pilot that would allow temporary on-street employee parking during typical daytime operating hours.
Councillor Mallon, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Simmons (Calendar Item #1) from 5/14/2018
18-61. Report on commissioning a public art piece, statue, or memorial that would commemorate the dedication of women in Cambridge to passing the Nineteenth Amendment.
Councillor Mallon, Councillor Simmons, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui (O-5) from 6/4/2018
18-62. Report on acquiring Big Belly Solar trash cans to replace the current open top trash receptacles, with an emphasis on the business districts.
Mayor McGovern, Councillor Mallon, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Carlone (O-1) from 6/18/2018
18-65. Report on working with the Mayor’s Summer Youth Program and other appropriate City departments to organize a Town Hall Meeting for Cambridge youth.
Councillor Simmons, Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern (O-5) from 6/18/2018
18-66. Report on establishing a Young Adult Civic Unity Committee to be modeled after the Citizen Civic Unity Committee and to recruit applicants from all across the community and across all socio-economic backgrounds.
Councillor Simmons (O-7) from 6/18/2018
18-67. Report on allocating additional supplemental funds in the FY19 Budget and a line item allocated in the FY20 Budget for legal aid contracts so that more legal assistance is available to residents facing displacement and other housing-related emergencies.
Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Carlone, Mayor McGovern (O-10) from 6/18/2018
18-68. Report on determining the permitting and legality issues of Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing in the City of Cambridge.
Councillor Kelley, Councillor Zondervan (O-11) from 6/18/2018
18-69. Report on identifying additional opportunities to plant trees in public spaces throughout the city, particularly in underserved areas of the city, and present a timeline in which this will happen including any necessary fiscal appropriations, as a part of the broader effort to rebuild our declining tree canopy.
Councillor Zondervan, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Simmons (O-12) from 6/18/2018
18-70. Report whenever a city owned public tree (not considered a “street tree” under 87.3) must be removed for reason other than disease or threat to public safety, and that a public hearing be scheduled prior to its removal.
Councillor Zondervan, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Kelley (O-13) from 6/18/2018
18-73. Report on establishing and implementing a dynamic new initiative that will seek to place Port residents (ages 18 and over) on paths to jobs with family-sustaining wages.
Councillor Simmons (O-6) from 6/25/2018
18-76. Report on including a Job Linkage fee to the list of topics being evaluated in the upcoming Incentive Zoning Nexus Study.
Councillor Siddiqui, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Simmons (O-11) from 6/25/2018
18-78. Report on meeting with representatives from DCR, Friends of Magazine Beach, the cycling community, and all other stakeholders to develop a design and funding plan to ensure that the essential safety upgrades to the Paul Dudley White Community Path are completed to complement the ongoing Magazine Beach renovations.
Councillor Zondervan, Vice Mayor Devereux (O-13) from 6/25/2018
18-79. Report on the Grand Junction Overlay District and provide update in September.
Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Carlone (O-2) from 7/30/2018
18-81. Report on efforts to be made to ensure that at least one public building at an accessible location can be open on a Sunday or holiday that coincides with an extreme heat event.
Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui (O-4) from 7/30/2018
18-83. Report on an action plan to work with the City’s Community-Based Organizations to create a network of summertime evening programming to reduce the threat of violence in the City’s public spaces in 2019 and beyond.
Councillor Simmons, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Toomey, Councillor Mallon (O-9) from 7/30/2018
18-85. Report on the feasibility of appointing an advisory committee to work through resiliency elements raised during the Envision process and through the Brown petition.
Councillor Toomey (O-13) from 7/30/2018
18-86. Report on the feasibility of adopting a policy of replacing any failed 4000K LED streetlights with warmer alternatives as opportunities arise, and offering shielding/filtering upon request from nearby residents whenever possible.
Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Devereux (O-14) from 7/30/2018
18-87. Report on the navigational editing capabilities of the City of Cambridge.
Councillor Kelley, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Mallon, Vice Mayor Devereux (O-16) from 7/30/2018
18-88. Report on contracting with an outside survey company to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of inclusionary tenants' experiences, with a particular emphasis on biased practices.
Councillor Mallon, Councillor Simmons, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui (O-17) from 7/30/2018
18-89. Reporting on establishing an Inman Square Business Impact Plan ahead of formally initiating the Inman Square street reconfiguration process.
Councillor Simmons, Councillor Mallon (O-6) from 9/17/2018
18-90. Report on the feasibility of establishing a crosswalk at the intersection of Soden Street and Western Avenue.
Councillor Simmons (Calendar Item #3) from 9/24/2018
18-91. Report on drafting a plan that shall allow the Mayor’s Annual Harvard Senior Luncheon to be held regardless of the weather conditions.
Councillor Simmons, Councillor Siddiqui (Calendar Item #4) from 9/24/2018
18-92. Report on increasing enforcement of the Bike Lane Bill to keep our bicycle infrastructure free and unobstructed.
Mayor McGovern, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan (Calendar Item #6) from 9/24/2018
18-93. Report on the sale of The Constellation Center's Parcel C in Kendall Square.
Councillor Kelley, Councillor Toomey (Calendar Item #7) from 9/24/2018
18-94. Report on considering to work with consultants and other available resources to help incorporate data access and management concerns into discussions, permits and licenses for new mobility platforms.
Councillor Kelley (Calendar Item #8) from 9/24/2018
18-95. Report on the change in parking regulations which does not allow for property owners to park in front of their own driveways.
Councillor Toomey (Calendar Item #9) from 9/24/2018
18-96. Report on how the City views internet-based platforms as opportunities for outreach and communication and what sort of guidelines have been, or are being, developed to help everyone understand how the City’s various departments do or do not utilize these communication resources and how any communications on these platforms are managed so that the messaging and information is kept up-to-date.
Councillor Kelley (Calendar Item #10) from 9/24/2018
18-97. Report on updating the vacant property database as well as reviewing the strategies presented in the Storefront Vacancies Best Practices Report.
Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Carlone (Calendar Item #12) from 9/24/2018
18-98. Report on the recognition of National Energy Awareness Month, as a means of highlighting the importance of achieving the goals set forth in the Net Zero Action Plan.
Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Zondervan (O-1) from 9/24/2018
18-99. Report on the creation and implementation of a survey or other feedback mechanism for individuals who have been in contact with the Human Rights Commission.
Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Mallon (O-2) from 9/24/2018
18-100. Report on taking all possible immediate actions to preserve and restore Linear Park.
Councillor Zondervan, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Kelley (O-3) from 9/24/2018