East Cambridge email — sample

From: Kelley, Craig
Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2015 1:50 PM
Subject: Some Eastern Cambridge items on Council's Monday night agenda


There are a few things on Monday’s Council agenda I thought you might find interesting. Perhaps the most important issues are about the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA) and both its desires to rezone its section of Kendall Square and its relationship with its sort of ‘co-owner’, Boston Properties. I’ve pasted links to those discussions below and encourage you to read them yourselves. The CRA/MXD rezoning proposal (especially in conjunction with possible redevelopment at the Volpe site) could have a big impact on Eastern Cambridge and the more we know about who can do what and why, the more useful any relevant discussions will go. Right now, my position on both of those land use issues is that until we (meaning all of us) have access to good data on who owns cars in what types of units, who is living in those units (age, number of residents, kids in what school grades, etc.), we shouldn’t be talking about building big new projects. We should have a lot more information- and that information, arguably, exists even if we haven’t developed it in reasonably accessible forms yet. With this much development proposed, it seems reasonable to use this moment to collect, present and then use this data.

You can read a committee report on “CRA to amend the Zoning Ordinance in the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Plan area (KSURP) and to amend the current zoning for the MXD District in Kendall Square to reflect the proposed changes to the Plan” here: http://www2.cambridgema.gov/cityClerk/CommitteeReport.cfm?instance_id=922

You can read the CRA’s letter on the future relationship between Boston Properties and the CRA here: http://www2.cambridgema.gov/CityOfCambridge_Content/documents/CRA%20BP%20response%20101415.pdf

You can read CPD Commssioner Haas’ letter on the one way traffic from South Street in Somerville here: http://www2.cambridgema.gov/CityOfCambridge_Content/documents/South%20St%20responses.pdf

You can also read a brief update on the ongoing Longfellow Bridge construction project. Now it’s looking like, if all goes well, it’ll be mostly usable by the end of 2018. I’m not sure I’d bet on it, but I think there’s no doubt that everyone working on the project realizes that finishing it as soon as possible is an important goal.

Finally, there is a letter about trying to manage one-way traffic off of South Street into Cambridge and a request to have the City clean or otherwise deal with catch basins along Cambridge Street that smell badly (often an issue during dry seasons when there is not enough water in the system to keep some types of catch basins full enough to act as barriers to sewer gas).

If you’d like to come talk about any of these issues at City Council Monday night, you can sign up by phone between 9 AM and 3 PM on Monday at 617-3349-4290. You may also sign up in person at City Hall from 5-6:00 PM. Public comment, limited to three minutes per speaker, starts at 5:30(ish) and lasts at least until 6:00, though if there are enough speakers we often go later. At the end of public comment, people who missed the sign-in window are generally asked if they’d like to speak anyway.

Thanks a lot and enjoy the rest of this (cold) day.


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City Manager Letter

October 19, 2015

To the Honorable, the City Council:

In response to Awaiting Report 15-31, regarding an update on the reconstruction of the Longfellow Bridge including a timeline for completion of the project, Traffic, Parking and Transportation Director Joseph Barr and Commissioner of Public Works Owen O'Riordan report the following:

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) project to reconstruct the Longfellow Bridge connecting Cambridge and Boston began in mid-2013 and was originally planned to take approximately three and a half years. However, progress on construction has proceeded more slowly than originally planned, due to a number of unexpected existing conditions that became apparent once construction began in earnest. Construction was further complicated by the need to ensure the proper preservation of historic elements of the bridge, maintain one direction of vehicular traffic flow, and ensure bi-directional traffic flow for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transportation.

In August of this year, MassDOT announced a significant delay in the projected completion date for the project, with a new estimated completion date of Fall 2019. However, to mitigate the impact of this substantial delay, MassDOT has developed a plan to accelerate certain critical elements of the project, to allow for "substantial beneficial use" of the bridge by the end of 2018. This would include reopening the bridge to two-way vehicular traffic while maintaining full access for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transportation. While City staff are concerned about this delay in completing the project, we generally believe that motorists have adjusted to the current changes in traffic patterns and will continue to do so during the extended construction period. We have asked that MassDOT investigate the impacts of the extended construction on other large construction projects. In particular, we requested that they closely look at the period during which the Green Line will need to be shut down for the construction of the new Lechmere Station, which will increase traffic on the Craigie/Museum of Science Bridge, which is one of the detour routes for the Longfellow Bridge. While we do not anticipate major problems, we feel that it is particularly important that the interests of users of sustainable transportation modes be fully considered.

MassDOT undertook a number of activities to inform stakeholders and the general public about this significant change in schedule, including a tour of the project site for key officials from both Cambridge and Boston, major updates to the project web site, and public information meetings on both sides of the river in September. Additional details on the status of the Longfellow Bridge reconstruction project is available on the updated project web site at http://www.mass.gov/massdot/longfellowbridge.

Very truly yours,

Policy Order Resolution



October 19, 2015

WHEREAS: Catch basins along Cambridge Street continue to emit foul odors; and
WHEREAS: These odors typically occur during extended dry spells; and
WHEREAS: Recent heavy rains have not improved the problem, and in some cases the odor has become worse; and
WHEREAS: The problem is most pronounced between Berkshire Street and Eighth Street and also at the intersection of Bristol and Cardinal Medeiros; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Commissioner of Public Works to assess all the catch basins along Cambridge Street to be certain vents and traps are functioning correctly and determine if any need to be replaced or repaired; and be it further
ORDERED: That the Department of Public Works consider long-term fixes to this issue that will either maintain proper water levels or a solution that does not rely on maintaining water levels and report back to the City Council on these matters.

Craig Kelley with Hope sign