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February 2015 Minutes

Porter Square Neighbors Association
Meeting Minutes
February 19, 2015, 7-9PM
North Cambridge Senior Center
2050 Massachusetts Avenue

Agenda

  • Proposed By-Laws Change
  • Snow
  • MBTA
  • Other

Proposed By-Laws Change

Over the last several years it has been increasingly difficult to insure that there are enough qualified voters to have the required quorum (6 eligible voting members) for the annual election of officers. In order to eliminates the impact of cancelled meetings on eligibility, but maintain the desired requirement for prior involvement, it is proposed to amend the by-laws as follows:

Existing:

A member shall be eligible to vote if his or her dues have been paid on or before the date of the meeting on which a vote is taken and he or she has attended either (i) at least two previous meetings in the preceding six months or (ii) at least four meetings in the previous year.

Proposed revision:

A member shall be eligible to vote if his or her dues have been paid on or before the date of the meeting on which a vote is taken and he or she has attended either (i) at least two of the previous six meetings or (ii) at least four of the previous twelve meetings, limited to the previous 24 months.

The phrase “limited to the previous 24 months” was added at the meeting, responding to concerns that the eligibility period should have some time limit.

Snow

We discussed the impact of this year’s record breaking snow on Porter Square and agreed to write a letter to the city (DPW, with copies to other officials) thanking them for their efforts and pointing out specific areas needing special attention.

Kudos:

- The MBTA for clearing all sidewalks near to their station, including Somerville Avenue all the way to and on both sides of the Beacon Street bridge.
- Cambridge DPW for their ongoing efforts to remove snow in critical areas.

Problem spots:

- All crosswalks leading from the MBTA station. The MBTA has done a good job at their ends, but adequate openings on the other side of both Somerville and Massachusetts Avenue were late coming.
- The north end of Davenport Street, where delivery trucks need to maneuver into the Star Market loading dock without blocking Elm Street.
- The central part of the crosswalk at the north end of Beech Street, joining the islands on the south side of Elm. This is a Somerville issue and apparently requires a special Bobcat visit, so it needs closer attention.

Massachusetts Avenue is particularly important. Plowing, which just moves snow onto sidewalks, is not enough. We urge the city to devote additional resources to snow removal, clearing Mass Ave all the way to the curb line, opening up bus stops and crosswalks, opening adequate lines of sight at intersections, and uncovering fire hydrants and (eventually) parking meters.

During discussion it was also mentioned that https://www.cambridgema.gov/iReport provides a way to report and track unshoveled or icy sidewalks, as well as potholes, icy streets, and many other problems. Somerville also accepts reports via their 311 service (dial 617-666-3311 outside of Somerville.)

MBTA

Without the MBTA many of us wouldn’t even be living in Porter Square. Fixing it is a huge and complex topic extending far beyond Cambridge, but still it is clearly relevant to PSNA. We discussed drafting a letter emphasizing the importance of reliable transit and bus service to us, and to the oft-stated goal of providing affordable housing close to public transportation.

Other

The status of the Kaya hotel and the Bob Slate building was raised, with the intention to invite appropriate developers' representatives to the next PSNA meeting.