July 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 3:00pm


  • Brief updates:
    • Davenport Street mural
    • 2017 City Council Candidates’ Forum
    • Shop and Eat on Mass Ave
  • Left turn from Shopping Center

Davenport Street Mural The mural committee has selected three candidates for inclusion: Jean Keldys, Noa Hall, and Karen Klinger. Josh Winer is already working on an image of Jean Keldys. Committee members have offered $250 each, but no additional funding for the additional figures is yet forthcoming. 2017 Candidates' Forum We're now up to thirty (yes, 30!) candidates have registered so far. Lesley has scheduled the University Hall Ampitheater for the evening of October 18. Agassiz Neighborhood, the Ward 10 Democratic Committee, North Cambridge Stabilization Committee, and Association of Cambridge Neighborhoods have all agreed to co-sponsor the forum and will join the steering committee, which will meet again in early September. Next steps are to mail invitations to all the candidates and prepare publicity materials, once the registration period closes at the end of July. Shop and Eat on Mass AVE Ruth Ryals is working on an update to our map of businesses along Mass Ave, and is looking for help updating the current (2015) version. Left turn from Shopping Center Patrick Baxter from the Traffic, Parking, and Transportation department gave us an update on plans to redesign the Massachusetts / Somerville Avenue intersection. They are close to hiring a design consultant, and hope to present a 25% design to the neighborhood this fall. The preliminary plan is to a) eliminate the ambiguous left/straight middle lane on Mass Ave southbound, b) improve safety for bikes turning left from Mass Ave by making the jug-handle easier and faster to use, c) improve throughput by replacing the left turn out of the parking lot onto Mass Ave with a left turn from Somerville Ave (southbound cars exiting the parking lot would use White Street), and d) make the crosswalk from the MBTA station northbound on Mass Ave run concurrently with cars on Mass Ave. The project will consist mostly of re-striping lanes and changing signals, although it may also be necessary to move the pedestrian island at the mouth of Somerville Avenue The traffic department presented this idea to PSNA last June, characterizing it as a preliminary proposal. We expressed interest but had strong reservations about feasibility and impact on the neighborhood, and wrote a letter expressing our concerns and specifically asking that the flow analysis covers all of the adjacent intersections, is based on traffic at non-vacation rush hours and with full occupancy of local businesses, and prioritizes safety of pedestrians and bicyclists over increasing traffic flow. Attendees gave extensive feedback, focusing on the following points: * Congestion on White Street is a major problem and could become completely unacceptable. * The pedestrian crossing at the mouth of Somerville Avenue is a serious safety concern due to its length. The pedestrian island is an essential refuge for slow walkers. * The plan should be based on up-to-date traffic studies and consider the nearby intersections at White, Upland, and Beech Streets, and it should allow for the possibility that drivers and pedestrians don't always follow the rules. * There should be a review after a few months of operation. If things don't work out it should be possible to return to the current plan. * If things do work out, the City should allocate funds to removing the unused left turn lane from the shopping center, making the Shapiro Plaza an integrated whole, and not simply leave us with an unused lane blocked off by barriers.