Participatory budgeting vote: Solar panels, kinetic energy panels, bus trackers top list

This example of real-time bus tracking was used by backers of the project to draw participatory budgeting votes.

Adding solar panels to the Main Library, flashing lights for crosswalks and real-time bus tracking displays led the city’s third annual Participatory Budget process, in which 4,730 residents age 12 and older voted on how to spend $700,000 of the city’s budget. (Well, actually $706,000.)

Community members brainstormed project ideas in June and July for volunteer budget delegates to research and develop into formal project proposals from August through November, staff explained. Proposals were vetted by city staff and approved by the city manager to appear on a Participatory Budget ballot in December for a public vote. Each voter could name five projects t0 fund.

Voter participation rose 13 percent from the previous year, staff said.

The projects to be included in the city’s capital budget for adoption for the 2018 fiscal year are, in order of total votes:

bullet-gray-small Solar panels atop the main library to help meet climate goals by reducing emissions – and to save money. Project cost: $260,000. Number of total votes: 2,184.

bullet-gray-small Flashing light signs at crosswalks in six busy intersections for pedestrians to activate before crossing. Project cost: Project cost: $104,000. Number of total votes: 1,967.

bullet-gray-small Solar-powered bus tracking displays with real-time arrival information at 10 high-use bus stops. Project cost: $150,000. Number of total votes: 1,956

bullet-gray-small Kinetic energy tiles that generate energy from footsteps to power streetlights, phones or laptops. Project cost: $50,000. Number of total votes: 1,901

bullet-gray-small Additional water fountains and bottle refill stations to help residents stay hydrated and reduce waste from plastic bottles. Project cost: $$37,000. Number of total votes: 1,470

bullet-gray-small Moore Youth Center improvements of new furniture and equipment to help bring more youth to the center. Project cost: $80,000. Number of total votes: 1,280

bullet-gray-small Cambridge Art Trail with eight to 10 commissions from local artists to create a series of murals and street art, adding space for publicly created street art such as Central Square’s Graffiti Alley. Project cost: $25,000. Number of total votes: 1,233

Information is here.

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