Sunday, June 23, 2024

Cambridge Day has, quite properly, given good reporting to the situation in the Porter Square area.

Regrettably, the most important things going on are kept as quiet as possible.

The heavily treed plaza at the Porter T station is under attack by the city manager and the developer and contractor community.

Fine print was included in the last air-rights proposal for Porter to destroy this plaza for retail. Fine print is included in the city manager’s pending zoning change for north Massachusetts Avenue intended to do exactly that as well.

The city manager’s zoning proposal would do a lot more than that. It fights to destroy all first-floor housing from Wendell Street to Porter Square and as much first-floor open space and private yards as the city manager can get away with. The proposal even prefers construction of dormitories to construction of market housing. 

Even worse, incorporated in the proposal is language to reward destruction of the Three Aces block just north of Harvard Law School as well.

The common denominator in this initiative, as in so many other city manager zoning initiatives, is secrecy. Lovely words, lovely packaging — and secrecy on very destructive things is sneaked in.

The city needs more treed plazas such as at Porter. The city manager keeps destroying trees.

The city needs to protect its neighborhood businesses such as those on the Three Aces block. The city manager keeps helping developers and contractors destroy them.

The City Council should defeat the city manager’s North Massachusetts Avenue upzoning to protect the environment of our city.

Robert J. La Trémouille

Griswold Street