Thursday, June 20, 2024

Monday evening, the Cambridge city manager sent to the City Council a message informing it that he had the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority’s permission to thin trees in the plaza at Porter Station.

This almost certainly forebodes massive destruction. A brief review of the record will indicate what is coming up.

The city manager has twice in the past year proposed the destruction of this fine park. The first time was in fine print sneaked into a developer’s proposal for Porter Station air rights.

The second is in fine print sneaked into the city manager’s proposal  for upzoning of that portion of Massachusetts Avenue from Harvard Law to Porter Station.

The record of the city manager and City Council members indicates the worst.

Since September 2004, they have been heartless, starving the Charles River white geese as part of a bizarre project destroying wetlands at Magazine Beach with  a starvation wall barring access to grass across from the Hyatt Regency hotel. 

Within the past year or so, the city destroyed eight to 12 trees below the Inn at Harvard to replace them with eight to 12 saplings; the woods in Vellucci Park at Inman Square to replace it with a barren plaza, saying the trees were too dense; and a grove of eight to 12 four-story-high trees next to the Squirrel Brand affordable housing to replace them with grass, saying the trees were the wrong pedigree.

The city is on the verge of destroying nine healthy trees on Clark Street by Washington Elms. They say the trees are in the way of their park.

The city and its associates are in the process of destroying 449 to 660 trees on Memorial Drive. They give all sorts of lovely reasons; the real reason is to clear the way for an offramp from the Massachusetts Turnpike to allow Harvard University to build on the current offramp.

Will the city destroy the wooded park at Porter Station? Exactly the wrong answer is: “They would never stoop so low.”

Robert J. La Trémouille

Griswold Street