Friday, July 19, 2024

Honorable councillors,

I am writing to voice my strong support for the proposed construction by Forest City of a residential building at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Sidney Street. As a longtime and very happy resident of University Park, I have nothing but good things to say about Forest City as a developer and caretaker of attractive, comfortable, humane and well-tended urban neighborhoods. The large park located within the University Park development is meticulously maintained and serves as a lovely and well-used oasis of open space in the neighborhood. The small park proposed as the site for the new apartment building, however, does not. It is too small, too hemmed-in, and too close to the adjacent row of idling taxis to be a comfortable place to play or relax, and is mainly home to a large flock of neighborhood pigeons.

Massachusetts Avenue serves at the spine of Cambridge, and it is precisely the kind of street where the city should be focusing its efforts to attract development and density. The neighborhood streets that run perpendicular to Massachusetts Avenue are home to many lovely parks and playgrounds, as they should indeed be. Massachusetts Avenue is a different kind of place, and it can both support and benefit from greater density and higher levels of activity. Through the success of the University Park development, Forest City has proven itself to be a good neighbor and the creator of strong and healthy mini-neighborhoods. Cambridge desperately needs more housing, and the stretch of Massachusetts Avenue between Sidney Street and Vassar Street is in need of new buildings and a new identity. This proposal will help to provide just that. The City Council should work quickly to reach an agreement with Forest City that will benefit those of us who live and work in the neighborhood, as well as the city as a whole.

Thank you for time.

Katherine S. Fichter, Sidney Street

Masters in city planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology