Saturday, July 20, 2024

James Maloney, chief operating officer of Cambridge Public Schools, with then School Committee member Patty Nolan. (Photo: Ceilidh Yurenka)

Long-range school building study

School Committee Building & Grounds Subcommittee, 5 to 6:30 p.m. Monday. This hearing chaired by José Luis Rojas Villarreal checks on the progress of the district’s Long-Range Building study and reviews updates to health and safety protocols. Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Farewells and 105 Windsor

City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. With the council entering its two-month break for regular meetings (there will be a special meeting Aug. 1), this is the last time Cambridge will see Louis A. DePasquale as city manager – he retires July 5 after 47 years climbing the ladder at City Hall, and this meeting is sure to set aside time to honor him. But he’s not the only person departing: James Maloney is retiring as chief operating officer of Cambridge Public Schools, actually beating DePasquale’s tenure with 48 years in service; after three decades, deputy city solicitor Arthur Goldberg is leaving the Law Department, continuing the churn there; and city auditor James Monagle is saying goodbye after 27 years.

The work goes on, and until new city manager Yi-an Huang arrives it’ll be acting city manager Owen O’Riordan – on loan from leading the Department of Public Works – potentially using the $4.5 million requested to assess renovations on empty city property at 105 Windsor St. This 13,000-square-foot building in The Port neighborhood was built in 1868 as the Boardman School, and could go to be community meeting space or used for public art, education and exhibitions, a Cambridge history museum or city offices. O’Riordan will also oversee work on council policy orders, if they are approved, on identifying what each recreational field in Cambridge is used for, which might reveal some gender inequities; and wrestling with changes to city streets, some of which DePasquale tended to greet with wariness: a “dramatically growing need” for more traffic calming, traffic signals and other safety infrastructure; and pedestrianizing more streets, similar to how Harvard Square closes Church Street to make room for a new market on Sundays, which some councillors call “positive developments that do not go far enough.”

O’Riordan gets a direct callout from DePasquale on an update about “progress made in regard to LGBTQ+-friendly housing efforts” – the progress that the retiring city manager cites being that he has just created a task force to look into it, with assurances that staff is “working diligently on this issue” and an anticipation that O’Riordan “will work with city staff to appoint members of the task force in the coming weeks.” (That is to say that it does not sound like progress has been made.)

The council meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

MBTA bus network redesign

Transportation and Public Utilities Committee, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. This committee run by city councillor Burhan Azeem looks at the recent MBTA bus network redesign, coming after the city of Cambridge has asked to hear residents’ thoughts about the proposal for a changed bus network for Greater Boston. Its seven-minute survey for people who live, work, study or visit Cambridge asks to hear thoughts about changes and what buses they ride today and could help advocate for revisions to the proposal. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

End-of-school-year business

School Committee special meeting, 6 p.m. Tuesday. Members wrap up the academic year, discussing and voting on superintendent recommendations, going through unfinished business and presenting appointments to the positions of chief of academics and schools and chief talent officer. Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

‘Linkage’ fees and new housing

Planning Board, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The board picks up from the City Council a look at a potential jump in real estate “linkage” fees that could be a serious shock to the system, going to $33.34 a square foot from the current $20.10 – money that must be paid by developers of big, nonresidential construction to fund affordable housing. The new rate would be significantly higher than those in Somerville ($13.98) and Boston ($15.39), but both are studying increases, according to the Community Development Department. Also, there’s more discussion of a plan to convert part of the Sacred Heart property at 49 6th St., East Cambridge, into affordable housing (and under the city’s Affordable Housing Overlay zoning). The former convent, school and rectory could become 46 apartments for a range of resident incomes. Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Electric cars and micro-mobility

Ordinance Committee, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. This committee run by city councillors Marc McGovern and Quinton Zondervan looks at a measure aimed at promoting electric vehicles by increasing access to charging stations, reducing the number of cars in the city by expanding rental services and increasing use of “micro-mobility” transportation such as bicycles, electric bicycles and scooters – the Cambridge Transportation Decarbonization and Congestion Mitigation Bill presented by former city councillor Craig Kelley. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Start of Alewife zoning process

Alewife Planning & Zoning Events, 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday. The council voted in a moratorium on construction of offices and labs in the Alewife area to allow for a zoning process – and now that zoning process starts, correcting a lack of planning processes being enacted fully to ensure that the area develops into a well-rounded neighborhood. “We have literally asked for 40 years for zoning in this area,” councillor Patty Nolan said in proposing the moratorium. Staff from Community Development and the Alewife Overlay District Zoning Working Group kick it all off. Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Better parks and open spaces

Our Parks, Our Plan: Setting Our Goals, 6 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday. The city’s “Our Parks, Our Plan” team invites discussion of what its goals should be and how they will help lead to better parks and open spaces. This session includes a recap of the parks and open space planning process so far, reviews community’s input and discusses a set of draft goals. Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.