Thursday, May 23, 2024

The fiscal year 2024 proposed budget will be due to the City Council by May 1, and the third annual Cycling Safety Ordinance progress report by May 22. We are counting on City Manager Yi-An Huang to be an impartial, transparent chief executive accountable to Cantabrigians and breaking the “business as usual” modus operandi at City Hall.

To that end, Huang should consult with the Law Department on the legality of “breaking” the CSO by increasing the scope of the MassAve4 project – and renaming it – to cover a “partial build” of bike lanes from Harvard Square to Alewife Brook Parkway on Massachusetts Avenue without community participation. If authorized, that authorization should be stated clearly in the budget; otherwise, the deficiency should be rectified.

For transparency and accountability, Huang should disclose fully in the budget report the capital budgets for fiscal year 2024 and the projected 2025-2028 fiscal year capital plans for all CSO projects for the duration of the ordinance’s timeline. It should be without a caveat such as “As the scope of work evolves, the cost estimates will be updated.”

Finally, for tracking purposes, please break out the budget and capital plan for CSO implementation as a sub-line item of the River Street Reconstruction project.

For the progress report, please include the following, again for transparency and accountability:

  • Cost performance accounting, including budgeting at the start of CSO implementation; the cost to date; and the estimated total cost at completion.
  • City manager reports to the City Council related to CSO implementation.
  • The status of CSO tasks identified in city manager reports.
  • City Council policy orders about the CSO still awaiting reports.
  • A coordination plan, if a CSO project involves multiple departments, to avoid duplication of work and the waste of valuable tax money.

Please update the CSO requirements and timelines webpage and all related webpages to be consistent, including a point of contact for overall implementation and to be hierarchically organized and accessible directly from the city’s homepage.

Young Kim, Norris Street