Saturday, July 20, 2024

This meetings calendar runs Friday to Friday as of this edition, a change from the previous Sunday-to-Sunday approach. These are just some of the municipal meetings and civic events for the coming week. More are on the City Calendar and in the city’s Open Meetings Portal.

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Park problems; budget changes

A water pump leaks at Cambridge’s Danehy Park in April. (Photo: Charles Teague)

City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. Failure to fully fix a Danehy Park irrigation system that broke during July’s drought, combined with the cutting of a main during construction work on neighboring New Street, leaves greenery there at risk in a number of ways, according to a policy order led by councillor Patty Nolan. There’s a “major leak” underground near the Miyawaki Forest, another under a concrete area preventing irrigation near the new Louis D. Pasquale Universal Design Playground; several failed sprinkler heads; and a broken controller for a repaired pump system that is forcing manual operation and wasting staff time and water, the order says. It calls for more repair funds and a report back.

The 2024 fiscal year budget coming to a vote Monday has two changes to consider based on hearings in May, including $416,000 more for Cambridge public health delivered through the Cambridge Health Alliance and repairs at the Windsor health clinic, a figure that councillors called to be bumped up upon hearing rumors of up to 10 public health staff cuts (soon after which came news of 84 staffers being cut at CHA). There’s also $1.6 million reflected in the budget to increase funds for the Affordable Housing Trust – keeping pace with the budget’s 7.1 percent overall increase – and put in free cash for another $20 million bump, leading to a three-year plan that increases the trust funding to 10 percent of the overall city budget. The budget isn’t the only big issue coming to a head: Staff has also delivered long-debated amendments to the Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance that is meant to move property owners toward going net-zero for greenhouse gas emissions. The changes look to 2035 instead of 2050 for buildings of more than 100,00 square feet, exempt condos, allow some carbon offsets and sets up a review board to evaluate hardship waiver requests, among other things.

There are also orders for a staff opinion on whether Cambridge could sue to change the flight patterns for Logan Airport’s runway 33L, which has seen more flights in the past year with noise that is has “a negative impact on the health and sleep of many residents” in North and West Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington and Medford; and for a hearing on how to collect data and set benchmarks and standards around new bike lanes required by the city’s Cycling Safety Ordinance.

The council meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.


Bike lane open house, Part I

Main Street Safety Improvement Project open house, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Main Street in The Port neighborhood – from Massachusetts Avenue in Lafayette Square and Portland Street near Kendall Square – is due to get separated bicycle lanes in both directions, improved crossing locations for pedestrians, locations for parking and loading and other changes focused on safety at key intersections. Similar projects have whipped up strong feelings around loss of parking. The open house will provide an opportunity for the community to drop by in-person to talk with city staff, ask questions and provide feedback. There will be no formal presentation. At the Pisani Center, 131 Washington St., The Port.

Plan for firehouse renovations

Fire headquarters renovation project community meeting, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Review designs, learn about the construction schedule and meet staff, including the architects and construction manager, for a three-year temporary fire station at 1591 Cambridge St. that will be up while the fire department’s headquarters at 491 Broadway are renovated. At the Cambridge Main Library, 449 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge,

Two projects can provide homes

Planning Board, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Two projects that could add a combined 30 homes are proposed. The bigger is just off Central Square at 48-50 Bishop Allen Drive and Douglas Street, where First Cambridge Realty proposes 22 units over seven stories, replacing “a physically obsolete four-story multifamily rental building” that city assessor records describes as holding 11 units. In the new building, which is proposed with no parking, five homes would be affordable. A North Cambridge project would see the Nelson Group transform the two-story American Friends Service Committee office building at 2161 Massachusetts Ave., which was sold in 2021, by moving the existing structure forward on the lot and building an addition along its right to end with eight market-rate dwelling units over three stories and a ground-floor office; there would be seven parking spaces at the back. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.


Oversight of police overseers

Public Safety Committee, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. This committee run by city councillor Quinton Zondervan talks about the Police Review and Advisory Board, which is supposed to provide citizen oversight for local law enforcement. Over the years it has given up its investigatory powers and failed to file required quarterly reports of its actions or review department budgets with the City Council. Zondervan wanted state permission to elect its members instead of see them appointed by the city manager. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Linear Park redesign ideas

Linear Park Redesign Public Meeting, 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday. Advanced design ideas on updating the 1985 park – which runs between the Alewife red line MBTA station and the Somerville city line in North Cambridge – are presented for reaction, questions and comment in this third public meeting. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.


Bike lane open house, Part II

Main Street Safety Improvement Project open house, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday. A second look this week at separated bicycle lanes and other changes focused on safety on Main Street in The Port. Similar projects have whipped up strong feelings around loss of parking. The open house lets the community talk with city staff, ask questions and provide feedback. There will be no formal presentation. At Bishop Allen Drive Plaza, at Main Street and Bishop Allen Drive.