Thursday, July 18, 2024

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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Street cleaning this year eliminated towing and added use of crews on foot. (Photo: City of Cambridge)

Changes on Cambridge Street

Safety Improvement Project on Cambridge Street open house, noon to 2 p.m. Saturday. The second of three public events this year (an online version is planned for Dec. 12) on separated bike lines between Inman Square and Second Street during which staff will gather feedback on safety concerns and answer questions. At the Millers River Apartments, 15 Lambert St., East Cambridge.


Outcome of street cleaning test

City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. There’s a rather epic 387 written communications powered by the previous meeting’s handling of whether to endorse a cease-fire in Gaza, but no corresponding policy order on an agenda with a handful of simpler items: calls for MIT to withdraw objections to an Eversource project so the city can go on growing without running out of power, and to get ahead of possible deployment or testing of self-driving cars; and a city manager request for $4.3 million for improvements at Danehy Park.

There’s also an evaluation of a test program to ticket cars instead of tow them during street cleaning season. “The pilot street cleaning operation is resulting in an appropriate level of cleanliness; ticketing and street-cleaning operations are being completed quicker without having to wait for the towing operations; and residents showed strong support for maintaining the program – 69 percent vs. 21 percent – but an increasing number of vehicles are not moving, and that needs to change,” staff say. One way to get more cars to move would be doubling the cost of a ticket to $100, City Manager Yi-An Huang said, and even harsher tweaks could follow.

Because the city’s police department hasn’t acted on big changes since the Jan. 4 killing of Arif Sayed Faisal in Cambridgeport, departing councillor Quinton Zondervan has suggestions for averting “violence and death” such as having fewer officers carry firearms and avoiding foot pursuits, as recommended by a California university think tank.

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


Natural hazards mitigation plan

Health & Environment Committee, 12:30 to 2 p.m. Tuesday. This committee run by city councillor Patty Nolan reviews a plan to prepare for natural hazards such as climate change. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Charter review nears its end

Charter Review Committee, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. This group charged with suggesting updates to the city’s 80-year-old governing document is getting more attention as it begins a final draft report, winding up work with a lean toward getting rid of Cambridge’s city manager form of government in favor of a directly elected strong mayor. The proposed change would be heard by the City Council and need approval by voters. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Massachusetts Avenue changes

Massachusetts Avenue partial construction design open house, 6 to 8 Tuesday. Check out proposed changes on the southern part of this project – from Linnaean Street near Porter Square to Waterhouse Street just north of Cambridge Common – with city staff. At Lesley University’s University Hall, 1815 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square, Cambridge.

Rooftop garden for high school

School Committee, 6 p.m. Tuesday. Student committee representative Naseem Anjaria proposes the district work with the nonprofit Green Cambridge to create a garden on the sloped roof of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, part of broader vision for a sustainable campus that would join with projects such as a pollinator garden coming to the adjoining library in the spring; this order seeks a staff update on the idea by February. The committee meets in the Dr. Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, 459 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge. Online and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Affordable homes on Mass. Ave.

Planning Board, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. A follow-up advisory design review for the historic building at 1627 Massachusetts Ave., which Lesley University sold to a nonprofit developer, and a six-story addition that together will hold 29 permanently affordable homes. At a July 18 meeting, many said the proposed addition could do more to fit in with the Baldwin neighborhood, though the project was overall welcomed. The project goes on to a Historical Commission meeting Thursday. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.


Bike lanes and outdoor dining

Ordinance Committee, noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday. This committee run by city councillors Marc McGovern and Quinton Zondervan look at potential changes to the Cycling Safety Ordinance to ensure coexistence with temporary dining patios and other pop-ups. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Getting gas cars off the street

Transportation and Public Utilities and Health & Environment committees, 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday. This committee run by city councillor Burhan Azeem hears options for changing parking pass fees and regulations to get gas-powered cars off city streets, following an Aug. 7 council order noting steps other communities have taken. Those include limiting the number of parking permits for new residents; making permits more expensive for multiple vehicles; adjusting fees based on the size and weight of vehicles; and increasing fees for parking to encourage use of public transit and carpooling. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Looking back and ahead on voting

Election Commission, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Commissioners and staff do a postmortem on the Nov. 7 elections for City Council and School Committee, which included an excruciatingly close race between two challengers for a committee seat, and look ahead to the March 5 presidential primary. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Response to Nov. 23 shooting

Community meeting on the Central Square fatal shooting, 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday. Discussion of an early Nov. 23 shooting in Central Square in which a woman was killed and another man inured. Food and light refreshments will be available starting at 6 p.m. To register and join the meeting virtually, visit camb.ma/communitymeeting2023. The meeting is planned for the Citywide Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square.


Kendall Station headhouse plan

Transit Advisory Committee, 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday. See how an upcoming project looks to improve a headhouse of the Kendall/MIT red line station and get an update from city staff on city and MBTA projects and initiatives. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

More about Mass. Ave. homes

Historical Commission, 6 p.m. Thursday. Another look (after Tuesday’s meeting of the Planning Board) at reuse of a historic building at 1627 Massachusetts Ave. for 29 affordable homes – achieved with a six-story addition. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.


This post was updated Dec. 4, 2023, to correct the date an event ran.