Monday, July 22, 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.


Buses at North Point on March 21, 2022. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Child care for Cambridgeport

Board of Zoning Appeal, 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Thursday. There’s a proposal to allow educational and institutional uses on the second story of 90 Hamilton St., Cambridgeport, so it can become Sunshine Child Care, also known as Harvard Brillante Academy. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Town hall about black business

Cambridge Black Business town hall meeting, 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday. A Cambridge Disparity Report released Dec. 21 revealed only $60,000 of $261 million of city contracts over five years went to Black-owned businesses; this discussion gathers entrepreneurs, experts and community leaders to strategize how Black businesses can sustain, grow and thrive. It’s planned for the Community Art Center, 119 Windsor St., The Port, Cambridge. Free, but register.

Free buses and a $939M budget

City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. The budget for the 2025 fiscal year arrives for consideration, with City Manager Yi-An Huang requesting a $939.3 million operating budget.

The MBTA will consider fare-free sections of bus routes where the red line subway is closed for repairs this year, but making the No. 1 bus fare-free has been off the table for now in discussions with the transit agency, says a memo from Iram Farooq, assistant city manager for community development for discussion at the council meeting. “The MBTA has been supportive of fare-free bus route programs but expects challenging financial conditions,” Farooq says. “At this point, the MBTA cannot fund fare-free routes relying on its own budget.” Cambridge and Boston would have to make up for the lost yearly revenue of at least $2.3 million to $3.2 million – of which Cambridge’s share would be at least $1 million to $1.3 million – and budgets for the upcoming year are basically set. (The combination of a fare discount program and the implementation of a new fare collection system “will have similar benefits for affordability and service quality as fare-free routes,” the memo says, and “it will be helpful to see the results of these initiatives before making a decision on fare-free bus routes” for consideration in the 2026 fiscal year budget.)

The owners of the Democracy Center meetinghouse in Harvard Square, known as the Foundation for Civic Leadership, should meet with the organizations and organizers with offices there before closing it July 1 to “reach a suitable resolution” to their displacement, say councillors Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, Sumbul Siddiqui, Burhan Azeem and Ayesha Wilson. 

Returning from the April 8 meeting is a call by three councillors to extend the deadline on the city’s Cycling Safety Ordinance by a year and a half around the installation of bike lanes on Main Street, Cambridge Street and Broadway – preventing installation there unless zoning is enacted to make up for lost parking spaces through shared parking arrangements. The deals will require private agreements among lot owners and drivers or businesses wanting to use them. The order is by Paul Toner, Joan Pickett and Wilson. A staff report says the current focus is on commercial lots because “sharing parking in residential buildings is more complicated,” and they provide a few scenarios for delays and crash tables that can offer a sense of the relative dangers of delay. The current law allows for a one-year extension, Huang notes.

Design of a multi-use connection between the Grand Junction Path in Cambridge and the Community Path Extension in Somerville can begin with a $249,900 appropriation, and the Cambridge Housing Authority is asking to reconfigure roadways within its Jefferson Park Federal project, now undergoing a full renovation in North Cambridge. The new or changed roadways are Jackson Place, Clifton Place and Clifton Circle and a new private way called Graham Place in honor of Saundra Graham, the housing advocate, city councillor and state representative who died June 23 at age 81.

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

Krispy Krunchy and Too Hot

License Commission, 10 a.m. Tuesday. Krispy Krunchy Chicken is close to opening at 336 Rindge Ave., North Cambridge, replacing an underused laundromat with 14 seats for dine-in and proposed hours of 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. all days; an eatery called Too Hot is looking at filling the empty 1,800 square feet of basement restaurant space at 18 Eliot St., Harvard Square, with seating for 50 and proposed hours of 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. all days. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

City-funded housing vouchers

Housing Committee, 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday. This committee run by city councillors Burhan Azeem and Sumbul Siddiqui looks at whether city-funded housing vouchers, as proposed Feb. 26, are feasible. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Transportation planning policy

Planning Board, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. A briefing on “current transportation planning and policies” could be essential viewing in a city that is trying to get people out of cars and onto buses and bikes (for which improvements are fought over if they eliminate parking spaces) and where development is often based on train transit that has been failing for more than a year with no announced end date. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Universal after-school options

Human Services & Veterans Committee, 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday. This committee run by city councillors Patty Nolan and Ayesha Wilson discusses progress being made to bring universal after-school program options to Cambridge. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Harvard, MIT and Lesley report

Economic Development & University Relations Committee, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. May 2. This committee run by city councillor Paul Toner brings in Harvard, MIT and Lesley representatives to hear their community-focused reports and talk programs and partnerships. The Planning Board heard these reports in February. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

The middle-school experience

School Committee School Climate Subcommittee, 5:30 to 7 p.m. May 2. This hearing chaired by Rachel Weinstein examines the experience of students in grades 6 through 8. Watchable online.

Next for church weathervane

Historical Commission, 6 p.m. May 2. First Church in Cambridge reports on the condition of its 5-foot, 5-inch 172-pound golden cockerel weathervane – actually solid copper with gilding – that had been overlooking Cambridge Common for 150 years until its removal last fall. (It’s much older, having been created in 1721, and was deteriorating.) The church asks to install a replica on its tower. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Yaakov Aldrich contributed to this report.