From: Kelley, Craig
Monday, September 07, 2015 10:47 PM
Subject: Craig's September 7 North Cambridge Update
I thought you might be interested in some updates on a few things happening in, around and above North Cambridge. There’s a lot more happening than just these things, some of which I’ve put in past updates, but these ones seemed particularly pertinent to pass on now.
Sometimes people have trouble with images getting stripped from the email, so I’ve attached a .pdf as well.
Let me know if you have any questions or concerns at CKelley@Cambridgema.gov. And feel free to pass this email on to anyone you might think interested.
Thanks a lot.
North Mass Ave Crosswalks and Street Lane Striping: DPW received a fair amount of money for street work at the end of the winter. Rather than simply filling potholes, DPW decided to have targeted repaving operations which covered much of Mass Ave and resulting in big swaths of the street being resurfaced. What they didn’t do was figure out how to restripe crosswalks as part of that project, so between the resurfacing and general wear and tear, our crosswalks, as my assistant, Wil, photo documented in a walking tour of North Mass Ave, were looking pretty awful. I’m working with the transportation department to get all the crosswalks restriped as appropriate and I also submitted a Council Order asking that the City do a better job of coordinating line striping during construction project and also to be more aggressive about maintaining the striping we already have, especially after a bad winter. I am sure I’m not the only ones who finds the lack of lane lines up and down Mass Ave to be chaotic and even dangerous. You can email Joe Barr, the head of TT&P, at JBarr@Cambridgema.gov with your thoughts on the issue.
North Charles: a drug rehab clinic, North Charles, has started operating at 54 Washburn Ave, a Residential B district. Residents are expressing concern over issues such as syringes left on the ground, unsafe driving and other things they associate with this new use. Because it is a Res B district, it is not clear that this use is allowed and the City has told North Charles to stop. North Charles has appealed the City’s ruling and there are currently two court hearings scheduled. There are also two public meetings scheduled, one with the North Cambridge Stabilization Committee this Wednesday at 7 PM at the Burns apartments at 50 Churchill Ave and North Charles will be having another meeting, with City staff in attendance, at the Trolley Square community room at 7 PM on Tuesday, 15 September.
PemberFest- This year’s Pemberfest will take place this coming Saturday, 13 September from 2-5 PM at Pemberton Market. Learn more, and buy tickets, at the Pemberfest event page. It can get very crowded, so even if you don’t go, now you’ll know what all those people are doing there. Tickets are $10 and you will get a $10 coupon to redeem at some of the sales booths there.
128/Route 2 Bridge work: many of you have probably wondered what’s going on at the intersection of Route 2 and 128. Basically, they are rebuilding what DOT decided was a “structurally deficient and functionally obsolete” bridge. You can read more about the project, and sign up for updates, here: www.mass.gov/massdot/rt2i95bridges. And you can check out pictures here: Route 2/I-95 Bridge Flickr Album.
St James/Lechmere car wash project: The Saint James Church at 1991 Mass. Ave. in Porter Square will be holding an informational Open House on Sunday, September 13 at 4:00 pm to present their plans for redeveloping the property and to answer questions about the project. In a nutshell, the Church entered into a deal with developers that allowed the developers to expand a project off of the adjacent carwash site and build a 48 unit residential project on the joint properties in conjunction with providing various improvements to the church building that the congregation was having trouble funding. The project has been the subject of litigation that has not yet been finalized and I could not say when, or if, the project will get through these various legal hurdles. You might be able to learn more about that this coming Sunday.
Noisy Airplane traffic: The noise meter in this picture measured an airplane passing overhead at 55 decibles at my dining room table at 9:30 PM. North Cambridge is just one of multiple communities suffering from unprecedented noise pollution due to Logan’s runway 33L and new navigation software that, since June 2013, keeps planes to narrowly defined routes that put many of us under these “Highways in the Sky.” Wil and I have begun meeting with regional organizations to address the issue to figure out how to get planes leaving Logan to be both higher and more dispersed. To learn more about this issue, you can visit www.BostonWestFairSkies.org. There are also monthly meetings, the next one of which will be at the Belmont Public Library on Wednesday, 30 September from 7-9 PM.
43 Cedar Street: After removing the junked vehicles adjacent to the property (seen here in an old picture) and leaving a clear fire lane, the City has been trying to get the property owner to address fire hazard and other issues at the site. Unfortunately, the City has been forced to go to court to address these issues. At a recent hearing, a judge granted the City’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction, requiring that the property be brought up to the various codes within 30 days, that the electricity be immediately shut off (with the caveat that when Mr. Pinksen is working with power tools to repair the Property, the City should work with him with regard to temporary electricity), and that the Fire Department be immediately permitted to mark the property with the red “X.” It’s not the perfect solution to this community eyesore and danger, but it’s another step in the right direction.
Rodents: A number of people all over North Cambridge have expressed concern about rats in their neighborhoods. I’ve learned a lot about rats and City sanitation in the past 6 weeks. Basically, we cannot get rid of rats, but we can manage their numbers down by limiting harborage (where they live), food sources and water. Food can be managed down by making sure rubbish containers are properly closed and that gardens and fruit trees are managed in a way to minimize food sources for rats (if you have a fruit tree you’d like harvested, rather than seeing the fruit on the ground, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and the League of Urban Canners will try to come harvest what you have). IReport has a rodent sighting function, Inspectional Services can cite people for not maintaining their trash receptacles properly and DPW can fine people for putting out trash improperly, but the real solution is for all of us, as challenging as it might be, to work together to minimize food sources, habitat and water for these destructive pests. Learn more about the City’s rodent efforts here.
Monday trash pickup route to get composting pickup in October: The pilot composting program of 600+ households in North Cambridge was so successful, that 5,000 more households will be added in the Monday route starting in mid-October. Eligible residences must have City trash service and includes single family homes and multi-family buildings with up to 12 units. Bin delivery will be October 6-14. You can learn more here.
IReport: You can use your smart phone or your computer to report things like potholes, rodents, abandoned bicycles, problematic street lights and more. You can learn more about the IRport options, including apps for your phone here. This way, if you’re biking and see a pothole or walking and see an abandoned bike and you have a smart phone, you can report it right then. Otherwise, you can enter it on your computer. You can also track the progress of your report. IReport may be especially useful if a street sign is missing on your street or you have some other very specific local concern DPW is unlikely to notice on its own. If you try IRport and nothing happens let me know.
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