Attend meetings on MBTA cuts, lab buildings, housing, Memorial Drive, bike safety and more

A City Council policy order this week aims to reverse cuts in MBTA service on lines like the 47 bus. (Photo: Byron A. Nash via Wikimedia Commons)

Laboratory and Parking Restrictions

City council5:30 p.m. Monday. With the full council returning to business after a hiatus in July and August comes a proposal to differentiate labs from general office uses to help decide “where future lab growth is appropriate and where it could significantly hinder other priorities, including emergencies, for more.” Housing and a desire for vibrant, active business districts and plazas.” Another area issue for the council to consider is the Planning Committee’s 7-0 thumbs down to set all minimum parking spaces to zero, although it recognizes that up to 40 percent of residents have no cars. Clarification of the zoning plan text is needed, the board said, and perhaps more nuance to avoid poor results in areas far from public transport.

Speaking of transit, there’s a council policy aimed at reversing cuts to MBTA service on routes like the 47 bus, which runs through Cambridge and the greater Boston area, and an employee announcement that there will be free bus and tube tickets for all teenagers at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, the High School Extension School and the Community Charter School of Cambridge and Prospect Hill Academy. (Even students who are homeschooled.)

Recognizing the difficulty of opening recreational cannabis stores – only two of several proposed stores have opened in Cambridge since non-medical weed was adopted in a nationwide vote in November 2016 – there is a Council Order aimed at extend a lead in the cannabis market to five years for “Economic Empowerment” applicants. Five stores are under construction, employees say in a report, out of 13 applicants who have either received or applied for a Cambridge Cannabis Business Permit. There are another five applicants in disadvantaged categories.

The Cambridge Health Alliance should reopen its birthing center, which closed early in the pandemic, councilors suggest, and the city should set up a fund to help workers in same-sex marriages pay for surrogacy services – a public health equity issue, how other employees want to do so that children receive this benefit. Some councilors also want a public hearing on water quality this fall, as the city switched from its own supply to that of the MWRA for the remainder of the year over chemical concerns. The next use for municipal property at 105 Windsor St., The Port, is also up for discussion.

Other orders deal with public facilities and recreation, including a call to lower barriers to neighborhood block parties; tend ailing grass at Greene-Rose Heritage Park, 155 Harvard St., The Port; and add QR codes to historical markers across the city so smartphone users can instantly learn more about the person a square or street is named after. Eccentric artist Peter Valentine, who was honored in a resolution following his death on Aug. 9, may be one such person after the accelerated naming of a corner on Brookline and Franklin streets.

The Council meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and viewable via Zoom video conference.


Allow multi-family houses

Housing Committee3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday. This committee, chaired by Councilwoman E. Denise Simmons, is examining the permitting of multi-family housing in all zoning counties — or, as a Nov. 16 city council solicitation put it, the development of “concepts and principles for the elimination of single-family and two-family areas in the city.” .” A report summarizing three Planning Committee discussions on this topic can be downloaded here. The committee will meet at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Viewable via Zoom videoconference.

Charter Review of Records, more

The Charter Review Committee5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Further work to review the city’s governmental rules for the first time in 80 years. Viewable via Zoom video conference.

Memorial Drive closure

Memorial Drive closes community meeting, 6pm to 7:30pm Tuesdayand 6pm to 7:30pm Wednesday. Officials from the City and State Departments of Conservation and Recreation will discuss Riverbend Park’s extended hours as a result of Memorial Drive being closed to traffic and hear local residents’ thoughts on the current schedule. Some Riverside residents have said that intense traffic was being generated in the neighborhood by drivers unaccustomed to being diverted off Memorial Drive on Saturdays, prompting a series of reversals to maintain extended parking hours. Tuesday’s meeting will be in person at the Riverside Press Park, 2 Blackstone St., Riverside. The Wednesday session is online.

School board retreat

School board retreat6 p.m. Tuesday. This special session will set priorities and plans for the 2022-2023 school year. The committee meets in the meeting room of Dr. Henrietta S. Attles at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, 459 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge.

Plan offices in the Alewife triangle

planning board6:30 p.m. Tuesday. A 33,000-square-foot expansion for Longfellow Real Estate Partners at 125 Cambridgepark Drive in the Alewife Triangle area arrives for consideration; Longfellow, which also has buildings at 100 and 150 Cambridgepark Drive and a parking garage at 140 Cambridgepark Drive, ensured development was exempt from a laboratory and office building moratorium for the Alewife Quadrangle. Hearing also resumes over a possible increase in real estate “connection” fees to $33.34 per square foot from the current $20.10 per square foot — money that developers of large non-residential buildings must pay to find affordable housing finance. Viewable via Zoom video conference. (An amendment to be tabled at Monday’s city council meeting would impose smaller fees on minor developments.)


More ramen at Harvard Square

license commissionWednesday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Another ramen place? Yes. Waku Waku intends to open a 1,697-square-foot, 38-seat restaurant at 33 Brattle Street, Harvard Square, daily from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. There are also agenda items for entertainment licenses at Cloud & Spirits, the restaurant and bar at 795 Main St., Lafayette Square, and at Massasoit Elks Lodge, 55 Bishop Allen Drive, Central Square, among others. Viewable via Zoom video conference.

prevent wage theft

regulatory committee2pm to 4pm Wednesday. This committee, chaired by councilors Marc McGovern and Quinton Zondervan, is continuing a March 30 hearing into crimes that include “the illegal misclassification of employees as independent contractors… an epidemic particularly in the construction industry”. The measure would only allow companies free of compensation scandals to contract with the city, and only if they “correctly grade employees” and pay them appropriately. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and viewable via Zoom video conference.

Alewife Zoning Recommendations

Alewife Zoning Working Group6pm to 8:30pm Wednesday. A third meeting between community development staff and this working group speaks to property owners and developers about the goals for their land and how they relate to planning in the region. Viewable via Zoom video conference. The group meets at 68 Moulton St., Cambridge Highlands. Viewable via Zoom video conference.

City Hall Housing Crisis

A better Cambridge Town Hall7pm to 9pm Wednesday. Housing association A Better Cambridge is holding two meetings to discuss what the City Council is doing to “tackle a housing crisis – rents are too high, people are being evicted and we are not building enough housing (particularly affordable housing). to keep up with increasing demand.” The first hour features Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and Councilors Marc McGovern and E. Denise Simmons; The second hour features Deputy Mayor Alanna Mallon and Councilors Burhan Azeem and Paul Toner. Viewable via Zoom video conference.


Greenhouse Gas Emissions Act

Building Emissions Public Forum6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Proposed changes to the Building Energy Disclosure Ordinance to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over time are being discussed by community development department officials and some councillors. The law would affect residential buildings with more than 50 units and commercial buildings with more than 25,000 square feet. Viewable via Zoom video conferencing and streaming on the second floor of the City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge where a limited number of seats are available.


Bicycle Safety in Somerville

Rally Safe Roads Now10 a.m. Saturday. Bike safety advocates are rallying for a roadmap to improve the streetscape to make it safer “for people who walk, roll and bike” after Somerville Mayor Katjana Ballantyne promised steps toward safety after the Cyclist Stephen Conley, 72, was killed by a “door” on August 12. Incident involving a car on Holland Street. Speakers announced include State MP Mike Connolly, Somerville Councilor Willie Burnley Jr. and former Cambridge Deputy Mayor Jan Devereux. The rally is scheduled for Seven Hills Park, Davis Square, Somerville.

Event for women’s rights

Conclave on the Common to celebrate the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m Civic, church, political, non-profit and community organizations, as well as friends, family and allies are called to appear at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square at 1:00 p.m. for the march leading to the gathering on Cambridge Common . near Harvard Square, ends at 5 p.m. “Wear your whites, make your signs and stand up for your rights and the rights of others,” the organizers say. Information is available here.

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