Skate Park Officially Open

The Lynch Family Skate Park is now open! After years of waiting, Boston-area skaters and riders now have a world-class public skate park to practice and compete in. The 40,000 square-foot park sits underneath two large highway ramps, tucked between North Point park and Boston Sand and Gravel. It is the result of strong cooperation between the Charles River Conservancy, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the City of Cambridge, the City of Boston, and hundreds of generous private donors. The private donors include Peter and Carolyn Lynch, who contributed an incredible $800,000 to the project, and Vans shoes, who have donated $1.5 million to construction and will contribute $25,000 per year over seven years to help maintain the skate park.

The Lynch Family Skatepark represents an important piece of the work that has been done by the state, the Charles River Conservancy, and others to restore underused and inaccessible portions of the Charles River Basin and return them to the public. Construction of the skate park included extensive clean-up of land that had been contaminated by a century of industrial uses, and has activated what was previously a vacant lot. It is a great example of the kinds of public-private partnerships that are restoring parkland all up and down the banks of the Charles River and creating recreational opportunities for people of all ages.

Pilgrim Closure Creates Opportunity to Boost Renewable Energy Production

Photograph by Joanne DeCaro/ CC BY 2.0 from Flickr User Charlie Baker (

Photograph by Joanne DeCaro/ CC BY 2.0 from Flickr User Charlie Baker

The announcement last month of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station’s closure, the only nuclear power plant in Massachusetts, is a great opportunity to increase the amount of electricity the Commonwealth generates from renewable energy sources. Pilgrim is the source of 14% of all of the power produced in Massachusetts and we need to make up that capacity with clean, renewable sources like wind energy and solar power.

The Commonwealth is a nationally recognized clean energy leader because we have made a clear legislative effort to grow our green energy sector in order to meet our Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) goals, which requires a 25% reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions by 2020 and an 80% reduction by 2050. Earlier this year, I joined many of my colleagues in asking the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy to pass comprehensive energy legislation by the end of the 2015-16 legislative session. This is a big issue on Beacon Hill right now, and I know that Chairmen Downing and Golden and the rest of the Committee are working diligently to develop a robust energy policy that would allow the Commonwealth to meet its GWSA goals.

However, in the interim, it’s vital for our solar power sector that we lift the cap on net metering immediately. The state’s 2007 solar incentive program has made Massachusetts a national leader in solar energy with more than 1,000 solar companies producing power to as many as 133,000 homes while employing 12,000 people, but a cap on financial credits given to solar power producers is currently stalling the production of additional solar facilities across the Commonwealth.

If we don’t raise this cap, the Commonwealth’s solar industry risks long-term setbacks and could lose millions of dollars through the federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) program, which expires on December 31, 2016. Although this deadline is a little over a year away, being connected to the electric grid is required to qualify for the ITC, and solar power developers estimate that they need to secure financing within the next three months in order to start and complete construction by next year’s deadline.

Growing the solar power sector will create jobs and is an important part of the Commonwealth’s retreat from fossil fuel dependency.

Traffic Advisory Reminder for Longfellow Bridge Rehab Project

Please see the following construction and traffic advisory from the Department of Transportation (MassDOT) – Tim.

“The previously announced traffic shift on the Longfellow Bridge will now begin on Monday, November 9. MassDOT’s contractor, White-Skanska-Consigli (WSC), will shift traffic on the downstream side of the Longfellow Bridge to accommodate modified Stage 2 construction of the temporary outbound Red Line track (called a “shoo-fly”) on the roadway. WSC is beginning the work early to advance the schedule and minimize the risk of delays due to winter weather. Stage 2 will last approximately three months, through January 2016.

During Stage 2, WSC will also close the Longfellow Bridge to all vehicular traffic overnight, Mondays through Fridays. The closure will begin at 9:00 PM each night and end at 5:00 AM the following morning. The closure may extend to Saturday nights, if needed. The closure will be from November 9, 2015 through January 2016, and is necessary to expedite the work and shorten the duration of the temporary traffic shift.

Temporary Traffic Shift

The work will require temporarily narrowing space for vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians on the downstream side of the bridge. The traffic shift is necessary to maintain two-way bike travel across the bridge until construction of the upstream side is complete and all bike travel is shifted to it.

While the temporary traffic shift is in place, inbound bikes will continue to use a dedicated lane on the roadway, which will be shifted to the east away from the MBTA Red Line tracks. Inbound vehicles will also be shifted to the east, so the temporary tracks can be installed. Outbound bikes and pedestrians will share the sidewalk. This configuration differs from the original Stage 2 plan where bike travel in both directions would have been shifted to the upstream side of the bridge for construction of the temporary track. It is an extension of what is currently in place in the middle of the bridge between the “Salt and Pepper” towers. Bicyclists will be asked to walk their bikes across the bridge to ensure the safety of all users, and signs will be posted noting this requirement. View the Modified Stage 2 Graphic for new travel space configurations.

Nightly Closures of the Longfellow Bridge to Vehicles

Overnight closures of the Longfellow Bridge will expedite construction of the shoo-fly. Boston-bound vehicles should use the inbound detour routes described below. Bike and pedestrian traffic will be maintained across the bridge at all times. No closures will be implemented until one hour before and after all events at TD Garden to minimize traffic impacts at Leverett Circle.

Inbound Detour Routes: All motor vehicles will be detoured using one of two routes. Passenger vehicles may use Memorial Drive westbound to make a U-turn at Ames Street for access to Memorial Drive eastbound to Land Boulevard and Charles River Dam Road (Monsignor O’Brien Highway/Route 28) to reach Leverett Circle, or 3rd Street and Binney Street to reach Land Boulevard. Height restrictions are in place for Memorial Drive, so all buses and trucks must use 3rd Street and Binney Street to reach Land Boulevard and Charles River Dam Road (Monsignor O’Brien Highway/Route 28).

The Cambridge-bound detour remains in place using the existing signed route from Charles Circle following Charles Street to Leverett Circle, Monsignor O’Brien Highway (Route 28)/Charles River Dam Road and Land Boulevard.

Next Steps

WSC held an emergency responder briefing on October 30 to discuss traffic management plans with Mass General Hospital and first responders, such as police and fire personnel. WSC has also coordinated with the MBTA to ensure access for emergency busing should an emergency shutdown of the Red Line be necessary.

In early February, once the temporary track is complete, all bikes will be shifted to the upstream side of the bridge and the outbound MBTA Red Line will be shifted to the temporary track. Inbound trains will be moved to the current outbound side and WSC will begin rehabilitating the bridge under the current location of MBTA inbound tracks. This Stage 3 work will take approximately eight months to complete. During this stage, inbound vehicles and pedestrians will continue to use the downstream side. View the Stage 3 Graphic for new travel space configurations.

For more information, visit the project website at For questions or issues and concerns related to construction, please call the project hotline at 617-519-9892 or email View construction progress photos on MassDOT’s Longfellow Bridge Flickr Album.”

MassDOT Seeks Community Input on Capital Investment Plan

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) will hold a series of community conversations to seek input from residents to help develop the agency’s 5-year Capital Investment Plan (CIP), including a public meeting in Cambridge on Thursday, October 22. The meeting will be held at Rindge and Latin starting at 6:30 PM. The CIP provides a framework for all MassDOT projects, covering everything from highway and municipal projects to regional airports, pedestrian walkways, and rail and transit. Please see the flyer below from MassDOT for more info, and for where to submit your comments should you be unable to attend any of the meetings.


Traffic Advisory: Memorial Drive Restrictions this Weekend

Please see the following traffic advisory from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) – Tim.

DCR Traffic Advisory: DCR Restricting Traffic on Several Roadways to Accommodate the Head of the Charles Regatta


The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will institute several road closures, lane restrictions, and parking bans along the Charles River Parkways to accommodate the Head of the Charles Regatta. All times are approximates and are based on public safety recommendations.

Road Closures:


Memorial Drive in Boston between Western Avenue and Fresh Pond Parkway


Saturday, October 17, 2015
9:00AM to 6:00PM

Sunday, October 18, 2015
9:00AM to 7:00PM

Parking Restrictions:

WHEN: Currently in effect to Sunday, October 18, 2015

WHERE: There will be NO PARKING allowed at the following locations:

• Greenough Boulevard in Watertown and Cambridge (closed due to ongoing roadway construction).
• Soldiers Field Road parking lots 1-4 will be closed until Sunday, October 18, 2015 at 8:00PM.
• Soldiers Field Road Eastbound and Westbound.
• The following Memorial Drive parking lots will be closed from Thursday, October 15, 2105 at 6:00PM to Sunday, October 18, 2015 at 8:00 PM:
o Riverside Boat Club
o Magazine Pool driveway
o MWRA Cottage Farm Pump Station lot
• There will be no parking from #980 Memorial Drive to Hawthorn Street in Cambridge, (Memorial Drive to Mt. Auburn Street) from Saturday, October 17, 2015 at 8:00AM to Sunday, October 18, 2015 at 9:00 PM.
• Cambridge Boat Club will reopen on Sunday, October 18, 2015 at 8:00PM.

HONK! Fest is Back This Weekend

Activist street bands will fill the streets of Somerville and Cambridge this weekend for the 2015 edition of HONK! Fest.  The festival’s hosts describe it as a street music revolution in which bands present a diverse fusion of folkloric and modern sounds in the spirit of Mardi Gras. The festival is for free and will run throughout the weekend. For more information on the bands and the festival, please visit the official HONK! fest homepage or their Facebook page.

Construction Advisory for Medford St Bridge Thursday 9/24

As part of construction work related to the Green Line Extension (GLX) Project, it will be necessary for the GLX contractor, White Skanska Kiewit (WSK), to close vehicle traffic on Medford Street Bridge in Gilman Square tomorrow from 9am to 2pm.

Bike and pedestrian traffic will still be allowed on the sidewalk with signs and detail police available to provide direction and assistance.

Should you have any questions please feel free to contact the Green Line Extension at 855-GLX-INFO (459-4636) or

Construction Underway on Grand Junction Path

After years of hard work and persistent advocacy, the first shovel has finally hit the ground on the Grand Junction Path in Cambridge.


Years ago, I successfully led a unified community effort to stop a state proposal that would have seen the path be used for commuter rail trains and ethanol transportation. Since then, along with advocates like Friends of the Grand Junction and Friends of the Community Path, I have worked with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, MIT, and the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority to develop plans that will turn the Grand Junction into a safe pedestrian and bicycle path that will act as an urban necklace connecting thousands of Cambridge residents to businesses, parks, and schools. As this brief 2013 video below shows, once completed, the Grand Junction Path would improve community livability by creating a streamlined connection between Cambridgeport, Area 4, Harrington/Wellington, and East Cambridge. There remains a lot of hard work to be done before this project is complete, but I’m optimistic that we’ll get there because of the dedicated commitment of all the stakeholders involved. Please click this link to an update I posted earlier this year for more info on the Grand Junction Path Project.

Longfellow Bridge Public Information Meetings

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) will hold a public informational meeting in Cambridge next month to provide an update  on the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project’s completed and upcoming work. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 2 from 6-8pm at the Multicultural Arts Center on 41 Second Street. Following the presentation, staff from MassDOT and the design/build contractor, White-Skanska-Consigli JV, will be available to answer questions.

Don’t worry if you can’t make the informational meeting in Cambridge because MassDOT will hold a similar presentation in Boston on Thursday, September 17 from 6-8pm in the Auditorium at the Shriners Hospitals for Children on 51 Blossom Street.

For more information about the project or to sign up to receive email advisories, please visit the project website. For construction related questions or issues, contact the project hotline at 617-519-9892.


Cambridge: Special Community Meeting on Monday 8/17 Following Fatal Shooting

The City of Cambridge is holding a special community meeting this Monday, August 17th due to the fatal shooting of Rasaun Nichols last Wednesday night. The meeting will take place at the Pisani Center on 131 Washington Street at 6:30 PM. Please see the poster below for more details.

Flyer_AreaIVAugust17_2015_Meeting_FINAL copy



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