A Cleaner Charles River Coming

Efforts to clean up the Charles will be accelerated under a new settlement.

A renewed commitment to cleaning up the Charles River will preserve our community’s natural beauty for generations to come.

The Boston Water and Sewage Commission has reached an important agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Conversvation Law Foundation. As the Boston Globe reported earlier this week, the settlement represents the next step in the ongoing effort to clean up the Charles River and Boston Harbor.

Under the settlement, the Boston Water and Sewer Commission must locate the sources of pollution running into the Charles and clean them up on an aggressive schedule. The settlement also provides for “green makeovers” for three Boston neighborhoods along with a renewed attack on illegal sewer connections, which mix waste water with storm runoff. Some of the illegal connections are decades old and in poor condition, and the Boston Water and Sewage Commission has already identified at least 25 trouble spots to remove and replace.

I am thrilled that the Boston Water and Sewage Commission has renewed its commitment to cleaning up the Charles, and I’m proud of the way community groups such as the Charles River Watershed Association worked with the government to fix this problem in a smart way. A cleaner Charles River means a healthier, more beautiful community for all of us, and I will work with our neighbors and the Boston Water and Sewage Commission to complete this phase of the Charles River cleanup as smoothly and swiftly as possible.

Spring Street and Lopez Ave Paving this Friday

The City of Cambridge will be paving Spring St and Lopez Ave later this week. Residents may notice that work has already begun in preparation for paving on Friday. Here is a notice from Cambridge DPW about the work being done and what to expect:

SPRING ST & LOPEZ AVE PAVING

Paving Scheduled for Friday, August 31

The City’s contractor, DeFelice Corp., will pave Spring St (from First St to Fulkerson St) and Lopez Ave on Friday, August 31(weather permitting). Work hours for the paving operation are 7 AM to 5 PM. During paving, Spring St and Lopez Ave will be closed to vehicle traffic.

What to Expect During Paving:

  • There cannot be any cars parked on the street during this work. Please be sure to check “No Parking” signs to avoid being ticketed and towed.
  • Vehicle access in and out of driveways will be restricted during paving. Please plan vehicle trips accordingly.
  • During the paving operations, impacted residents can park at the City’s First Street parking garage. Parking is free, if you have a Cambridge resident parking permit and exit the garage by Saturday evening.
  • Signage and police details will be in place to assist neighbors, but drivers are encouraged to seek alternate routes.
  • Paving is weather dependent, and may be rescheduled due to rain.

If you have any questions regarding paving, please contact Katherine Watkins, Supervising Engineer at 617.349.4751/ kwatkins@cambridgema.gov or Rebecca Fuentes, Assistant Commissioner at 617.349.6948/ rfuentes@cambridgema.gov . If you have any special need or disability, please contact us to arrange for any special accommodations that will be necessary.

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience you may experience, and thank you for your continued patience. We hope you enjoy these improvements once they are completed.

Regards,

Katherine Watkins, P.E.
Supervising Engineer
Cambridge Department of Public Works

Annual East End House Block Party Tomorrow Night

The East End House will hold its annual summer block party tomorrow, August 15th, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 105 Spring St., Cambridge.

There will be food, live music, games, face painting, and more. The block party is a fun, free, family event. I hope to see you there!

For more information about the block party and the services that the East End House provides, visit their website here.

Affordable Housing Information Sessions in Cambridge

The Community Development Department will be holding two community information sessions about affordable housing opportunities. These sessions are intended for people interested in affordable housing to learn about Cambridge’s Rental and Home Ownership programs. The Housing Division is currently accepting applications for the Home Ownership and Rental Applicant pools.

For information about these programs, including income eligibility requirements, please visit the Community Development Department Housing Division website.

The upcoming information sessions will be held on August 20th and September 17th:

Monday, August 20th, 2012 – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Cambridge Community Center
5 Callender Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

Monday, September 17th, 2012 – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Cambridge Public Library, Main Branch
449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138

If you cannot make these meetings, or you require information about affordable housing right away, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

 

 

Cambridge and Somerville Celebrate Hubway Expansion

Hubway, the popular bike sharing program based in Boston, has made its way across the Charles River in its first expansion beyond Boston’s borders. Hubway stations have already opened in a number of locations in Cambridge and Somerville, and the two cities celebrated the expansion of Hubway with ribbon-cutting events this morning, including a celebratory ride from Somerville City Hall to Central Square.

Tim speaks about Hubway’s expansion to Somerville at Somerville City Hall

Hubway has grown rapidly since its opening last year and has already seen more than 250,000 trips taken on its bicycles, putting it far ahead of the pace of growth for similar bike share programs in other major cities. A $3 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration helped Hubway get off the ground and has allowed the program to grow. By making safe, regularly-maintained bicycles more readily available to commuters, Hubway has introduced a new, affordable public transit option that has helped to fill some of the gaps in our traditional public transportation system (such as the ride from Somerville City Hall to Central Square). Now that there are more than 1,000 Hubway bicycles in circulation, many people in Somerville and Cambridge have a new, healthy option to help them get around and stay active.

Of course, for bicycles to be a safe and healthy mode of transportation, a helmet is required. Hubway has compiled a list of many places in Boston where you can get a bike helmet for as little as $8. An organization called H.E.L.L. (Helping Everyone Live Longer) gives out free helmets to to bicyclists in the Boston area who are in need of one. To request a helmet, visit their website.