Buses Only on Longfellow Bridge This Weekend

An 1871 work by Cantabrigian Winslow Homer, subtitled

An 1871 work by Cantabrigian Winslow Homer, subtitled “Oh, Ain’t It Cold!” Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Temperatures are expected to rise this weekend as the polar vortex remembers why it’s called a “polar” vortex in the first place. That’s good news for the folks working on the Longfellow Bridge, because they’ll be working hard this weekend during one of the project’s planned service diversions.

As with previous weekend diversions, the only motorized vehicles allowed on the bridge will be MBTA buses running between Kendall and Park St. stations. The detours for motorists remain the same. Here’s a map of those detours, and you can always find more resources at MassDOT’s Longfellow Bridge page.

Cambridge After-School Programs Win Additional Funding

City Sprouts teaches kids about nutrition and biology by helping them grow their own vegetables.

City Sprouts teaches kids about nutrition and biology by showing them how to grow their own vegetables, like these peppers from the Cambridgeport School. Photo by Kristen Emack via Cambridge Day.

Christmas came early for Cambridge’s City Sprouts and East End House after-school programs. Both groups recently received five-figure “quality enhancement” grants from the Commonwealth’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The money is intended to fund an expanded menu of STEM-focused service-learning summer programs and to expand the amount of time our kids spend learning outside the classroom.

Congratulations to everyone at City Sprouts, East End House, and their partners at the Cambridge Public School District—you continue to make us proud every single day.


MBTA Seeking Volunteers for Green Line Construction Working Group

The MBTA is looking for a few good neighbors to help on the GLX project.

Mayor Curtatone speaks as Governor Patrick and others look on at last year’s Green Line Extension groundbreaking ceremony. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

The MBTA is putting together a panel of citizens to advise on the final design and construction issues associated with the Green Line Extension. Members of the panel—known as the Construction Working Group—will represent their neighborhoods and serve as a communications link between neighbors and the T.

Since this initiative is all about neighborhood engagement, the Construction Working Group is seeking applicants who live within a mile of the Green Line Extension. The Group’s seats will be apportioned based on the Green Line’s new stops, with one representative each from the neighborhoods surrounding Lechmere, College Ave., and Union Square stations (Gilman Square and Ball Square will be represented by two seats each).

The Working Group will meet every few months to make sure the Green Line Extension construction happens as smoothly as possible. To apply, just fill out this form and send it to Regan Checcio by Friday, December 13.

Longfellow Bridge Closed to Cars and Trains This Weekend

The Longfellow Bridge will be closed to cars and MBTA trains on Nov. 23-24, 2013.

A photo from the early 20th century showing the Longfellow (then Cambridge) Bridge’s arches under construction. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Cars and MBTA Red Line trains won’t cross the Longfellow Bridge this weekend, part of a planned service diversion associated with the bridge’s landmark rehabilitation project. Instead, buses will run between Kendall/MIT and Park Street stations. Pedestrians will be able to cross the bridge as they always have, but cyclists will be asked to walk their bikes across the river. There will also be alternating lane closures on Memorial Drive eastbound this weekend.

The detours for motorists remain the same as they were in previous weekend diversions. Here’s a map of those detours, but you can always find more resources at MassDOT’s Longfellow Bridge page.

Harvard Square Celebrates Halloween All Weekend Long

Halloween in Harvard Square brings with it the spooky specter of student debt.

Halloween’s over when we say it’s over! Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Halloween was yesterday, but the Harvard Square Business Association is making sure the holiday’s spooky spirit remains alive (OR MAYBE UNDEAD!) throughout the weekend. Harvard Scare at Harvard Square highlights the fun ways local businesses are celebrating Halloween. Pedicabs can be hired to bring adult trick-or-treaters to participating businesses; the Harvard Coop is holding an all-ages pumpkin decorating contest tomorrow; Russell House Tavern is highlighting the Mexican traditions of Dia de Los Muertos; and just about every restaurant and bakery in the square is featuring pumpkins and other seasonal fare.

So, if you’re not quite ready to put your costume away until next year, or if you’re just looking for something to do this weekend—aside from attending the Red Sox’ rolling rally, of course—stop by Harvard Square.


Halloween Open Houses at All Cambridge Fire Stations

From 2-4pm on Halloween, every Cambridge Fire Department station—like this one near Central Square—will be open to the public.

From 2-4pm on Halloween, every Cambridge Fire Department station—like this one near Central Square—will be open to the public. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

It’s an annual tradition for the men and women of the Cambridge Fire Department: from 2:00pm-4:00pm on October 31, all CFD stations will be open to the public. Parents and trick-or-treaters are encouraged to stop by, take a look at the big red trucks, and grab some free candy and glow sticks for later on in the evening. The candy has been generously donated by Cambridge Brands on Main St., and all open houses are completely free.

Engine 5 at the Inman Square fire station is currently down for repairs, but other than that, every fire engine should be available for your little ones. If you have any questions, please contact the Cambridge Fire Department’s Lieutenant Michael Hughes at 617-349-4153 or mhughes@cambridgefire.org.

Longfellow Bridge Closed to Cars and Trains Next Two Weekends

Buses like this one will run between the Kendall Square and Park Street Red Line stops for the next two weekends. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

For the next two weekends, MBTA buses will be the only vehicles allowed on the Longfellow Bridge. Boston-bound vehicles should follow this detour, while Cambridge-bound traffic should follow this detour. If you’re a cyclist, this applies to you too, as police will be on hand to ask cyclists to walk their bikes across the bridge. Pedestrians, on the other hand, can cross the bridge as they normally would. I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you that there’s one more weekend closing in 2013, on November 23-24.

Why the complete shutdown of traffic on the bridge? In short, construction crews need to work close to the Red Line tracks, and it’s not safe to operate trains that close to workers.

As always, you can see MBTA service disruptions in real time with Service Alerts, and if you have any questions about the project, you can call the DOT’s dedicated Longfellow Bridge hotline at 617-519-9892.

Rib Fest Takes Over Cambridge St. This Sunday


Brace yourselves. Ribs are coming.

I’m so excited I don’t even really know how to start this post.

Rib Fest is back! Yes, Head of the Charles is this weekend. And yes, it’s Food Week in Somerville, and Saturday is Harvest Fest. But Rib Fest is an absolute feast, and I’m thrilled and honored to once again present the festival’s awards.

There are some fun changes to this year’s event, including live music and cooking demonstrations, but my favorite is the new Meateater pass. The Meateater not only lets you sample every last rib at Rib Fest, it also (in a highly undemocratic turn of events) makes your People’s Choice Award votes count three times. Meateater ticket holders are encouraged to consider wearing pants with an elastic waistband and to set aside space on the couch for a post-Rib Fest power nap.

Every good chef knows that you eat with your eyes, so if you’d like to see more mouthwatering photos from last year’s Rib Fest, click here. Yes, I know I’m posting this around lunch time, and no, I don’t feel bad about it.

Come down to Cambridge St. this Sunday from noon to 4pm for Rib Fest. I think you’ll be happy you did.

Cambridge Police to Host Community Meetings

Get to know your local police sergeants at two community meetings.

Get to know your local police sergeants at two community meetings. Image via Instagram @CambridgePolice.

The Cambridge Police Department has announced two community meetings to discuss crime and safety concerns with neighbors. The first meeting will take place next Monday, October 21 at 7:00pm at the Peabody School in North Cambridge (70 Rindge Ave.). The second meeting is scheduled for the following evening, Tuesday, October 22 at 6:30pm at the King Open School in East Cambridge* (850 Cambridge St.).

Each meeting will be hosted by a CPD sergeant assigned to the neighborhood, so you’ll be speaking with the people who walk the beat on your street. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Dan Riviello, the CPD’s Director of Communication, at 617-349-3237 or email him at pio@cambridgepolice.org.

*Longtime Cantabrigians are well aware that “East Cambridge starts at the tracks,” and the King School is technically in the Wellington-Harrington neighborhood.

Head of the Charles to Impact Cambridge Traffic This Weekend

The world's best rowers are coming to the Charles this weekend.

The world’s best rowers are coming to the Charles this weekend. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

The 49th Head of the Charles Regatta gets underway this weekend, and while the race course only stretches from the Eliot Bridge to the BU boathouse, the event always sprawls onto the river’s banks. Parking restrictions are already in effect at the following locations, and will remain so until Sunday evening:

  • Soldiers Field Road Lots 1-4, from 10pm Wednesday to 8pm Sunday
  • Memorial Drive (westbound from 940 Memorial Drive to Mt. Auburn St.), from 8am Saturday to 9pm Sunday
  • Cambridge Boat Club (Gerry’s Landing at Memorial Drive), from 10pm Wednesday to 8pm Sunday

You should also expect some disruption related to the Head of the Charles if you’re a commuter who uses one of the following roads:

  • Soldiers Field Road (westbound from Western Ave. to N. Harvard St.), right lane closed 8am Saturday to 6pm Sunday
  • Soldiers Field Road (Herter Lot No. 2), right lane closed 6am to 6pm both Saturday and Sunday
  • Memorial Drive (between Western Ave. and Fresh Pond Parkway), completely closed, Saturday 9am-6pm and Sunday from 9am until cleanup is finished

Teams will be completing their final load-in on Friday, October 18 from 6am-3pm, and DCR officials anticipate some light traffic snarls as a result. But with all that being said—go to Head of the Charles! It’s a fantastic event that features some of the best athletes on the planet, and it’s one of the quintessential fall-in-New-England activities that everyone needs to try at least once. Admission is absolutely free, but as WBZ put it, “Avoid driving at all costs.”