Looking Forward to Changes in Cambridge

Cambridge is seeing some changes, with some in the form of future plans for redesigning certain parklands and others in the form of making some long overdue repairs to infrastructure. Here is a look at just a few of the changes taking place in Cambridge.

Inman Square Redesign Creates Controversy

Cambridge has officially received approval from state lawmakers to move forward with plans to redesign Inman Square. The major change that will occur under these new plans is the installation of a plaza, which designers hope will help to bend traffic on Hampshire Street as it reaches Cambridge Street. In this way, supporters of the change hope that the square will be safer for bike and pedestrian use.

Not everyone is on board with the upcoming changes, however, as some are skeptical that the plan will increase safety at all. Yet others are concerned that the plan will shrink the Velluci Plaza park, resulting in the loss of more trees in the area. Many of Cambridge’s residents have already been concerned by the shrinking canopy in the area. In fact, Councilor Quinton Zondervan recently wrote an op-ed for Cambridge Day in which he stated that the city needs to take immediate action to address the issue.

According to Zondervan, Cambridge’s tree canopy fell by 7 percent from 2009 to 2014. To address this concern, Zondervan has plans to propose an amendment to the Cambridge tree ordinance that would require private property owners to obtain a permit to cut down trees that are at least 8 inches in diameter and 4 feet high. The Urban Forest Master Plan Task Force of Cambridge is also working toward putting forth recommendations addressing these and other nature-related concerns.

Those who are opposed to the city’s current plan to redesign Inman Square have their own proposal that would still involve creating a new plaza while saving the current one. Whether or not the city will move forward with the original plan or entertain the new one being proposed by concerned citizens remains to be seen.

Alewife Garage to Reopen

The MBTA recently reopened the Alewife garage off the Red Line, but the hours for the garage may still remain sporadic for the time being. Currently, plans call for closing the garage daily from 1:00 am until 5:00 am for inspections. The garage may also be closed on weekends.

The closure of the MBTA’s largest garage, which houses approximately 2,600 spaces, was initiated after a chunk of concrete fell on a car in early August. Dating back to the mid-1980s, the garage services the northwestern terminus of the T’s busiest subway line. Those who use the garage have been complaining for some time about the deterioration of the building. In addition, transportation officials said they would make upgrades to the garage as part of the infrastructural improvement push that came after the harsh winter of 2015. While the garage has been reopened, the regular closings will be part of an ongoing inspection process to ensure the garage is safe for use.

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