Cambridge Election Results

Nov 8, 2011 Election results in Cambridge

Nov 8, 2011 Election results in Cambridge

This morning, whether it’s reading the Boston Globe or watching Morning Joe, you’d be tempted to think we didn’t have an election yesterday.

But we did.

Wondering who won in the Cambridge school committee and city council voting?

From the City of Cambridge here are preliminary results for the city council election and the school committee election of Nov 8, 2011:

Cambridge City Council Election Results

Cambridge votes by proportional representation.  You can vote for multiple candidates but you rank your choices – only one candidate can get your important #1 vote and you vote in order of preference for other candidates. 

15,393 votes were cast and counted last night.   Candidates who received 1540 #1 votes were elected on the first count.  Tim Toomey, David Maher and Leland Cheung each received enough votes to win re-election on the first round.  Frankly after that I get a bit lost in how votes are apportioned but we do know who won.  We think.  Cambridge calls all election results “preliminary”.  The results aren’t deemed final until November 18th after write-ins, absentee ballots, etc are counted.

That being said, per the preliminary results, in addition to Toomey, Maher and Cheung; Henrietta Davis, Denise Simmons, Marjorie Decker, Craig Kelley and Ken Reeves were reelected. 

Sam Seidel did not win reelection.  That meant we had one seat change – Minka vanBeuzekom won and is the newest member of the Cambridge City Council.

Cambridge School Committee Election Results

 Preliminary school committee election results show that Alfred Fantini, Patricia Nolan, Alice Turkel, Mervan Osborne, Richard Harding and Marc McGovern won.  Nancy Tauber did not win reelection.  Mervan Osborne is the newly elected member of the Cambridge School Committee

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Cambridge MA Real Estate Market – January – October 2011

Cambridge MA Real Estate Market

Cambridge MA Real Estate Market

How’s the real estate market in Cambridge?  People are always asking.  Let’s pause a moment, before we head into the holidays, and look back to see what kind of year we’ve had so far.  Here’s a review of Cambridge MA real estate market activity for January through October 2011.

For comparison, the numbers for the same period in 2010 are in parentheses.

2011 looks a lot like 2010 in the Cambridge real estate market.  The number of properties sold is up by 3% despite the low inventory.  The median price has barely budged for the market as a whole and the average time it takes to sell is unchanged.  Median price changes by property type may be due to the mix of what’s been available for sale.

On October 31, 2011, 221 properties were listed for sale in Cambridge.  That’s a huge drop in inventory levels from last year at this time when 373 residential properties were on the market.  Cambridge real estate agents have been grumbling about low inventory and with numbers like these  it’s no wonder that buyers are having a challenging time finding what they want.

Residential real estate sold in Cambridge – Jan-Oct 2011 (2010)

  • 743 properties sold (720)
  • Average days on market = 79 (78)
  • Properties sold for an average of 97%  of asking price (97%) 
  • Median price of $465,000 ($462,000)

Cambridge Single Family Sales – Jan-Oct 2011 (2010)

  • Total sold: 94 (95 )
  • Sale prices ranged from $280,000 – $3,750,000  ($275,000 – $4,250,000)
  • Median price: $844,250  ($862,500)
  • Average days on market: 74  (70)
  • On average, houses sold for 97% of asking price   (97% )

Cambridge Condo Sales – Jan-Oct 2011 (2010)

  • Total sold: 600  (569)
  • Sale prices ranged from $164,000 – $3,450,000 ($175,500 – $4,250,000)
  • Median price: $423,875  ($430,000)
  • Average days on market: 81  (81)
  • On average, condos sold for 97% of asking price   (98%)

Cambridge Multi-Family Sales – Jan-Oct 2011 (2010)

  • Total sold: 49  (56)
  • Sale prices ranged from $282,000 – $1,900,000  ($200,000 – $6,651,100)
  • Median price: $775,000  ($707,500)
  • Average days on market: 69  (71)
  • On average, multi-unit houses sold for 97% of asking price  (96% )

SEARCH FOR CONDOS FOR SALE IN CAMBRIDGE MASS

SEARCH FOR SINGLE FAMILY HOMES FOR SALE IN CAMBRIDGE MA

Info about Cambridge MA real estate market in 2011 (2010) from MLSpin

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Mass Ave Into Arlington

Mass Ave into Arlington

What's Up With Traffic as Mass Ave Goes Into Arlington?

Somethings wrong on Mass Ave going into Arlington…

I’ve done my best to keep Centers and Squares rant-free  – not always easy for a natural born ranter.  But today I’m going to indulge myself.

In the 90s I  lived in New Hampshire for a few years and with my city-bred impatience was often aggravated by New Hampsherites’ odd behavior in lines (aka queues).  Inefficiency was the norm – lines that didn’t move, lines formed for no good reason, etc.

I’d tap my toe impatiently as the line at the post office failed to move despite the 6′ space that had opened up between waiting customers.  I’d bang the steering wheel as cars waited behind a stopped car  in traffic despite the wide expanse of pavement on the right that allowed for plenty of room to drive around.  “This would never happen in Massachusetts!” I’d exclaim.

Except, now it is.  Inefficiency rules.  At least on Mass Ave at the Cambridge / Arlington line.

I’ve driven through the intersection of Mass Ave and Route 16 countless times.  Never had a problem.  But now the intersection has become the source of intense aggravation.

Mass Ave approaching Route 16 has three lanes – the left lane to turn to go to Route 2, the middle lane to go straight into Arlington on Mass Ave, and the right lane to go straight onto the two-lanes of Mass Ave in Arlington or to turn right to go onto Route 16.

Something’s fallen apart.

Drivers line up in the middle lane despite the empty right lane.  Traffic backs up further and further as we get closer to rush hour.  Always the right lane remains empty or close to.  Fewer and fewer cars manage to make it through the light cycle.

I’ve steamed.  I’ve honked.  I’ve even tweeted for cripes sake.  I rant out loud “Two lanes!  Not one – but two!”  But the dozen cars in front of me don’t budge.

Today I left a message for a traffic engineer at the Cambridge Traffic and Parking.  My suggestions so far – maybe repainting or adding another set of the white lines on the pavement that show the 3rd lane as a straight / turn right lane may help.  Even better – one of those neon yellow signs that show the lane configurations should be installed.

Something’s gotta give.  Don’t make me get out there with my flag to direct traffic.

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Cambridge and Somerville Most Walkable Cities in Massachusetts

Cambridge and Somerville - Most Walkable MA Cities

Cambridge and Somerville - Most Walkable MA Cities

Cambridge and Somerville Most Walkable Cities in Massachusetts  The popular site Walkscore just came out with its 2011 50 Most Walkable Cities.  Boston was #3 in the country with a Walkscore of 79.2, behind only top ranked New York City (Walkscore of 85.3) and San Francisco (84.9) .

Dig a little deeper, however, and you realize that the Most Walkable Cities list only included big cities – it’s a ranking of the walkability of the 50 largest cities in the US. 

When you look at the Walkscore rankings for Massachusetts you discover that Cambridge is the most walkable city in Massachusetts, followed by Somerville.  Using Walkscore’s methodology (Walkscore has a complicated algorithm meant to measure how easy it is to live without a car.  For the city-wide rankings the scores are weighted for population density throughout the city.) Cambridge and Somerville handily outrank Boston in terms of walkability.  Here’s the ranking of the top five cities in Massachusetts:

  • Cambridge 89
  • Somerville 84
  • Brookline 83
  • Boston 79
  • Everett 77

And here are the 2011 Walkscore rankings for some other towns in Centers and Squares territory:

  • Arlington 67
  • Belmont 63
  • Medford 64
  • Watertown 74 (ranked 6th in Massachusetts)

You have to take Walkscore rankings with a grain of salt – sometimes the amenities included in a location’s ranking are a little funky.  Also, for these aggregate scores realize that some parts of these cities are much more walkable, while other neighborhoods are more removed from shops, schools, etc.

No question though – many real estate buyers are looking for properties in close proximity to shops, restaurants, public transportation, pubs, etc. In a time of high gas prices and traffic congestion the option of living car free is very appealing.  It’s not surprising that Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline continue to be popular with home buyers.

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Faces Nightclub – Soon To Be Apartments?

Anyone who’s driven into the city via Route 2 for the last twenty years or so has wondered about the eyesore on the right side of the highway as you enter Cambridge.

Faces nightclub, once a popular disco, has been abandoned for some twenty years.  Increasingly shabby, it’s a terrible way to welcome people to Cambridge.  “When will Faces be torn down?” has been asked innumerable times.  Turns out that Faces site may be destined for apartments.

Arthur D. Little Office Building Is No More. Is Faces Next?

Arthur D. Little Office Building Is No More. Is Faces Next?

A week or so ago while on our weekly real estate tour we thought it had been torn down as we drove past on Route 2.  We must not have been paying attention, however, because after circling back it turned out that it was the old Arthur D. Little office building that had just been reduced to rubble.

Is Faces next?  Lately the old Faces sign has been wrapped in plastic.  Far more promising, though is the recent Cambridge Planning Board meeting in February where developers presented plans for rental housing to be built on the Faces site.

Criterion Development Partners came before the Planning Board to introduce their plans to build a 227-unit apartment building on the site. There would be studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments in the four story complex.  The development team would buy the Faces site from long-time owners the Martignettis.

The Faces site is complicated because of the flood plain and wetlands.  The developers talked about how the design of the complex addresses those issues.   The apartment building will be constructed with green building standards and there is an emphasis on the use of public transportation and bicycle use, capitalizing on the proximity of the Alewife MBTA stop and the bike path.  The developers proposed that residents will be given a three month Charlie Card subway pass and there will be bike storage and a bicycle sharing program for tenants.

The Planning Board had plenty of questions for the developers but it was clear that everyone looks forward to the day that Faces is torn down.

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11 Homer Ave Cambridge – Come By On Sunday

First open house at 11 Homer Ave Cambridge

First open house at 11 Homer Ave Cambridge

I’m holding the first open house at 11 Homer Ave in Cambridge MA tomorrow from 1:30 to 2:30.  I hope you can stop by!

11 Homer Ave just came on the market for $419,000. It’s an unusual opportunity to buy a single family at this price point in the Cambridge MA 02138 zip code.  It’s tough to get a two-bedroom condo with parking for much less than $400,000 so this house offers the chance to have your own home at a condo price – and to add value with renovations and updates.

The house has been well loved by one family for decades.  I’ve always thought that houses have vibes and this is a happy house.  The entry stairhall is gracious and the big windows let in lots of light.  You’ll probably spend a lot of time in the large backyard once the snow melts.

New buyers will want to do updates but it would be possible – if you couldn’t afford to do it all at once – to live in the house and do upgrades over time as you can afford them.

The kitchen will likely be a favorite gathering spot. It’s good-sized with room for a big table, lots of cabinets, and plenty of counter space.  There’s a dishwasher and a gas stove. Remove some wallpaper and paint the cabinets, maybe put on some new hardware – you could get more good years out of the kitchen before you did major renovations.

There’s a large bath on the first floor.  Upstairs, the new owners may opt to turn one of the four bedrooms into a second bath.

The cellar has good ceiling height, great storage, a place for a workbench, laundry hookups, and a door to the backyard. There’s a brick and concrete block garage that will fit a compact car plus parking for another car in the driveway.

Mount Auburn Cemetery with its meandering landscaped paths, bird watching opportunities, and regular tours and lectures is across the street.  Fresh Pond Reservation – a favorite destination for walkers, runners and dog owners – is down the block. In addition to the two mile path around the pond there’s also a golf course and playground.  Want to vary your jogging route? – the Charles River isn’t far.  A branch of the Cambridge Public Library is around the corner on Aberdeen Avenue.

The bus on Mount Auburn stops at Homer Ave – you’ll be in Harvard Square in minutes.  In addition to the bus – it’s actually the electric track-less trolley – there’s easy access to commuting routes from 11 Homer Avenue.  You can quickly get to Memorial Drive, Storrow Drive, and routes 2, 3, 93, 95, and 128.

11 Homer Avenue Cambridge MA 02138 will be open tomorrow, Sunday, February 20, 2011 from 1:30 to 2:30.  If you can’t come by call Liz Bolton – that’s me! – at 617-504-1737 to schedule an appointment to see the house.

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No Saving Spaces In Cambridge

Reserved Parking Space In Cambridge

Reserved Parking Space In Cambridge

No saving spaces in Cambridge – parking spaces that is. 

With the repeated snow storms this winter, many Cambridge residents who’ve shoveled out spaces on the city streets have taken to saving their parking spaces by putting out barrels, cones, chairs, even appliances.

Some people take offense at saved spaces.  I tend to sympathize. Nothing’s worse than doing a top notch job of clearing away mountains of snow only to have a less than industrious neighbor grab your space – leaving you to circle the block over and over again when you return.

The City of Cambridge has been removing the items used to reserve parking spaces. They’re not done yet – I snapped the table at right on tour today – but the trucks have been going out and every item on the street gets thrown in the truck and taken away when they get to your street. My brother’s building lost its trash barrel that someone was using to save their spot.

Maybe it’s time to take the T and let your car save its space.

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Clean Sidewalk Contest in Cambridge

Do You Live On The Best Shoveled Block In Cambridge?

Do You Live On The Best Shoveled Block In Cambridge?

The mild temps we’ve had the last few days were a perfect opportunity to do some clean up work on the sidewalks outside your house. Just what you need – to ensure nobody slips and falls on your walkway – and to get ready for the Best Shoveled Block in Cambridge contest.

The Cambridge Post Office and the Green Streets Iniative are sponsoring the clean sidewalk contest.

Nominations are due by Feb. 25, 2011. 

Local letter carriers will be the judges – since they’ve got to navigate city sidewalks all winter they’re well qualified to select the winner.

It’s a wonderful idea to add some fun to the drudgery of shoveling.  Neighbors can get together and make sure everyone on their block has kept their stretch of the sidewalk free and clear of ice and snow.  Nothing like some competition to get the neighbors out with shovels and snow blowers at the ready.

Information about the Best Shoveled Block Contest in Cambridge is available on the City website.

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