Centers And Squares
It was announced today that the Davis Square bike path will be heading to Boston. Currently scheduled to be extended to Lowell Street soon when construction ends at the Maxwell Green complex, the MBTA will be extending the bike path along the path of the planned Green Line extension.
When finished, the bike path will connect to paths along the Charles River, connecting 11 cities and towns over a 48 mile stretch. It’s an amazing prospect and sounds like the nicest commute possible into the city and beyond.
The announcement from the city of Somerville is well worth reading with interesting details about Somerville’s efforts that have landed it top rankings in bike-friendliness and walkability.
With my new listing at 31 Adams Street in Somerville, I’ve been looking more closely at plans for the Green Line extension. These are exciting prospects for Somerville, too long a very dense city with too few top notch transportation choices. Kudos to the city government and Mayor Curtatone for their extensive efforts to improve the city’s transportation options.
Last weekend’s blizzard was fun – for a day or two. But getting around town is no easy feat this week. Luckily, the daytime temperatures have been above freezing since a whole lot of melting is needed before we can easily get around Cambridge again.
Cities just aren’t designed to have this much snow. Cambridge sure isn’t. Driving is nervewracking with so many people walking in the narrow streets. Snow piles make intersections hazardous. Two-way streets are reduced to one lane. And parking? Forget about it. Parking will be a challenge until spring.
Somerville, as usual, is doing a fantastic job of snow removal. City workers are on the job around the clock with convoys of dumptrucks taking away the snow that bulldozers have cleared. The other night Ball Square was blocked off by the police for snow removal. I noticed today that there is NO snow left in the square. Now, that’s the way to do it.
This recently erected sign strikes despair in Cambridge drivers’ hearts. Expect delays – ok – what else is new? But for TWO YEARS? How depressing is that? The next screen announces work on Western Ave that will be tying up traffic for two years. Ugh. From bad to worse.
But enough griping. We New Englanders are a hardy lot. Spring will be here soon and a little – or a lot of – snow makes it all the sweeter.
It’s time to get back on the bus – the shuttle bus that is if you’re heading into or out of North Cambridge over the next few weekends.
The MBTA is again doing repairs on the Red Line tracks between the Harvard and Alewife stations. Red Line service between Harvard Square and Alewife will be provided by shuttle buses on the next few weekends.
So if you need to go beyond Harvard Square or get on the T at Alewife, Davis or Porter Square you’ll be taking the shuttle bus instead.
Weekend shuttle bus service will run between Harvard and Alewife on November 24-25 and December 1-2, 2012. The work scheduled for the weekend of December 8-9, 2012 has been postponed and the subway will be running this weekend. The City of Cambridge website has more info here.
I’ve heard pessimistic rumblings about the Green Line extension recently so I think the public meeting scheduled for this Wednesday would be good to attend.
On Wednesday, January 25, 2012, a Green Line extension meeting on Phase I: Early Bridge and Demolition Package will be held at the Somerville High School.
On the docket are discussion of:
- Reconstruction and widening of the Medford Street bridge in Somerville
- Reconstruction and widening of the Harvard Street bridge in Medford
- Demolition and site preparation at 21 Water Street in Cambridge
- and more.
The Green Line Extension meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 at the Somerville High School, 81 Highland Avenue, Somerville MA.
Green Line photo courtesy of Pylon757
The Boston Herald had a great article today about the garage at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge. Turns out the Charles Hotel parking garage gives a break to small cars.
Small cars get a price break at the Charles Square garage. Vehicles that are less than 12 feet in length get the first hour free and a reduced rate. Minis and Smart Cars – of which there are plenty in Cambridge – meet the size limits.
I think this is a super idea. Anything that encourages more small cars on the road – or in the garage – is a good thing in my book. Way to go Charles Hotel.
A few years ago I was running late for an appointment in Brookline. I was trying to park in a parking garage and was stuck behind a line of big, hulking SUVs that were too large for the cramped spaces in the garage. As I fumed, we slowly crawled through the garage as drivers tried every which way to get their supersized vehicles into spaces that were simply too small. Their SUVs were also too tall – making me gasp since it looked quite possible that an SUV top would be sheared off at any moment. It’s a sight that I’ve never forgotten.
It has struck me as odd that in an era of ever bigger vehicles, garages and parking lots, seemingly in attempt to squeeze every possible dollar from their operations, have made parking spaces tighter and smaller. It sure does lead to some nasty confrontations – as I’ve witnessed more than once at the Porter Square shopping center lot for example.
Whether on the road or in the garage, I’d rather be behind a small car than a behemoth. Maybe it’s time to give small cars perks all over town – make the prime parking lot spaces small, give reduced rates at meters for small parking spaces.
I’m not sure why it took half a dozen jaw-clacking trips over – through – into the pothole on Sherman Street before I remembered the Cambridge Pothole Hotline.
Cambridge makes it super simple to report a pothole. You can fill out the form online like I just did or call the Cambridge Pothole Hotline at 617-349-4854. When you fill out the online form you’re given the option of providing your email address and / or phone number in order to be updated on the pothole’s status.
I’ll be delighted to get that call – that Sherman Street pothole is a doozy!
Starting tomorrow, weekend T commuters will have only bus service on the Red Line past Harvard Square.
The MBTA is doing maintenance work on the Red Line T line for the next 17 weekends. From November 5, 2011 through March 4, 2012, T riders will be bused between Harvard Station and Alewife Station on the weekends.
For North Cambridge residents and visitors, “taking the T” will mean taking the bus on Saturdays and Sundays. Porter Square, Davis Square and Alewife will be bus-only on the weekends.
It took a flyer on a condo building bulletin board (note: if you’re looking for a condo to buy you should always read the bulletin board notices – you never know what you’ll find out about the condo association) for me to figure out that the new bike parking post outside our office is part of a city-wide project in Cambridge.
Hundreds of bike parking posts are being installed all over Cambridge. Actually the city calls them post-and-ring bicycle racks.
Bicycling is a popular mode of transportation in Cambridge and Somerville. Chances are good too that you’ll see some pretty funky bicycles around town.
Some of the more unusual bikes you’re likely to spot include:
- Recumbent bicyclists – cyclists ride close to the ground, on an elongated low bike – it’s sort of a cross between a bike and a recliner
- Bikes that are a mix of exercise equipment and bicycle – the pedals look like those big oar-like things – and the bicyclist stands up – there is no seat. It’s like a traveling elliptical machine according to someone who knows quite a bit more about gym equipment than I do
- Big wheel bikes – these are amazing – and a bit scary – to see since the riders are way high up with one enormous wheel and a much smaller one behind. The correct term for these – and it’s not uncommon (but always fun) to see them around Cambridge – is high wheel bicycles or high wheelers.
- And watch out for the bicylist we spotted the other day – his bike seat is a vintage plastic rocking horse