WHEREAS: Green Streets Initiative, a Cambridge-based organization which celebrates and promotes awareness of healthy and sustainable commuting choices, hosting Walk/Ride Days on the last Friday of every month; and
WHEREAS: The 10th Anniversary of Green Streets Initiative Walk/Ride Day takes place on Friday, the 29th of April, 2016; and
WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge and dozens of Cambridge-based companies participate in the annual April through October Walk/Ride Day Corporate Challenge which will kick off on Friday, the 29th of April, 2016; and
WHEREAS: Cambridge, due to its physical characteristics and determined leadership, has the opportunity to show itself a model city in environmentally friendly transportation policy and practice; and
WHEREAS: We are in the midst of a local and worldwide climate crisis in which transportation is the biggest single emitting sector; and
WHEREAS: Cambridge’s Climate Action plan envisions harnessing “the capabilities of residents, businesses, and institutions to transform Cambridge into a city that… Relies on walking, bicycling, and transit for mobility”; and
WHEREAS: There are plentiful low-cost and easily available active, environmentally-friendly commuting options in and around Cambridge; and
WHEREAS: A partial closing of Memorial Drive, opening full lanes to car-free transportation, encourages novice cyclists who are intimidated by sharing the road with traffic to have an opportunity to ride long distances while enjoying the view of Boston along the Charles River; and
WHEREAS: Parts of Memorial Drive are closed to cars on Sundays from the last Sunday of April to the first Sunday of November between Western Avenue and Mount Auburn Street; and
WHEREAS: Other sections of Memorial Drive are closed to cars on July 4
WHEREAS: Memorial Drive has very few entry and exit points, and making it an ideal road for bikes and cars to co-ride and affects few commercial businesses (besides gas stations); and
WHEREAS: This temporary reconfiguration of Memorial Drive allows the road remains open to cars while prioritizing the safety of cyclists; and
WHEREAS: This is an exciting opportunity for Cambridge and others to study the impact of making roads more inviting to non-car commuters; and
WHEREAS: Providing space for cyclists to safely bike on the roadway will allow pedestrians to use multi-use paths along the river more safely, with less fear of conflicts with bicycles; and
WHEREAS: Bicycle commuting has been shown to extend life expectancy, reduces demands on the health care system and contributes to improved air quality.
WHEREAS: Commuting via healthy, active transportation in Cambridge unites people across all socioeconomic backgrounds; and
WHEREAS: This will inspire commuters, many of whom are waiting for safer infrastructure to try healthier modes of transport such as walking, running, cycling, skating, to give it a try; and
WHEREAS: Cambridge residents, visitors, and others deserve to have cleaner and healthier air as they walk or bike along the river; and
WHEREAS: This celebration of healthy and sustainable commuting opportunities is an exciting and appropriate way to honor Earth Day and Earth Month; and
WHEREAS: The April Walk/Ride Day is the last Friday and Walk/Ride Day before May’s Bike Month; now therefore be it
ORDERED: The City Manager be and hereby is requested to ask the state DCR for their permission to use two lanes (one in each direction) of Memorial Drive for non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians only and further to coordinate with the appropriate city departments to close two lanes to cars (one in each direction) on Memorial Drive on April 29th 2016, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Walk/Ride Days, and the kick-off of the 5th Annual Walk/Ride Day Corporate Challenge; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the council on plans for the closure of lanes of Memorial Drive on April 29th once they are determined.
WHEREAS: Cambridge prides itself on its multi-cultural immigrant communities, welcoming their various contributions to the city, whether through work, camaraderie, and/or community involvement; and
WHEREAS: According to the 2011 Cambridge Statistical Profile, over a quarter of Cambridge’s 103,609 residents are foreign-born with over 61% of that group lacking citizenship; and
WHEREAS: Residents of Cambridge, whether or not they are naturalized United States citizens, do pay state and local taxes, including property, sales, and school taxes, and enroll their children in our public schools, giving them a stake in decisions of the Cambridge City Council that affect them; and
WHEREAS: Without the ability to vote and gain representation through that power, non-citizens are at a disadvantage in ensuring that their views are adequately heard, understood, and represented in City Council discussions and policy decisions; and
WHEREAS: Even if a home rule petition allowing non-citizens to vote in municipal elections were to pass through the State Legislature, the ability to hold public office would still be reserved for U.S. citizens; therefore be it
ORDERED: That the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Art, and Celebrations Committee and the Civic Unity Committee hold a joint hearing to determine the feasibility of facilitating the appointment of an “Non-Citizen Representative” to City Council, who: 1) would be elected by Cambridge residents who are ineligible to vote in municipal elections solely on account of their citizenship; 2) would not have the power to vote in Council meetings; 3) would be able to speak on agenda items at Council meetings; 4) would be able to submit policy orders to City Council members for their consideration; and 5) would be allotted a publicly-accessible meeting space for non-citizen Cambridge residents to air grievances and discuss city issues at least once per month.
I am going to present a Policy Order to request that an Election Rehearsal at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School take place before each City Council election. These rehearsals would be run by the Election Commission, and the participants would be high school students. I believe that this would be a simple way to both preempt logistical issues and invest young voters in local politics.
I am sponsoring a policy order to install protected cycle tracks and ADA compliant sidewalks on Huron Avenue. This will allow everyone, particularly young students, their families, and senior citizens to safely get around.
Whereas: Huron Avenue is a significantly traveled route for people in cars, people on bicycles, and people walking; and
Whereas: Many residents, including senior citizens and young students, use Huron Avenue to get to and from Fresh Pond Reservation, the Fresh Pond Golf Course, Glacken Field & Playground, the Russell Youth & Community Center, the Collins Branch library, schools (including the Daniel Haggerty School), shopping, and recreational sporting events; and
Whereas: Student and pedestrian safety is paramount to the City of Cambridge; and
Whereas: At present, several significant sections of Huron Avenue lack the necessary infrastructure to ensure safe travel for all users; and
Whereas: There is, specifically, no sidewalk, cycle track, or protected bicycle lane on the north side of Huron Avenue between Fresh Pond Parkway and Aberdeen Avenue (679 ft. in length), between Aberdeen Avenue and Glacken Field (903 ft.), or between Glacken Field and the Russell Youth & Community Center (502 ft.); and
Whereas: continuous concrete sidewalks are significantly easier to keep cleared of snow and ice, the lack of which resulted in pedestrians at this location being forced to walk dangerously in the street for most of the past Winter; and
Whereas: ADA compliant sidewalks also ensure safe and equal access to persons with disabilities and greatly encourage sidewalk use by all residents, thus limiting non-motorist road usage; and
Whereas: Protected bike lanes are inexpensive and see 28% fewer injuries per mile; and
Whereas: 96% of protected bike lane users notice an increase in personal safety, a priority for families with students who commute to school; now therefore be it
Ordered: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the appropriate departments to install ADA compliant sidewalks, create protected bike lanes, and consider additional features to guarantee the safety of young students and all other users; and be it further
Ordered: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council on this matter.
France passed legislation that requires supermarkets to donate edible food that would otherwise be discarded to local homeless shelters and food banks. This inspired us to put together a policy order. We're asking the city manager to investigate the possibility of enacting similar legislation in Cambridge.Read more
Cycling is on the rise in Cambridge and safety is our top priority. Effective infrastructure separates cyclists and motorists while offering a better experience for all road users. This policy will take the next step that Cambridge needs to reduce cycle related accidents permitting cyclists to have a five-second advanced start when crossing an intersection.
Cambridge recently achieved a AAA bond rating from the three major national credit agencies. This continues a trend of low rates and large capital expenditures for Cambridge - things like schools and refinancing. On the whole, this state of affairs saves Cambridge money and keeps our long term infrastructure investments financially sound.
The City Council proposed an ordinance change easing restrictions on leafletting. This is a free speech issue, especially when involving non-profits and other non-commercial groups engaging city. So, the Council and City Manager are working together to make sure we balance free speech and the inevitable litter created by non-commercial leafletting. I believe that the ordinance change will reflect a good balance.
Councillors Cheung, McGovern, and I passed a resolution asking for fair treatment of the adjuncts and core faculty at Lesley University as they bargain with the university administration for a fair contract. The resolution highlights how the Lesley administration has cut corners and also seeks to correct unfair salary practices. I spoke to my experience as an adjunct, as university staff, and as faculty at various (non-Lesley) institutions - and the unfair pay and treatment I encountered.
I also put in a policy order to release the agendas for city committee meetings days in advance. This availability will allow concerned residents to stay informed on topics under discussion and will help prospective attendees gauge interest in advance.
I moved reconsideration for publicly funded elections. I believe publicly funded elections are crucial and the vote taken at a special meeting on Friday, February 20 was both out of context and against my wishes. Now, again, the issue has been defeated and I believe it will take even more substantial organizing and public outrage to make publicly financed elections the law. My opinion is that this shift will be necessary and inevitable - it is the best way to dilute the grip special interests have and the best way to allow prospective candidates from all socioeconomic backgrounds to run and win. I want to protect and improve the democratic process and I believe that rejecting my proposed order on this matter is a bold step by the current council in the wrong direction.
The meeting of the Municipal broadband task force took place on March 2, 2015. My hope is that we all contact that group and discuss our hopes for municipal fiber infrastructure, which will allow us to break Comcast’s monopoly on internet service and plan for a future where all of our devices (personal, municipal, and otherwise) are connected affordably. These discussions are vital and I hope readers will get involved imagining the future of connectivity in Cambridge - and share personal experiences about the current abysmal state of Comcast service.
Cambridge and Somerville Regional Strategy Policy Order
Cambridge and Somerville share a number of pertinent issues and would benefit from collaborating on mutual solutions to shared problems. I want to reach out to Somerville and find ways to work together and learn from each other’s successes.
COUNCILLOR MAZEN Whereas: Cambridge faces a number of issues that are also pertinent to neighboring municipalities, including: urban planning, affordable housing and education; and Whereas: Cambridge and Somerville are closely interconnected communities and should explore opportunities to collaborate on regional issues; and Whereas: Cambridge City Councillors and City officials ought to have regular opportunities and incentive to directly coordinate with their Somerville counterparts; and Whereas: Corresponding departments between Cambridge and Somerville could form partnerships and share information on issues that affect both cities such as the upcoming Green Line extension; and Whereas: A committee, working group, or department initiative could be formed to explore the best methods of forming regional partnerships across the Greater Boston Area; and Whereas: Somerville has already been through the Master Plan process, sharing of information on this process would be beneficial for Cambridge, and similar reciprocity could be established for Somerville; and Whereas: These meetings could eventually include surrounding municipalities such as Arlington, Belmont, Boston, and Watertown; now therefore be it Ordered: The City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the appropriate departments and elected officials from Somerville to arrange a public meeting of the two cities to discuss regionalism and potential regular scheduling; and be it further Ordered: The City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council on this matter. Or Close (X).
Boards and Commissions Policy Order
The City of Cambridge has over forty boards and commissions that are vital to the day to day operations of the city. These groups should build a timeline detailing their upcoming plans and initiatives, which would help increase efficiency and facilitate public input.
STEAM Working Group Recommendations
For the past ten months the STEAM Working group has been tasked with developing a plan to better coordinate Cambridge's vast network of STEAM out-of-school time programs and opportunities, with an emphasis on increasing access for traditionally underserved communities. This policy order asks the City Manager to implement the recommendations of the STEAM working group, the product of the group's months of research.