Council Updates, Summer Events, Rules of the Road, And More

The 35th Annual Cambridge Pride Brunch


Shortly after last week’s newsletter went out, on June 7, a cyclist was killed while biking in a crash with a truck at the intersection of Mt. Auburn Street and DeWolfe Street. It is a tragic event that has affected the community. I bike through that intersection almost every day, and despite there being a separated bike lane at that spot, this crash happened. There is an active investigation into the accident and we should know more about the crash in the coming weeks. It is always important to remind everyone who travels through the city to always be alert and to follow the rules of the road, no matter how you travel (by car, bike, scooter, or as a pedestrian). Our Vision Zero plan is to have no serious injuries or deaths, and we must do all we can to prevent more tragedies like this one. For all travelers, we need to be cognizant of how to stay safe and how to keep others safe, especially in light of changing streets and changing modalities. There are two policy orders on the agenda for Monday that are related to roadway safety; more information on each of them is below.

As I mentioned last week, there are a lot of great events in June. Last weekend I spent some time volunteering at the Everett Community Transportation Fair. It was a great event with tons of great educational resources. I attended the City’s Pride Brunch, and saw a few performances at the Dance for World Community Festival in Harvard Square. After the rain last Sunday, I enjoyed the East Cambridge Business Association’s Le Grand Prix Elmendorf du Pain. The exciting events continue this weekend with River Festival! Read below for more details on a few local events.

Below are some comments on a few top line items from the last week and a few quick notes for Monday’s meeting. If you have questions or comments on these or anything else I’ve been working on, please feel free to reach out at any time.


Volunteering at the Transportation Fair last weekend
On my way to Dance for World Community last Saturday

Municipal Broadband
On Wednesday, June 12, the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning Committee held a meeting to discuss municipal broadband. It was an important follow up to the feasibility study from last year. We heard from city staff, from community advocates, and also from representatives from Loveland, CO, where they have a fully operational municipal broadband program. It was great to hear about the incredible results in Loveland and also hear about some of the details of their implementation. If we are going to work towards digital equity through municipal broadband, we will need to rely on best practices from test cases like Loveland. It was incredible to hear about their transformative process – in a few years they went from struggling with private providers and limited service options to a fully operational and revenue-generating service that benefits all residents. While our city model will likely not be revenue neutral after 20 years as Loveland’s will be, I fully support us moving forward on the next steps, and refine our models and understand how to implement broadband and what it would cost in investment. There are still a lot of complicated details to work through, and I believe that municipal broadband is an essential investment in our residents and in our future. I would encourage you to take some time to watch the recording of the meeting to hear about Loveland’s experience.  They are one of many cities with municipal broadband. And Roy Russell from Upgrade Cambridge spoke and reminded us all of the importance of moving forward. Municipal broadband will cost money and will require a significant public-private partnership, and yet we need to make these kinds of investments. Just as we invested $299 million in building a new school, we should invest the $100-$200 million in a future-proof municipal internet network. This investment is important and can protect residents’ essential utility service for many decades as well as provide immediate cost benefits to residents through competition.

Green Jobs
On Tuesday, June 18, from 3:00pm-5:00pm, I will be chairing a Health and Environment Committee meeting to discuss the first Green Jobs Annual Report. The goal of the green jobs ordinance is to prepare Cambridge residents to enter the growing workforce related to combatting the climate crisis. There are thousands of jobs to fill in the areas of HVAC and energy efficiency technology, solar panel installation, green forestry, electric vehicle technology, renewable energy technology, building automation, and more. The hard work of the ordinance is to connect Cambridge residents and prepare them to enter these absolutely essential fields. The City will have to work with unions, job training programs, and other partners to provide pathways to training and employment. On Tuesday we will learn more about ongoing work and consider ways to improve the pipeline to these great jobs for Cambridge residents.

City Council Meeting - Monday, June 17, 2024

Rules of the Road
On Monday, I am sponsoring a policy order, along with Councillors Sobrinho-Wheeler and Toner which asks the City Manager to come up with an engagement plan and put together community events to discuss the Cambridge Rules of the Road, which were recently updated in 2023. There have been a lot of changes to how we get around the city in recent years with the addition of protected bike lanes and with the introduction of more micro mobility devices like e-bikes and e-scooters, so it’s more important now than ever that we make an effort to reach residents of all walks of life to educate them about road safety. There are also important changes at the state level in the last year that are important to understand to maintain road safety like appropriate passing distance for bikes (did you know: drivers must have at least 4-feet in order to pass a bike; did you know: your bike must have front and back lights to ride at night). These are important (and new) rules that will need to be more widely promulgated. This kind of community outreach is important all the time and we should do everything we can to inform residents about changing travelways, but it’s even more essential now, given the recent death of a cyclist.

Crash Analysis and Infrastructure Safety
Councillor Sobrinho-Wheeler has sponsored a policy order this week which asks the City Manager to develop a system of auditing and analyzing infrastructure safety following crashes. I agree with maintaining a methodological approach to improving dangerous intersections. I have brought up this question in the past when discussing safety upgrades at certain intersections – we need to be systematic with our approach to improving street infrastructure, and crash data can help us understand where improvements are most drastically needed. I look forward to discussing this idea in more detail on Monday night.

Appleton Street Community Meeting Response
Last month I worked with residents and City staff to put together a community meeting for the residents of Appleton Street and the surrounding neighborhood to discuss traffic concerns in the area. On May 23, Traffic, Parking, and Transportation staff were able to meet with residents to go over traffic data and discuss ongoing concerns and potential solutions. On Monday, we will discuss the results of that meeting and consider next steps. I am pleased with the immediately planned actions; namely, a speed camera, better roadway painting, and an additional stop sign for bicyclists on Brattle Street. City staff have indicated work will need to be done as they continue to evaluate other suggested changes. The meeting I attended showed there is widespread interest in the neighborhood on the issue of how traffic changes impact the neighborhood. I look forward to the City reviewing all the data and using it to improve the way we implement roadway changes – including adjusting plans as needed as we learn from implementation strategies.

Red Line Closure
On Monday we will be discussing the upcoming Red Line closures in the next two months – I would encourage all residents to read the City Manager’s memo. While we cannot control the extent of the MBTA track improvements, we can work to help mitigate the transportation-related complications as well as provide additional communication to residents about transportation updates. The Red Line will be partially closed from June 28 to June 30, during which there will be shuttles and the 77 bus will be free in Cambridge. The Red Line will also be closed from July 13 to July 28, for which there will be a substantial number of mitigation options by the MBTA including shuttle buses, free commuter rail between Porter and North Station, free 77 bus, and others. The City will also be offering assistance by adding temporary bus stops, dedicated bus shuttle lanes, temporary sidewalk improvements, and free Bluebike trips. The July closures will be a massive undertaking and will take the whole of the city to help mitigate. I would encourage everyone in the city to utilize public transportation and non-car travel as much as possible to help alleviate the extensive traffic impact.

Summer Programming
The City Manager has put together a listing of many of the youth engagement opportunities available through the City this summer. While it’s not a comprehensive list, if you know anyone who is looking for programming and community events this summer, this memo is a great resource.

Local News PO
Last week I cosponsored, along with Councillors Azeem and Pickett, a policy order which asks the City Manager to conduct a pilot program to support local news organizations. After a lengthy discussion on the importance of local news and the complicated relationship between government and responsible journalism, Councillor Azeem exercised his charter right, so we will discuss the policy order again on Monday. I still believe in the idea of public funding for local journalism, but I understand the concerns of those who worry about objectivity in journalism. And all the same, if we don’t take steps to protect local journalism, we know it will not last. And now is the right time to be having the discussion – before we lose access to local news. Local news is an essential part of our democracy and I believe it is in the public interest to ensure we maintain a vibrant local news ecosystem. This pilot program has the potential to support several local organizations and help maintain robust local news sources for the community, for a relatively low investment.

Local Events/Notes

Cambridge Arts River Festival
On Saturday, June 15, from 11:00am to 6:00pm, join Cambridge Arts for the annual River Festival. The festival takes place along the banks of the Charles River along Memorial Drive between JFK Street and Western Avenue. Free admission for all ages. There will be six stages of live music, theater, dance, and poetry. There will be interactive art-making and a great collection of food vendors and shops. And join early to be a part of the Mermaid Promenade that kicks off River Festival. All are welcome to join in the parade. The promenade will be a participatory community spectacle featuring mermaids, mermen, water creatures, a marching band, dragon dancers, and giant puppets. Just line up in costume and/or with props at Winthrop Park at Winthrop Street and JFK Street by 11:15am.

Juneteenth Parade and Celebration
On Wednesday, June 19, please join the Cambridge Families of Color Coalition, Paragon Society, and the City of Cambridge for the 2024 Juneteenth Freedom Parade, departing from Cambridge City Hall at 10:00am, and will concluding with a community celebration at Riverside Press Park, 393 River Street (at Memorial Drive). BIPOC members of the community are especially encouraged to walk in the parade though all are welcome to participate. Please arrive at Cambridge City Hall by 9:00am. Activities include a DJ, kids entertainment, and vendors.

Fresh Pond Day
On Saturday, June 22, from 11:00am-3:00pm, join the Cambridge Water Department for the annual Fresh Pond Day, at 250 Fresh Pond Parkway. There will be live music, an open house of the water treatment plant, treats, crafts, games, and more. It’s a great day and a great day to learn about Cambridge Water.

Thank You

Thank you to everyone for reading. If there are any topics you want me to cover in future newsletters, I’m always happy for the input! As always, please feel free to reach out to my aide, Patrick (, or me for any of your City Council needs.

You can find all previous newsletters on my website. Please share with anyone you think would be interested:

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