FPRA Public Meeting, Wed. Oct. 29, 7 pm

Will this site be redeveloped as 100% affordable housing? How many units?

Will this site be redeveloped as 100% affordable housing? How many units?

The Fresh Pond Residents Alliance will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, October 29 at 7 pm at the Tobin School (197 Vassal Lane).

Staff from the city’s Community Development Department will talk about car-sharing in Cambridge, improvements to bike and pedestrian facilities, and sustainable transportation initiatives. The discussion also will cover recent initiatives by the City Council on affordable housing; the future of the former Tokyo restaurant and Masse’s corner properties; updates on the New Street and Fern Street street-scape redesigns; the status of the Silver Maple Forest action; and what can be done to ensure the safety of pedestrians in the Fresh Pond mall parking lot. SunBug Solar will be on hand with materials about solar installation.

Many of these topics are actively discussed on the FPRA’s listserv. To join, please email freshpondresidents@gmail.com. The FPRA also has a Facebook page and a Twitter profile (@FreshPondRA)

Fall Kickoff Meeting on 9/10

Nearing completion. Phase II on the way.

Nearing completion. Phase II on the way.

It’s back-to-school/work/life and the Fresh Pond Residents Alliance (FPRA) is gearing up for the fall political season. Please join us for a neighborhood meeting on Wed., Sept. 10 at 7 pm at the Tobin School.

We need everyone’s help to protect & improve our neighborhood’s quality of life for current and future residents. Among the big challenges we all must confront are: Continue reading

Roadblocks to Change in the Transit Sector

A typical afternoon on Fresh Pond Parkway

A typical afternoon on Fresh Pond Parkway

Last week’s transportation committee hearing was a testament to the human capacity for denial and collective paralysis in the face of large systemic problems. Listening to the presentations by city staff, a newcomer (say, someone who arrived from outer space) might have come away believing no transportation crisis exists in the Alewife area, that plans to massively increase housing density around the area won’t aggravate the problems (which, remember, don’t really exist, and to the extent they might exist, are not within our control because they are mostly regional in origin), and that any remaining problems can be remedied by improving bike paths. Continue reading

Citywide Summit Calls for New Approach to Planning

"Keep Cambridge Livable" was the summit's theme.

“Keep Cambridge Livable” was the summit’s theme.

The FPRA presented at the Cambridge Neighborhood Summit on June 7 in Central Square. (Our presentation is below.) Organized by the Cambridge Residents Alliance, the first-ever citywide summit brought together residents and activists from all parts of the city for a full afternoon of discussion on “How to Keep Cambridge Livable.” Continue reading

FPRA Meeting, June 4 at 7 PM

The Fresh Pond Residents Alliance will meet on Wed., June 4 at 7 pm in the Tobin auditorium. Please join us if you can. Residents of all areas of Cambridge (and Belmont) are welcome.

  • The McKinnon Co. will share plans for (another) large project on Cambridge Park Drive, the dead-end street that starts at the Alewife T and parallels the new bike trail along the Alewife Reservation wetlands. The complex would include 378 rental units and a 791-space shared use parking garage. Once all the planned construction on Cambridge Park Drive is complete, there would be about 1,550 apartments on this cul-de-sac bounded by the commuter rail tracks and the wetlands. The only egress is onto Route 2.
  • The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority will talk about its strategic plan and how it might relate to the Fresh Pond-Alewife area.
  • We will hear an update on the ongoing fight to save the Silver Maple Forest from a 298-unit development (15 acres on the Cambridge-Belmont border right off Rt. 2 and bordering the wetlands of the Reservation). Clear cutting could begin as soon as August if we don’t pull out all the stops.

Follow us on Twitter @FreshPondRA

Aerial view of 180R Cambridge Park Drive

Aerial view of 180R Cambridge Park Drive

All According to Plan? Concerns Aired at May 13 Meeting

FPRA_meeting051314Well over 100 residents and a cadre of city officials attended our May 13 meeting, filling the Tobin School cafeteria for two hours of vigorous debate. On hand to listen to our presentations on planned, proposed, and possible new development in the Fresh Pond-Alewife area were: Cambridge Mayor David Maher, City Councilors Dennis Carlone, Nadeem Mazen, and Marc McGovern. Assistant City Manager for Community Development Brian Murphy, Director of Community Planning Stuart Dash, and School Committee Member Patty Nolan attended as well. Continue reading

Meeting May 13th, 7 PM: Join Us!

180R Cambridge Park Dr. rendering

130 Cambridge Park Dr. rendering

Progress! With the City Council’s unanimous approval of the Carlone-Maher policy order earlier this week, Cambridge is one step closer to developing a new master plan. So what’s next?

The Fresh Pond Residents Alliance will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, May 13, at 7:00 PM at the Tobin School (197 Vassal Lane). All welcome!

City Councilors will be present to update us on the master plan initiative. (Dennis Carlone, Nadeem Mazen and Marc McGovern are confirmed; others may attend as well.) We will discuss how to make the most of the series of community meetings that will take place with an independent consultant over the next two months. We will talk about next steps, goals and strategies. We invite you to share your greatest hopes and concerns for Cambridge as a whole as well as for our area. This is the moment for neighbors and neighborhoods to come together and talk about the big picture — we must capitalize on this opportunity to weigh in on the future of our city.

BUT while we wait for a plan — what’s on the development horizon?

We also will provide updates on the proposed 93-unit development at 75 New Street, which comes before the Planning Board on May 20, on the status of the Tokyo project, and on the proposed 388-unit development at 180R Cambridge Park Drive, which was approved by the Cambridge Conservation Commission and will come before the Planning Board on June 17.

180 Cambridge Park Drive is on the right

180 Cambridge Park Drive is on the left

Another view of 180R Cambridge Park Drive

Another view of 130 Cambridge Park Drive


Support the Carlone-Mazen-Simmons Master Plan Order

photo (1)Dennis Carlone’s petition for a new master plan is the basis for a very important policy order, co-sponsored by Councillors Nadeem Mazen and Denise Simmons, on the agenda for the City Council meeting on Monday, April 7 at 5:30 pm.

Read full text of the Carlone policy order here.

We support the Carlone-Mazen-Simmons policy order over another planning-related policy order sponsored by Mayor David Maher, Vice Mayor Dennis Benzan and Councillor Marc McGovern.

The two policy orders come in response to growing public concern about the impact that the recent surge in development is having on traffic congestion, housing affordability, social equity, pedestrian/bike safety, the environment and open space – to name a few. While both policy orders recognize that residents citywide are demanding – and deserve – a greater voice in the planning process, we believe that the Carlone-Mazen-Simmons order goes further toward ensuring a more democratic and comprehensive process because it places our elected City Council at the helm, rather than appointed staff.

In our opinion, the competing policy order would more likely sustain the unsustainable status quo that has residents in the Fresh Pond area and across the city up in arms. Quite frankly, we don’t think that we could have filled the Tobin cafeteria at our first meeting on March 24 if the status quo was giving residents a meaningful say in the planning process. Monday night’s Council meeting will no doubt spark a lively debate, and a favorable outcome could be critical to the future of our neighborhood.

What you can do to help NOW

1. Contact the City Council in support of the Carlone-Mazen-Simmons master plan initiative (Policy Order #14). Send emails to council@cambridgema.gov and cc dlopez@cambridgema.gov to be entered into the public record. Or call (617) 349-4280.

2. If you have a relationship with Councillors Kelley, Cheung, or Toomey (the three who are not co-sponsoring either policy order), please contact them directly to ask that they support the Carlone order for a master plan.


3. Attend Monday’s Council meeting and speak in support of the Carlone-Mazen-Simmons master plan initiative. Call (617) 349-4280 after 8:30 am on Monday to sign up to speak, and/or sign in when you arrive at City Hall (by 5:30 pm) to add your name on the public testimony list. You will be given three minutes to express your views.

If you can make it to City Hall on Monday at 5:30 pm, we encourage you to do so. Even if you don’t feel comfortable speaking, you can applaud other speakers to show your support, and the debate is sure to be instructive on many levels.

Need talking points for your comments?

The Cambridge Residents Alliance has developed a MENU of TALKING POINTS that you could use to frame your emails and comments to the Council.

Learn More

You are also welcome to attend the CRA meeting TODAY at 4:00 pm (Sunday 4/6) at St. Bartholomew’s Church off Prospect St. (next door to the Area 4 Youth Center). The group will be discussing the Carlone policy order and why a comprehensive master plan is so urgently needed.

Other Important Actions

75 New Street is on the Planning Board’s agenda for Tuesday, April 8, at 7:20 pm at City Hall Annex (344 Broadway). Thank you to everyone who submitted comments by email. We need folks to come and speak at the hearing, too. The 3-minute rule applies, so focus your comments on the aspect of the proposal that most concerns you.

Please forward this link to neighbors & friends. You and they can request to join our list by emailing FreshPondResidents@gmail.com.

Thank your for caring enough about the future of our neighborhood and our city to read to the end of this post.

photo (1)

Kickoff Meeting Sparks Dialogue, Spurs Push for Master Plan

Fresh_Pond_Residents_mtg_3-24-14About 150 Cambridge residents gathered on March 24 at the Tobin School for our group’s first meeting to share concerns about the “tsunami of development” underway in the Fresh Pond/Alewife area of Cambridge. In addition to residents from all areas of the city, attendees at our town-hall style forum included MA Rep. David Rogers and Cambridge City Councillors Dennis Carlone and Marc McGovern, and Carlone aide Mike Connolly. Also present were School Committee member Patty Nolan, former Councillor Minka von Beuzekom, and staff aides to MA Rep. Jon Hecht and Cambridge Mayor David Maher.

Our kickoff event raised awareness about the surge of recent development in the Alewife/ North Cambridge area – over 2,500 residential units constructed or in the pipeline since 2010 – and prompted a vigorous discussion about the impact on the surrounding neighborhoods and the environment. Many attendees were unaware of the 2006 zoning changes that unleashed this “gold rush,” and were shocked by the scale and density of growth around the area (see slide presentation from meeting). Continue reading

Join the Conversation, Mon. 3/24, 7:00-8:30 pm

IMG_6155Like living near Fresh Pond? The future of Huron Village, as we know it, is on the line. Thousands of new units are in the pipeline, including 93 more units proposed at 75 New St. between Fresh Pond and Danehy Park, 20 units planned for the former Tokyo restaurant site, and 108 units on Concord Ave. at Wheeler St. by Trader Joe’s. The majority are small luxury units; where is the affordable family housing we need? See map of recent development. 

Inappropriately high-density development in the Concord Ave.-Alewife area is already having a negative impact on our quality of life and on the environment and safety. Namely:

  • Increased traffic congestion
  • Increased air & noise pollution
  • Public transit at or nearing maximum capacity
  • Reduced safety for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Threat to fragile Fresh Pond-Danehy-Alewife eco-system

When will we reach the tipping point?

The Fresh Pond Residents Alliance invites you to a discussion forum.

Monday, March 24, 7:00-8:30 pm at the Tobin School

  • Share your concerns and ideas.
  • Learn what residents can do to ensure that future growth is sustainable.
  • Help preserve the future quality of life in our neighborhood!

Join our group by emailing: freshpondresidents@gmail.com

Phase I of a 108 unit + retail development on corner of Concord Ave. & Wheeler St. by Trader Joe's.

Phase I of a 108 unit + retail development on corner of Concord Ave. & Wheeler St. by Trader Joe’s. Traffic on Wheeler empties onto Concord right at the rotary and will add to traffic going in and out of the shopping center at the same intersection. A nightmare for drivers and people going to and from Fresh Pond Reservation.