Join us for FPRA Meeting on June 7th at 6:30

The developer of 605 Concord Avenue (the former Bank of America building) has asked for a meeting with the community and members of the FPRA in order to gather feedback on their latest plans for the project. Phil Terzis of Acorn (the developer) has reserved the auditorium at the Tobin School on Tuesday, June 7th at 6:30 pm. The main agenda item is a review of Acorn’s latest design, with a question & answer session to follow the presentation.

At the same meeting, Mike Stanley will also give a short presentation on his Transit X project. This is an innovative attempt to solve a number of major transportation problems currently faced by the Fresh Pond-Alewife region and other, similarly dense urban areas. The effort proposes the development and construction of an automated transit network with high-capacity and low visual impact using personal pods running on an elevated track. More information on the concept is available at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/transitx-carbon-free-mass-transit#/ and at http://www.transitx.com/.

If time allows, we would also like to use this opportunity to update the community on the current status of a number of other pending efforts, including:

o   HURON A: http://www.cambridgema.gov/theworks/cityprojects/detail.aspx?path=%2fsitecore%2fcontent%2fhome%2ftheworks%2fcityprojects%2f2010%2falewifesewerseparationproject

o   HURON B: http://www.cambridgema.gov/theworks/cityprojects/detail.aspx?path=%2fsitecore%2fcontent%2fhome%2ftheworks%2fcityprojects%2f2012%2falewifesewerseparationprojecthuronb

o   CONCORD AVENUE: http://www.cambridgema.gov/theworks/cityprojects/detail.aspx?path=%2fsitecore%2fcontent%2fhome%2ftheworks%2fcityprojects%2f2013%2falewifesewerseparationconcordavenueneighborhood

o   NEW STREET: http://www.cambridgema.gov/theworks/cityprojects/detail.aspx?path=%2fsitecore%2fcontent%2fhome%2ftheworks%2fcityprojects%2f2014%2fnewstreetstreetscapeimprovements

Finally (also if time allows), we may also take the opportunity to consider what might come next for our area:

Note that this will be our final meeting prior to the Summer break. We look forward to a lively and constructive discussion. Thank you for your continuing support of our efforts.

Message to the FPRA from Doug Brown, VP.

Join us for Meeting on Dec. 16th

Fawcett Street site of proposed development

Fawcett Street site of proposed development

The Fresh Pond Residents Alliance will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, December 16, 2015, at 7 pm in the auditorium of the Tobin School at 197 Vassal Lane, Cambridge.

A development team will present preliminary plans for a 50-unit condo project at 95 Fawcett St. The site is currently a warehouse building located across the street from Phase II of the Atmark apartments, where the street curves. The developer is seeking resident feedback before applying for special permits.

Also on the agenda are an update on the Cambridge segment of the Watertown Greenway multi-use path, connecting Concord Ave./Fresh Pond to the Arsenal Mall Area (see draft plans) and a brief discussion of endorsing Green Cambridge’s 2030 Goals for Environmental Sustainability.

Boston Globe Covers Alewife Development “Boom” (More to the Story)

389 units were constructed  on Fawcett St

389 units were constructed on Fawcett St

On Monday The Boston Globe ran a story on the Alewife development “boom” that highlighted the success of the Fresh Pond Residents Alliance in lobbying for more holistic and inclusive growth planning. The article sparked a robust online discussion, attracting over 110 comments and driving traffic (the good kind!) to the Globe’s website. Given the space constraints of a daily newspaper, this week’s 993-word story could only scratch the surface of a complex set of transit, infrastructure, environmental, and housing policy challenges. Globe editors, please take note: Development in Cambridge is clearly a topic of great interest to your readers, and the story merits continued and more in-depth coverage in 2015.

In the meantime, I’d like to like to use the luxury of the Internet’s boundless space to expand upon some of the thorny issues the article raised: Continue reading

A Tale of Two Hearings

Sample of materials proposed for 75 New St.

Sample of materials proposed for 75 New St.

Public comment turned the tide at two public hearings last week, again demonstrating the importance of our showing up and speaking up on matters large and small that affect the quality of life in our area. Encouraging greater civic engagement is central to our group’s mission to raise the level and quality of public discourse on neighborhood planning and development issues.

75 New Street: Case Continued Again

On Tuesday, September 16th, the Planning Board resumed its consideration of the 93-unit project at 75 New Street, and once again did not make make a decision, continuing the case to a fifth hearing (to be scheduled within the next 60 days). Continue reading

Comments on Latest Alewife Development Proposal

Aerial view of 180R Cambridge Park Drive

Aerial view of 180R Cambridge Park Drive

The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on July 8 to review a proposed residential development near the Alewife MBTA station. Below is an extract of the comments that the FPRA officers submitted to the Board for consideration. The complete document is here (17 pages). Continue reading

It’s Always Sunny in Render-adelphia

603 Concord Ave.

603 Concord Ave.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all live in the dreamscape neighborhoods depicted in architectural renderings? The sun is always shining, traffic is minimal, and the people look so carefree and unhurried. The warm light in watercolor washes is so flattering, especially to building materials like concrete clapboard that up close don’t look so soft around the edges.

We have the technology to create virtual reality simulations of what proposed buildings would look like in their real-life urban context, yet major development projects are routinely approved based on old-fashioned renderings — the architectural equivalent of what fashion models are to real women. Continue reading

All Mixed Up

This building will offer 398 units (all 1 & 2 BRs). In the foreground another building will offer 244 units.

160 Cambridge Park Drive. This new, 100% residential building will offer 398 units (all 1 & 2 bedrooms). In the foreground, another already permitted building (165 Cambridge Park Drive) will offer an additional 244 units.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the concerns we have over the large development projects currently in the Alewife pipeline is that they are almost exclusively single-use, 100% residential buildings, when one of the stated goals of the 2005 Concord Alewife rezoning was to promote mixed-use development. The area’s 2005 rezoning was intended to further the planning study’s vision, which emphasized the following: “creating a people oriented sense of place; developing a neighborhood gathering-place for people who live, work, play, and shop in the area; overcoming barriers and creating much needed connections to achieve a walkable neighborhood; and enhancing the environment.” Continue reading