Monthly Archives: November 2012

11 posts

Road Construction on Main St. Begins Dec. 10

Replacing Cambridge's old sewer system has been a decades-long task.
Replacing Cambridge’s old sewer system has been a decades-long task. When the Longfellow Bridge was built in the early 1900s, Cambridge’s sewers were already more than forty years old. Image via Wikipedia.

Drivers and cyclists planning to use the Longfellow Bridge this winter should be aware of a new phase of Cambridge’s ongoing sewer separation project. Beginning Monday, December 10, construction will take place on Main St. between Third St. and the Longfellow Bridge. Crews will work from 7am-4pm every weekday (weather permitting), and this phase of the project is scheduled to be completed in January 2013.

Construction will shut down all but one westbound lane of Main St. between the Longfellow and Kendall Square. The affected section of Main St. will also be designated a no parking zone while the crews are at work.

The sewer separation project has been going on for the last eighty years. That sounds like a long time, and it is, but the system being replaced is more than 150 years old! Cambridge’s original sewer system was designed before anyone even thought about separating sewage from rain water, when we all thought we could just dump waste into the Charles with impunity.

Our old sewers have served the City well, but they need to be replaced with a smarter, greener system. Separated sewers allow wastewater to be treated at Deer Island rather than simply dumped in the Charles, and that’s well-worth a couple weeks’ inconvenience. If you have any questions or concerns about sewer construction along Main St., please contact my office or the City of Cambridge’s Brian McLane at

Cambridge Historical Commission Receives MCC Grant

The Massachusetts Cultural Council rarely gets the credit it deserves. The Council’s grants are typically small, but they allow cultural institutions to keep doing good work. Recently, the Cambridge Historical Commission received one of those grants, a total of $5,000 to pay for two part-time Archives Assistants.

What do Archives Assistants do? According to Cambridge Historical Commission Assistant Director Kit Rawlins, the Archives Assistants will devote their time to ongoing projects focused on Cambridge’s architectural and social history. Local foodies might be interested in the fruits of their labors, as one project collects and curates decades-old menus from the city’s restaurants. And to make the Historical Commission’s archives more readily available, the Archives Assistants will also help create a searchable online catalogue of the Commission’s research library.

This type of project could cost tens of thousands of dollars in the private sector, but by pairing government money with non-profit know-how, the Cambridge Historical Commission and the Massachusetts Cultural Council are enshrining our shared history, and it’s awfully tough to put a price tag on that. My congratulations go out to Kit and her staff at the Cambridge Historical Commission, and I encourage everyone to see the work they’re doing.


New Recycling Bins for Cambridge Residents

New recycling bins are coming for Cambridge residents.
New recycling bins are coming for Cambridge residents. The old ones will be recycled, naturally.

The Cambridge Department of Public Works is replacing residents’ recycling bins. For free.

Starting today, the DPW has asked residents to leave their empty recycling bins at the curb until 5:30pm the day after your normal collection day. Basically, all you’ll have to do is take out your recycling as you normally would, then leave the bin at the curb until a new one appears the next day. This program ends on December 8.

If this sounds like an early Christmas gift, it’s not: many of the 64-gallon recycling bins are cracking, and with winter fast approaching, now is the time to replace them. The plastic from current bins will be recycled, the wheels will be reused, and the cost of the new bins will be paid by the manufacturer since the bins are still under warranty.

If you have any questions, please email the DPW at, or call 617-349-4800.