Environment

10 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 bmclane@cambridgema.gov.

DCR Matching Funds Program Now Accepting Applications

The Department of Conservation and Recreation has announced its Partnership Matching Funds program for 2013. These grants are a great way to leverage local enthusiasm for a particular environmental project, and I encourage anyone with a passion for the environment to come up with a project and apply. To be eligible, projects must improve existing DCR-owned land and applications must be received by December 7, 2012.

No project is too small, as the DCR’s program allows projects under $25,000 to be matched at up to a 2:1 ratio. Past projects have included purchasing bike racks for a community boathouse in Boston, redesigning pedestrian crossings near Jamaica Pond, and installing new lights on a footbridge crossing the Charles in Cambridge.

This program is particularly well-suited to local businesses that want to put on a day of service. The Partnership Matching Funds do not cover in-kind contributions, so if your business is already planning to give back, this is a great way to get the most bang for your buck.

DCR’s crews worked around the clock in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Let’s show them how much our parks and green spaces mean to all of us.

Charles River Skatepark Designs Unveiled

Artist's rendering of new Charles River Skatepark
An artist’s rendering of the new Charles River Skatepark. When completed, the park will be the largest in New England. Photo courtesy of ASD/Santec and Charles River Conservancy.

As reported by the Beacon Hill Times, the latest plans for the largest skatepark in New England were recently unveiled. The new, 40,000-square-foot Charles River Skatepark  represents a group effort by the Charles River Conservancy, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and Action Sports Design/Santec, a California-based company that specializes in the construction of skateparks.

This project has been a longtime coming, and it’s part of our plan to reclaim and beautify the Charles River and connect the Cambridge waterfront with Charlestown. I’m thrilled that yet another milestone has been passed.

Have you been to the new North Point Park yet? If not, get out and enjoy this amazing fall weather!