City Council comments regarding Huron Ave., June 22

I’m speaking on Policy Order 6, concerning Huron Ave between roughly Fresh Pond Pkwy and the Youth Center.

It’s a little odd that we have a policy order asking for ADA-compliant sidewalks on a major road, because it’s absurd that we don’t have them already. There are particular concerns and constraints here, but we have to put an effort into developing proper designs. 

Many Cambridge residents have a really positive vision for this section of Huron Ave. It, too, can be a complete street that considers, and moreover encourages, healthy and active transportation choices, especially with such close proximity to Fresh Pond. It can be ecologically conscious in material choice, location of paths and sidewalks, drainage, native plantings, etc. Today, crossing the street isn’t good enough. Biking isn’t good. Traveling by foot, not to mention if you’re mobility impaired, lacks infrastructure altogether along stretches of this road. The human experience of the street simply isn’t good enough.

If we put some rejuvenated effort into it, we can create a street that makes people happy and comfortable to come out and walk, run, bike, both on the street, and to cross from their neighborhood to Fresh Pond, or to connect to other parts of the city and region. 

It’s a good time to put in a word for finding a funding source to complete the Cambridge-Watertown Greenway, with robust designs and good connections to the neighborhood and to Fresh Pond. We hope that a connection can be made from the repurposed rail corridor up to Huron Ave at grade, which makes a complete street at Huron Ave all the more important. 

Relatedly, the Net Zero Action Plan means action. Passing the order is the very, very first step and for the council tonight, and a really easy step. We should be looking forward to the really hard decisions we are going to have to make if this is truly going to be an action plan.

City Council comments regarding Huron Ave., June 22