Tuesday night was the public meeting for River Street Construction. Big construction coming in our neighborhood!
I emailed my next-door neighbors about it. (Isn't that funny, I emailed my neighbors living next door! :) Almost everyone thanked me. One neighbor said she's definitely going as she's worried about losing parking. Another said she's still in Florida but would love to know what's happening. I also talked to a few parents from our school who also live close by. Thankfully the meeting has dinner and childcare which made it easy for them to attend too.
My husband isn't as big into public meetings, but he's nice enough to come along with the rest of the family. My son chose childcare after the lunch and my daughter wanted to stay with us, as she wanted to be the "meeting kid" this time. Convenient, her classmate's family also came.
At the meeting, we heard info about the construction project ($34M, hopefully done for 50-60 years), a presentation about how the city approaches infrastructure upgrades (sustainability first and single-driver cars last), and the timeline for the project (construction 2020-2022!) There were city people involved but also whole bunch of consultants on everything from landscape design to traffic management.
So River Street Construction (including the Central Sq. Plaza at the end of the street) follows the Western Ave construction which reduced car lanes to two and added a real bike lane. We've used that on Sundays on our way to the closed Memorial Drive for biking, which is very nice. I remember that construction went on for a while, had a friend that lived on Western Ave and complained about the length and noise of construction.
My husband and my big concern is how the cars driving super-fast coming off of Highway 90 into Cambridge. Every morning we and other families have to cross the street to go to school, and those fast cars don't stop for people. We were pleasantly surprised at the data collection presented that found that we weren't imagining things and that indeed many people speed! We also learned from one of the cadre of consultants there that after the Western Ave construction, the median speed dropped by 7 miles per hour. Nice!
One of our favorite part of the input process is they have a printout of the actual street where you can put down your comments at the appropriate location. My son put down need more lights on the Hoyt Field tennis courts. :)
It's gonna be a long process overall. There will be public walks in May & June where you can walk with the city and consultants up and down River St to talk about your needs and concerns. There will be another Public Meeting in September where they might unveil an initial proposal or get more input? And construction wont' start till fall of 2020 and go on till 2022. Let's see, by then my daughter might be in middle school!
Still, we appreciate learning about the city's process, meeting my neighbors at the event, and given a chance to provide input.
My husband said, "Hmm, I enjoyed the meeting more than I thought." Nice! :)