Traffic has reached a "tipping point" in Cambridge, and it's frankly unacceptable. It's making it harder for people to get to their jobs, it's contributing dramatically to carbon dioxide emissions, and it's making it even harder for cyclists to get to where they need to go.
Our traffic crisis is the direct result of poor infrastructure and housing policy as well as a lack of innovative solutions to transition our communities to greener, more equitable modes of transportation. These concerns are especially affecting Cambridge, where residential and commercial rents are reaching a crisis point.
But what can we do about this? First and foremost, we need to make forms of non-car transportation accessible and affordable. This includes improving MBTA functionality, safety, and affordability. We need to not only encourage shared travel but also invest in infrastructure that makes it feasible.
Creating more affordable housing with changes to parking requirements will also go a long way to reduce excessive car usage and improve traffic. However, we also need to keep in mind the needs of the working poor and middle income neighbors, who work night shifts (when the MBTA is not running); seniors and families with children who need to access groceries from grocery stores that may not be in all neighborhoods across the city. We need thoughtful and smart policies that keep those needs in mind. Eliminating ALL parking requirements for affordable housing does not take into consideration the needs of these neighbors. Let's have a Cambridge for all.
Let's create policies that encourage people to use sustainable modes of transit when possible through investments that ensure equitable access for everyone in our community. The MBTA has been chronically underfunded, and Red Line riders are clearly tired of suffering the consequences. According to a recent Commonwealth Magazine article, Red Line satisfaction and ridership has decreased significantly since the derailments in July.
The poor service that the MBTA is delivering, combined with the #UnFairHikes that started in July, are making public transit in this city inaccessible and inconvenient. Cambridge residents deserve City Councilors that will commit to searching for solutions that work for the community, rather than taking the easy way out.
I believe that a regional approach to public transit is crucial to improving the MBTA. If elected, I propose to work alongside municipalities such as Somerville, and Boston to make this happen. Partnerships are crucial in creating a transit system that works for all.
Let's make a Cambridge for all parents, where all parents would have the same chance and opportunity for their children to access our wonderful pre-K and after school programs. I support universal pre-K for three- and four-year-olds. This would save Cambridge families thousands of dollars, improve their economic health, and reduce the burden of the working poor and middle income parents struggling to pay for daycare. This would also help prepare children for kindergarten. Many working poor and middle income residents do not qualify for Headstart, the federal government’s pre-K program. The City subsidies help, but it's not enough to address the needs of our working poor or middle income residents. Take a look for yourself here.
I would also take this further and provide additional resources for our community based nonprofits who are footing the bill for some of our working poor and middle income residents who cannot afford to pay for after school programs. I am on the board of a community based nonprofit which serves all Cambridge residents, many who are the working poor. They, like other nonprofits have to bill these parents at great pain because, but they know that there is little chance to collect the money from these parents. They understand that the parents don't have the means, yet they need these services. We need to do better. #weneedtodobetter
I was honored to have spoken with Cambridge Bicycle Safety in March to discuss bicycle (and pedestrian) safety, specifically how Cambridge Bicycle Safety can work with local businesses in helping to achieve their goal of protected bike lanes through all of Mass Ave.
Through my work as board member of Harvard Square Neighborhood Association, I have also been supporting the efforts of the Memorial Drive Alliance – comprising environmentalists and bicycle groups with others. Our shared goals are saving the trees along Memorial drive and adding separate bike lanes in part on Memorial Drive itself, thus limiting vehicular traffic to two lanes and bike lanes to two lanes.
So naturally I am taking a stand with this incredible organization to commit to rapid implementation of a citywide network of protected bicycle lanes. I will do my utmost as a City Councilor to make this city safe and accessible for everyone.
I support rapid implementation of the citywide network of protected bicycle lanes as described in the Cambridge Bicycle Plan. Specifically, I support complete implementation of the Bicycle Plan in the near future, within the next 5 years, using a combination of quick-build and capital improvements.
Additionally, I recognize that Mass Ave is the most important street in Cambridge and needs protected bicycle lanes for its entire length as soon as possible.
Accordingly, if elected, I pledge to do everything in my power–including by voting in the City Council, proactively working with the City Manager and City Staff, and promoting this initiative publicly–to ensure that the City of Cambridge installs continuous protected bicycle lanes along the entire length of Mass Ave from the Charles River to the Arlington border, by the end of the next council term, or has started a capital project to do so. These improvements should also include bus transit priority and pedestrian safety improvements. Green CambridgeClimate Action Business Association.