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The headline says it all.
3 minutes reading time (506 words)

Flooding fear: Address Alewife development regionally

Consider just two points in the alliance summary:

-- Cambridge has no municipal wetlands bylaw; and

-- With climate change, the Mystic River may back up and the ocean may top the Amelia Earhart Dam in Medford, further aggravating the back-up or even adding water to it. Nor’easters last longer than hurricanes and are more likely to cause flooding problems in Alewife due to ocean storm surges.

Read the complete alliance analysis here >> 

Note that the group's members are awaiting the results of the Cambridge Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment to see exactly where flooding is predicted to happen

Arlington officials and Town Meeting members should be included among those eager to see these results.

Cambridge City Manager Richard Rossi appears to get that a regional approach is needed.

In a Jan. 1 letter published in The Boston Globe, he writes, citing a Globe business story: "'Building to a boom,' about development in the Alewife area of Cambridge, touches on long-term regional issues that will only be solved through collaborative solutions."

At the same time, he defends the current development: "Rising housing costs in the Boston area are a function of an insufficient supply of new housing to meet the economic success of the region. Cambridge’s commitment to providing affordable housing options for residents is unwavering. New Alewife development will bring hundreds of new affordable housing units to Cambridge through the city’s inclusionary housing program."

Affordable? Those who live at Vox, along Route 2, where Faces used to be, should let us know how affordable these units are.

The Globe story Rossi cites sayssays:

"This year alone, more than 1,000 luxury apartments have sprung up around the MBTA station, and another 1,500 high-end units are slated for this side of the city in 2015, as well as office developments."

Those who would keep track of development near Alewife should expand their reading to stories published in Cambridge Day. The online news outlet has not just discovered the building boom near the T station and endangered forest. It has been reporting about it for years.

Consider this 2012 story

"Another 224 apartments are coming to Alewife in a giant structure pitched Tuesday to the city’s Planning Board — a development that becomes eye-popping when it’s noted that it’s to be built literally across the street from a 398-unit building and behind a 227-unit building.

"All told, that’s adding some 1,400 people to the area within just a few years, with the first due less than a year from now."

Add to that a 2013 update illustrated in this graphic

We hope that when further plans come before public bodies in the city, they occur with more public outreach that this current story about Kendall Square zoning suggests.

We were heartened last fall when City Manager Rossi invited Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine and his counterpart in Belmont to discuss Alewife-area issues.

That should continue.

And we ask Rep. Dave Rogers to take note.


This viewpoint was published Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015, and updated Jan. 3 to add a link.

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