Alewife Study Group > W. R. Grace site > community feedback > Sept. 28 1995, feedback is not complaining Search 

Feedback, on the W. R. Grace site, is not the same as complaints

Editorial To Cambridge Chronicle, September 28, 1995 - "No Complaints":

The Chronicle recently characterized the Alewife Study Group's City Council presentation of community feedback on the retail proposal for the W. R. Grace site as "complaints." We disagree. We presented the sincere concerns of 150 neighbors who attended a public meeting held August 16. Nor do we view our initiative as, in the words of Councillor Gallucio, "Stop and Shop-esque," in a reference, we assume to the acrimony over the former market at Memorial Drive. Instead, by initiating an open dialogue we hope to avoid the acrimony and polarization that has marked the discussion of previous superstore proposals.

There are many important issues that must be addressed before any development takes place. Access and egress to the Alewife site is already difficult, as anyone knows who has driven on Alewife Brook Parkway or route 2 during rush hour. A superstore would add an estimated 3.5 million vehicle trips per year to an already overburdened system. Furthermore, the parcel in question had settling tanks containing massive quantities of chemical waste up through the1970s. It is also a flood retention area within close proximity to a major public water supply. For these reasons, the public's interest is of paramount concern.

The Alewife Study Group is completing its initial task of obtaining and presenting citizen opinion in a formal summary and recommendations to all interested parties. We look forward to reviewing the progress of the developer and the city administration as they work together to address the needs and concerns of the neighborhood. The study group feels that its recommendations, which include a comprehensive traffic study, specific legal protections for Whittemore Avenue and Harvey Street, a mitigation plan against potential crime increase, health commission review and approval, environmental program review and approval, more significant DEP involvement, master plan re-inclusion, affirmative plans for community job hiring and ongoing commercial tenant-neighbor relations, can all be easily met.

On behalf of the North Cambridge community, we would like to thank the Cambridge City Council for supporting the resolution directing the City Manager to create a committee to negotiate the proposed superstore development at the W. R. Grace site. In particular, we would like to thank Councillor Triantafillou for her original order, Councillor Duehay for his very thoughtful comments about traffic, and Councillor Toomey for his very timely remarks regarding inappropriately-sized developments and their impacts. We urge all concerned to maintain this profitable dialogue.

For the Alewife Study Group, Karen Coker

Contact the Alewife Study Group, North Cambridge Massachusetts, by email at