Whittemore Working Group Ideas, Questions & Concerns (to date May 6, 2021)

May 6, 2021 Summary: ASG Whittemore Ave Working Group’s Questions, Concerns & Ideas 

  • Attention to Whittemore Ave: number of comments about this neighborhood getting less attention than other areas
  • Down-lighting: several hoped that parking lots have sufficient lighting for safety purposes, given that they are quite dark. With that said, a number of residents closer to Seagrave and Columbus mentioned that existing lighting is extremely bright and enters homes at night, making it difficult sleep.
    • Key conclusion: we recommend down-lighting with shields to ensure safety while reducing light pollution.
  • Parking: there was disagreement on a recommendation to IQHQ regarding the lots on Whittemore. Several residents wish to see converting lots into other uses, such as a community garden, parking underneath a green roof, or other green space. On the other hand, several residents, particularly those on cut-through streets and those without off-street parking, expressed concerns about any conversion that would result in a reduction of parking capacity. In addition, an important issue was raised: IQHQ is doubling the overall building square footage but maintaining the existing number of parking spots. Assuming 165 sq ft of lab space per person[1] the facility would have only one spot for every four people.
    • Key question/conclusion: how is IQHQ planning for this significant increase in people on site? Would IQHQ consider increasing the size of the parking garage to ensure sufficient on-site parking? This not only impacts the Whittemore Ave neighborhood, but also the Harvey/Clifton St side, where many Cambridge (or other) residents could easily park if on-site capacity is limited.
  • There was greater consensus on other key questions and points raised. These include:
    • Fees for parking: Is IQHQ going to charge their tenants for parking? We recommend that parking to IQHQ tenants should be free or provided by their employers. Forcing employees to pay for parking would encourage them, especially Cambridge residents, to park on the streets.
    • Residential access to lots. We appreciate that IQHQ will honor the current arrangement whereby residents can park on IQHQ lots (IQHQ requested phone numbers of those parking for emergency situations, which is reasonable). If IQHQ is going to use a parking sticker system, we ask that IQHQ provide stickers at no cost to residents who request them. We would like this commitment in writing.
    • EV charging: will charging be available in the lots, and available to residents (at reasonable rates of course)? We recommend the installation of EV charging stations in the garage and lots.
  • Flooding and environmental issues:
    • How will IQHQ ensure that flooding issues are adequately addressed?
    • How will IQHQ address the heat island effect?
  • Traffic:
    • What else can IQHQ do to limit cut-through traffic on Whittemore Ave streets? One is to increase garage capacity to encourage tenants to park there.
    • How can IQHQ make it easier for tenants to get on Rt 2? Can the entryway from the existing lot be expanded?
  • Biker Access:
    • Currently, access at either end of the buildings, by Madison & by Rt. 16.
    • Question: What are plans for biker access from Whittemore leg of neighborhood?
  • Use
    • Rachel, who works in lab management/operations, has kindly volunteered to answer neighbor questions and draft questions for IQHQ.
  • Shadowing of Whittemore Neighborhood
    • Question: What are projected shadows? Which direction, how long, etc? How are you mitigating shadows on this side of the neighborhood (and, where relevant, other sides)?