Cambridge City Councillor Dennis Carlone has introduced a policy order that seeks to preserve a long-awaited opportunity to create a public park as part of the redevelopment of the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Kendall Square.
For many years, Cambridge residents have been told that continued growth in Kendall Square would someday be offset by a significant provision of open space on the Volpe site. The only thing that was unknown was when, exactly, the U.S. General Services Administration would move to consider proposals for the 14-acre parcel, which currently includes a large surface parking lot.
Then last August, the federal government posted an RFI to begin the process of redeveloping the Volpe site. And in December, city planners unveiled an initial zoning scheme — one that would reduce the future amount of public open space on the site, from a 7.5 acres (as originally planned), to just 2.5 acres. In a memo to the Planning Board, it was suggested that the 7.5-acre park might "constrain development opportunities" on the site.
In response to the proposed zoning, members of the East Cambridge Planning Team voted unanimously last month to oppose the loss of the public park. "The greater the number of people working and living in that area, the more important open space becomes," their letter to the Planning Board says.
Meanwhile, according to the Boston Globe, major real estate developers are eager to bid on what has been described as a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" to add to the growth of the life sciences industry in Kendall Square.
The above image was produced as part of the city's K2C2 planning study and depicts a conceptual rendering for a large public park on the northern edge of the Volpe parcel. While helping lead that study in 2012, planner David Dixon stated that "the proposed park at the Volpe site is going to be the heart of Kendall Square before too long."
Councillor Carlone's order was on the agenda for this evening's city council meeting, which has now been cancelled due to the snowstorm. This order is now expected to be discussed at the council's next regular meeting on Monday, February 23, at 5:30 pm in the CRLS/Attles Meeting Room, 459 Broadway.
The full text of the policy order appears below...
|Policy Order Resolution|