What’s New: City Beat & Biking Buzz

HarvardHarvard Law's new building at 1607 Mass Ave. Photo by Bob O'Connor.

City Beat

Small Businesses Test Out Recycling Program

In an effort to reduce the cost of recycling for small businesses, the city has launched a Small Business Recycling Pilot, the Cambridge Chronicle reports. All businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees were eligible to apply for the program, and those selected for the pilot will receive twice-weekly recycling collection for the next year. The Department of Public Works plans to work closely with these businesses to ensure they are fully educated on what waste goes in the trash and what can be recycled.

A Playground for All
North Cambridge

Earlier this winter, the City Council apportioned $500,000 to design a new “universal playground” at Danehy Park, the Cambridge Day reports. The playground, due to open in the summer of 2020, will be designed with children who have mobility, sensory, cognitive, and behavioral disabilities in mind. “Investing $2.5 million in a playground that’s going to be 100 percent accessible for children with special needs, the third of its kind in the state, is definitely something we should be proud of,” Mayor Marc McGovern said at a City Council meeting, according to the Day.

A Win for Street Performers

Strapped for cash? Maybe you should pick up a guitar. Performers can now put on a show in the streets without having to pay a fee, the Cambridge Day reports. While performers will still need a permit, city councilors removed the fee requirement in an effort to demonstrate support for these artists. The new rule came packaged with a slew of other reforms, including expanding the definition of “street performer” to include poetry reading and painting. There’s also a new rule in place banning the use of fire in street performances—so if you do decide to make a couple of bucks on the street corner, leave your pyrotechnics at home.

The Middle East Boycott Persists
Central Square

Joseph Sater, one of the owners of the Middle East, stepped down last fall after allegations against him of sexual harassment and assault surfaced. Now, months later, artists still haven’t forgotten, and some continue to boycott the Central Square spot. The difficulties of avoiding such a popular watering hole and performance venue were detailed in a WBUR report earlier this winter. “It felt important enough to us that it wasn’t drama, it was politics, and it was something that we were really firm about,” Hannah Liuzzo, member of local pop band Lilith, told WBUR. “We wanted to live our politics, so we just kind of had to weigh the pros and cons.”

Harvard Skewered By Campus Labor Union
Harvard Square

Harvard’s largest labor union alleges that the university skirted around campus labor regulations and failed to compensate part-time workers who put in extra hours, the Harvard Crimson reported this winter. The Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW) discovered that Harvard paid 291 people as temporary or half-time workers in 2018, even though these people were working “excessive hours,” according to the Crimson.

In response to this discovery, the HUCTW sat down with school officials to reform the part-time worker policies. Their negotiated reforms—which include stricter limitations on part-time worker hours and more transparency about how much time part-time workers are putting in—will go into effect in March.

Harvard Crimson Elects Its First Black Female President
Harvard Square

It only took 145 years. Kristine E. Guillaume, a junior majoring in literature, history, and African-American studies, will lead the famous campus newspaper, the New York Times reports. Guillaume has been a part of the Crimson’s “news board” for the past three years, writing about immigration and the school administration, and her vision for the Crimson involves a more digital-forward model and greater diversity on the staff. “If my being elected to the Crimson presidency as the first black woman affirms anyone’s sense of belonging at Harvard, then that will continue to affirm the work that I’m doing,” Guillaume told the Times.

Harvard Law Grows
Harvard Square

After 12 months of construction, Harvard Law School’s newest facility is open for business, Harvard Law Today reports. The building, located at 1607 Mass Ave., will house the school’s Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, the Criminal Justice Institute, the Islamic Legal Studies Program, the Animal Law & Policy Program, and more.

“This space will promote collaboration and enhance the ability of staff and students and faculty to interact and think across boundaries,” Vice Dean for Experiential and Clinical Education Daniel L. Nagin told the publication. The space will also promote the consumption of mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and tomato sauce—Kendall Square’s popular pizza restaurant Area Four will open a new location in the building’s first floor.

Biking Buzz

Superpedestrian Shifts Gears

MIT startup Superpedestrian initially became famous for its Copenhagen wheel, a motorized bike wheel that gives riders an extra boost of power. Now the bicycle company’s making headlines again for its latest innovation: electric scooters that can repair themselves. Superpedestrian told the Washington Post that the scooter will be “capable of operating on a single charge for several days, self-diagnosing mechanical problems, and removing itself from circulation.” Assaf Biderman, Superpedestrian’s CEO, told the Post that we can expect to see the super-smart scooters rolling out during the first half of 2019.

Protected Bike Lanes

You can breathe a little easier as you’re biking down Mass Ave. Late last year, the half-mile stretch between Memorial Drive and Sidney Street was revamped to improve bike safety, the Boston Globe reports. The new bike lanes are separated from traffic by both parked cars and flex posts. “It’s a heavy bike route,” Joseph Barr, Cambridge’s director of traffic, parking, and transportation, told the Globe. “We felt like it was an important next corridor to look at, in terms of improving safety.”

This story originally appeared in the What’s New section of the Free Time Fervor issue of Scout Cambridge, which is available for free at more than 200 locations throughout the city or by subscription.

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