Make your voice heard! From December 3-9, 2016, Cambridge residents age 12 and older can vote online or in person at numerous events around the city to decide how to spend $700,000 on capital projects to improve the community.
Our PB process is open to all Cambridge residents who are at least 12, including non-U.S. citizens and university students whose dorms/apartments are in Cambridge. We will ask all voters to sign an oath (online or on paper) attesting to their eligibility to vote (must live in Cambridge, be at least 12 years old, and will only vote one time).
Voters can choose up to 5 of the 20 projects on the ballot. You do not need to rank your choices or do any math.
What's on the PB ballot?
PARKS & RECREATION
1. UNIVERSAL DESIGN: PLAYGROUNDS FOR EVERYONE! ($100,000)
1-2 playgrounds to be determined by community process
Universal Design playground equipment is designed to be usable by everyone without special adaptations or retrofitting. Let’s go beyond legally required minimum accessibility standards to ensure our playgrounds truly welcome everyone!
2. DANEHY PARK: FITNESS, SIGNS, DOG PARK LIGHTS & SCOREBOARDS ($140,000)
This project will bring much-needed improvements to Danehy Park, with great positive impact for Cambridge residents. New fitness equipment, signs, dog park lights for evening use, and scoreboards will make Danehy Park better utilized.
3. SHADE AND WET WEATHER CANOPIES FOR PLAYGROUNDS ($146,000)
2 playgrounds with little natural shade
Installing canopies over playgrounds that do not have protection from the elements will reduce weather-related safety concerns and increase playground availability and use.
4. LEARN ABOUT NATURE IN THE PORT ($10,000)
Greene-Rose Heritage Park or nearby
Artistic signs would educate children and adults about nature in the city. The signs would contain information about local wildlife and the ecosystems and would include a map of habitats around Cambridge.
CULTURE & COMMUNITY FACILITIES ('BRIDGE BUILDERS)
5. CAMBRIDGE STREET ART TRAIL ($25,000)
8-10 highly visible community locations
Commission local artists to create a series of murals and street art reflecting Cambridge's vibrancy and diversity. Increase space for publicly created street art (like that in "Graffiti Alley" in Central Square).
6. ALL-IN-ONE MOBILE PERFORMANCE STAGE & ART SPACE ($98,000)
Spread the love and joy of arts and music in the city of Cambridge! Residents can bring world-class arts and musical performances to any city street, any time, regardless of age, race, or background.
7. LIGHTING LANDMARKS: CHLS GATE & SUMNER STATUE ($45,000)
Broadway & Ellery Street, Harvard Square-MacArthur Park
Effective light design for Cambridge landmarks can make our city as livable at night as in the day. Well-designed lighting would enhance these landmarks and increase public safety.
8. LITTLE FREE LIBRARIES FOR CHILDREN ($37,000)
13 locations at playgrounds and parks
Little free libraries are beautiful, functional works of art that help build community. They develop literacy skills and encourage a love of reading by making it easy for families to exchange books in an informal, neighborhood setting.
YOUTH & EDUCATION
9. BICYCLE DESKS FOR CAMBRIDGE STUDENTS ($113,000)
CRLS and the four Upper Schools
Bicycle desks will help bring focus and exercise to Cambridge classrooms as well as improve the physical and mental health of students.
10. WIRELESS SPEAKERS FOR YOUTH CENTERS ($25,000)
Cambridge Youth Centers
Adding wireless surround sound speakers to the youth centers benefits young people doing homework, playing basketball, and other activities. Bringing music to the youth centers will bring more youth to these centers.
11. UPGRADE THE MOORE YOUTH CENTER ($80,000)
Moore Youth Center
The Moore Youth Center is outdated compared to other youth centers. New furniture and equipment will help bring more youth to the center.
12. FREE PUBLIC WI-FI IN COLUMBIA PARK ($32,000)
Internet access is an essential right. Adding free Wi-Fi to Columbia Park (Clement G. Morgan Park) will enable people to access information for school and work.
STREETS & SIDEWALKS (STREETSMARTS)
13. KINETIC ENERGY TILES ($50,000)
Harvard Square, CRLS
Kinetic energy tiles are tiles that generate energy from your footsteps! We want to introduce these tiles into our city and get Cambridge residents involved with clean energy! These tiles can power streetlights, phones, or laptops.
14. SOLAR-POWERED REAL-TIME BUS TRACKER DISPLAYS ($150,000)
High-use bus stops throughout Cambridge
This project proposes installing 10 solar-powered bus tracking displays with real-time arrival information at high-use bus stops throughout the City of Cambridge.
15. BUILDING A STRONG AND SAFE BIKE COMMUNITY ($114,000)
Main Public Library and public schools
Cambridge has cyclists aged under 8 to over 80. To educate and protect bicyclists and bicycles, we propose offering free helmets with safety training for grade school students and installing an artistic bike shelter at the Main Library.
16. SAFER CROSSWALKS FOR BUSY ROADS ($104,000)
Specific locations citywide (see full proposal)
Install flashing light signs on six crosswalks that pedestrians can activate before crossing the street. These flashing signs make drivers more aware of crossing pedestrians to help prevent crashes, especially at night.
HEALTH, ENVIRONMENT & SAFETY
17. SOLAR POWER SHINES! ($260,000)
Rooftop of Main Public Library
Let’s power the public library with clean, renewable energy! Adding solar panels to our main library will help Cambridge meet our climate goals by reducing emissions, saving money over time, and serving as an example for patrons.
18. HYDRATION STATIONS IN FOUR LOCATIONS ($37,000)
Four locations throughout Cambridge
Additional water fountains and bottle refill stations will help residents stay hydrated and reduce waste from plastic bottles! One of the new fountains will be designed to reflect Cambridge, like the artistic water fountain at Fresh Pond.
19. SAFE NAPS FOR CAMBRIDGE PRESCHOOLERS! ($4,000)
King Open & Peabody Preschools, Baby U, Center for Families
New healthy PVC-free nap mats will help Cambridge preschoolers sleep safely! We will purchase 80 mats for programs still using old mats that are coated with PVC, a chemical associated with negative health effects. All kids in Cambridge preschools deserve a safe nap!
20. (2-3) LEVEL 2 ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATIONS ($30,000)
Adding electric vehicle charging stations to crowded neighborhoods without garages will send a powerful message that now is the time we can all buy electric cars. We will reduce pollution and support a transition to clean transportation.
Check out the map of past winning PB projects
Click here to see a Google map that displays all of the winning projects from PB1 and PB2. Projects with blue icons have been completed, while projects with grey icons have not yet been completed. Some projects will be implemented at multiple locations throughout Cambridge; in these cases, locations on the map are approximate or represent a general area.
You can learn more about winning projects from past cycles by exploring our PB Cycles tab.
What is PB all about?
Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process through which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. The City hopes that PB will help directly involve residents in the budgeting and City-building process, foster civic engagement and community spirit, and help ensure that the City’s Capital Plan reflects the priorities of Cambridge residents.
The third Participatory Budgeting (PB) cycle in Cambridge will run from June-December 2016. This time, the City will set aside $700,000 of the FY18 Budget for one-time capital projects to improve the community. Winning projects from past PB cycles include a public toilet in Central Square, bike repair stations, a freezer van for prepared food rescue, water bottle fill stations, bilingual books for children learning English, and many others.
After community members brainstorm project ideas in June and July, volunteer Budget Delegates will research and develop those ideas into formal project proposals from August through November. Proposals that are vetted by City staff and approved by the City Manager will appear on a PB ballot in December for a public vote. Winning projects will be included in the FY18 Capital Budget for adoption.