6. Free Wifi and Soofa Benches in 3 Parks

Committee: Culture & Community Facilities

Cost: $92,000

Location: Wifi and Soofa benches in Lopez, Raymond & Dana Parks; Soofa benches in Porter & Inman Squares and the Main Library

Short Description: This project would install free public wifi in 3 Cambridge parks that are in areas with limited access to free wifi and 10 solar-powered benches that allow residents and visitors to charge their electronic devices for free in public areas.

Long Description: Wifi and Soofa benches allow residents and visitors to stay connected in public places. Free wifi and Soofa benches already exist in several parts of the city, but we have identified three parks (Lopez Park, Raymond Park, and Dana Park) in three different neighborhoods of Cambridge that would benefit from the addition of wifi, as well as three high-traffic areas of Cambridge (Porter Square, Inman Square, and the Main Library) in need of Soofa charging benches.

Lopez Park in East Cambridge, Dana Park in Cambridgeport, and Raymond Park in West Cambridge are all multi-use, small parks in areas with limited wifi options. They would provide much needed access points in these neighborhoods. The parks attract various members of the community: children and families for the playgrounds and open space, members of community gardens, sporting groups for fields and basketball courts, and community members looking for somewhere to sit and enjoy the green space.

Soofa benches provide solar-powered charging stations to so many people who depend on their electronic devices. Have you ever been caught waiting for a bus or a friend or just trying to enjoy the outside, but your phone or other device is dying? Soofa benches take up as much space as a traditional bench, but provide an important, free service that can be utilized by anyone with a device in need of charging. These benches will also collect data: weather and temperature data, pedestrian traffic, and other non-sensitive data that will be available through Cambridge’s open data portal. These benches may provide information that will help us understand Cambridge better!

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