Cambridge's fifth PB process is about to begin. This time, we will collect ideas in June and July about how YOU would spend $900,000 on one-time capital projects to improve the community.
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 fifth Participatory Budgeting (PB) cycle in Cambridge will run from May-December 2018. This time, the City will set aside $900,000 of the FY20 Budget for one-time capital projects to improve the community. Winning projects from past PB cycles include a public toilet in Central Square, solar panels for the Main Library roof, bike repair stations, a freezer van for prepared food rescue, street trees, 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 FY20 Capital Budget for adoption.
Thank you for Voting!
The fourth Participatory Budgeting Vote took place from December 2-8, 2017. During that time, 6,778 Cambridge residents age 12+ voted - a 43% increase over last year!
Winning PB Projects
The following seven projects won $867,000 in FY19 funding. Special thanks to the City Manager for fully funding the seventh project!
1. 100 Trees for a Cleaner, Greener Cambridge ($141,000)
Barren sidewalks in East & North Cambridge
Let’s green our streets by planting 100 trees in neighborhoods lacking foliage! From cooling heat islands to cleaning our air, these trees will be a long-term investment in making our city a healthier, happier place.
2. Critical Resource Kits for the Homeless ($50,000)
Deliver resource kits to homeless residents through established programs. These kits will provide supplies such as socks, feminine hygiene products, toiletries, first aid kits, and other items to Cambridge’s most vulnerable population.
3. Flashing Crosswalks for Safer Streets ($176,000)
10 locations citywide
This project would fund rapid flashing beacons at 10 high pedestrian risk crosswalks. These beacons increase the visibility of pedestrians, especially at night. They can alert drivers to crossing pedestrians, thereby preventing crashes.
4. Drinking Water Across More Parks ($100,000)
Parks and playgrounds without fountains
Install new water fountain/bottle-fillers at up to 10 parks that lack drinking water fixtures. This will ensure that more residents can enjoy free, clean, drinking water at their local park, no matter which neighborhood they call home.
5. New Musical Instruments for CRLS ($200,000)
Cambridge Rindge and Latin School
New music instruments for CRLS would encourage and support arts education for Cambridge students. Newer equipment at the high school would not only benefit high school students but middle school students as well.
6. Jade Chain: Living Moss Walls to Combat Pollution ($100,000)
Porter, Inman & Harvard Squares, Binney Street
Four moss walls will bring life to underplanted areas of Cambridge! These walls can be customized with benches or solar charging stations, harnessing the low-maintenance, high-impact qualities of moss to clean our air and beautify our squares
7. Upgrade the Gately Youth Center ($100,000)
Gately Youth Center
The Gately Youth Center is in need of an upgrade. Updating the furniture and music studio as well as renovating the kitchen would bring more youth and foster stronger community at the center.
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.