Committee: Community Resources
Location: North Mass. Ave. and Broadway
Short Description: Install 12 benches along key corridors in Cambridge so that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy benches for resting, talking, tinkering with electronic devices, people watching, and being outdoors.
Long Description: There is strong evidence that benches are needed, especially along Mass. Ave. in North Cambridge. While there are some bus shelters along the way, the seating in these shelters is minimal, allowing two people at most to sit or one person with their bundles. This stretch of Mass. Ave. is a walking route for seniors on their way to the North Cambridge Senior Center or for anyone wanting to shop at Porter Square Shopping Center. The south side of Broadway has almost no benches at all from Quincy Street to Portland Street except in the parks. The need for street benches was also raised in a previous PB cycle. The benches the City usually installs (such as at the Main Library) seat four adults easily. The addition of more benches on our streets would promote sociability and encourage walkers.
The measure of the impact of more benches can be estimated by looking at the use of current benches. The installation of 12 (or so) benches in front of the entrance to the Main Library has created a mini-park. Everyone uses these benches: library patrons, people pausing in their exercise routines, parents with baby carriages, high school students, dog walkers, etc. Benches draw people out, and the more people on the street the safer everyone else feels.
Feasibility of this project is high. The Department of Public Works has experience in installing standardized metal benches with backs. They are very low maintenance compared with wooden benches, dry more quickly, and are very comfortable.
This is a typical street side bench:
Below is a conversational arrangement of street side benches:
Below are three people sharing a conversation on a public bench. Benches promote community!