Because Benches Make Life A Little Easier ($150,000)

Committee: StreetSmarts

Cost: $150,000

Location: Major thoroughfares and bus routes. 

Short Description: Fifty additional benches would make public transportation more user-friendly and less stressful. Benches would also make these streets more hospitable for walking, shopping, and socializing for pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

Long Description:

Benches are more than a place to sit, more than seats in the street. They provide a respite, a reprieve, a place to take a time out from the often over-stimulating and stressful urban street and the activity thereon. More benches along major bus routes would improve the daily quality of life for pedestrians, especially those with health issues, limited mobility, or pain while walking.  People who don’t use benches may not even notice them. But for the many people who use them and need them, their absence can be a recurring source of stress. 

There are surprisingly long stretches with very few benches along Mass Ave, Concord Ave, Rindge Ave, Cambridge St, and Broadway. For example, there are only four benches on Mass Ave between Porter Square and Alewife Brook Parkway. This stretch of Mass. Ave is a walking route for seniors who attend the North Cambridge Senior Center and for those shopping in Porter Square. The south side of Broadway has almost no benches from Quincy Street to Portland Street, except in the parks. 

On streets that may be too narrow to accommodate benches, the city could consider leaning bars, chairs, or other ADA compliant resting structures. Where possible, benches could be placed opposite each other or put in chair groupings to maximize their potential for increased sociability.


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  • Emma Simon
    commented 2019-12-03 07:57:56 -0500
    Will these be the disgusting anti-homeless hostile design benches, or regular benches that it’s possible to lie down on?
  • Astrid Dodds
    commented 2019-11-22 23:45:30 -0500
    How about 1 or 2 on Church St.? Or Brattle near the intersection with Church? I once had to wait an hour for my watch to be fixed, got a coffee at Dunkin on Church St. (standing room only), and went outside to find a place to sit. NONE! Nada. The closest I could find was the seating blocks on Palmer St., a dreary wind-tunnel, but better than nothing. I was truly shocked that it was so difficult to find a place to sit outside for 30+ minutes in Harvard Sq.