Cambridge approves major MIT re-do for Kendall Square

Wicked Local Cambridge reports on MIT's plans for new residences and retail space on what are now parking lots; will that be enough to transform the soulless collection of buildings into a neighborhood?

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The article says yes

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"In addition to more housing, retail, office, lab and academic space, the plan calls for a 2-acre public plaza and the creation of a new head house at the Kendall Square MBTA station, which would be subject to the MBTA's approval."

I don't really see the head

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I don't really see the head houses as the issue though - more of just a renewal of the interior of the station - its not terrible, but could use a little TLC. I just think that with developments like this we should get more in return of the transit stops near them - but maybe I am just still bitter that Millennium did really nothing for the shit show that is Downtown Crossing.

Working faregates, or at

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Working faregates, or at least an employee around to help if none of the gates are reading tickets, which is often the case.

Move the faregates, more space to stand

The faregates need to be moved upstairs or somewhere further away from the platform.

The large surges of traffic with each train cause backups at the faregates, at times even forcing people to take longer to get off the trains. Similarly, people cannot enter and get on the train if it's already there due to the number of folks coming out. All these things increase congestion within the station and dwell time of the train at the stop.

Moving the gates away from the platform should help increase capacity of the station.

Either...

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...more frequent, on time trains, or larger platforms to hold everyone. We can all debate which is less likely to happen.

The problem with Kendall is that the Red Line cannot handle all the transit riders going into the area. It needs more and better buses, but they're increasingly getting stuck in the crippling traffic around Kendall.

Well, MIT and developers can

Well, MIT and developers can do more to help expand the station/move faregates than they can replace the signaling system and/or purchase more trains... which also gets at the question that the commenter above asked.

That said, the only way we're going to improve Red Line capacity is with better signaling and modern/more trains. Buses will help with connections but it takes a hell of a lot of buses to offset the number of people who want to ride the Red Line.

To that end, the project's plans to remove more parking in Kendall will help with congestion issues (fewer people driving to Kendall) for buses serving connections.

Of course, for more bus service, we need to build another bus yard somewhere to store and maintain the additional buses...

I, for one, am not adverse to

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I, for one, am not adverse to MIT putting their collective minds together and and designing a new signal system for the Red Line :) That is, even more that the old rolling stock, what is keeping it down. The switch to ATC killed headways in the 80s to the now ~8 minutes per branch and reduced capacity by 50% - hence the expansion to the supporting 6 car trains to try to make up for it. I believe it was one of the first ATC systems adopted and it is ancient by modern standards.

Besides, luckily, we have the rolling stock already wrapped up and soon to be delivered in the coming years.

net parking?

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"The plan includes moving the MIT Museum closer to the heart of Kendall Square, adding a new parking garage and expanding upon existing graduate student housing on Main Street."

Will the garage add more spaces than are removed from the surface lots?

Also will the garage basically serve rush hour solo commuters? The lots provide free parking for MIT events at low-traffic times.

It's already renovated. I'm a

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It's already renovated. I'm a 1990 MIT grad, and you should have seen what the station looked like in the mid-80's when I started school. Think lots of plywood and trouble lamps.

Well aware of that - not

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Well aware of that - not saying it needs major improvements, but it could use some cleanup/rehad - but maybe that's because I generally board at the inbound eastern entrance.

Roof Garden

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Will they give back the Rooftop Garden, which was swindled away from the neighborhood, for the benefit of Google, with the help of the (suspiciously nonexistent) CRA?

Kendall Square

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is deliberately designed to be cold and sterile. It's next to MIT after all.

Please don't

South of Main Street, which MIT has dubbed the “SoMa” district

Have we learned nothing?

Is it

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a reference to SoMa (South of Market) in San Francisco, where all the tech companies and startups are located, much like Kendall?

Naw.

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As someone who works in the area, I see it only as becoming a more gentrified commercial district. It is too spread out and soulless to ever be a true neighborhood.

Simulacrum

It will be a simulacrum of a neighborhood for temporary corporate hires. It will feel real to the sort of people who feel at home in an airport.

"The project will also offer

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"The project will also offer direct connections between Main Street and MIT campus"

They could make such a connection *today*, by unlocking (or removing) the doors to the passage through the Medical Building. That building was *designed* to wall off campus from Kendall -- just look at how it zigzags along Carleton, Deacon, and Ames Streets.