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MIT Pledges to Improve Streetscape

By Kathy Dobson

STAFF REPORTER

MIT promised the city of Cambridge to make efforts to enhance the campus landscape and streetscape in the 2003 annual town gown report. The Institute will add bicycle paths, improve traffic flow and consolidate utility lines around campus. The plans include improvements on Vassar Street, Memorial Drive, and Massachusetts Avenue, as well as a proposed railroad crossing near NW30.

The reconstruction of the western side of Vassar Street is slated to begin after 2005. It will look much like the nearly complete eastern side of Vassar Street, with a bike path, trees, and lamps, said Executive Vice President John R. Curry. A storm drain collection area will be constructed along the street that will separate the athletic fields from the street. Curry said that he expects the project to take nine months once it begins.

MIT submitted a proposal to CSX Transportation on Dec. 10, 2003 requesting permission to add a railroad crossing for pedestrians and bicycles from NW30 to W59 said Kelley Brown, senior project manager of construction. The proposal originated from students and housemasters in NW30 and Sidney Pacific who saw a need for a crossing.

The partially MIT-funded intersection of Memorial Drive and Massachusetts avenue is still under construction and signalization of off-ramps will be added shortly, according to the town gown report. Memorial Drive will be under construction into the summer.