A New Face for Harvard Square?

Task Force Requests Revisions by MBTA

A planning Task Force of the Cambridge Advisory Committee on Harvard Square proposed yesterday that the MBTA modify its plans for the new Harvard Square Station to fit in with an overall development plan for the Square.

The Task Force said that the MBTA's design decisions would be "of critical importance to the future quality of the Harvard Square environment." According to Edwin T. Steffian, chairman of the Task Force, the group's proposals were designed to "give Harvard Square back to the people, not the automobiles," by leaving the way open for radical re-designing of the Square's traffic patterns.

The group's report viewed the main problem in the Square as "through traffic, unrelated to Harvard Square." It said that its proposals for re-designing the MBTA extension up Mass. Ave. would allow a solution of the problem.

The group called upon the MBTA to:

* Deepen its tunnel extension up the Avenue, so that automobile underpasses could be constructed over the tunnel.

* Eliminate trackless trolleys in the Square to rid the streets of overhead wires.

* Consider the possibility of a shopping area at the entrance to the new Harvard Square station. (According to present MBTA plans, the station would be located just south of the tip of the Cambridge Common.)

* Design pedestrian access to the station so as to minimize interference with surface traffic.

Formal Study

The Task Force also recommended that the City begin a formal redevelopment study of the entire Harvard Square area. The group said it would give its informal planning studies of the Square to the agency making the formal study.

The report also said that it is especially important that any re-design of the Harvard-Brattle Square areas be co-ordinated with the plans for the Kennedy Center. It called upon the planners of the Kennedy Center to give the CAC "such preliminary work as has been accomplished to date."

From its informal studies, the Task Force recommended that the development plan for the Square should:

* Divert through traffic from the Square in favor of local traffic and pedestrians.

* Design Harvard and Brattle Squares to provide easy pedestrian movement from the Yard to the river.

* Provide off-street parking at locations on the perimeter of the pedestrian area. The report said that this "does not preclude properly controlled on-street parking."

* Provide greater pedestrian access to the Cambridge Common.

The CAC Advisory Committee on Harvard Square is now planning a public meeting with MBTA officials, who are now ready to begin final drawings for their expansion in Harvard Square. The date for the meeting has not yet been set.