The Library and the City

The following are excerpts from the draft environmental impact statement on the Kennedy Library released yesterday by the General Services Administration:

The predominant influences which are mentioned in these observations of Harvard Square are the diversity of its users and their activities within the physical urban framework of the Square itself. An evaluation of these various components can provide the criterion against which impacts are measured.

Quality of Life

Many groups and individuals, principally those who live near or frequent Harvard Square are concerned that an influx of tourists attracted by the museum portion of the Library will contribute traffic noise and air pollution to what they consider an already congested situation.

Among the concerns expressed in this regard especially at the Environmental Impact Statement Workshops include the following:

* Visitor automobiles will add to traffic congestion, noise and air pollution.

* Added pedestrians will crowd the sidewalks, shops and restaurants.

* Parking, already a major problem, will become even worse.

* Tourist business, and rising rents will cause a change in the retail and service aspect of the Square from community/regional orientation to tourist orientation.

* A combination of the above conditions would tend to cause current users of the Square to stay away, thus changing its existing character.

Land Values and Speculation

This concern is expressed most often by groups within whose neighborhoods there has been increasing expansion by Harvard University (e.g., Riverside, Cambridgeport, Mid-Cambridge), as well as by residents of neighborhoods adjacent to Harvard Square where many new developments have been proposed.

Groups in these neighborhoods have expressed the concern that a development of the magnitude of the JFK Library will trigger other speculation for land for supporting uses (motels, etc.) which will cause the price of land to increase so that real estate is beyond the reach of low and middle-income residents. This increase in land values will also have the effect of pushing rents higher.

Many persons feel that Harvard is using the Library in order to justify its own expansion. Nearby Neighborhood Disturbance

Residents of neighborhoods bordering the site (Neighborhood Ten, Riverside) are particularly concerned that the quiet residential sidestreets will be disturbed by traffic caused by Library visitors who will also compete for the few on-street parking spaces.