Council Puts Off Bicycles, 121A

Questions on Sidewalks, Tax Break Referred to Other Bodies

In its annual midsummer's meeting, the Cambridge City Council referred to other bodies two important items on bicycling and the controversial 121A tax relief clause.

The council decided to let its finance committee analyze a report on 121A from City Manager Robert W. Healy, while sending to the bicycle commission a citizen's complaint about those who ride the vehicles on sidewalks.

The council's move on bicycles followed an impassioned speech by city resident Marjorie Francis.

Francis said she walks on the sidewalk "in trepidation" of those who bicycle recklessly.

"I walk on the sidewalk...in fear of my life," Francis said." If we note the word, it says side walk."

Francis said present regulations are either inadequate or unenforced.

"Why do they do it? They do it because they can get away with it," Francis said about bicyclists who ride on the sidewalks. "And somebody is going to get killed."

Council members expressed sympathy with Francis' fear.

Councillor Francis S. Duehay '55 said he and two friends had each been hit on separate occasions by bicyclists who were riding illegally.

The council decided to refer the problem to the bicycle commission.

121A Clause

The 121A clause allows the city to award a temporary tax break on a parcel of land in order to attract companies to build there.

The report in the finance committee will analyze the pros and cons of the city's use of 121A relief.

The 121A clause was the focus of a heated special meeting of the council in June.

The council had agreed to award a 47 percent tax break under the 121A clause to Biogen, Inc., a Cambridge biotechnology company. Biogen received the special treatment to undertake a construction project in Kendall Square.