Residents Split Over Museum Proposal

In a heated two-hour meeting Wednesday night, Cambridge residents took on Harvard's community relations officers, loudly criticizing the University's plans to build an art museum in their largely residential neighborhood.

Many residents said the proposed museum--that would be built on the stretch of Memorial Drive property just south of Peabody Terrace and Mather House--would block their view of the Charles River and bring even more traffic to an already congested area.

"I live in this little white house that looks like a little monopoly house next to Harvard's hotels," said one resident who lives on the edge of the campus.

"We have traffic already," added another resident. "You coming with a museum doesn't help us."

Cabot Director of the Harvard University Art Museums James B. Cuno said the University has plans to look at the impact of a museum on traffic congestion this summer.

He said, however, that the use of an underground parking garage, as well as high usage by students, would decrease the traffic impact.

"Most people who would use the museum would be students, therefore they don't drive cars," Cuno said.

Still, residents at the meeting pointed to Harvard's latest expansion plans as proof of the University's ongoing disregard for Cambridge's needs.