Graham Says New Red Line Drives Rats to Western Ave.

The MBTA construction in Harvard Square may be bothering residents in the Square, but City Councilor Saundra Graham says the hammering and digging is driving rats up the Red Line and into the neighborhood around Western Ave.

Graham told the City Council Monday that she is receiving as many as ten calls a day from Cambridge residents complaining of mice and rats infesting their garbage and homes.

John A. Carey, project manager of the Red Line extension, said yesterday he does not believe MBTA construction is responsible for the rats because Western Ave. is too far from Harvard square. Western Avenue is almost a mile from Harvard Square.

Councilor Mary Ellen Preusser said yesterday she believes it is possible that the rats in the Western Ave. area fled from Harvard Square. The rats can "travel right along the river, only eight blocks" to Western Ave., she added.

Graham said yesterday she is not sure how many rodents are in the area, adding, "They all look alike."


Graham said City Manager James Sullivan will meet with MBTA officials to discuss the issue very soon.

Graham said she believes the MBTA should pay for the extermination of the rats from the gutters, sewers and homes in the infested area.

Carey said city health officials will inspect a house for rats free of charge but will not exterminate the rodents unless the infested area is city property.