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Cambridge Common Construction Set To Finish by End of Year

Construction Along Garden Street
Construction workers move equipment along Garden Street. Renovation started in June 2014, and the whole project is expected to take 18-24 months.
For the past 18 months, students walking from Harvard Yard toward the Radcliffe Quad have been confronted by barricades and mounds of dirt blocking their way through the Cambridge Common.

The construction, and the obstructions, are the result of a City of Cambridge project that looks to improve conditions in the park.

“The park was in very poor condition, with a lot of pathways that were in bad shape and drainage issues,” said Bill J. Deignan, the city’s transportation program manager.

The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. Deignan said the project’s contractor, despite some earlier setbacks, “is on track to have pretty much all of the work done” on time.

Deignan said the city will replace lighting systems to better illuminate the Common at night. The city is also constructing “a multipath connection alongside Flagstaff Park so that people can better get in and out of Harvard Square toward Mass. Ave.”

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The only potential delay the city expects involves planting new trees, a process that will have to continue into the spring, he said.

According to Deignan, planners conceived the project so as to minimize pedestrian inconvenience. “We did think ahead of time about the phasing of the project so that people could use the Common while it was under construction and use the paths to go where they needed to go,” he said.

Renovating Cambridge Common
Renovation of the Cambridge Common continues as part of the Cambridge Common and Flagstaff Park project, which aims to improve conditions of the park and pathways.
Still, some Quad residents expressed frustration with the long timeline for the construction work.

“I think that for a park, it sucks that Cambridge Common has just been under construction for the past two years,” said Aakriti Prasai ’18, who lives in Cabot House.

“In the beginning of the year when the paths were closed, it was pretty annoying because I had to walk different ways,” said Isaac L. Alter ’16, another Cabot resident who noted improvement now that the paths have reopened.

Other students, including Tess V. Davison ’16, were mostly ambivalent about the construction. Davison, also a Cabot resident, said, “I pretty much never walk through there, so it doesn’t really affect my life.”

“At this point the project has been going on for 18 months,” Deignan acknowledged, “so I think people are ready to see it wrap up and be over.”

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