The Inner Belt Symposium
Programs and Dates:
The Role of Planners Working with Community Groups
With: Fred Salvucci, Tunney Lee, and Robert Goodman Wednesday, April 4, 2012 6:00-8:00 PM
The Stata Center, MIT Room 32-155 (32 Vassar Street)
The Community Organizers
With: Barbara Norfleet and Ansti Benfield
Thursday, April 19, 2012 6:00-8:00 PM
The Cambridge Public Library Lecture Hall (449 Broadway)
Legacy of the Inner Belt
With: Jack Wofford, Anthony Flint, and Susanne Rasmussen
Wednesday April 25, 2012 6:00-8:00 PM
The Lincoln Institute (113 Brattle Street)
Space is limited. To reserve a spot, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-547-4252.
The Cambridge Historical Society, with MIT, Livable Streets, and the Lincoln Institute, is hosting a series of programs on the history and legacy of the Inner Belt.
The Inner Belt was a proposed interstate highway that would have connected Rt. 93 to Rt. 90 with an eight lane highway that would have gone through Central Square. This would have leveled parts of Area 4 and Cambridgeport, and would have essentially severed MIT, East Cambridge and Kendall Square from the rest of the city. The fight to stop it began in the 1950s and really gained steam in the late 1960s. Planners, activists, and universities became central in a campaign that included representatives from Cambridge, Brookline, Dedham, Lynn, Milton, Needham, Revere, Saugus, Somerville, East Boston, South Boston, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, and the South End. The community pressure caused the Governor to declare a moratorium, order the first Environmental Impact Study in America, and eventually reject the plan in the early 1970s. The Governor then led the successful effort to change federal law so that funds designated for Interstate highways could be used instead for public transit. Funds from the Inner Belt were used for the extensions of the Red Line to Alewife Station and Braintree and to move the Orange Line.
This multi decade struggle over the transportation landscape made national news and was probably the largest political fight in Cambridge in the 20th century. It is also responsible for a large part of the quality of life in Cambridge, which is now renowned as a walk-able city with a comfortable scale.
For more information, please visit the Cambridge Historical Society’s website.