These images were captured at 7:15 AM Wednesday February 19, 2014. It shows a dumpster sitting on the north side of Broadway in Cambridge, MA between Prescott Street and Quincy Street. It is from the Harvard University construction project, a three-year $500 million project renovating the former Harvard University Fogg Museum. In the background you can see the white cab of the truck which was unloading another dumpster at the loading dock of the new museum. Is removing construction waste an element of construction?
Dumpster on Broadway in No Stopping zone.
Why is this newsworthy? The dumpster sits in a "NO STOPPING" zone of Broadway, a major thoroughfare of the city. It is "No Stopping" on both sides of Broadway. During the previous three years trucks, equipment, vehicles, and supplies were brought to the same location as a staging area. That location is about ten feet from a residential building with 15 tenants facing that side of Broadway. Some, only some of the dozens of captured images can be seen in a previous post at this link.
The truck was sitting in the loading driveway of the museum with its backup warning beeper blasting for twenty minutes on February 19, 2014 beginning at about 7:00 AM. Aware of its PR obligations (must keep up Harvard University's image as an upstanding corporation worth its $32 billion), the university employs a mitigation office to address neighbors' concerns about noise, hot tar trucks at 1:00 AM, shaking buildings, dust and other unpleasantries. Jennifer Reily is the main recipient of the complaints. She is very pleasant and sounds sympathetic to the stress Harvard University causes its neighbors. But there are arrogant people above her whose attitude is "F*** them."
Dumpster at loading dock. Black trash bag in foreground. Yellow lift mechanism on right side of image.
I suspected that it was contrary to state laws and I was right. I left a message for Harvard University's General Counsel, Robert Iuliano, with his secretary. She told me he doesn't get involved in such mundane matters. Hahaha. Then I called to the mitigation phone and spoke with Jennifer Reily. She explained that she would check on the matter. Here is where this matter went into another universe. One of her colleagues left a message for me saying that the locks were placed on the windows for safety reasons. He also said, "The windows were not designed to be opened." Huh? For the previous seven years they opened but suddenly they were not designed to be open? Couldn't figure out why he said that. On the first floor of the building, windows are the second exit required under state law. If the upper window is locked it creates a barrier for an emergency escape. Upper floor tenants use windows to access metal ladder escapes in case of fire.
White cab of truck with the loud beeper at loading dock.
I waited. One of the friendly superintendents stopped me one day near the building. I told him that I calculated it was going to cost Harvard about $250,000 to fix the windows after unlawfully placing locks on them. I said I needed that window open for cooking, so that I did not accidently set off the fire alarm when I cooked. I said I also use that for ventilation to change the stale air in the apartment. I also cooled the apartment in summer without any energy.
That is how they remain today. Mine are the only upper windows which are open. So, what was the motivation for the arrogant upper management for placing the locks on the upper windows? The Massachusetts state building code requires landlords to have screens covering all parts of windows which are "designed to open." But Harvard University and other landlords in the state (they can be seen on buildings) have only half screens covering the lower windows. They are in violation of the state code. Harvard University has many buildings, with many windows. If they needed to replace their half screens with whole screens it would cost lots of cash money. But they avoided that because there was no state court order requiring Harvard University to do so. I have no evidence that there were any shenanigans with the state courts. But I do know that Harvard University alumni hold a very large number of judgeships in the state, and also are pervasive among public officials in the state. If a judge or a court clerk wanted to he could easily lose that complaint from the city about the window locks. A formal complaint about the half screens was never filed as far as I know.
"The interior is now being fitted out and the art collections moved back," she said.
[. . .]
In the brief Q&A session with the Harvard presenters, Planning Board member Pamela Winters hoped, given the inconvenience to residents throughout the renovations on the art museums, that the museums' gala opening would be well publicized.
Cambridge universities’ Town Gown reports focus on sustainability, transportation
By Paul Angiolillo, [Cambridge] Chronicle correspondent
Posted Feb. 7, 2014 @ 11:49 am