Waterfront 2020 Charrette

Waterfront 2020 Map

Information on the W2020 Vision

As part of the process to update the Comprehensive Plan, the City of Cambridge hosted a public brain storming session with the community to help shape the future of the city's waterfront. This charrette process began in November 2008 and ran through February 2009. The goal was to develop a clear community vision concept that could part of the Comprehensive Plan, and define the development, public access, and linkages along our priceless shoreline.
The overriding theme of this process was to view the potential redevelopment of the Cambridge Waterfront in terms of economic development. Any potential project, infrastructure change, or change of use would be considered in terms of long term economic impact for the community.


View the Waterfront 2020 Charrette PowerPoint presentation (PDF).

Key Points

The visioning effort's key points are divided in these waterfront sections:

Park to Park

  • Stronger linkages between Long Wharf and Great Marsh
    • Way finding signage, pavement markings
  • Stronger linkages between Parks and Downtown / other neighborhoods
  • Landscaping plan for Long Wharf
    • Parking lot landscaping
    • Duck walk area
  • Improved parking for Marina patrons and Park Users
    • Redesign parking layout to accommodate more vehicles in existing areas
    • Limit parking expansion along Water Street
    • Any commercial activity should be limited to services used by boaters
  • Adaptive re-use for old pump house at Mill Street
    • Improved User Amenities for both parks
    • Permanent public restrooms
    • Dog Park
Man fishing great marsh

Cambridge Creek

  • A pedestrian route that encircles Cambridge Creek will be a vital asset to the community
    • Along Waterfront where-ever possible
    • Linked to surrounding neighborhoods
    • Respectful of waterfront business requirements
  • Linkages to Downtown and Sailwinds need to be strengthened
    • Landscaped greenways between creek and Race Street
    • Water Taxi Service
  • Residential development should be limited to allow for more commercial activity
    • Provide incentives for Commercial development along creek
    • Tie availability of residential units to commitment to commercial uses
  • Street patterns should be designed to link waterfront neighborhoods to the surrounding areas
    • No more gated communities
    • Extend street grids to the water
    • Cedar Street corridor should be reinforced as primary access to downtown and Pine Street from Route 50
Cambridge Creek


  • Focus should be on commercial and mixed use development
    • Area is critical to the economic revitalization of the waterfront
  • Residential uses should be limited.
    • Emphasis should be on public uses and access
    • Economic impact of commercial uses is more significant than residential
    • Housing market more vulnerable to economic downturn than commercial
  • Existing Maritime Commercial should be respected
    • Important employment base
    • Cultural and historical links should be protected
  • Governor's Hall as a building should not be considered permanent, although its purpose should be accommodated as a part of any redevelopment plan.
    • Public Venue use must be taken into consideration in any redevelopment plan, including discussion of the Amphitheatre
  • Cruise Ship port is a logical use for the pier
    • Commercial development in this area should be designed to accommodate visiting cruise ships
    • Retail and transportation hub
  • Hospital is a key partner to derive the maximum benefit from the entire Sailwinds area.

East Cambridge - Fishing Pier to Hyatt

  • Largely residential use will not change.
  • Improve linkages with other areas of the city and waterfront.
    • Water Taxi stops at Dorchester Historical Society
    • Biking/Pedestrian trails between Hyatt and downtown
    • Transit routes
  • U.S. 50 corridor is vital to the perception of the city.
    • Consideration of retail centers along 50 as part of the neighborhood
    • Streetscape and design standards along 50 to provide more of a sense of "place"
    • Gateways to provide visual cues to downtown and waterfront attractions.
Fishing Pier to Hyatt