Big ideas proposed for Harvard Square’s ‘Pit’

The area known as the Pit

Big changes may be coming to the brick expanse next to the entrance to the Harvard Square MBTA station in Cambridge known as “The Pit.”

The Harvard Square Business Association has drafted a proposal to renovate and update the area that hosts one of Cambridge’s best-known landmarks — the Out of Town News kiosk.

“There is no better time than now to think about how we can make this entire area, which is really heart of the square, more welcoming and also bring 21st century technology,” said Denise Jillson, HSBA?executive director.

Jillson said that the association has a draft proposal of ideas for the area, but would not provide a copy to Metro. She discussed some of the ideas in the proposal, which were reported by The Harvard Crimson, but she said none of the ideas were set in stone.

Some of the ideas include adding outdoor seating and a five-foot LED screen.

In an article about the proposal published in The Crimson, the association’s president likened the ideas to the look and feel of New York City’s Times Square.

Jillson said it’s now the time to talk about that area of the square because other sections have already undergone renovations and upgrades like the recent paving of John F. Kennedy Street.

“The one piece of the square that has not had any work on it for a lot of period of time is the Out of Town News kiosk area,” she said.

One of the ideas in the plan is to renovate the news kiosk into an information center.

While the proposal has multiple ideas for the area, one of the issues yet to be decided is how the renovations will be funded.

Jillson said the association has had conversations about the renovations with city officials and stakeholders, but that the plan would have to go through a public hearing process before anything is decided upon.

Some ideas

The draft proposal includes some ideas to upgrade the “pit” area:
Stadium seating looking into the pit
Outdoor seating
A five-foot LED screen over the T station entrance
An electronic news ticker on the ground around the area
Improved handicapped accessibility


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