Porter Square is a neighborhood in Cambridge and Somerville, Massachusetts in the USA, located around the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Somerville Avenue, between Harvard and Davis Squares. The Porter Square station serves both the MBTA Red Line and the Commuter Rail Fitchburg Line.
In 2004-06 the principal intersection, including the area adjacent to the shopping center, underwent extensive construction to both improve access for vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and mass transit users, and improve drainage and storm water conditions. The artist Toshihiro Katayama  of Harvard University, in conjunction with the landscape architect Cynthia Smith, designed a new visual look for the new circulation design including contrasting light and dark concrete paving, stone walls and boulders.
Porter Square was named for the now-vanished Porter's Hotel, operated by Zachariah B. Porter, who also left his name to the hotel's specialty, the cut of steak known as porterhouse. The hotel was demolished in 1909. The square, formerly flanked by cattle yards that used the Porter rail head to transport their beef throughout the US, was an important center for commerce and light industry as early as the late 18th century. A tunnel for moving cattle to and from the railroad without interfering with street traffic, known as the Walden Street Cattle Pass, was built in 1857. The tunnel survives under the nearby Walden Street Bridge, and recently, in 2007-08, was preserved and restored. The "most dramatic loss" of 19th century landscape in the square was the leveling of the old Rand Estate in 1952 to make way for the Porter Square Shopping Center.
In 1984 the Red Line was extended from Harvard through Porter and Davis Square to its present terminus at Alewife, a project that also left Porter with its most visible landmark, Susumu Shingu's 46-foot stainless steel kinetic sculpture entitled Gift of the Wind.
Lesley University/Art Institute of Boston 
In addition to 1815 Massachusetts Avenue (see Porter Exchange and local "Japantown", below), Lesley University also has administrative offices at 815 Somerville Avenue and an auditorium at 1801 Massachusetts Avenue.
Lesley University continues to expand in the Porter Square neighborhood, with current plans to relocate the Art Institute of Boston to the North Prospect Church and a new building on the church's site on Massachusetts Avenue, across Roseland Street from University Hall.
Chronic homelessness 
The presence of chronically homeless individuals has persisted in recent years in the Porter Square area. Aware of this issue, designers of the Square's 2004 redevelopment intentionally limited the amount of public seating available because of controversy and fear of providing the homeless with a place to rest. However, some have found shelter inside the route 83 bus shelter at Porter Square Station, partially inhibiting its intended use. Another homeless individual, who was on the commuter rail tracks in 2007, was struck and killed by an MBTA train. In its Annual Crime Reports, the Cambridge Police Department has repeatedly named Porter Square as one of the city's "hotspots" of homeless activity, noting that it has been a "constant hang out for homeless people to gather and in some cases, to sleep."
Porter Square Shopping Center 
The Porter Square Shopping Center consists of two buildings and a parking lot. As of December 2012, it is home to the following stores & eateries:
Porter Square Galleria 
Porter Exchange and local "Japantown" 
A prominent feature of the Porter Square skyline is the tower on the Art Deco-style building located at 1815 Massachusetts Avenue. The building, now known as the Porter Exchange or University Hall, was originally a Sears, Roebuck store from 1928 to 1985. In 1991, Lesley University began leasing classroom space there, and in 1994 it bought the building, which now houses its bookstore, administrative offices, art and dance studios, and classrooms.
Porter Square and the Porter Exchange have a recent history of being a center for Boston's Japanese community. In May 2009, Lesley University ousted Kotobukiya, a Japanese grocery store, from the Porter Exchange, after 20 years in business there. Lesley wanted the space to expand its bookstore.
For over two years, Porter Square was without a Japanese grocery store, until the former owners of Tokai opened Miso Market a few blocks from the Porter Exchange, in August 2011.
Sasuga Japanese Bookstore was located in Porter Square on Upland Road, but closed its physical store in 2004.
As of August 2011, the Porter Exchange is home to many Japanese eateries and businesses. Bluefin and Tavern on the Square are full-size restaurants, Tapicha is a kiosk with no seating, and the other eateries are located in a food court-like area with limited seating.
Other restaurants 
Other restaurants in the area include:
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