Photo credits: Stuart Goldman, and Gabriel Camacho
In this update:
- Lowell Street bridge traffic & pedestrian safety -- Community meeting Wednesday, June 25, 6 PM at the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA)
- City delegation to undertake due diligence visits to the four finalists candidates for Union Square master developer
- Ward 5 ResiStat meeting Wednesday, June 4, 6:30 PM
Lowell Street bridge traffic & pedestrian safety
-- Community meeting Wednesday, June 25, 6 PM at the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA)
The safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists in the Lowell Street bridge corridor is my #1 concern right now as the Ward 5 Alderman. On Saturday, May 17th, during Porchfest, with thousands of people wandering around Somerville to hear live music, a car speeding over the Lowell Street bridge went airborne and flipped over onto its roof. Luckily, nobody was seriously hurt. This is the fourth accident in the Lowell Street bridge corridor just this year. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets killed.
If there aren’t significant traffic calming measures in place by September, the danger will get even more severe. That’s when the Community Path extension to Lowell Street is scheduled to be completed. A ramp will go up from the end of the path….right onto the bridge next to the VNA. It’s frightening to think of bicyclists and pedestrians – some of them children -- emerging onto the sidewalk and crossing the bridge, unaware of the danger from speeding cars.
Fortunately, and finally, the Administration is taking action. Hayes Morrison, the City’s Director of Transportation and Infrastructure, has assembled an internal working group to develop plans for possible short- and medium-term solutions for the corridor. A traffic study, funded by Maxwell’s Green, was just completed. It recommends installation of chicanes - S-shaped curves to slow traffic - on Lowell St. (See an example of chicanes on Columbia St. in Cambridge, near Union Sq; check out my Facebook page [http://on.fb.me/1mr3THE] for more info.)
Neighbors have made dozens of suggestions which I have passed on to City department heads, including three-way stop signs, stop signs with flashing red lights, and speed bumps.
Please come to this important meeting June 25, 6 PM at the VNA, 259 Lowell Street (right next to the bridge) and demand an effective solution. If you can’t make it, please write to the Mayor and me and share your thoughts and concerns.
City delegation to undertake due diligence visits to the four finalists candidates for Union Square master developer
As part of a group of 10 City leaders, I’ll be gone all week (May 26 – 29) on a four-city tour of development projects undertaken by the finalists for Union Square master developer. We’ll be touring mixed-use development projects completed by three of the four candidates in Bethesda MD, Chicago IL, Portland OR, and San Jose CA. (For more info, see the detailed news release, http://bit.ly/1pjUPsO)
The delegation includes the Mayor, two members of the Somerville Redevelopment Authority (SRA), the City’s top economic development officials, two members of the Union Square Civic Advisory Committee, and my colleague Ward 2 Alderman Maryann Heuston.
I have prepared a bunch of questions that will encourage the selected development team to be sensitive to the concerns of the community. They should prioritize affordable housing, develop good jobs that give preference to Somerville residents, employ union labor, and continue the funky, artistic and urban feel of Union Square. I hope to ask good questions and have some influence on the way that SRA members and the rest of the delegation evaluates the development teams.
Ward 5 ResiStat meeting Wednesday, June 4, 6:30 PM
Please join me on Wednesday, June 4th for the Ward 5 ResiStat meeting at the Kennedy School (5 Cherry St., near Porter Square). The Mayor and other city officials will present lots of information and discuss what's going on in Ward 5 and the City. This is an opportunity to ask questions and share your concerns directly with the Mayor, the Police Chief, many department heads, and other Ward 5 residents. Come for pizza and schmoozing with neighbors at 6:30; the meeting starts at 7. You can find more info about ResiStat here: http://tinyurl.com/p9lxt3b.
Ward 5 Alderman