Senator Jehlen

4 posts

Somerville Lawmakers Visit Troubled Intersections

Somerville – map
On Friday, May 20th, I joined legislators and staff, local officials, and MassHighway administrators and engineers for a visit to the pedestrian crossings at Washington St. and Medford St. and Somerville Ave. and Medford St. in Somerville.  Among those in attendance were State Senator Pat Jehlen, Somerville Alderman Maryann Heuston, Jim Henry of State Senator Sal DiDomenico’s office, and Mike Lambert, director of Transportation and Infrastructure for the City of Somerville.

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An overhead view of the intersection at Washington Street and Medford Street

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The intersection at Somerville Ave and Medford St.

Local residents have expressed concerns about the safety of the pedestrian crossings at these intersections for a number of reasons. They are both long pedestrian crossings without signals, and the absence of “No Turn on Red” signs at both intersections could potentially increase the risk of pedestrians being injured by turning vehicles. These conditions combined with the higher speeds that traffic moves on these multi-lane streets make these crossings potentially dangerous, especially to elders and pedestrians walking with small children.

Sen. Jehlen and I at the Somerville Ave intersection.
MassHighway officials have committed to conducting an analysis of the two intersections in order to determine what kinds of changes should be made, and will present options for safety improvements to the City and the state delegation. I’m looking forward to seeing their recommendations, and I will be sure to use this space to provide updates on the progress of the improvements.

Budget Forum to be Held April 12

Brooks School, Medford – map

State Senator Pat Jehlen will be sponsoring a forum on the Massachusetts Budget on Tuesday, April 12. The forum will be dedicated to discussing the problems facing this year’s budget, and their potential solutions.

Noah Berger, president of Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget), will be on hand to explain the state’s budget shortfall, its causes, and potential remedies. As President of MassBudget, Mr. Berger leads a group that is dedicated to providing the public with clear and in-depth analysis of Massachusetts’ budget policies.
Thomas A. Kochan, Co–Director of the Institute for Work and Employment Research at MIT Sloan School of Management, will also be at the forum to discuss labor issues. Comparisons of the wages and benefits public and private sector employees receive have been commonplace in the media in recent weeks, and this is a great opportunity to get the facts about labor in Massachusetts.

There will also be time for questions and discussion following the presentation. I strongly suggest that anyone who has an interest in the budget should attend, as the issues that will be discussed are of vital importance to the short-term and long-term well-being of our state. Most of us know that the fiscal climate in Massachusetts is a tough one at the moment, but this forum is an excellent opportunity to learn about precisely what is at stake.

The forum will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Brooks School, 388 High Street, Medford. There will be refreshments served at 6:45 p.m.

ESMS Birthday Bash Showcases Rich History and Future of East Somerville

SOMERVILLE – Cafe Belo, 120 Washington St. map
East Somerville Main Streets

East Somerville Main Streets celebrated its third birthday with a big bash and a big crowd at Cafe Belo on Washington St. across from Buddy’s Diner. ESMS has come a long way in three short years, to the benefit of the entire area. The group has worked tirelessly to connect the residents with municipal government, state government, local businesses, and each other. True to form, this birthday bash connected residents, businesses, law enforcement, and elected officials over good food and good conversation.

East Somerville residents enjoyed food and met their neighbors at Cafe Belo
*Photo credits to Renee Polcaro

ESMS wasn’t the only birthday: lifelong Somerville resident and dedicated volunteer Fred Caruso also celebrated his 79th birthday. Ward 1 Alderman Bill Roche, and Aldermen-At-Large Dennis Sullivan, Bill White, and Jack Connolly were on hand to celebrate the evening and to present the “Mayor of East Somerville” with a resolution from the Board recognizing his hard work and dedication to East Somerville. Fred has been a great friend to me and to all of East Somerville over the years, and it was touching to see how humbly and graciously he received recognition from the Aldermen and from the crowd.

Fred Caruso receives a citation from the Board of Aldermen
(left to right: Alderman Connolly, Alderman White, Alderman Roche, Fred’s son John Caruso, Alderman Sullivan, and myself)

Some of the highlights of the evening:

* Volunteers from the ESMS committees for some of the most popular community events in Somerville spoke on behalf of the work their committees have organized, including Renee Polcaro on First Tuesdays Neighborhood Afterhours, Matthew Martino on International Movie Nights, Christian Waeber on Cleanup Day, and Laura Vivenzio on the Savoring East Somerville Cookbook and Neighborhood Guide.

East Somerville resident and ESMS member Renee describes the First Tuesdays event

* A presentation from ESMS member Eric Barry on the first ever ESMS survey, commissioned to provide a snapshot of the neighborhood’s visitors and residents as a starting point for the group’s work. A followup will be done in ten years to provide insight into how the neighborhood has changed and gauge how closely ESMS goals have been met.

The assembled crowd of local residents, elected officials, business owners, and law enforcement watched on as the presenters described the ESMS projects.

* Acting police chief Michael Cabral spoke about the neighborhood policing efforts the police force has undertaken, especially since the introdcution of the East Somerville police substation.

Acting Somerville Police Chief Michael Cabral

* State Senator Patricia Jehlen spoke on the long history of neighborhood involvement and the successes she has seen over the years living in and representing Somerville.

State Senator Pat Jehlen offers up a history of successful community involvement in Somerville

* Monica Lamboy from the Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development in Somerville spoke on behalf of Mayor Curtatone to describe some of the big changes coming soon, including upcoming construction on Washington St. and Assembly Sq.

* Dorie Clark, an East Somerville resident and communications expert, is stepping down this year as Vice President of the ESMS Board and was honored for her work. President Susan Fontano and Executive Director Carrie Dancy described how valuable she has been helping them get ESMS up and running.

Outgoing Vice President of the ESMS board Dorie Clark receives congratulations from board President Susan Fontano

From the size of the crowd and the energy of the people, it is clear the ESMS staff, board, volunteers, and neighbors have done a lot of groundwork to bring the organization to where it is now. East Somerville Main Streets has done excellent work engaging, connecting, and bringing out the best from the people of East Somerville.