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Tag Archives: Somerville

GLX Legislators Push Back Against Public Meeting Cancellation

I was very concerned to learn last night that MassDOT plans to cancel its final public meeting on the Green Line Extension design review, which was originally planned for the evening of May 5th. Given the importance of this project to the Somerville, Cambridge, and Medford communities, I oppose this decision, which will eliminate a key opportunity for the public to be involved in the GLX design review process. Below is a letter that members of the GLX delegation sent to Secretary Pollack this afternoon.

Rental Applications Now Available for Union Sq Apartments

The Somerville Community Corporation (SCC) is accepting applications for Union Square Apartments through May, 5th 2016. The apartment complex, which will replace the old Boys and Girls club on 181 Washington Street, is a mixed-use development project expected to include ground floor commercial space and 35 rental units dedicated to low-income and middle-income housing.

The apartments are expected to be move-in ready in August of this year, and individuals and families can apply for one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments by submitting applications by May 5th in person before 4pm at Winn Residential Office on 7 Memorial Road in Somerville or by mail postmarked no later than May 5th to the same address.

You can download the application online or pick it up in person at the following locations in Somerville:

  • Winn Residential Office – 7 Memorial Road #109
  • Somerville Community Corporation – 337 Somerville Avenue
  • Somerville Housing Authority – 30 Memorial Road
  • Somerville Homeless Coalition – 1 Davis Square
  • City Hall and Annex – 93 Highland Avenue
  • Somerville Library – 79 Highland Avenue

For more information on the application process including how applicants are selected, please visit this link or attend SCC’s informational session on April 14th at 6:00pm at Somerville Community Corporation, 337 Somerville Avenue, Somerville, MA 02143. Application information is also available online in Haitian-Creole, Portuguese, and Spanish.

McGrath/McCarthy Overpass Traffic Pattern Changes Coming April 11

Some substantial changes are coming to the Somerville Avenue/Medford Street Intersection at McGrath Highway. On April 11th, the Somerville Ave off-ramp will permanently close to traffic, along with the tunnel under the McCarthy Overpass that connects Somerville Ave and Medford Street to Washington Street.

After the closure, drivers who wish to access Somerville Avenue via the off-ramp should use the Washington St off-ramp instead.

These changes make way for a new intersection at Somerville Ave and Medford Street that significantly improves pedestrian safety, especially for people attempting to cross to or from Somerville Ave via McGrath Highway. Pedestrians crossing to and from Poplar St. on the northbound side of McGrath will now have a fully signalized crosswalk to use. A number of other improvements, including bike boxes and bike lanes, will also be added to improve cyclist visibility and comfort in what has in the past been a very difficult and dangerous area for cyclists.

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This design document shows bike and pedestrian improvements at the Somerville Ave/Medford St intersection.

Closure of the off-ramp and tunnel will allow for curb and sidewalk work to be completed, which will be followed by resurfacing of the area surrounding the McCarthy overpass and finally the installation of new pavement markings. Construction is expected to wrap up by this summer.

Sen. Jehlen and I with MassDOT officials at the McCarthy Overpass in 2011.

Sen. Jehlen and I at the McCarthy Overpass with MassDOT staff in 2011.

Improving safety and connectivity in this area of Somerville has been an ongoing priority of mine and the short-term improvements opening over the next months are a step in the right direction. They are the result of advocates and elected officials leveraging a bridge repair project (needed to keep the McCarthy Overpass from more or less crumbling to the ground) into a more complete project that addressed some of the immediate needs of the cyclists and pedestrians (not just cars) trying to use these city streets.  In the meantime, the work that the Somerville community has put into the McGrath Boulevard/Grounding McGrath design process has given us a realistic alternative to the McCarthy Overpass and has opened the door for its ultimate demolition and removal. It has been a very encouraging process and one that I am proud to say I have been a part of.

I will be posting more updates about this improvement project as construction wraps up, as well as more updates about the Grounding McGrath project in the weeks and months ahead. As always, I look forward to hearing from you, so please don’t hesitate to contact me directly or post in the comments below.

 

Stand Up for Green Line Extension Wednesday March 16

GLX bannerThe Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the MBTA Fiscal Management Control Board are holding a joint meeting next Wednesday, March 16th at 11:30am at the State Transportation Building on Stuart Street in Boston.

This meeting gives Somerville and Cambridge residents another opportunity to show Governor Baker and MassDOT how important the Green Line Extension is to our communities. I’m hoping for a strong showing of public support, and encourage attendees to bring signs and/or to speak during the public comment section of the meeting.

Please click here for directions to the building.

Somerville Maple Syrup Festival This Weekend!

maple-syrup-bottlesGovernor Baker declared this March “Massachusetts Maple Month” to recognize our state’s maple producers. Most of our state’s 300 maple producers are located west of Worcester, but it turns out we don’t have to go that far to enjoy local syrup tasting – join Groundwork Somerville tomorrow, March 12th for Somerville’s annual Maple Syrup Boil Down Festival. All members of the community are invited to the Somerville Community Growing Center at 22 Vinal Avenue between 10am and 2pm to watch and learn as sap from local sugar maple trees is boiled down into pure maple syrup over a warm fire. In addition to syrup-tasting, waffles, and hot drinks, this family friendly festival features activities for kids, demonstrations, and much more!

The 12-year old Somerville Maple Syrup Project coordinated by Groundwork Somerville in partnership with the Somerville Community Growing Center, Somerville Public Schools, Tufts University, and each dedicated Maple Syrup Project volunteer. Please click here for more inforamtion about about The Maple Syrup Boil Down 2016 or contact Sarah Lindsay – at sarah@groundworksomerville.org ~ or call 617-628-9988.

 

MassDOT Seeks Community Input on Capital Investment Plan

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) will hold a series of community conversations to seek input from residents to help develop the agency’s 5-year Capital Investment Plan (CIP), including a public meeting in Cambridge on Thursday, October 22. The meeting will be held at Rindge and Latin starting at 6:30 PM. The CIP provides a framework for all MassDOT projects, covering everything from highway and municipal projects to regional airports, pedestrian walkways, and rail and transit. Click here for a flyer from MassDOT with more info on the upcoming meetings, as well as instructions on how to submit written comments.

HONK! Fest is Back This Weekend

Activist street bands will fill the streets of Somerville and Cambridge this weekend for the 2015 edition of HONK! Fest.  The festival’s hosts describe it as a street music revolution in which bands present a diverse fusion of folkloric and modern sounds in the spirit of Mardi Gras. The festival is for free and will run throughout the weekend. For more information on the bands and the festival, please visit the official HONK! fest homepage or their Facebook page.

Construction Advisory for Medford St Bridge Thursday 9/24

As part of construction work related to the Green Line Extension (GLX) Project, it will be necessary for the GLX contractor, White Skanska Kiewit (WSK), to close vehicle traffic on Medford Street Bridge in Gilman Square tomorrow from 9am to 2pm.

Bike and pedestrian traffic will still be allowed on the sidewalk with signs and detail police available to provide direction and assistance.

Should you have any questions please feel free to contact the Green Line Extension at 855-GLX-INFO (459-4636) or info@glxinfo.com.

Construction Underway on Grand Junction Path

After years of hard work and persistent advocacy, the first shovel has finally hit the ground on the Grand Junction Path in Cambridge.

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Years ago, I successfully led a unified community effort to stop a state proposal that would have seen the path be used for commuter rail trains and ethanol transportation. Since then, along with advocates like Friends of the Grand Junction and Friends of the Community Path, I have worked with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, MIT, and the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority to develop plans that will turn the Grand Junction into a safe pedestrian and bicycle path that will act as an urban necklace connecting thousands of Cambridge residents to businesses, parks, and schools. As this brief 2013 video below shows, once completed, the Grand Junction Path would improve community livability by creating a streamlined connection between Cambridgeport, Area 4, Harrington/Wellington, and East Cambridge. There remains a lot of hard work to be done before this project is complete, but I’m optimistic that we’ll get there because of the dedicated commitment of all the stakeholders involved. Please click this link to an update I posted earlier this year for more info on the Grand Junction Path Project.

Somerville Public Meeting on Lifeline Program

The Department of Telecommunications and Cable (DTC) is holding an outreach event on Thursday, July 16 at the Clarendon Hill Towers in Somerville from 11am to noon. DTC staff will discuss current consumer complaint trends, the DTC’s complaint resolution process, the Lifeline low-income discount phone service program, and will be available to answer your questions about telecommunications and cable issues.

Lifeline is a federal and state program that allows eligible low-income customers access to discounted telephone service. Access to basic phone service is important because it gives low-income individuals an opportunity to connect them to jobs, family and emergency services.  Eligibility is based on household income and participation in the following programs:

  • Emergency Aid to Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC)
  • Fuel Assistance (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP)
  • MassHealth or Medicaid
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • National School Lunch Program (free meals program only)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

 Please click this link for more info on the Lifeline telephone program.