After listening to Governor Patrick’s State of the State and then watching the President’s State of the Union, I feel inspired to tell you that after 28 days as your alderman, the state of our Ward is strong!
Here are some updates and points of information you may be interested in:
- The new Newtonville Neighborhood Area Council was sworn in on January 9th and they have wasted no time getting started. They have put together a survey for Newtonville residents and businesses to weigh in on their preferences for the development of the Austin Street parking lot. You can take the survey here.
- Speaking of Austin Street, the Planning Department has begun producing a regular monthly newsletter to update residents on the status. You can see the first one here, and also sign up to receive the updates if you are not already on the list.
- The other big development happening in our ward is the 40B development proposed for Court Street. Area residents have found it challenging to understand what opportunities they have for meaningful input. Ward 2 At Large Aldermen Marcia Johnson and Susan Albright have docketed an item asking the Planning Department to create a document that would make it easier for residents to understand the 40B process, and a vigorous discussion was held on this topic at the Land Use Committee last night. The Planning Department is off to a good start pulling this information together, and I will share it with you when it is complete.
- The MBTA has released a ten year vision for expanded service at the Newtonville commuter rail stop. Right now the line goes to South Station… the new map shows a line that starts at the Riverside Green Line station and curves northeast to connect with the city’s three existing commuter rail stations in Auburndale, West Newton and Newtonville before extending through Back Bay to South Boston. This is just a “vision” document at this time – meaning no funding – but it’s an exciting vision for lower carbon mobility!
- This cold is bad for the mood but good for ice skating! The Newtonville Community Ice Rink has been a huge success and with this current cold snap, should be open for skating tomorrow. (The Newton Tab did a nice writeup on it recently.) A huge thanks to the volunteers from Newton North Little League for building and maintaining the rink, as well as the Newton Fire Department who have refilled it repeatedly without complaint (due to some leaks in the liner).
- I was pleased to be a guest on Ken Parker’s NewTV show Common Ground a couple weeks ago with fellow guests Dan Fahey, former alderman Greer Tan Swiston, and former alderman George Mansfield. The topic was the very timely one of development, affordable housing and 40B.
- It has only been 28 days but I have already heard from many Ward 2 residents about issues they would like addressed, including but not limited to the efficacy of the city’s snow removal efforts, particularly at sidewalks, curb cuts and schools; concerns about pedestrian safety at numerous Washington St intersections; the need for more parking on Washington Street near Central Ave; the lack of recycling options at multi-unit apartments; the lack of toilet facilities at our parks; and more.
And last but not least… my very first office hours will be held this Friday at 9am at the Senior Center on Walnut Street in Newtonville. Feel free to drop by to talk about something specific or just say hi. You are not limited to that time however! My contact information is here, please call or email anytime.
With warmest regards,