Ward 4 ResiStat meeting touches on bridge closures, trees and more
Published for The Somerville Times June 5 2019 Issue
Link to story: http://www.thesomervilletimes.com/archives/91860
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Community members of Ward 4 gathered together to learn about their neighborhood’s updates and news at Healey School on Thursday, May 30.
The Spring 2019 ResiStat Community Meetings is a twice-yearly effort by Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and the Board of Aldermen to share and discuss the latest on city news, data, policies, programs, and more.
ResiStat Coordinator Taylor Ko gave a brief update on the city’s projects like the Green Line Extension bridge closures, Bridge Hopper, a free public shuttle service between bridges that operates Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (info at www.somervillema.gov/glx), and Urban Forestry Department’s new interactive tool, Tree Keeper.
“If you ever wondered what trees are around your home or your neighborhood or any local parks that you frequent, this is the tool to figure out what species they are and other details, including the size of the trees,” said Ko.
The department staff mapped out all publicly-owned trees in the city. The website can be accessed in the city website (www.somervillema.gov/treekeeper).
Mayor Curtatone discussed the long-range government efforts and took a closer look on mobility and climate change. He called climate change a public health crisis. He said by 2030 there will 20 to 40 days of above 90-degree weather. In 2070 the number will rise to 55-90 days.
A pie chart projected on the wall illustrated that 32 percent of Somerville’s greenhouse emissions are transportation, while 65 percent are in buildings, and 3 percent on waste. Curtatone discussed how they are updating buildings to be more energy efficient and the importance of mobility.
“Transportation is an area where as a city there’s a lot we can do,” Curtatone said. He pointed out that the Green Line Extension would take off at least 25,000 vehicles off the city’s roads every day.
“If we can make people shift their mobility, if we continue to invest in world class bike and walk infrastructure, if we make it feel safer to walk and bike, if we make bus service not only cleaner, but reliable and efficient, we’ll get people to change their behavior,” Curtatone said.
Director of Transportation and Infrastructure Brad Rawson reported on the low-cost traffic calming experiments the department conducted by using white flex-posts strategically placed on the streets. Traffic calming involves slowing down cars. As of March 2019, the speeding rate dropped by 19 percent after the pilot tests.
The Vision Zero Action Plan, an international movement for safer streets, was also discussed by Rawson. He mentioned the different accomplishments, projects, and draft plan goals the department has for the action plan like addressing the statistically most dangerous intersection in Somerville, Powder House Rotary. Rawson invited residents to a community meeting about traffic calming on Shore Drive. The meeting will take place on June 24, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., at the SHA Mystic Activity Center.