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Community Members Set Priorities for Green Line Extension

by in Bicycles, Buses, Civil and Human Rights, Development and Zoning, Environment and Open Space, Green Line, Housing, Neighborhoods and Squares, Pedestrians, Press Release, Trains, Transportation, Transportation Projects
Posted on December 1, 2009 at 2:15 pm

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Community Members Set Priorities for Green Line Extension

After hundreds of visits to people’s doors, dozens of small community meetings, and a culminating forum to ratify a list of Core Principles for the Green Line, the Community Corridor Planning Team is excited to present a mandate for what residents would like to see applied to all planning for the Green Line and its surrounding area in Somerville. Over the last 6 months, over 300 residents reflecting the broad diversity of Somerville have become engaged in this grassroots planning effort.

On October 28th, 2009, The Community Corridor Planning coalition and its resident Advisory Team asked participants to reflect on a range of principles regarding quality of life and land use planning that were generated by residents at various neighborhood meetings over the last six months. At the October 28th event, participants were asked to discuss the proposed principles and prioritize those they felt should be included on a list of core principles for the Green Line corridor.  By meeting’s end, the 150 participants in attendance ratified a list of eleven core principles.

  • More Local Jobs:  We want a fixed percentage of respectable jobs of all types with good wages and benefits for Somerville residents, from construction to permanent.
  • Increase Commercial and Economic Development: We want to see the creation of squares as destinations, with careful attention to mixed use of commercial/residential,  reuse of buildings, and economic development to increase the tax base.
  • Keep and Add Local Businesses: We want locally owned, culturally diverse, clean businesses in commercial areas with employees who live in Somerville.
  • Keep Somerville Affordable: We want to make sure people of all economic means have the ability to afford housing and living costs, so that Somerville residents, such as child care workers, cab drivers, local business employees and others can stay here affordably.
  • Maintain Our Diversity: Preserve and encourage economic and ethnic diversity of residents and businesses.
  • Improve the Green Environment: We want a safe, environmentally friendly neighborhood with more green space, trees, and gardens; reduction of noise; avoidance of light pollution; and prevention of toxic chemicals in the air.
  • Encourage Walking and Biking: We want to encourage walking and cycling, through safe, bike/pedestrian friendly design of streets and paths around and between stations.
  • Create Community Gathering Spaces: We want both indoor and outdoor safe, public gathering spaces for community members.
  • Improve Access: We want above standard, safe access to and between stations for people with disabilities, strollers, and pedestrians in general.
  • Community Involvement: We want to make sure residents are included on an ongoing basis in the planning, design, and zoning changes to the stations and areas around them.  Youth, artists, and others should help design stations, with attention to amenities. We need an easy and clear process for residents to address problems as they come up, with ways of immediately resolving unseen impacts.
  • Connecting Buses and Trains: We want to ensure inter-modal access between neighborhoods and stations, for new train service to be adequate and speedy, and for existing bus lines to continue to serve areas not connected by train.

This is an exciting outcome of a grassroots process that reaches deeply into the community, engaging Somerville residents who ordinarily do not get involved in planning.  This is an important moment for City and State planners to get a glimpse of the priorities and principles residents have expressed, and incorporate them into their own planning and design processes.  The distribution of the core principles is timely as the Draft Environmental Impact Report prepared by Mass Department of Transportation (DOT) is currently under public review.   The CCP principles will be presented to the city and to Mass DOT with the goal that the community principles directly related to the construction and operation of the Green Line extensions will be used to guide the planning process going forward.   The principles can also be a great gauge of resident sentiment that can be reflected and incorporated into the City of Somerville’s Comprehensive Plan.

The CCP coalition is made up of Groundwork Somerville, Somerville Community Corporation, Somerville Community Health Agenda, and Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership.

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