The following is a letter that was submitted to the Board of Aldermen at last Thursday’s meeting by a group of concerned residents. Do you share these concerns?
September 15, 2010
Clerk of City of Somerville
93 Highland Avenue
Somerville, MA 02143
Dear City Clerk,
Please present this letter to the Board of Aldermen for their scheduled meeting to be held on Sep. 23, 2010. The following Somerville residents and taxpayers ask that the Board of Aldermen hold a public hearing to discuss concerns relating to the Somerville Avenue reconstruction project. The following are some, but not all of the concerns.
- The narrowing of Somerville Ave and intersections along Somerville Ave is causing more traffic than before. When large trucks make deliveries to businesses on Somerville Ave., cars travel around them and cross over into the oncoming lane.
- Narrowing Somerville Ave has reduced the length of the right turn lane from Somerville Ave to Park St creating more idling traffic.
- The difficulty for the MBTA bus to turn right from Somerville Ave onto Park St effectively waiting for drivers on Park St to back up.
- One traffic line extends from Park St to Beacon St during rush hour with many cars sitting on the railroad tracks waiting for the green light. Traffic did not extend past the railroad tracks before this project.
- The increase in the number of traffic lights from Porter Square to Union Square has caused more idling traffic, thus increasing air-pollution to residents who live on or near Somerville Ave.
- The difficulty for large 18-wheel trucks to turn right from Park St onto Somerville Ave after they have made stops at what is now known as Ames Envelope, effectively waiting for drivers on Somerville Ave to back up.
- There is a No Turn on Red sign at the intersection of Somerville Ave and Park St, which has been covered with a blanket and tape much of the time, but not all of the time, and except to create more idling traffic, it provides little safety benefit.
- At the intersection of Somerville Ave and Lowell St, there is a no left turn arrow; therefore, after the red light turns to green, the cars are headed for each other; unless the car turning left sees the danger and stops.
- The right fork off of Somerville Ave to Elm St. has been effectively cut off and the parking is unofficially designated for tenants of two buildings that sit adjacent to the parking cut-thru. This creates more traffic as cars sit and wait at the red light on Somerville Ave to eventually turn right onto Elm St.
- City of Somerville meeting notifications were inadequate.
- We do not want to see the mistkaes that Design Architect, David Giangrande of Design Consultants Inc., (DCI) made on the Somerville Ave project repeated on the Washington St. and Beacon St projects. Why does he have so many contracts for public and private jobs in Somerville?
- The purchasing department in Somerville says it is the policy of the City to obtain bids, even when not required by Chapter 30 Sec B, in order to convey fairness and competition. Were the Somerville Ave., Washington St., and Beacon St., design contracts put out for bid?
- When Rick Willette, Director of Operations at the Department of Public Works is asked about this project, he refers people to Alderman Maryannn Heuston, who is also his live-in girlfriend, saying that she is very involved in this project, even when the specific area in question is outside of her Ward 2 boundaries. They are referred to in the city as the point people for this project.
- (Line crossed out with black ink)
- Persons with disabilities requested that the crosswalks were not made of brick pavers because, when they cross over them, it hurts frail people who complain of being jostled by the bumping. This hurts their muscles, joints, and bones and has put some people in the uncomfortable predicament of urinating reflexively. No automobile driver enjoys driving on grooved pavement because of the vibration. These pavers are even worse for wheelchair passengers. When brick pavers lift out of their shallow home, this is a pothole for wheelchairs. Blind persons do not approve of bump-outs at bus stops.
We request that the Department of Transportation be present at the public hearing.
cc: District 4 Highway Director, Patricia Leavenworth
cc: District 4 Operations Engineer, Marie Rose
(list of signatures available with copy filed at the clerk’s office)
The following agenda item appeared in the minutes of the Sep 23 BoA mtg (pdf):
Sixteen residents requesting that this Board conduct a public hearing to discuss concerns about the Somerville Avenue reconstruction project.
RESULT: REFERRED FOR RECOMMENDATION
FOLLOWUP: Traffic and Parking Committee
Note about Rick Willette and Ald. Maryann Heuston sharing the same address: These 2004 minutes of the Board of Aldermen (pdf) item 15, lists Mr. Willette’s address as 115 Beacon St., Somerville, the same address as is listed for Ald. Heuston on her BoA page.
eila recently wrote about accessibility issues with the Somerville Ave project in her post Street Reconstruction Project: Promises Never Kept