I heard a lot from constituents about snow removal after the record snowfall last month. I understand that this was the first major snow event for our city's new snow removal contractors. So I'm eager to see how they fare this time around, with lessons learned from the previous operation and facing a much more typical amount of snow. Please share your observations with me at [email protected] and make sure you're submitting requests for snow removal to 311!
Here are some things I'd like constituents to have on their radar:
With our wastewater COVID-19 signal data approaching May/June 2021 lows for this pandemic, it's tempting to feel like this is the light at the end of the tunnel. But we don't need to look any farther than what happened this past summer and fall with the Delta variant and this past winter with Omicron variant to see what can happen. I understand that our collective mental health is suffering and that we've been dealing with serious COVID fatigue for a while now. But I want to stress to everyone the importance of staying vigilant, even when it might feel like we're coming out of the woods.
Highland Avenue & High School Parking
I followed Thursday night's Traffic Board Public Hearing about the proposed changes to on-street parking on Highland Avenue on Central Hill. I understand the frustrations of neighborhood residents and businesses. I also know how stressful the current situation is for teachers and staff. I echo my colleague from Ward 3's comments about this being a terribly frustrating position for us to find ourselves in as a city and I support the Traffic Board's decision last night to uphold the decision to try out the proposed changes as making the "least-worst" of an awful situation.
90 Washington Design Feedback Survey
I remain unconvinced that 90 Washington Street is a good location for a new Public Safety Building and would prefer to see that site used for other purposes -- including a new home for Engine 3 -- with the existing trees integrated into the new development. However, the Administration is soliciting feedback from the public on several design options presented at the February 16 community meeting. You can view the presentation with these design options here and complete the survey here.
Help a Somerville Family
A family living in Ward 4 needs support from the community after their apartment building was bought by a developer to be converted into luxury rentals. The family was notified that their lease would not be renewed, forcing them to move in the middle of a pandemic. Please join me and my colleagues on the City Council in calling on the developer, Northstar Group at Compass Realty, to give the family a new lease. You can sign this petition here.
Tufts Community Grants
Tufts University recently announced the opening of their 2022 grant program for Somerville 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that have had a Tufts faculty member, staff person, or student volunteer in the past three years. Grant applications are due March 15 and information and the application are available here.
Bicycle Network Planning Virtual Workshop Series
The city’s work on a bicycle network continues with a series of virtual workshops via Zoom. I encourage you to attend the one that works best for you:
Feb. 27 Group Office Hours
Please join me on Sunday, February 27, at 10 AM for the first of what will become a regular schedule of group office hours via Zoom. I'm delighted to have Ward 3 Councilor Ben Ewen-Campen joining me on Sunday to talk with constituents.
Note: Because the two of us constitute a quorum of the Traffic and Parking Committee, we'll need to hold off on discussing anything on Monday night's agenda or otherwise before that committee due to Open Meeting Law.
On-Demand Office Hours
I'm continuing to offer office hours convenient for your schedule to meet outside of group office hours. If you'd like to book a time on my calendar to meet in person or virtually, you can do that directly on my Calendly.
The Week Ahead
Meetings I’ll be attending this week:
Monday, February 28 (6 PM) - Traffic and Parking Committee
Tuesday, March 1 (6 PM) - Western Washington Street Mobility Improvements Meeting #1
Wednesday, March 2 (4:30 PM) - Public Safety Building Project Building Committee Meeting
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