Monday morning brings the dawn of a new day decades in the making, as the Green Line Extension makes its full debut in Somerville. I'm simultaneously thrilled and deeply concerned for what it will mean for our city.

I remember attending the GLX meeting/rally in the old Somerville High School auditorium back in 2005. I've lived through all the false dawns and setbacks over the years. Like many of you, I'd adopted an "I'll believe it when I see it" attitude about the GLX. Having ridden the Medford Branch last week while accompanying a Somerville Fire Department training exercise, I'm ecstatic to believe it's finally here.

Green Line Extension Magoun Square Station


Make no mistake, there's a lot to celebrate. Community activists poured themselves into this work for decades to make this happen. Local, state, and federal electeds made sure the project got planned, funded, and constructed. We should all be thankful to have a new, fast light rail line running through the heart of our city.

Having ridden this new branch of the Green Line, I can tell you it is fast. We zipped from the East Somerville Station to Gilman Square Station in what felt like no time at all. There was no evidence of the slow zones that have impacted even the new Union Square spur. The potential to cut down on car trips within the city is great, and I'm particularly excited about the easy access to Central Hill and the Somerville High School, City Hall, and the Somerville Public Library's Central Branch.

But with the Green Line comes even greater gentrification. It's perverse that a public transit project aimed at improving equity has contributed so greatly to the displacement of the very people it was meant to benefit. We need to build large amounts of truly affordable housing in our city and we need Massachusetts to re-legalize common-sense rent stabilization.

So I'll be spending part of my morning with Community Action Agency of Somerville (CAAS), flyering and talking to folks at the new Ball Square Station. Our point is simple: YES to transit, but NO to rent hikes. We are calling on Governor-Elect Healey to honor her campaign pledge as governor and allow cities like Somerville to protect the fabric of our communities with rent stabilization measures that benefit everyone.

I hope to see you on the Green Line on Monday morning, relishing the occasion and vowing to do what it takes to ensure this ends up being a positive for our city. Here's the full schedule of GLX events on Monday:

GLX Opening Day ceremonies

Meanwhile, there are other important things happening around Somerville:

School Street bridge is back open!
I was delighted to cross the School Street bridge when it reopened yesterday, following nearly three years of closure for Green Line Extension and Community Path Extension work. With north/south travel in our city (and region) being so difficult by any mode of transit, I'm overjoyed to have this street back online.

School Street bridge reopened

Since the MBTA's Bus Network Redesign still doesn't include nearly as many north/south routes as we'd like, your City Council is working with the Administration and City staff to look into microtransit routes filling this need. We were delighted to hear at the November 28 meeting of the Traffic and Parking Committee that the MBTA is interested in sitting down and talking about partnering on this. Their standard 40-foot buses struggle on some of the steep hills that these routes often contain, but a smaller vehicle could fit the bill here. Stay tuned for more on this!

Highland Ave detour
Beginning Monday, December 12, Highland Avenue will be closed to westbound traffic (going from City Hall toward Davis Square) between School Street and Central Street weekdays from 7 AM to 7 PM. Westbound traffic will be detoured at School Street down to Summer Street, and back up Lowell Street.

Highland Ave detour Winter 2022/23

This detour is expected to last two to three months and will allow crews to dig up Highland Ave for vital utility work. Westbound 88 and 90 MBTA buses will be allowed to travel through this stretch, and temporary sidewalks will be constructed when and where necessary. Please note this is utility work and is completely separate from the Highland Avenue Redesign Project.

'Tis the season!
It was great to see so many of you at the lighting ceremony on Central Hill on Thursday night and out in Union Square for yesterday's Holiday Stroll. I was honored to serve as a judge for the Union Square Main Streets Storefront Decorating Contest, and it was tough judging with so many storefronts (and interiors) decked out for the holidays.

Macchu Picchu Union Square Main Streets Storefront Decorating Contest 2022

The Somerville Arts Council's 2022 Illuminations Tour map is live! There are three important holiday events scheduled in the city this week:

Elizabeth Peabody House Holiday Toy Drive
The Elizabeth Peabody House, Somerville Stands Together, and local electeds are sponsoring a toy drive to make sure the holidays are happy for every family in our city.

Elizabeth Peabody House Holiday Gift Drive 2022

Please join me in dropping off a new toy or gift card at EPH on Saturday morning!

ESCS Holiday Fair seeks donations
The East Somerville Community School PTA is holding a Holiday Fair December 20 to 22 for ESCS students to shop for gifts for their families. They are accepting donations of the following previously-owned items through Monday, December 19:

  • stuffed animals (cleaned; no batteries)
  • toys and games (good condition; no missing pieces)
  • candles (new)
  • jewelry
  • scarves
  • mugs or canning jars (cleaned)
  • wallets and coin purses
  • soaps and hand cream (unused)
  • ornaments
  • books (like-new condition)
  • small kitchen items (like-new condition)

Volunteers are needed to staff the Holiday Fair. Click here to volunteer. Contact Paula Magnelli at [email protected] with any questions.

Winter reminders
Now that we've had our first snowfall, I want to remind folks about the City of Somerville's Winter Guide. Remember this winter we're parking on the even side during snow emergencies!

Somerville snow

If you need help with shoveling, the City's Teen Snow Shoveling Program assists seniors and those with disabilities with clearing snow after a snow event. The program currently is accepting applications from 13- to 19- year olds who want to shovel. And if you need assistance from this program, click here for the homeowner application and here for the required CORI form.

A fundraising plea
I know fund drives are everyone's least favorite mornings listening to public radio -- and asking people for money goes against my nature. But we're months away from the start of the 2023 election cycle (more news on that front soon!) and I'd love to build up my campaign bank account from it's current alarmingly-low balance. So anything you're able to contribute is hugely appreciated!

ActBlue donation form

Click here to donate -- and thank you for your support!

Join the City Clerk's office!
Our excellent City Clerk's office currently is hiring for two extremely important positions:

Apply for those or any of the many other City of Somerville positions and Somerville Public Schools openings currently posted.

Boards & Commissions openings
Serving on a board or commission is a great way to get involved in your city. The following multiple-member bodies currently are seeking new appointments:

Did You Know...
While conventional bikes can be ridden on sidewalks in some areas outside of central business districts, electronic bikes (e-bikes, electric or gas scooters, and mopeds) never are allowed on sidewalks per Mass General Law.

Office Hours
I'm holding my final office hours of 2022 on Sunday, December 18 from 10 AM to noon via Zoom. Drop by to talk to me and your neighbors about issues impacting your lives.

Also, I continue to offer on-demand office hours to fit your schedule via my Calendly.

The Week Ahead
It's not all holiday events this week, as there's the important Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on the proposed 299 Broadway development on Wednesday, December 14 at 6 PM. Please join me for the virtual meeting via GoToWebinar to hear from Mark Development about their plans for the site and to make your voice heard with public comment on the proposal.


Jake Wilson


Somerville City Councilor-At-Large (he/him/él)