Tuesday, March 31, 2015

You Know It Is Spring When

Street cleaning begins on April 1, 2015.  Mayor Martin J. Walsh reminds residents that Boston's Daytime Neighborhood Street Cleaning Program will officially kick-off citywide for the season on Wednesday, April 1. Street sweeping had been postponed in neighborhoods with March street sweeping due to ice and snow covering gutters. Residents are asked to obey parking restrictions in order to assist with the City's efforts to clean the streets after the snow has begun to melt. Violators who do not move their cars during street sweeping hours will be subject to a $40 ticket and towing. Street Sweeping Schedule Look Up.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

FPNA March 2015 Neighborhood Meeting

The Fort Point Neighborhood Association
Monthly Meeting for the Neighborhood

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
6pm
Factory 63
63 Melcher Street

6 pm General Meeting
Neighborhood Updates & Discussion

including a presentation by
Rachel Borgatti, Friends of Fort Point Channel
Fort Point Community Branding Update

and special offers by
Bee's Knees 
The Lyric Stage

7:00 pm Featured Guest

Mark McGonagle
Community Affairs Liaison
Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA)
The New BRA: Transparency, Community Process 
& Boston 2030

originally published 3.18.15

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Boston Through Vanderwarker's Lens: New Ideas About An Old City


Renowned photographer Peter Vandwarker will share his unique perspective gained from years of capturing the heart of Boston with his camera at the Boston Preservation Alliance annual meeting on  March 30, 2015. He will discuss how preparation for 2024 and beyond might impact the evolution of the city’s character.

The event will take place Monday night at 6pm at District Hall located at 75 Northern Ave, Boston. Current Boston Preservation Alliance members attend for free! Please RSVP. Not a member? Register to attend for $60 ($40 for Young Professionals), and receive a complimentary one-year membership. Register now!

Following the business meeting and guest speaker, please join the Boston Preservation Alliance for drinks and refreshments.

Mayor Appoints Dan McCole & City Council Reviews Long Island Impacts, Marijuana & More

The Boston City Council in celebration of Women's History Month honored all the women who have previously served on the Council this past Wednesday.  Including Councilors Pressley and Wu, eleven women have served on the Council.  Former Councilors Maura Hennigan, Diane Modica, and Maureen Feeney were able to attend and offered beautiful remarks. 

Appointments

  • Living Wage Advisory Committee: Mayor Walsh appointed Darlene Lombos, Father James Flavin, Jr, and Katherine Belgard for terms until March 2018
  • Boston Cultural Council: Mayor Walsh appointed Daniel McCole and Matt McArthur for terms expiring October 2018
  • Assistant City Clerk: The Council unanimously reelected Alex Geourntas to the position after his contract lapsed

Fire Hydrant Flags: Councilor McCarthy reported back on a hearing this past Monday on installing identifying markers on fire hydrants in Boston, which would help firefighters and others locate fire hydrants under snow. At the hearing, the Fire Department and Boston Water & Sewer testified about the prohibitive cost of ~12,000 hydrant flags (the city has about 13,000 hydrants, including 1,000 that are privately maintained) given limited City funds. Councilor McCarthy noted that we should focus on outreach and encouraging residents and organizations to adopt a hydrant.  The matter will stay in Committee for further working sessions.

Student Vote on School Committee: Councilor Jackson reported back on Monday's hearing on allowing two student representatives full voting rights on the School Committee. Currently there is one student representative, and he does not have voting privileges. The Boston Student Advisory Council came out in full force to advocate for the change. This would require state legislative action and ballot initiative to change. 

Social Impact Bonds & State Procurement: Councilor Jackson called for a hearing to review how the Commonwealth's $27M social impact bond targeting recidivism will affect service delivery at the city level, especially around chronic homelessness, court-involved youth, and basic adult education. Social impact bonds are also known as "pay for success bonds", where private investors contract to pay for improved social outcomes that result in government savings. More info on the State's social impact bond.The matter was referred to the Committee on Healthy Women, Families, and Communities for a hearing.

Long Island Impacts: Councilor Yancey filed two hearing orders to examine the emergency impact of closing Long Island related to 1) the displaced substance abuse programs, and 2) Boston's homeless community. Several Councilors questioned the wisdom of putting $90M toward reconstructing the bridge when those dollars could be used for other priorities, such as affordable housing. Councilor Murphy suggested that a ferry would be $4M and allow the City to continue accessing the island while saving money for other programs. Councilor Pressley noted that the goal should be to end homelessness and not to focus on a singular shelter model, but a variety of shelter models e.g. for veterans, women, the working poor.

Parks Development & Redevelopment: Councilors LaMattina and Linehan refiled a hearing order from March 5, 2014, on identifying funding sources for the City's parks system.  He had noted that of the Parks Dept's $17M budget, $11M is for staff salaries, so very little actual funding remains for maintenance and redevelopment of our parks, which support health, community development, social and environmental well-being.  The order was assigned to the Environment & Parks Committee for a hearing.

 LGBT-Friendly Affordable Senior Housing: Councilor Zakim called for a hearing to examine how better to protect the right to fair and safe housing for Boston's LGBT seniors. He noted that many LGBT seniors, after facing discrimination over their lives, then face extreme difficulty in finding safe and affordable housing. City departments and community advocacy organizations can help with training for staff at senior housing developments and other protections to ensure senior housing developments are LGBT-friendly. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Human and Civil Rights for a hearing.

Paid Parental Leave: Councilor Wu was thrilled and proud to introduce an ordinance developed in collaboration with Mayor Walsh and co-sponsored by Councilors McCarthy & Jackson that would offer 6 weeks of paid leave for city employees who become new parents - 100% of salary for the first two weeks, then 75% for the next two, and 50% for the following two. This would apply to employees who have worked at least one year for the City, both women and men, childbirth (including stillbirth) or adoption. As a new mom, I know how drastically life changes with the arrival of a child.  Although we would ideally offer more than six weeks and at full pay, the budgetary impact is hard to predict, so we worked with the Administration to craft something that would be substantive and affordable for the City in Year 1. Councilor McCarthy noted the importance of including dads too. Councilor Jackson described how he reviewed the policies after learning that one of his staff members was pregnant, and described the benefits for employers of offering paid parental leave, including lower turnover, increased productivity, etc. Councilor Murphy described it as a human rights issue that the Council should help Boston take the lead on. Councilor Yancey noted that he had filed what could be a companion piece of legislation offering paid leave for parents to participate in their children's schools. As Councilor Pressley said, good family policy is good economic policy. Read the details of the ordinance here: http://michelleforboston.com/paid-parental-leave. Our hope is that all employers in Boston will follow suit in offering some version of paid parental leave for employees. The matter was assigned to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.

Medical Marijuana Zoning: Councilor Flaherty filed an order that would amend the Boston Zoning Code to prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries from being sited within 2,500 feet of an existing dispensary. The goal, he said, was to prevent any single neighborhood from bearing all the burden of medical marijuana implementation in Boston. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Economic Development, Planning, and Tourism.

Recycling Styrofoam: Councilor Murphy called for a hearing on recycling #6 Plastics (polystyrene, commonly known by the trademarked name, Styrofoam). He described previously having been part of efforts to ban this as other cities and towns have done, because it was not possible to recycle. New technology now makes it possible to recycle styrofoam, and implementing this could help the City save money by reducing the tonnage sent to landfills. The matter was referred the Committee on Environment & Parks for a hearing.

Anyone can sign up to receive these weekly emails at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes, or see the list of all notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pastoral First Anniversary Party

Pastoral is celebrating their first anniversary in Fort Point. Owner and Co-Founder George Lewis, Jr., and Chef and Co-owner Todd Winer along with the Fort Point Neighborhood Association, the Fort Point Arts Community and Friends of the Fort Point Channel invite you to help celebrate. 


Please join

Friends of Fort Point Channel
Fort Point Arts Community
and
Fort Point Neighborhood Association

in celebration of

Pastoral’s First Anniversary
Sunday, March 29th 4 pm – 6 pm
Light hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer will be served

RSVP via Eventbrite

Hosted by Pastoral
345 Congress Street
Fort Point

Located in Boston’s burgeoning Fort Point neighborhood, Pastoral is an innovative dining destination featuring rustic yet refined food, creative cocktails, communal dining, and a takeout area. Pastoral works to celebrate food and family, and specializes in delicious quality authentic Neapolitan pizza cooked in their wood-fired oven. Pastoral is open daily for lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch, late-night dining and takeout.

originally published 3.13.15

Friday, March 20, 2015

Celebrate Local Designers During Boston Design Week


The second annual Boston Design Week, a citywide design festival, is off and running through Sunday, March 29, 2015. Most events are free of charge, and all are open to the public, although many require reservations or RSVPs, and some events do sell out, so make your selection early! Here is a listing of events in your neighborhood. 




Friday, March 20th
Moakely U.S.Courthouse Tours, Discovering Justice. One Courthouse Way, Suite 3120.
RSVP 
Tours are March 20th at 2pm and 3pm and March 27th at 9am, 1pm and 3pm and 4pm. 

5:30pm-8:30pm: Design Showdown With Design New England
Boston Design Center, 2nd floor
RSVP

Monday, March 23

2:30pm: Designing the Next Generation: The Give and Take of Mentoring
Boston Design Center, Suite 548
RSVP

5:30-8:30pm: Urban Renewal: The Trend Toward Downsizing
Boston Design Guide
District Hall, Assembly Room
RSVP 


6:00-8:00pm
Opening Reception Midway Studios Design 2015
Midway Channel Gallery
Midway Artist Studios, 15 Channel Center St.
RSVP
Exhibit ongoing through Boston Design Week



Tuesday, March 24

11:00am-1:00pm: Decorating The Way I See It With Markham Roberts
Boston Design Center, Suite 548
RSVP

1:00pm-5:00pm: Boston Design Center Open House
Various showrooms
More information

5:30pm-8:00pm: B/A/D Talk: What Make A Good House..and Why?
B/A/D Talks 
District Hall
RSVP 



6:00pm-8:00pm: Challenging the Obvious: An Evening with Artist Ji Lee
Boston Society of Architects
BSA Space, 200 Congress St, Suite 200
RSVP with Lee 3/24 in subject line



Wednesday, March 25

12:00pm-5:00pm: Christopher Peacock Showroom Grand Re-Opening
Boston Design Center, Suite 635
RSVP

6:00pm-10:00pm: Make A Statement for Success: Do it Well, Make it Fun
Frank Webb's Bath & Lighting Center
307 Dorchester Ave
RSVP

6:30pm-8:30pm: Best Places to Live Launch Event, Boston Magazine
To Renovate or Not to Renovate: A Panel Discussion and Cocktail Event
Boston Design Center, West Gallery
RSVP

Thursday, March 26
3:00pm-6:00pm: Why Stories Matter, Neoscape
23 Drydock Avenue, 5th Floor
RSVP

Saturday, March 28
10:00am-2:00pm: Stereotype Open House and Showcase
Boston Society of Architects
BSA Space, 200 Congress St, Suite 200
RSVP with Open House 3/28 in subject line


More Boston Design Center events details at The Innovation and Design Building
For a complete listing of Boston Design Week events, visit the Boston Design Week Calendar.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Boston City Council Looks At Late Night T Service, Olympics, 911 Data And More

Councillor-At-Large Michelle Wu provides notes from Boston City Council meetings. The Boston City Council considered the items below and more at their March 11, 2015 meeting:

911 Data: Councilors Murphy & Flaherty reported back on their 2nd hearing in a series on speeding up 911 response times in Boston. This hearing discussed a platform that would allow residents to attach information to their cell phone number, so that if they needed to dial 911 from that cell phone, first responders could know their address, medical information such as allergies, whether a pet lives in the home, etc. Very little information is conveyed automatically from cell phone 911 calls. Other Councilors noted the need to have a better platform for receiving 911 cell phone calls that relays the closest cell tower's location, rather than the phone's original purchase location. The matter was placed on file.

Snow Removal Fines: We voted to pass an amended version of Mayor Walsh's home rule petition that would allow the City to impose fines up to $1,500 for commercial property owners' failure to responsibly remove snow, slush, or ice. The current cap on fines is $300, and this is based on state law. The Administration explained that asking for a $1,500 maximum was meant to allow for potential future increases without having to go back to the Legislature and also deter behavior. 

Diversity & Inclusion in 2024 Olympics: Councilor Pressley called for a hearing on diversity and inclusion in the planning, hiring, and contracting process for the Boston 2024 Olympics bid. She noted that the efforts to bring the Olympics to Boston need to be intentional, creative, and consistent about inclusion and diversity related to women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community. Councilor Jackson pointed out the 9-year timeline, and that we need to be deliberate about policies now, because the city could be impacted for nearly a decade. The order was assigned to the Special Committee on the 2024 Olympics.

Late Night MBTA: We unanimously passed a resolution filed by Councilor Zakim & myself urging the MassDOT Board to establish permanent Late Night T Service. At a well-attended hearing last week, residents and passengers spoke of the need for late night service to help Boston's economy and provide a safe, convenient & affordable transportation option for workers, students, young professionals, the arts community, and others. Most of all, we need predictability - businesses and workers can't make decisions about new jobs and new locations unless they know this service will last beyond a 1-year pilot. The late night pilot program had a net cost of $11M, less than 1% of the MBTA's operating budget. Councilor McCarthy noted that there would still be appetite for the service even with potential fare increases, because the alternative for many workers returning home to his district after their shifts is a $50+ taxi ride. Many Councilors and residents offered creative funding solutions, such as university partnerships and Councilor O'Malley's idea to license late night food vendors. 

Boston 2024 Olympics & Sex Trafficking: Councilor Pressley filed a hearing order to discuss a comprehensive approach to reduce sex trafficking at mega sports events including potential Olympics. She noted that major world sporting events are widely recognized as sex trafficking hubs, including some major arrests of traffickers and johns related to the 2015 Super Bowl. The order was assigned to the Special Committee on the 2024 Olympics.

For complete notes from the March 11th meeting, visit www.michelleforboston.com/notes or sign up to receive these notes automatically each week by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Southie St. Patrick's Day Parade & Road Race This Sunday

The St. Patrick's Day parade will take place on Sunday, March 15, 2015. The parade will begin at 1 PM starting on West Broadway at Dorchester Avenue, continuing to East Broadway, and ending at Farragut Road. The parade typicialy takes 2 1/2 hours. For the ultimate guide to St. Patrick's Day visit Caught in Southie.


The St. Patrick’s Day Road Race will also take place on Sunday beginning at 11 AM.   Runners will proceed from West Sixth Street at F Street onto Dorchester Street, right onto East Broadway, down and around the Farragut Statue at Day Boulevard, to East Broadway, right onto West Broadway, left onto E Street, left onto West Sixth Street, ending at the Boys and Girls Club at #230 West Sixth Street.

To accommodate the two events, staging/dispersal and clean-up, drivers should expect the following roads to be closed to vehicular traffic. Streets effected by the parade will close no later than 12 PM and streets effected by the road race will close no later than 10 AM.  

  • Broadway, from Dorchester Avenue to Farragut Road
  • On intersecting streets from Dorchester Avenue through Farragut Road, vehicular traffic will not be allowed to cross Broadway
  • Dorchester Avenue, in the vicinity of Gillette Park and Andrew Square
  • Old Colony Avenue, from Dorchester Avenue to C Street
  • Farragut Road, from Columbia Road to Shore Road/East First Street
  • All race route streets while the runners make their way to the finish line
Due to a combination of snow and Resident Parking Only restrictions, parking in the neighborhood is limited. Additional parking restrictions that will be implemented temporarily to support Sunday’s events are as follows. “Tow Zone, No Stopping, Boston Police Special Event Sunday”

  • Dorchester Avenue: Both sides, from Gillette Park to Old Colony Avenue (Staging Area)
  • Old Colony Avenue: Both sides, from Dorchester Avenue to C Street (Staging Area)
  • West Broadway: Both sides, from Dorchester Avenue to Dorchester Street
  • East Broadway: Both sides, from Dorchester Street to Farragut Road
  • Farragut Road: East side (park side), from Columbia Road to Shore Road /East First Street (Dispersal area)
  • West Sixth Street: Southwest side, from Dorchester Avenue to F Street
  • F Street: Southeast side (odd side – Boys & Girls Club side), West Sixth Street to Bowen Street
The Channel Center garage is offering $10/day rate for South Boston residents and the public. The rate will go in effect Saturday night to allow residents to remove their cars from along the parade and race route.  

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Pax is Back At BCEC & St. Patrick's Festivial at Harpoon This Weekend

The gaming convention and expo, PAX East, will be held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center March 6th through March 8, 2015.



Due to the large number of attendees, there will be a need for off-site parking during this event. In the event both the South Lot and the North Jetty fills, attendees will be directed to the Channel Center Garage, across the South Boston Bypass Road from the South Lot. This garage will charge the same rate of $15 as the South Lot and North Jetty. The Channel Center Garage cannot accommodate oversized vehicles. A complimentary shuttle will begin running once there are attendees being sent to the Channel Center Garage. If all other parking options are used up, attendees will be directed to the Seaport Garage located adjacent to the Seaport Hotel

The MCCA will employ portable variable message signs in the area around the BCEC as well as Boston Police and State Police to mitigate traffic around the BCEC and the Waterfront area.


For more details on the PAX East 2015 transportation plan visit PAX 2015 TMP


Harpoon Brewery is hosting its annual St. Patrick’s Festival 2015 during the evening of Friday,March 6 from 5:30pm - 11:00pm and the Saturday, March 7 from 1pm - 7pm. Cover charge is $20. Several thousand more people are expected to come to the South Boston Waterfront for this event. While the event website explicitly tells attendees that there is no parking on site and that Harpoon Brewery will be providing shuttles from South Station, attendees may still attempt to drive in and find parking in the area. There will be much pedestrian activity in the South Boston Waterfront on account of the multiple events and this pedestrian activity might in turn slow down vehicular traffic.

Electric Bill Too High? Resources From Greenovate Boston

Greenovate Boston offers Bostonians resources to reduce your electric bill, and climate change initiatives and news.

Are Competitive Electricity Suppliers Likely to Save Me Money?
With electricity prices 29-37% higher this winter than during the fall, Mayor Walsh is working with the utilities to provide relief. Due to the rate increase, many residents are thinking about whether a competitive electricity supplier is likely to save them money. To learn more about why rates have jumped and what to consider if you're thinking about switching power supplier,  read here...

Eversource and Renew Boston Energy Efficiency Kit Limited Time Offer: Bostonians can receive a home kit for $15—a retail value of $100! Order here...

Finalists Announced for Boston Living with Water Competition
Architects, urban planners, designers, climate change advocates, and policymakers got a unique glimpse into what a more resilient and sustainable Boston might look like in the face of sea level rise last week. While the 50 submitted proposals show an impressive range of potential climate change solutions, they all have one thing in common; they all embrace sea level rise as an opportunity to enhance, rather than detract from, Boston's built environment. In addition to the 9 jury-selected finalists, there were also People's Choice Award winners for each site category, as determined by online voting. Read here to learn more about the competition and its finalists

New Sustainable Development Projects in the Pipeline for Boston
Last week, the Boston Redevelopment Authority approved over $490 million in new development that will provide almost 800 housing units and create 770 construction jobs throughout Boston. Better yet, they add to the list of Boston's recent wins in green and sustainable development patterns. This innovative planning will certainly add to Boston's green efforts and put us one step closer to our climate goals. Read more...

Boston City Council Looks At Transportation, A New Superintendent, Spring & The Week Ahead

Councillor-At-Large Michelle Wu provides notes from Boston City Council meetings. The March 4, 2015 meeting was delayed by two hours for the Council to attend the Boston Municipal Research Bureau's annual meeting and hear Mayor Walsh's address (here's the text of his speech if curious: http://www.cityofboston.gov/news/default.aspx?id=20023). Please reach out to Councillor Wu with any comments. Anyone can sign up to receive weekly email meeting notes at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see past notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.   

Snow Removal Fines: Mayor Walsh submitted a home rule petition to the Council that would allow the City to impose fines up to $1,500 for failure to responsibly remove snow, slush, or ice. The proposal would allow Boston regulators to impose 3 categories of fines: 1) people, corporations, associations, and societies who remove snow/slush/ice and throw it onto a public way, 2) abutting property owners who fail to clear sidewalks, and 3) abutting property owners who fail to clear curb ramps. The current cap on fines is $300. The Mayor noted that increasing the fines would help deter bad behavior but also recover some of the costs associated with snow cleanup. The matter was referred to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.

Refinancing Bonds: We voted unanimously to authorize the City to issue up to $65M in refunding bonds to refinance and take advantage of favorable market conditions. The Administration estimated a savings of $9.2M over FY 2016-2029 after refinancing from 4.6% interest to 2.3%, even after fees are accounted for.

Boston 2030: Councilor Linehan proposed a hearing to develop the city's policies and projects to improve transportation infrastructure in conjunction with the City's Go Boston 2030 transportation planning initiative as we look ahead to Boston's 400th birthday. The first phase of Go Boston 2030 launched in late January, collecting 4,000 questions from 15 different neighborhood spots to develop an action plan this spring. Councilor Linehan noted that the City Council should have a seat at the table and participate in developing this initiative, given the importance of transportation infrastructure. The matter was referred to the Special Committee on Transportation, Public Infrastructure & Investment for a hearing.

Spring Clean-Up & Street Sweeping: Councilor O'Malley called for a hearing to discuss the city's plans for cleanup once the snow banks have melted. He anticipated issues around trash that has collected in the snow as well as flooding. Councilor Flaherty also noted that many youth sports leagues are scheduled to start but worried about the condition of parks and fields. The matter was sent to the Committee on City & Neighborhood Services and Veterans Affairs for a hearing.

New Superintendent: Councilor Jackson as Chair of the Education Committee announced that the School Committee selected Dr. Tommy Chang to lead the Boston Public Schools last night. Many Councilors voiced appreciation for the openness of the interview process and the Administration's model of transparency. Councilor Jackson encouraged each District Councilor to host the new Superintendent at a reception in their district to introduce him to residents and families. You can find Dr. Chang's bio and application for the job here: http://www.bostonpublicschools.org/Page/4464.

Upcoming Meetings/Hearings (all in the Iannella Chamber unless otherwise noted):
• Thursday, March 5th, 11:30AM: Residency Policy Commission meeting, Piemonte Room
• Thursday, March 5th, 6PM: Hearing on Late Night MBTA Service
• Friday, March 6th, 10:30AM: Hearing on 2024 Olympics
• Wednesday, March 11th, 12PM: Weekly Council Meeting
• Thursday, March 12th, 6PM: Hearing on Equitable Transitions for Students Receiving Special Education Services

Monday, March 02, 2015

MBTA Late Night Service Public Meetings

The MBTA invites you to attend one of four Boston based informational meetings to share your comments about the future of late-night service. There will also be a Twitter Town Hall on Monday, March 2, from 12:00 p.m. –1:00 p.m. by using the hashtag #latenightservice


Monday, March 2
6 p.m.–8 p.m.
District Hall
Assembly Space
75 Northern Ave.
Boston, MA 02210

Wednesday, March 4
5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
State Transportation Building
Conf. Rooms 1, 2, 3
10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116

NOTE:  Tuesday, March 5th at 6pm there is Boston City Council hearing on continuing late night T service at Boston City Hall, Iannella Chamber on the 5th Floor.

Tuesday, March 10
3:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
The Inn at Longwood Medical
Longwood Hall
342 Longwood Ave.
Boston, MA 02115

Wednesday, March 11
3 p.m.–5 p.m.
State Transportation Building
Transportation Library
10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116

The MBTA will accept written comments through Wednesday, March 11, 2015, and should be mailed to: MBTA, 10 Park Plaza, Room 2310, Boston, MA 02116, Attention: Late-Night Service Committee, or by email at latenightservice@mbta.com, or by phone at (617) 222-3200, TTY (617) 222-5146.