Thursday, September 24, 2015

Boston City Council Looks at Gas Leaks, Sandwich Board Permitting & 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 September 23, 2015 meeting:

Sandwich Board Signs: Mayor Walsh submitted a draft ordinance on sandwich board signs on public sidewalks, following a hearing order by Councilor Flaherty on June 17th that has since had a hearing and working session in my Committee on Small Business, Entrepreneurship & Innovation. The new regulations would lighten the permitting load on small businesses by eliminating the free-standing sign permit, but include rules to guarantee accessibility and accountability: maximum size of 24"x36", weather resistant material, can be outside only during the business' hours of operation, must identify the name/address/phone of the business & sign owner for liability purposes, displays content limited to the business' goods for sale, and does not display alcohol or tobacco advertisement. Now as proposed legislation, the matter was sent to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.

Gas Leaks: Councilor O'Malley reported back on Monday afternoon's 3.5 hour-long hearing with City officials, state legislators, and activists on gas leaks in Boston, citing the importance of dealing with this safety, environmental issue and financial issue. He noted that while there is coordination between the City and utilities when roads are opened up for construction or resurfacing, there are no requirements to mandate the utility companies to actually fix the leaks when streets are opened. Councilor Murphy added that currently there is no independent inspection to check whether the leaks have been repaired and to certify their safety, and the City should have a role in this. The matter will remain in the Environment & Parks Committee for further working sessions.

Resolution Supporting State Reprecincting: Councilors Pressley & O'Malley submitted a resolution to support Rep. Aaron Michlewitz's state legislation to remove Boston's exemption from the statewide requirements of redrawing precinct lines every 10 years for equal numbers of people in each precinct. They cited the residential shift in Boston toward northern neighborhoods, making some precincts very large and causing long voting lines, and leaving some very small precincts that waste public money on staffing and election administration. For example, Ward 5, Precinct 1 has 6010 registered voters while Ward 8 Precinct 6 has 805 registered voters. Councilor Murphy offered a successful amendment to reference the City Council's previous work on this, as the state legislation comes out of Councilor Mike Ross' home rule petition in 2011, which the Council passed and led to the state legislation. The matter was sent to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.

For complete minutes of September 23rd meeting and prior Boston City Council meetings, visit or sign up to receive these notes automatically each week by email at

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September Dates To Remember

Homage: Old Northern Avenue Bridge Art Opening
September 23d 5:30 - 7:30 pm 
249 A Street

South Boston Bus Stops & Route Improvement Planning
September 23d 5:30 - 7:30 pm Condon School, 200 D St
September 30th 5:30 - 7:30 pm Tynan School, 650 E 4th St
Preliminary planning meetings for South Boston bus stops and service improvements. 

FPNA Welcome Back Meeting
Monday, September 28th *new date*
Factory 63
Catch up with your neighbors and neighborhood updates including pedestrian crossing light at Boston Children's Museum, District C-6 community police report and special appearance by City Council President Bill Linehan.  More details.

175-179 W 1st St & 174 W 2nd St Public Park & Community Garden Meeting
September 28th and October 13th
6:30 pm
Condon School, 200 D Street

Boston Police Seaport/Fort Point Community Meeting
Tuesday. September 29th
6 pm
District Hall, 75 Northern Ave
Vivien Li Farewell
Tuesday, September 29th 5:30pm - 7:30pm
BSA Space, 290 Congress Street
The Boston Harbor Association hosts a farewell celebration for TBHA President, Vivien Li. Tickets $20.

Save the date of October 27th for FPNA's Fort Point meeting for the neighborhood
at Factory 63 from 6pm - 8pm.

originally posted 9.22.15

FPNA Welcome Back September Meeting

Come find out what happened in Fort Point while you were away this summer and catch up with your neighbors at the Fort Point Neighborhood Association's Welcome Back meeting.

Monday, September 28th  *new date*
6:00-7:00 pm
Factory 63
63 Melcher St.

General Meeting
Neighborhood Updates & Discussion

with special appearances by
City of Boston Council 
President Bill Linehan

New Neighbor, Paul Piccirillo
 Vice President, Leader Bank

*Due to the Farewell for Vivien Li, The Boston Harbor Association President on Tuesday, Sept. 29th, the FPNA moved their regular last Tuesday of the month meeting to Monday, September 28th.

originally posted 9.21.15

Boston Police Seaport/Fort Point Community Meeting

The Boston Police Department invites you to attend a community meeting! 

When: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 6:00 p.m. 

Where: District Hall 75 Northern Ave, South Boston 

The Boston Police Department encourages residents and business owners both new and old to join us in a conversation about traffic, parking, and general concerns. You’ll meet the Police Commissioner, local officers and specialized units within the department and learn about resources that the Boston Police Department has to offer your growing community.

For more information please call the Neighborhood Watch Unit at 617-343-4345. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Opening Wed at 249 A St

Gallery at 249 A Street 
Old Northern Avenue Bridge

September 15 - October 12, 2015
Reception Wednesday September 23, 5:30-7:30pm
open by appointment

Nicole Aquillano
Dirk Ahlgrim
Joel Babb
Laura Davidson
Don Eyles
William Frese
Ian Kennelly
Lisa Knox
Kirk McNeil
Charles Norris
Heather Meri Stewart
Lenore Tenenblatt
George Vasquez
Jennifer Wood

Guest juror: Susan Merritt, independent curator

The gallery at 249 A Street presents a show of work inspired by the Old Northern Avenue Bridge and its bridge tender's house.

The Old Northern Avenue Bridge, built in 1908, is the last remaining industrial swing bridge in Boston. It spans the Fort Point Channel at the mouth of Boston Harbor. The bridge was designed by Boston's Chief Engineer, following his tour of drawbridges in England. Although it was designed for freight trains, a local political dispute resulted in it being used for other vehicles. The pedestrian walkways to the side were added in later years.

Bridge openings were initially operated by steam engine, but later changed to electric motor. The bridge tender's house (beside the bridge) is badly deteriorated, and its associated pier fields and deckings were removed in recent years.
The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in 1999, and functioned as a pedestrian crossing until December 2014, when it was closed to all traffic due to structural concerns. These concerns were first noted over a dozen years ago but no significant structural repairs were made.

The City of Boston is currently exploring various plans for the future of the bridge, ranging from restoration to demolition and replacement. 

Over the years the bridge has been an inspiration to many artists. The Gallery at 249 A is pleased to present this  juried exhibition celebrating the bridge and its adjacent bridge tender's house. The show includes photography, painting, drawing, and ceramics.

About the juror
Susan Merritt, independent curator
Since 2002, Susan has been committed to creating opportunities for artists. As art consultant for the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA), she launched the first convention center rotating art exhibition program in the nation. After working with a number of non-profit organizations, including FPAC, and serving on many committees, she is taking some time to work in her studio as an oil painter.

About the Gallery at 249 A Street
Gallery At 249 A Street features rotating art exhibitions and special arts events. The space is an evolving project of the 249 A Street Cooperative, one of Massachusetts's first limited-equity live/work cooperative for artists. The building, which is home to more than 45 artists and their families, has served as a model for artists' housing nationwide and was key in the growth of the Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC). Gallery At 249 A Street was the home of the FPAC Office for its first eleven years. The 249 A Street Cooperative celebrated its 30th anniversary with the opening of this new gallery space in September 2014.

open by appointment. to schedule an appointment email:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

175-179 W 1st St & 174 W 2nd St Public Park & Community Garden Meeting

The Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) and  Boston Parks  and Recreation Department (BPRD) invite you to 2 community meetings to discuss and refine the vision for a public park and community garden at 174 W. 2nd Street and 175-179 W. 1st Street in South Boston. 

September 28, 2015 and October 13, 2015
6:30 pm 
Condon Community Center | 200 D Street | South Boston

At the meetings, DND, BPRD, neighbors and a Design Consultant will review plan elements and advance design plans for the site.  DND and BPRD look to improve the site based on community comments in the near future.  You are encouraged to attend the meetings.

For details and more information, please contact: Ryan Lundergan at
617-635-0323 or via email at

Monday, September 14, 2015

South Boston Street Festival This Saturday

Eat, shop and be entertained at the sixteenth annual South Boston Street Festival this Saturday, September 19, 2015 from 11 am to 4 pm. The festival takes place on East Broadway between I Street and L Street. 

Come browse and shop at over 100 local merchants, artists and organizations. The Fort Point Neighborhood Association will be there along with sister South Boston neighborhood associations.

Grab eats from some favorite restaurants such as Fort Point's Lucky's Lounge and many more...

Karen K and The Jitterbugs will be performing for the children as well as Southie band Thomas Park and more...

There will be special performances by The Peggy Wood School of Irish Step Dance and The Ultimate Self Defense & Performance Center. 

All the details at South Boston Street Festival.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Walk or Bike Dorchester Ave With The BRA

UPDATE: Due to Thursday's rain forecast, tour will be Monday, September 14th at 5:30 pm.

Grab your walking shoes or bike and join Boston Redevelopment Authority staff for a tour of the Dorchester Avenue study area to continue the dialogue about priority items that the Dorchester Avenue Corridor project plan can address. 

Both tours will leave from the parking lot at 195 Old Colony Avenue at 5:30 PM on September 10th. Participants should register for one: either the walking tour or the bicycle tour. Register now.

Please check the project website for updates on weather-related cancellations.Rain date will be September 14th, 2015 at 5:30 PM, departing from 195 Old Colony Avenue.

What to learn more about the Dorchester Avenue Corridor project? Read this related article.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Boston City Council Looks At Arts, Pay, Tobacco & 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 September 2, 2015 meeting.

Appointments & Confirmations: The Council voted to confirm Carol Downs and Priscilla Rojas as BRA/EDIC Board members. Mayor Walsh appointed Katherine Hammer as the new Budget Director and Christine Pulgini as the Director of the Mayor's Office of Consumer Affairs & Licensing (she will also keep her role as head of the Boston Licensing Board, but will not receive any additional salary for doing both).

Appetite for Arts: Councilor Wu called for a hearing to propose a platform to connect local artists with neighborhood restaurants looking to display artwork. Many restaurants are looking to showcase local artists with the opportunity for patrons to purchase the work. The City could provide an expanded platform for making these connections. The matter was sent to the Arts & Culture Committee for a hearing.

City Council Pay Raise: The two proposals on Council pay raise were sent to the Government Operations Committee for further action. Mayor Walsh filed an amendment that would set the salary at $99,500, a slight increase above his Compensation Advisory Board's $97,000 recommendation. Councilor Linehan filed an amendment for a $107,500 salary. The Committee will likely issue a report with a recommendation to be voted on at the next Council meeting.

Smokeless TobaccoThe Council voted to pass Mayor Walsh's proposed ban on smokeless tobacco at sporting events in Boston, including Fenway park. The ban applies to event sites for professional, collegiate, high school, or organized amateur sporting events, requiring conspicuous signs in dugouts, bullpens, training rooms, locker rooms, press boxes, television & radio broadcast booths, and bathrooms. The ordinance cites the high rate of youth who use smokeless tobacco and resulting oral, pancreatic, and esophageal cancer, with a strong association from athletes who use it. The fine would be $250/offense.

Robert J. Butts, III: The Council voted to suspend and pass Councilor Baker's home rule petition to waive the maximum age requirement for police officers for Robert J. Butts, III.  Boston Police recruits must be younger than age 32 if not a veteran, and under age 40 if a veteran. Robert Butts was recently informed that BPD realized he was 29 days too old for the next phase of the recruitment process, but the civil service exam he took two years ago had been delayed one month several years ago due to the Boston Marathon bombings.

For complete minutes of September 2nd meeting and prior Boston City Council meetings, visit or sign up to receive these notes automatically each week by email at