Friday, December 14, 2018

Boston City Council Looks At Transportation, Early Education, Marijuana Facilties & More

City Councilor-At-Large Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. The Boston City Council considered the following items and more at their November 28th, December 5th, and December 12, 2018 meetings (last meeting of the year due to scheduling conflicts):

Boston Youth Transportation Project: I filed a report on the results of a summer research initiative undertaken by my office called the Boston Youth Transportation Project, which surveyed nearly 300 Boston high school students to understand specific transportation challenges that our youth face. We often discuss transportation from the perspective of employees and employers in the region, but it’s important to highlight just how much transportation challenges are shaping the lives of Boston youth. Cost, unreliability, and safety concerns result in create significant obstacles for youth as they seek to access educational, social, and economic opportunities. Moreover, transportation is one of the biggest source of greenhouse emissions, and increasing the efficiency and usage of public transportation, biking, and walking is an important part of combating climate change. The report found that youth prefer single-occupancy vehicles and may be likely to continue our transportation emissions, so we must improve the infrastructure needed for better public transportation and other multi-modal options. Read the full report.

Public Travel Infrastructure: The Council voted to follow Councilor Ciommo’s recommendation to approve the order to allocate $6.5M from the City’s Capital Grant Fund to address the impact of transportation network services on the City’s public travel infrastructure, such as municipal roads and bridges following a hearing on Monday.

Early Education and Childcare Policy Briefing Series: Councilor Pressley filed a report offering policy recommendations for improving access to early education and childcare for families in the city, following our 2017 policy briefing series convened by Councilors Campbell, Essaibi George, Pressley and myself. We examined barriers to access for affordable and quality early education and childcare across the city, especially when the Commonwealth is one of the most expensive places for childcare in the country. Our recommendations seek to improve access and equity in finding childcare, as well as recruiting and training a diverse workforce that will ensure quality in early childhood education programs. These include designating an official agency of early education and childcare and/or hire an early childcare advisor for the city; expanding the criteria and amount for federal and state childcare subsidies; expanding  access to licensed childcare facilities that open during nontraditional working hours; and more. You can read the full report.

Siting Recovery Facilities: Councilors Edwards, Essaibi George, and I reported back on yesterday’s hearing regarding the potential for regulations on the proximity of alcohol and cannabis establishments to recovery facilities. All agreed that the City must continue pushing toward implementation of the will of the voters in legalizing adult use marijuana while understanding the impacts that this new industry could have for equity and communities across the city. In particular, there is a proposal for a retail cannabis location in East Boston next door to a recovery facility for some of our most vulnerable residents managing dual diagnoses of substance use and mental illness. Several panels described the need for making sure that everyone has a voice in the process of setting up this industry, including those who have been directly affected by the opiate crisis. Watch public hearing.

Our next City Council meeting will be on Wednesday, January 9th, at 12pm. Happy holidays and see you in the New Year!

For complete notes on Boston City Council meetings, visit or sign up to receive these notes automatically. 

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