Thursday, January 31, 2019

Boston City Council Looks At Climate Resilience & Wetlands Ordinance, Seaport Polling Location, Edison Power Plant & 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 January 30, 2019 meeting: 

Small Vehicle Sharing Businesses: Mayor Walsh filed an ordinance to establish licensing and regulations for shared mobility businesses, such as electric scooters. The language creates a license from the Boston Transportation Department in order to operate on City streets, with an application fee or renewal fee of $500. The ordinance would also set up a Small Vehicle Sharing Business Advisory Committee to advise the Commissioner of BTD on sustainability, safety, accessibility, regulatory changes and other related issues, comprised of representatives from Office of New Urban Mechanics, the Disability Commission,  and the Environment Department. The matter was assigned to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.
Local Wetlands Protection: I refiled an ordinance in partnership with Councilor O’Malley to protect local wetlands and strengthen the City’s ability to fight climate change through reasonable regulations on development. The Local Wetlands Protection Ordinance would empower the Boston Conservation Commission to require green infrastructure with new development, including protections for urban wetlands and natural resource areas, and explicitly adopt climate change adaptation as a resource area value. Wetlands are important not just for conservation of open space and wildlife habitats, but to manage rain, flooding and heat. Especially in light of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report last fall, with over 1,000 scientists from around the world concluding that we may have only twelve years left to keep greenhouse gas emissions below a threshold that keeps the planet livable, we must take every possible action to reduce energy demand, increase renewable energy supply, and transform our land use policies to align with climate change mitigation and adaptation. Boston is currently one of the only three coastal municipalities without such a municipal ordinance adding protections beyond the state baselines. The matter was assigned to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.
Sub-Precincts for Voting: They Mayor refiled a Home Rule Petition to establish sub-precincts in neighborhoods that experienced significant growth, in order to alleviate lines and waiting times for voting. The Council had passed this legislation in 2017 as a home-rule petition sponsored by Councilor Linehan and me, but it was not taken up at the State House. The Mayor is refiling this for another Council vote to begin a new push on Beacon Hill. The legislation would not change any of the existing boundaries for wards, and will not change representation for congressional, representative, senatorial, or councilor districts, instead establishing sub-precincts, and in some cases additional polling locations, in the following precincts:
  • Ward 3, Precinct 6 (Downtown, Financial District, and parts of Beacon Hill)
  • Ward 3, Precinct 7 (South End)
  • Ward 3, Precinct 8 (Chinatown and South End)
  • Ward 5, Precinct 1 (Bay Village)
  • Ward 6, Precinct 1 (South Boston to Broadway Station, Seaport)
  • Ward 9, Precinct 3 (South End)
The matter was assigned to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.
Early Voting: Councilors Flaherty & Zakim reported back on the hearing held Monday regarding Councilor Zakim’s Home Rule Petition for early voting in municipal elections. Because the statewide early voting law applies only to state elections, Boston cannot offer early voting in municipal elections without legislative amendment. The attendees and advocates at the hearing were overwhelmingly in support of the initiative, and the Elections Department stated that they would need 6 months of notice to prepare for early voting in the municipal election. However, Councilor Flaherty stated that the Administration would like to hold this matter and submit it later to Beacon Hill with an overall legislative package on voting. The matter remains in the Government Operations Committee.

776 Summer Street: Councilors Flynn & Flaherty called for a hearing on halting the Article 80 process as it applies to 776 Summer Street, a 15-acre site that was recently removed from South Boston’s Designated Port Area (DPA).  The removal reduces zoning protections necessary to accommodate nearby water-dependent industrial uses. The developer has proposed construction of 1.93M sf of mixed-use development, including 1.3M sf of residential uses. They named the Carmen’s Union, Longshoreman’s Union, and South Boston elected delegation as groups having expressed serious and ongoing concerns. The matter was assigned to the Planning, Development & Transportation Committee for a hearing.

Hypodermic Needles Safety around Schools and Playgrounds: Councilors Janey & Essaibi-George filed a hearing order regarding safety concerns from hypodermic needles near schools and playgrounds. The opioid crisis is a major public health crisis, and the intersections of Roxbury, South End, South Boston, and Newmarket Square have been hit especially hard. Even with the efforts of the City’s Mobile Sharps Team in picking up needles, residents and children still come into contact with needles, with one student at the Orchard Garden K-8 getting pricked by a needle in November of 2018.  The matter was assigned to the Homelessness, Mental Health, and Recovery Committee for a hearing.

Councilor Flaherty, as the Chair of the Community Preservation Act Committee, made the following appointment:
  • Matthew Kiefer reappointed to the Community Preservation Committee, for a term expiring January 1, 2022.

Upcoming Hearings (In the City Council Chamber unless otherwise noted. Watch online
  • Friday, February 8th, 11am: Working session re: issues related to stray voltage (City, Neighborhood Services and Veterans & Military Affairs)
  • Our next City Council meeting will be on Wednesday, February 6th, at 12pm.

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

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Be In The Loop With Local Art

Did you know Artists For Humanity recently expanded their EpiCenter? This Wednesday, January 30 from 5 pm - 7 pm, Artists For Humanity invites you to their first Open Studios of 2019.  Tour bustling studios, meet inspiring teens, preview the latest projects, network with local creatives, and mingle over wine and cheese. The event is free, family-friendly, and open to the public. Artist For Humanity is located at 100 West 2nd Street next to the A Street Park and just blocks away from the Broadway red line T station.
Artists For Humanity
The same evening (January 30), the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) is hosting an opening reception of  Surface Tension: Architectural photographs from Peter Vanderwarker and Boston Up: Infrared photographs by Neal Rantoul from 6 pm - 8 pm in the BSA Space at 290 Congress Street. R.S.V.P. for this free event.  On view through June 1, 2019. 
Peter Vanderwalker
Start February with the Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC) opening reception of Melt , a reinterpretation of Nordic myths — with feminist and science fiction twists through video, photography and sculpture by artists Isabel Beavers and Laine Rettmer. The artists created Melt during a residency in Iceland. The opening reception is Friday, February 1st from 6 pm - 8 pm at FPAC Gallery, 300 Summer Street. More details.
The Loop, an interactive art experience, has landed at One Seaport Square (between Showcase Icon and Scorpian). Take a seat in these giant circular structures, pump the handlebar, and watch a story unfold. The installation will be around until February 17, 2019. More details.
The Loop
On Sunday, February 10th at 2 pm, the Fort Point Theatre Channel presents Her Story Is Translated: Perspectives on Poetry, Playwriting, and Music in Arabic and English coordinated by Jennifer Jean and Amy Merrill. Her Story Is continues with this special event highlighting the process of “translation” in the poetry, plays, and music between and among several artists living in Iraq and in the United States. The free event will take place in Art Under The Stairs at Midway Artist Studios located at 15 Channel Center Street. To learn more about Her Story Is visit the Fort Point Theatre Channel. 
Her Story Is Translated

Monday, January 28, 2019

2019 Fort Point Seaport Neighborhood Gathering Kickoff

2019 Fort Point Seaport Neighborhood

Tuesday, January 29
6 pm - 8 pm
Capital One Café
2nd floor, 
57 Seaport Blvd.

Roadway Improvements Project
Cypher St from A to E, Cypher St Extension from D to E
Richards St, Fargo St, D St, Bypass Rd, E St & Summer St.

SPIN Boston
original ping pong social club
30 - 40 Melcher St.

 Neighborhood Updates & Discussion

Special thanks to Capital One Café for hosting.

*** treats & refreshments courtesy of Capital One Café
& their partners***

originally published 1.22.19

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Boston City Council Looks At Zoning, Commercial RE Fees, Marijuana, Electric Cars & 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 January 16, 2019 meeting: 

Zoning Code for Gross Floor Area: Councilors O’Malley and Baker refiled a zoning text amendment that would redefine Gross Floor Area in the Boston Zoning Code to be measured from the interior of the wall, rather than the exterior. The current zoning code defines the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) as the ratio of the gross floor area of a structure to the total area of the lot, and the Gross Floor Area as the sum of areas of the several floors of the structure as measured by the exterior faces of the wall. If the zoning code is amended, this would give developers more flexibility to have thicker walls that would not count against their developable space, and they can include increased insulation in their buildings, increasing energy efficiency and decreasing the buildings’ carbon footprint. The matter was assigned to the Planning, Development, and Transportation Committee.

Investor and Commercial Properties Transfer Fee: Councilors Edwards and Janey filed a Home Rule Petition to establish a property transfer fee. The councilors noted that there is a housing crisis in the city, and real estate speculation accelerates housing unaffordability. The petition would include a fee up to 6% of the purchase price of a real estate transfer, with 3% paid by the seller, and 3% paid by the purchaser. In the case of repeated sales of properties within 24 months, the city can impose a fee of up to 25% of the sales price on the seller. There are several exemptions to the fee, including transfers under $2M (although not exempt from repeated sales fee) and transfers between family members, among others. The fees would go towards the Neighborhood Housing Trust for affordable housing. The matter was assigned to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.

Equity Practices for Marijuana Licensing: Councilors McCarthy and Janey refiled a hearing order to discuss Boston’s current marijuana licensing process and explore best equity practices.The current marijuana licensing law requires the development of “procedures and policies to promote and encourage full participation in the regulated marijuana industry by people from communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement and to positively impact those communities”. Many residents of color and low-income communities were disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition and the war on drugs, and it is important that there is access for residents to enter the cannabis industry. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Small Business & Consumer Affairs.

Traffic and Pedestrian Safety around Cannabis Facilities: Councilor Flynn filed a hearing order to discuss City policies regarding the proximity of cannabis facilities to sites where children congregate, such as daycare centers and playgrounds, as well as regulations to ensure adequate infrastructure to maintain road and pedestrian safety. While there are restrictions regulating proximity from cannabis facilities to K-12 schools, there are still many types of sites where children gather. Moreover, cannabis facilities can create traffic and encourage people to double park, which causes congestion and increase the risks of accidents. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Small Business & Consumer Affairs.

School Security: Councilor Essaibi-George called for a hearing to analyze the safety and security measures to protect school environments. According to the US Naval Postgraduate School’s K-12 school shooting data, in 2018 there were 94 school gun violence incidents in the United States — a record high since 1970. Councilor Essaibi-George noted that every school needs locks on doors, monitored entryways, schoolwide active shooter trainings, and preventative measures against violent attacks, as well as elimination of physical, verbal and cyber bullying. Moreover, the opioid crisis continues to be an added concern, with an influx of needles found near schools. Students deserve to learn in a safe environment, and all schools should have equal access to opportunities to improve safety practices and infrastructure. The matter was assigned to the Education Committee for a hearing.

Net Zero Carbon Requirements: Councilor O’Malley and I refiled a hearing order on requiring all new municipal buildings to have net zero carbon requirements. The Council had several working sessions on the benefits of having net carbon zero requirements, and other cities have already established roadmaps to achieving net zero carbon in their municipal buildings. In Boston, buildings contribute to over half of the greenhouse gas emissions. Councilor O’Malley referenced the City’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050, and that in the year 2019, we are closer to 2050 than to 1987. I also stood to offer a reminder that the international and national reports have given us until 2030 to drastically lower our emissions. We should set these net zero requirements for new municipal buildings--which is entirely within our control--immediately. The matter was assigned to the Environment, Sustainability and Parks Committee for a hearing.

Electric Vehicles: At the close of our meeting, I rose to give everyone an update that our Right-to-Charge Electric Vehicles home-rule petition was signed into law two weeks ago. In October 2017, the City Council unanimously passed this petition to increase access to electric vehicle charging stations, specifically prohibiting condo associations from banning the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure on or near common property, e.g. the driveway or garage. Condo associations can add any reasonable requirements about maintenance and location. Thanks to the leadership of our state sponsors State Representative Adrian Madaro and State Senator Joe Boncore for ushering the legislation through many steps on Beacon Hill!
  • Next City Council meeting will be on Wednesday, January 30th, at 12 pm. 

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

Friday, January 18, 2019

Experiencing Boston's Waterfront Through An Artist's Lens

If you walk around the neighborhood, odds are you go along the Harborwalk during some part of your daily travels. The Harborwalk isn't just in our neighborhood. It extends over forty miles from Dorchester to East Boston and offers a variety of experiences along narrow paths and wide open spaces with varying degrees of what my mother would have called southern hospitality (even though she was born in Connecticut and worked in Boston).  

This summer photographer Leonardo March went exploring throughout the Boston Harbor capturing how people interact or don't interact with the waterfront. Who feels welcome. Who does not. Through his art, Leo challenges us to think of the potential, the vision, required to create spaces that feel "like another room in your house."

Join the Barr Foundation, Fort Point Arts Community, and photographer Leonardo March for an opening reception of "Another Room in the House" on:

Tuesday, January 22, 2019
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
The Gallery at Atlantic Wharf
290 Congress St. 

The reception will feature opening remarks from Barr Foundation President Jim Canales as well as a a conversation between exhibit artist Leonardo March and curator Lucy Rosenburgh of Kate Chertavian Fine Art. Attendees will be able to network, enjoy refreshments, and view the exhibit.  Register
here to reserve your spot. 

In closing, I must express gratitude to the Massachusetts Public Waterfront Act, commonly referred to as Chapter 91, for protecting and guaranteeing public access to the water and honoring our maritime history, especially in an era of rapid growth and development of #ourwaterfront.

Monday, January 14, 2019

A Conversation in Civic Innovation: Libraries as Drivers of Civic Engagement

What is missing in the neighborhood? An anchor civic building or in other words, a library. 

Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center New England is hosting a Conversation in Civic Innovation: Libraries as Drivers of Civic Engagement on Wednesday, January 16th at District Hall, thought to be a prime future location for a local library by many in the neighborhood. 

The evening event (5:30 pm - 7:30 pm) will be moderated by Kim Lucas, City of Boston Department of Information Technology. The panelists are: David Leonard, Boston Public Library; Dan Cohen, Northeastern Library; Chris Colbert, Harvard Innovation Labs and Elizabeth Soeiro, Cambridgeport School librarian.

The discussion will address libraries as drivers of civic engagement in the following areas:
  • The role of space and place;
  • The role of data and technology;
  • The shift of offerings;
  • The role of libraries in maintaining equitable access to key resources.

For more details and to be part of this important conversation, register for this free event.

originally published 01.08.19

Saturday, January 12, 2019

GE Innovation Point January 2019 Construction Update

Ever wonder what is going on along the Harborwalk, with the green pedestrian bridge and the historic Necco buildings? Be in the know with the GE Innovation Point construction update for January 2019.

·         Pedestrian traffic has been relocated onto the first phase of the Harborwalk sidewalk.  The balance of the Harborwalk reconstruction, Phase 2, from the trailers to Necco Ct. is continuing.  Foundations for overlook decks are complete.  Deck construction will continue into February.  Light foundations and light poles have been installed.  Electrical wiring installation is underway.  The Phase 2 harborwalk sidewalk will be placed as weather conditions permit.  Temporary access to the dock is maintained daily.  Landscaping and certain plantings will be completed in the early spring of 2019 to meet planting season requirements. 

·         Temporary heating units have been installed and are providing heat through temporary ducts from both the west face and the east face of the buildings.  These units will remain in operation throughout the winter months.  Certain portions of the building are being wrapped or tented to allow masonry, concrete, and other construction to continue.  The openings in the building are being closed up on a permanent basis as work progresses.

·         Structural steel for the glass enclosure connecting the two buildings has been erected.  Concrete has been placed on the 2nd through 5th floor.  The 6th floor and roof steel of the glass enclosure has been erected and will be completed with the west building 6th floor and roof steel in January.  A temporary roof membrane has been placed on the 5th floor concrete slab to keep the balance of the west building dry while the new roof is constructed.  Once the high roof and 6th floor roof steel are complete, the concrete deck slab will be placed and construction of the permanent roof will commence.

·         The steel and concrete deck for the mezzanine level inside of the east building has been completed.  Interior partitions and MEP equipment rough-in has begun on the mezzanine level. 

·         The placement of timber beams, girders and deck around the passenger elevator and freight elevator in the east building is now complete.  Temporary steel bracing will be removed once the balance of the concrete slabs in the northwest corner of the east building are placed on each floor.  The new concrete block stair shaft masonry work in the northwest corner of the building is complete to the 5th floor and will be completed through the final roof elevation by early February. 

·         The concrete decks on the 2nd through 5th floors of the east building have been completed, except for the northwest corner at the freight elevator.  Interior partitions and rough in has begun on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors.  A temporary roof membrane has been placed on the 5th floor concrete slab to protect the building.  Placement of structural steel for the columns supporting the roof steel is underway.  Roof structural steel will continue into early February.  Once the roof steel is complete the concrete deck slab will be placed and construction of the permanent roof will commence.

·         Cutting and repointing of the exterior masonry façades is one of the activities that is temperature sensitive and will be performed as conditions permit.   Winter weather measures are being implemented to allow this work to continue around the building.   Cutting and repointing is continuing in the area that has been tented and heated between the buildings.  Cutting and repointing of masonry from mast climbers will continue in the southwest corner and northeast corner of the west building as weather permits.  Washing of the facades has been postponed until temperatures permit completion of this work. 

·         The construction of the new large openings in the south and west faces of the first floor of the west building and on the south face of the east building continues.   Once the opening is made, steel framing is placed supporting the existing masonry wall, then the masonry is reconstructed around the steel frame.  The work on the large openings will continue. 

·         Masonry restoration, blocking and waterproofing around the window openings is complete.  Window installation is continuing in both buildings.  Caulking and sealing around the new windows as well as placement of window trim is in progress. 

·         The crane is supporting the erection of the structural steel for the roof and the new 6th floor on the west building.  The crane also continues to support placement of timber beams and girders and to support placement of the mechanical and plumbing risers and equipment.  The crane will remain on site into the 2019 construction season.

·         Rough-in of interior walls and interior masonry restoration is underway in the west building.  Mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection rough-in is continuing on the first 4 floors of the west building.  This will continue and include the 5th floor over the next couple of months.  Rough in of the ductwork and piping risers in the west building core is complete.

·         Rough-in of interior walls and interior masonry restoration is underway in the east building.  Electrical, mechanical and plumbing rough-in is continuing in the first 3 floors of the east building.  Rough in of the ductwork and piping risers continues in the core of east building. 

·         The new column for the Necco Ct. bridge has been placed.  The base of the column will be encased in concrete to protect it from vehicles.   Scaffolding is being erected on both sides of the Necco Ct. bridge to the full height of the bridge to support the reconstruction of the bridge structure and skin.  Scaffolding erection will take the balance of January.  The scaffolding will span Necco. Ct to allow vehicle and pedestrian traffic to be maintained below during rehabilitation of the bridge.  Fabrication of structural steel, curtainwall and metal panels for the bridge reconstruction is underway.  Abatement of lead-based paint from structural members inside the bridge has commenced in order to prepare the surfaces for welding.  Structural steel improvements to the bridge will follow abatement.  GE and its contractors will continue to coordinate the work in Necco Ct. with Synergy. 

·         The final transformer has been placed in the transformer yard by Eversource.  Work on the main electrical room inside the building is underway to prepare for the electrical gear and permanent power.  Electrical gear installation will occur in early February.  Once electrical gear is in place, Eversource will energize the permanent power to the building.  

GE Innovation Point Construction updates occur about monthly in frequency or when there are major transitions in the construction process. Visit GE Reports to sign up for updates and to find the latest information or contact GE at

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Mayor Walsh 2019 Environment &Transportation Legislative Agenda

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced his environment and transportation legislative package, the second of four legislative packages the City of Boston will be submitting to the Massachusetts Legislature. The six-bill package will strengthen the Commonwealth's commitment to the goals set out in the Paris Agreement and the City's goals to be carbon neutral by 2050. Mayor Walsh's legislative agenda builds upon the work of the Administration to ensure equity, opportunity and resilience for all residents by strengthening current systems and creating new tools to adapt, mitigate and invest in local transportation and the environment.

"Addressing the threat of climate change and making sure we keep up with our transportation needs goes beyond city limits. That's why we must work together with the Massachusetts Legislature on issues of climate mitigation and adaptation, and do everything we can to address congestion and increase safety in our streets," said Mayor Walsh. "I'm proud to propose legislation that will explore incentives to reduce pollution and create a statewide vehicle to work on resiliency projects, as well as proposals that would provide investment in transportation infrastructure."

Mayor Walsh's second legislative package of the year focuses on Boston's shared commitment and leadership with the Commonwealth to be robust environmental stewards, strengthening our ability to address climate change and its impacts. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to be in line with the Paris Agreement while preparing for rising sea levels and extreme weather events is a shared responsibility that requires immediate legislative action. To that end, the environmental bills proposed seek to create a statewide vehicle to work on resiliency projects and explore market incentives to reduce pollution.

This work builds on Mayor Walsh's recent vision plan for a Resilient Boston Harbor. This comprehensive and transformative vision calls for investing in Boston's waterfront to protect against the impacts of rising sea level and climate change. The Mayor's plan lays out strategies along Boston's 47-mile shoreline that will increase access and open space along the waterfront while better protecting the city during a major flooding event.  
The City has already completed segments of the Resilient Boston Harbor plan through district-level projects in East BostonCharlestown, and South Boston. These projects led to immediate action along the East Boston Greenway where a deployable flood wall was installed last year, an elevated section of Main St. in Charlestown was added to the design of the City's Rutherford Ave. and Sullivan Square project, the ongoing planning for Moakley Park in South Boston to prepare it for coastal and stormwater flooding, and the construction of Martin's Park in the Seaport, which is expected to be completed this year.
Most recently the City, in partnership with the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), submitted its proposal for a $10 million FEMA pre-mitigation grant to begin resilience work along the Fort Point Channel. As the City continues to make strides towards building a more climate-ready Boston, it will begin its next district-level planning project for the Downtown and North End neighborhoods early this year and begin the same work in Dorchester later this year.  

Furthering strengthening Mayor Walsh's commitment to protecting Boston against rising sea levels and climate change, the City is accelerating its progress toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The City of Boston is committed to being carbon neutral by 2050. Early this year the City will begin the process to update its Climate Action Plan. The update will provide an implementation roadmap to achieve carbon neutrality in Boston, identifying the immediate next steps Boston must take to reach its goals. Most recently the City rolled out its regulation of single-use plastic bags, encouraging all customers to switch to reusable bags when shopping in Boston and help move the City toward zero waste. The City also took a big step forward in implementation of Community Choice Energy by seeking proposals from qualified consultants to develop a municipal energy aggregation program and by convening a community-led working group to inform the program design.  
As a leading city on climate action, the City was named a winner of the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge as Boston works to strengthen and accelerate its progress toward reducing carbon emissions. The City will receive a support package, valued at up to $2.5 million, to increase low-carbon mobility choices and improve energy performance of Boston's building sector.

"Massachusetts residents are already feeling the impacts of climate change, from hotter summers to increased coastal flooding and heavier rainfall. Our research has shown that to address these challenges and protect vulnerable communities, we need partnership among local, regional and state government," said Rebecca Herst, Executive Director of the Sustainable Solutions Lab at UMass Boston. "We applaud Mayor Walsh for proposing a comprehensive approach to protect communities throughout the Commonwealth and encourage better governance for all."

"We applaud the Mayor's Regional Commission for a Climate Ready Commonwealth that will tackle the very tough issues of how to organize, finance and prioritize our critical responses to climate change. Mayor Walsh continues to recognize that the time is now and we need to work together to meet the challenge," said Kathy Abbott, President and CEO of Boston Harbor Now.


An Act to Establish a Commission for a Climate Ready Commonwealth: would create a regional commission to determine which entity should lead major coastal and inland resiliency projects, how such projects might be funded and how those projects should be prioritized. Boston is not alone in facing the threat of climate change, and all communities are experiencing the reality of extreme heat, snow, rain, and flooding. As the impacts increase and intensify, it's more important now than ever before to coordinate investments to adapt infrastructure and our natural and built environment to future climate conditions.

An Act to Modernize our Natural Gas Infrastructure: would impose a fine on natural gas providers for the total volume of all gas leaks, incentivizing the utility companies to update their infrastructure and providing revenue for climate-ready municipal projects. Natural gas is a powerful greenhouse gas and significant contributor to climate change. The City of Boston and all other cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth have outdated and aging natural gas infrastructure. Gas leaks not only harm the environment but are a public safety issue, public health concern, and financial burden to ratepayers.
For more information on the City's environmental work, please visit the Environment Department's website.


As Boston's population continues to grow, with projected growth to reach almost 760,000 people by the year 2030, Mayor Walsh is proposing four transportation bills aimed at efficiently supporting residents by providing investment in transportation infrastructure, reducing carbon emissions from motor vehicles, and providing for safer streets.

The bills further goals established in Go Boston 2030, the City of Boston's comprehensive transportation plan. Execution of the plan is well underway with action being taken on more than half of the 58 projects and policies identified. These initiatives work to reduce traffic, encourage travel by transit, bike and on foot, and ensure safety and access equitably for all users of Boston's streets.

Examples include partnering with the MBTA to promote the use of public transit by establishing a dedicated bus lane on a section of Washington Street in Roslindale that serves eight different bus lines carrying thousands of passengers daily; incorporating new techniques and upgraded equipment into roadway projects to advance our Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and severe injuries in Boston by 2030; and working to build a network of low stress, strategically placed, separated or buffered bike lanes to allow for safe travel by bike throughout Downtown and Boston's neighborhoods.

"Mayor Walsh's legislative agenda is comprehensive and future-oriented," said Marc Draisen, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. "It includes incentives to address climate and transportation issues, as well as penalties for behavior that stands in the way of progress. We are particularly pleased that the City of Boston will support Regional Ballot Initiatives to generate revenue for critical improvements in our transportation infrastructure. This is a major source of revenue for roads and transit around the country, and we need this tool in Massachusetts too."


An Act to Allow Regional Ballot Initiatives: would allow cities and towns in Massachusetts to work together to pass taxes that would be used to fund specific transportation projects.

An Act to Promote Safe Streets and Reduce Congestion: would allow photo enforcement for school buses with cameras to capture violations when the STOP arm is deployed and for addressing Blocking the Box traffic violations. This bill is part of a broader road safety legislative agenda, which includes support of previously-filed bills related to sideguards on trucks and cell phone use while driving.

An Act to Allow Parking Assessments for Infrastructure Investment: would allow cities and towns to add an assessment to spaces in private parking garages, to be used to build and maintain roads and bridges, as well as bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

An Act to Update Transportation Network Company Assessments: would update the existing TNC legislation to better align it with the State's and City's climate and mobility goals.  In particular, it would create a lower assessment for shared trips, a higher assessment for solo trips, and encourage walking, biking and transit as primary modes of travel.

For more information on the City's transportation work, please visit the Transportation Department's website.


Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Fort Point Channel Operations Board Annual Meeting This Friday

The Fort Point Channel Operations Board will be holding their annual meeting on Friday, January 11, 2019 at 10 AM in the Fort Point Room at Atlantic Wharf. The agenda includes:

The public is welcome to attend. 

What is the Fort Point Channel Watersheet Activation Plan? To determine how to take better advantage of the Fort Point Channel's potential, the BPDA initiated a watersheet planning process with the Fort Point Channel Working Group and Fort Point Channel Abutters Group, which involved area residents, business owners and stakeholders. The resulting Fort Point Channel Watersheet Activation Plan envisions the channel as a location for a wide range of water’s edge and floating public uses, including piers, docks and landings for cultural attractions, recreational boating and sightseeing. The Plan also endeavors to seamlessly balance these public uses with the existing water-dependent uses along the Channel, including the Gillette Company, Barking Crab and Hook Lobster, as well as advancing water transportation initiatives. The activation goals and elements of the Plan have informed Municipal Harbor Plans specific to the area as well as state Chapter 91 Waterways licensing of projects along the Channel.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Start The New Year Off Green

Boston Public Works Department will pick up your Christmas tree for free on recycling day during the first two full weeks of January (weeks of Jan 7 and Jan 14, 2019). The trees will be shredded for compost and will give new life to park plantings in the spring.  

What to do: Remove all ornaments and decorations. Place your tree on the curb by 7 am. If you have twice weekly recycling, trees will be picked up on the first recycling day. 

Find out your trash recycling schedule