Thursday, November 04, 2021

Boston City Council Looks At Mass Ave Bridge Safety, Parking Minimums, Homelessness & More

City Councilor-At-Large Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. Below are some highlights from October and her final City Council meeting yesterday, November 3, 2021 with a special message:

This week’s City Council meeting will be my last as City Councilor At-Large, as next week the Council will not meet in observance of Veteran’s Day. It’s been a true honor to serve on this body over the last eight years. I am humbled by the trust that has been placed in me to serve as Boston’s next mayor, and I look forward to continuing the work. 


Safety Improvements on the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge Resolution: We voted to approve a resolution from Councilor Bok supporting key safety improvements on the Mass Ave Bridge, also known as the Harvard Bridge, including flex post-protected bike lanes by the end of the year and mode-separated travel for buses and bikes as soon as can be feasibly coordinated with the MBTA and MassDOT.

Youth and Young Adult Homeless Awareness Month Resolution: We voted to approve a resolution from Councilor Essaibi George recognizing November 2021 as Youth and Young Adult Homelessness Awareness Month, in support of the efforts of organizations, educators, and volunteers dedicated to meeting the needs of Boston’s children and youth experiencing homelessness.

Surveillance Oversight and Information Sharing: We voted to approve an ordinance that I sponsored in partnership with Councilor Arroyo on surveillance oversight and information sharing. This legislation establishes clear safeguards to ensure that the surveillance technologies used by the City are deployed with transparency, public accountability, and democratic oversight. It also prevents Boston Public Schools safety specialists from sharing sensitive student information with the Boston Police Department to protect students from inappropriate surveillance and ensure that BPS is a welcome and safe environment for all students, regardless of race or immigration status.

Parking Minimums for Affordable Housing: We voted to approve a text amendment to the Boston Zoning Code with respect to parking minimums for affordable housing. This amendment will eliminate parking minimums for residential housing where at least 60% of the proposed residential units are income-restricted at or below 100% of the area median income (AMI), preventing the use of parking minimums as a tool to delay or prevent the construction of these affordable housing projects. This amendment still needs approval from the Board of the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) and the Boston Zoning Commission before it takes effect.


Landmark Center Chapter 121A Project: We received communication from the City Clerk of the filing by the Boston Redevelopment Authority of the Application for the REport and Decision on the Eleventh Amendment to the Report and Decision on the Landmark Center Chapter 121A Project. Chapter 121A is the section of the Massachusetts General Laws that authorizes the creation of urban renewal corporations to undertake residential, commercial, civic, recreational, historic or industrial projects in areas considered to be decadent, substandard or blighted open space.


Housing Stabilization Home Rule Petition: We received notice for City Council approval of a home rule petition for a special law, Expanding the Authority of the Public Facilities Commission with Respect to Housing Stabilization. This matter was referred to the Committee on Government Operations.


Reparations and their Impact on Civil Rights of Black Bostonians: Councilor Mejia reported back as Chair of the Committee on Civil Rights regarding a hearing recently held to discuss reparations and their impact on the civil rights of Black Bostonians. At the hearing, we heard from advocates, community members, and members of the Administration about health and wellness, land and gentrification, education, arts and culture, economic empowerment, and more. This conversation is not just about slavery, but about the repeated injustices and policy decisions that have been made to disenfranchise Black communities. We heard strong support from the community for continuing the work of creating a reparations program and process. (Remains in Committee)

Literacy Task Force: Councilor Edwards and Councilor Flaherty reported back as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Committee on Government Operations, respectively, regarding a hearing recently held to discuss creating a literacy task force to address literacy rates in the City of Boston and develop a plan to enact policies and programs to serve both adults and children with literacy challenges. (Remains in Committee)

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