Rather than hosting a forum or publishing a questionnaire, SASS asked all of the candidates for city council to submit a brief statement introducing themselves and their commitment to road safety.
These are their responses.
Note: Due to a technical error by the SASS Organizers, some candidate responses were initially omitted from this page. That has now been corrected. We regret any confusion that this caused.
Willie Burnley (At-Large)
Thank you to SASS for this opportunity to speak about the crucial issue of community safety as well as for their years of organizing on this front. My name is Willie Burnley Jr, I’m a renter living near Magoun Square, a cyclist, and one of your At-Large City Councilors. My commitment to road safety has been shaped by joyous summer days cycling through Somerville streets, frightful experiences at intersections without proper daylighting, and even tragic nights standing in remembrance at ghost bike dedications. Just over a year ago, I stood before more than a hundred community members rallying in Seven Hills Park for a Safe Streets Ordinance and pledged to draft a law that would end the vehicular deaths of our neighbors and increase the accessibility of our sidewalks. I have been true to my word and introduced a bill that, in the coming months of work within the council and with City staff, will help expedite our Bicycle Network Plan by requiring the City to install a certain amount of protected bike lanes per year. Additionally, the law will require sidewalk repairs when major street renovations take place, encourage the implantation of raised crosswalks, and provide transparency and clear pathways for resident feedback long in advance of major street changes. In working on this legislation, I’ve spoken with a broad group of stakeholders, including small business owners involved with both the Union Square and East Somerville Main Streets. My message to them was consistent with what I have told everyone is at the heart of this issue: we cannot have another father, another mother, or another child be seriously injured or die on our streets due to poor policy and infrastructure. Pedestrians and cyclists shouldn’t have to rely on the patience and thoughtfulness of drivers to ensure their safety; it is the role of government to design equitable and safe streets and sidewalks for all.
Of course, no one ordinance can do everything. As the council’s representative to the Somerville Bicycle Advisory Committee, I often hear about the various issues cyclists face in the community, including having to dodge cars parked illegally in bike lanes and crosswalks. For far too long, there has effectively been no enforcement against drivers exhibiting these unsafe behaviors because our City had adopted an obscure state law that required any parking tickets issued to vehicles by the Traffic Department to be affixed to the vehicle by hand. That is why I used my role on the council to rescind this law and adopt one that allows the City to mail parking tickets to vehicles. This allows the City to take documented cases of parking violations through 311 and mail tickets to the owners, if there is the political will to do so. My hope is that this will empower residents to encourage their neighbors to practice safe road usage that does not endanger other road users.
Passing laws that enhance the joy of our residents and reduce their fear is my love language as a local legislator; it is how I turn those days and nights of righteous outrage into action. I want to remind folks that that is only possible because of organizers that take the time to bring attention to the issues causing harm in our community and residents that take the time to reach out to their elected officials. Please, continue to reach out to me on social media, over the phone, and by email so that we can one day have policy as good as our people.
Will Mbah (At-Large)
I first ran for city council six years ago because I love this community and I want to contribute to making it better for everybody. I am proud to have served four years as a Councilor At-Large, and I look forward to resuming that service next year.
I have been a big supporter of SASS since the early days of the manifesto and the “Corridor of Death” rallies where we brought attention to the lethal conditions at Mystic and McGrath. I live on the Northwest side of the city, and I am keenly aware of how dangerous Alewife Brook Parkway remains today.
We know the changes that are needed in order to keep people safer from cars: We need to slow cars down so that collisions are survivable. We need physical barriers between cars and bikes, as well as clear guidance in the “mixing zones” that are shared between cars, bikes, and pedestrians. We need to make accessibility and ADA compliance a top priority, not an afterthought.
The city must do our part to move quickly away from the dangerous and polluting legacy of car-centric design that we inherited. As part of that, we need to reduce the amount of parking available on our main streets, reclaiming space for buses, bicycles, pedestrians, and maybe even some green infrastructure. As we do this work, we must always be sure to maintain safe, convenient access for people with mobility challenges.
I support the planned removal of parking on Highland Ave to create two-way protected bike lanes. We re-do our main streets very rarely, and it’s important to take opportunities like this when we have the opportunity. I completely support the idea of a complete or a safe streets ordinance that can guide the city towards a well thought out transportation network that serves all of us.
My commitment is that I will keep listening to all members of our community, understand people’s goals, concerns, and always put safety first when it comes to our streets.
Kristen Strezo (At-Large)
I’m Councilor Kristen Strezo, one of your At-Large City Councilors. I have spent the last three years proudly representing our Somerville community. I’m running for re-election and I’m asking for your vote.
I am a single mom of two kids in the Somerville schools. I was raised in a proud union household, spent decades in a feminist punk band, and also acted as the sole caregiver of my elderly grandmother for 12 years.
I know the struggles facing Somerville residents because I’ve lived through them. As a single mother who lives in affordable housing, I understand the many difficult decisions that families make. I am running for re-election because I believe that we need voices in the City Council that understand the unique needs of our community, and I want to continue to serve my beloved Somerville community.
My road safety plan, among all of my other policy priorities, is centered around equity. I used to be the sole caregiver of my elderly grandmother with accessibility needs and had to constantly navigate how to best get around Somerville. Whether guiding my grandmother with her walker down broken Somerville sidewalks or being left to walk a stroller down the middle of a street, I understand the importance of safe streets. My goal is to ensure that no pedestrian, cyclist or driver is put in harm’s way.
My approach as City Councilor has been proactively working for short and long term solutions to safe roads and passageways. Safe streets are multifaceted. They include children and safe passageways to school and school programs. For instance, our safe pedestrian paths require more crossing guards to ensure we can protect our kids. I have been actively working as Chair of the Housing and Community Development Committee to assess the crossing guard staffing numbers, and discuss how/if the position can be modernized.
As of September, 2023, we have around 33 crossing guards out of 55 openings. While this shortage of crossing guards is regional, we must do all we can to ensure our youngest residents can cross safely.
We now have more children crossing McGrath Highway with the Winter Hill School relocation. But we have no staffed crossing guards at Broadway and McGrath which deeply concerns me. I have been working with PTA members, parents, Human Resources and the State Delegation to push for state response in these dangerous pathways. We need immediate action.
The west side of our city borders another state road. I check in with residents whose streets are parallel or are in intersecting neighborhoods. And while I am happy some intersection crossing times were elongated along Alewife Parkway, there is still plenty of work to do. Residents still worry about the Capen Court rotary and are requesting more visible yield signs and tree branch trimmings for better visibility. I am exploring what we can do within Somerville to address this. I believe that we can continue to be proactive at a city level while we wait for state response between departments.
We need to ensure that users of community paths are safe by supporting brake visibility so that cyclists and pedestrians are not harmed when crossing intersections. We must continue to explore every traffic calming measure possible on side streets to reduce traffic and ensure cut through traffic and other drivers are not speeding on our residential streets
I am fully committed to safe streets, and will continue fighting for such imperative policies in a third term. My goal is to expand protected bike lanes, ensure safe pedestrian pathways and increase municipal and state funding to help make this possible.. Some seniors do not always have the ability to ride bikes and must rely on their cars. We have residents with ADA needs that require other transportation beyond bikes, and we must bear these needs in mind.
We need to have an ongoing community dialogue of the different ways many Somerville residents get around our community—and for these continued heart-to-heart dialogues to lead to direct action. This is all possible. I’m hoping to continue this fight for safe streets and safety in a third term.
Jake Wilson (At-Large)
Two years ago I made safe streets one of the pillars of my campaign after witnessing so many deaths and injuries from traffic violence in our city. Since taking office last January, I’ve served on the Traffic and Parking Committee and have sponsored or co-sponsored 82 items related to street safety in the City Council. I’m running for re-election to continue that work.
One of my mantras is that getting around one’s city shouldn’t be a high-risk activity. But all too often it is, and we need to be working toward the goals of Vision Zero to reduce the incidence of these unsafe conditions that lead to potentially tragic outcomes. As a parent of two kids who are starting to explore our city on their own, I’m driven to keep our community safe when we’re out and about.
I have #TwentyIsPlenty in my Twitter bio for a reason. I want to see us slowing down vehicle traffic to safer speeds on our streets through the deployment of speed humps, cushions, and tables, and the introduction of chicanes, pedestrian refuge islands, and mini traffic circles and roundabouts to reduce the appearance of straightaways on our streets that only encourage reckless speeding. I favor removing redundant same-direction travel lanes on our city streets and installing curb bump outs and other approaches that narrow corner radii to reduce turning speeds and daylight intersections.
I want to see us doing more raised crosswalks and traffic calming tables in intersections, especially around our schools and business districts. And I’ve introduced a council order for a Safe Schools pilot that would aim to reduce vehicle traffic in front of schools during dropoff and release times to protect our school kids and their families, as well as our educators and staff.
We need a stronger commitment by the City to honoring our legal and moral obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Ensuring our infrastructure is inclusive is going to take a significant effort, given all our sidewalks, curb ramps, and crosswalks that currently fall far short of ADA compliance. But centering the needs of those with disabilities in key decisions on future projects can help prevent the creation of additional problematic elements of our infrastructure.
I voted in favor of the City’s bicycle network plan and I support a cyclist safety ordinance like what Cambridge has in place. I’ll be following the progress of the proposed ordinance Councilor Burnley introduced that now is in the Legislative Matters Committee, and I look forward to passing the eventual final product..
We need more separated bike infrastructure in our city, not unsafe door zone bike lanes. I prefer grade separation whenever possible, with precast concrete curbs the next best option. I’m glad to see these improvements included in our bicycle network plan and I’ll be excited to see these come to fruition.
I’m spoken out against targeted police enforcement of cyclists engaging in safe, common-sense behaviors. In response, I co-sponsored a resolution with Councilor Ewen-Campen to effectively legalize the Idaho Stop here in Somerville though a deprioritization in enforcement. I use the Idaho Stop myself when I ride, and I strongly believe it creates safer streets for everyone.
I’ve championed bi-directional, protected bike lanes on Highland Avenue as part of the project redesigning that key street. And I’ve expressed my displeasure at the project delays that have seen the work fall years behind the original schedule. I really believe that if we prioritize active use of Highland Ave (and any other similar street for that matter) and engage with local businesses to determine actual parking needs, that we can deliver a solution improving the situation for everyone except occasional drivers using street parking for long-term car storage.
I believe asking occasional drivers who store their cars for days at a time to do so on side streets and walk another block or two when they actually use their car is a case of minimizing aggregate pain for the greatest aggregate good. And I’ve made this case to anyone who will listen, including folks who are anxious about any removal of parking on Highland Ave like small business owners and the Chamber of Commerce.
If re-elected, I’ll continue to be a loud and persistent advocate for improving street safety for everyone in Somerville. I thank SASS for your relentless efforts on this front and I hope to continue working with you in the next term.
Matthew Hunt (Ward 1)
I decided to run to be of service to Ward 1. For far too long the east of the city has been underrepresented and underserved. I am endeavoring to change that. In an ever changing Somerville we are not seeing the dividend. Ward 1 needs a stronger advocate to help shepard change and make sure that the interests of the area are represented.
I stand out as a candidate because of my commitment to active communication with constituents. My notion of a representative is someone who brings your concerns to the table rather than seeing the vote as a mandate given to them every 2 years. Constituent services are the bedrock of local democracy. The fundamental purpose of city government is not ideological, it is to be in service to the community. And yes, there will sometimes be unpopular decisions to be made but when people are routinely listened to, respected, and informed those decisions can be taken with grace.
As it stands, people feel marginalized and unheard in city projects. More needs to be done to communicate locally with stakeholders throughout the process to keep people on board. Specifically when it comes to safe streets, nobody is anti-safety but people who are not consulted when it comes to major changes in their area are understandably hostile. My commitment to safe streets is to advocate to our neighbors to prioritize life saving changes to our streetscape. Our streets need to be geared to our most vulnerable road-users. This means different things in different neighborhoods and circumstances but the overwhelming priority should be safety and preserving life.
Thank you for your continued work and the platform to share my own vision for what a City Councilperson can do.
Matthew McLaughlin (Ward 1)
I represent the ward most dramatically impacted by state highways and dangerous traffic. I am a consistent voice in improving safety along these lines that cut East Somerville off from the rest of the city.
I support pedestrian safety improvements on McGrath Highway, I-93 and the connecting East Somerville Streets. I worked with SASS and elected officials to get improvements to these areas. More needs to be done in these highly impacted areas.
I am a leading voice in getting sound barriers along I-93 to address air and noise pollution. I worked with state officials to finally get the state to commit to studying the possibility of sound barriers. This represents the first positive movement in 70 years.
I support the grounding of McGrath Highway.
I am a proud supporter of the Neighborway program. I often canvass with activists and city staff to address streets that are often ignored but offer safe paths for pedestrians and cyclists.
I am a constant advocate for the Kensington Connector, which connects East Somerville and Assembly Square. The fact that this hasn’t been done yet highlights the inequity of road safety measures in the city.
I advocated for an expansive bike path system in future developments of Assembly Row.
In addition to these issues I am a consistent voice in addressing everyday street and sidewall issues. I am constantly on the lookout for ADA compliance issues, unsafe intersections and roads that could use special attention. Bicycle is my primary mode of transportation and I often walk the ward both for recreation and to be aware of ward matters.
Ben Ewen-Campen (Ward 3)
I was elected to the City Council as part of progressive wave of new candidates who took office in 2018, all of us running on platforms focused on housing affordability, development without displacement, economic justice, addressing climate change, advocating for safe streets, and much more. Over the past three terms, I have been particularly focused on street safety and public transit because it is very literally one of the top threats to public safety here in Somerville. I also know that creating streets that allow people to shift away from single occupancy vehicles is absolutely central to our efforts to address climate change. For more detailed information on what I’ve worked towards and what I’ve been able to accomplish in office, please visit BenForWard3.com/accomplishments or take a look at previous questionnaires for the Vision Zero Network.
For the past ~15 years year, I’ve been a daily bicycle commuter to my day job at the Harvard Medical School, and for the past nearly three years I’ve spent much of that time with a toddler on my bike. Spending eight to ten miles a day on a cycle on the streets of Somerville, Cambridge, and Boston has profoundly sharpened my understanding of the dangers of our streets to all users. It has made me deeply committed to making the necessary infrastructure and policy changes that we need to enact. These issues are not abstract to me – they are a part of my daily reality and I am committed to seizing this moment to make tangible improvements to improve the safety of our streets. Even when there are widespread misconceptions or pushback about what such changes could mean for issues around parking, I firmly believe that we are capable of enacting these life-saving infrastructure changes while also supporting our local businesses and residents of all ages and modes of travel.
A few representative specifics:
- Beginning in 2019 with a Resolution calling for a budgetary commitment, I’ve helped to lead the efforts to develop a Bicycle Network Plan, which just recently the City Council voted to endorse. Now, I am now looking forward to enacting a binding Ordinance to ensure we build it out at a rapid pace.
- I have led the efforts to create protected bike lanes on Highland Ave, and I firmly believe that this can be done in a way that does not negatively impact (and in fact will help!) small businesses and local residents. This was supposed to begin back in 2020-2021, and since my very first meeting with our new Mayor I have emphasized that these bike lanes are my top transportation priority. The project has been sidelined by the current administration for the past two years, and is currently envisioned to be delayed to 2026-2027. This has been an enormously frustrating situation, but I will not give up until we have a safe Highland Ave.
- I have been a staunch advocate for increasing staffing and resources for our Mobility & Engineering departments to ensure that we have the staff capacity to design and executive safe street projects, and will continue to do so.
- I have worked tirelessly to advance Spring Hill Sewer Streetscapes, which (despite three years of very painful construction work!) will literally transform much of Ward 3 with improved pedestrian, bike, and bus facilities, will nearly double the number of trees, create traffic calming measures, and a number of stormwater retention facilities and small parks.
Much like SASS, I firmly believe that we need to use traffic safety data to prioritize our street safety work, rather than simply listening to the most politically-connected voices. This is why I have been so enormously impressed by the work our community has done to improve state roads 28, 38, and the Alfewife Brook Parkway; while these largely don’t fall within Ward 3, they are critical to street safety in Somerville. I have also been working to develop closer relationships with MBTA staff, because now that we have a MBTA train community, it is important for all of us in elected office to be able to effectively advocate within the system.
I am very grateful to the SASS coalition for all of the effective advocacy that you have done over the past several years, and I look forward to continue partnering with you to make our streets safer and more pleasant for everyone in Somerville.
Naima Sait (Ward 5)
My name is Naima Sait. I am running for Ward 5 Somerville City Council. I am a first-generation immigrant from Algeria, a mother, a long-time Somerville resident and educator. I speak four languages – English, French, Arabic and Tamazighrt, the native language of indigenous people in North Africa. I have lived in Somerville for almost 10 years, first as a renter and now as a homeowner. Somerville is the community that welcomed me as a first-generation immigrant. It’s the place where I had the opportunity to serve the community as an educator for 7 years at Somerville High School and today it’s the place where my husband and I are raising our child.
In my years teaching, I saw that a lot of the issues playing out in our schools are issues we are dealing with as a broader community: affordable housing, sustainable infrastructure, mental health and language access. I am running because as an educator working in the community, I have been seeing and hearing about the daily effects of the housing crisis and the state of the municipal infrastructure on our residents, about how the pandemic and its aftermath have been affecting people’s mental health, and I have been hearing from our most vulnerable populations on the importance of having translation and interpretation services.
As an educator and a community member, I have been involved in organizing around sustainable modes of transportation and climate education. I worked with Somerville educators to pass a contract that prioritized:
- Sustainable modes of transportation that allowed teachers to have access to reduced MBTA fares and Blue Bike passes.
- Maintaining and enforcing anti-idling zones in drop-off areas and on streets adjacent to playgrounds and school buildings, plus post signs around schools.
- Creating a cross-curricular climate change curriculum and committee to develop and implement it district-wide. This will help prepare our youth for the high-skill green jobs of the future.
I am also working with the Massachusetts Teachers’ Association’s Climate Action Network on helping unions in Massachusetts advocate for climate change education and climate resilient schools. I worked with students in MA and Somerville Sunrise Youth members to develop strategies to advocate around climate policy.
I am happy to see that safety is prioritized by creating protected bike lanes in the Highland Ave redesign. Given the nature of our streets and our community’s different needs, it’s important that we continue to work and hear from the community.
I support the planned parking removal to enable two-way protected bike lanes on Highland Ave. We have many bikers on Highland and this design will allow them to bike safely. The safety that protected bike lanes offer will help incentivize more folks to switch to more sustainable modes of transportation which will help reduce traffic and make more parking available to people who are mobility impaired and seniors.
The opposition to the redesign from businesses can be addressed by changing our current parking regulations. Currently, they are favoring the neighboring residents instead of the businesses.
In order to make the Highland redesign work for all users, we need to encourage residents to live car-free by offering free transit passes and Blue Bike subscriptions to all residents (or at least car-free residents!) It is worth noting that one of the reasons we have a traffic and parking problem is because many of the people who work in Somerville cannot afford to live here. Somerville should be a community where residents can live and work. We should put our growing prosperity to work for all of us, including long-term residents who want to stay in their home, and new young people and immigrants wishing to settle down here. We should use our naturally close-knit neighborhoods to create a truly livable city, with safe streets, a clean environment, and a lively cultural scene.
I support implementing a quick build protected bike lane when the street is repaved because many people are biking unsafely on Highland. It’s an issue that needs to be addressed. However, I would like to learn more about the temporary design as it unfolds.
I am eager to serve the community as a City Councilor, where I will have an opportunity to work together with you to build the Somerville we want. I believe my commitment to Somerville and my lived experience – as a first-generation immigrant, an educator, a mother and a community member – make me a good candidate for Ward 5 City Councilor.
Jack Connolly (Ward 6)
Over the years our streets have changed and as the City of Somerville has grown they have become much busier, crowded and increasingly dangerous. I am an advocate and a strong supporter of the FHWA “Complete Street Design Model” Complete streets is a transformative strategy in which the transportation network is planned, designed, built, operated, and maintained to enable safe mobility and access for all road users, including, but not limited to, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders across a broad spectrum of ages and abilities.
It is going to take us time to adjust to the new layout of dedicated bus and bike lanes, but they have already and will continue to make our streets safer. I just ask that we take into consideration public parking spots when installing them and find a way to make parking inclusive instead of exclusive in our city.
Another issue that is not being focused on is our crosswalk timers here in the City. I can personally walk you to multiple crosswalks throughout Ward 6 that will indicate that pedestrians have the right away and the walk sign is on while simultaneously motorists, cyclists, and other forms of transit have the green light. This is unbelievably dangerous and hopefully we can resolve the issue prior to a tragedy. Undoubtedly this issue can be found in our other wards across the city.
We have the budget, resources, and multiple plans ready to put into place to make our streets safer, much more accessible, and beneficial. What are we waiting for and why? I ask for your vote this election so we can act on these issues.”
Lance Davis (Ward 6)
Why did you decide to run?
I am seeking reelection because there are so many things that I want to see through. I am proud of the work that I’ve done as a City Councilor and I am committed to continuing to address the biggest challenges that we face. I am currently working on a density for housing amendment to the zoning ordinance, among other changes to address the housing affordability crisis; there are both short and long-term changes we are going to make in Davis Square to make it safer for all users and to revitalize the small business community; I’m serving on the Civilian Oversight Task Force to create a process of civilian review and oversight of the police department; we likely will have another round of negotiations on the proposed new charter once the mayor’s office submits her response to the Council’s proposed draft; and many other issues. I am excited and energized to see these things through and continue to serve this community as Ward Six Councilor.
What distinguishes you from other candidates?
I have a proven record of success as a leader within the City Council and in working with the administration to bring investment in improvements across the ward, as well as progressive changes to city ordinances and policies to advance equity, civil rights, and civil liberties for every member of our community. I will continue to leverage that leadership position to improve our community and to fight for everyone in Ward Six and across the city.
What is your commitment to road safety?
Improving safety for all road users has been one of my top priorities since I first took office. The first ordinance that I introduced was the Vulnerable Road Users Ordinance which requires side guards, cross-over mirrors, and other safety equipment on all city trucks and city contractors. I successfully fought for revisions to the College and Holland Ave project to implement greater pedestrian safety improvements, advocated for the new traffic signaling equipment currently being installed in Davis Square to reduce vehicle/pedestrian conflicts, and have successfully fought for installation of new stop signs, crosswalks, radar speed signs, and just this week a right turn only green arrow from Summer St. onto Willow Ave. This is just a sampling of the work that I’ve done, and will continue to do, to make our streets safer for everyone.
What is your position on the Highland Ave redesign? Do you support the planned parking removal to enable two-way protected bike lanes? What do they think about the complaints and opposition to the plan from many business owners? Do you have any ideas about how to make this work well for all users?
Physically protected bike lanes are the gold standard and should absolutely be the primary objective throughout the city. Highland Ave is a complicated scenario of course, due to it being a main route for emergency vehicles and hosting many small businesses without significant alternatives for short-term customer parking. I do understand the concerns raised by business owners, particularly in an environment that has been very difficult recently due to many factors including post-COVID labor shortages and the significant increase in the cost of credit. These are real issues and we have to be conscious of the impact of any changes we make. When we lose small businesses it impacts our enjoyment of the community as a whole and in the simplest sense, gives us fewer places to visit on foot or by bikes. To be clear, I do not believe that implementing bike lanes anywhere in the city has caused the closure of businesses. There are too many other significant factors at play, not the least of which is the ongoing failure of the MBTA to provide effective, reliable service. Nonetheless, we need to be conscious of the impact any changes we make have on the small businesses that are such an important part of our community. We are, sadly, nowhere near a place where we don’t still need motor vehicles to support many folks’ everyday mobility needs. Therefore, as with any significant change, this must be implemented thoughtfully and in the proper sequence. Parking changes, including shifting of existing parking to short-term use during key business hours, should be implemented deliberately, over time, with thought to what makes sense to roll out first, before we make the larger wholesale changes that will be associated with dedicated protected bike lanes. This can be done but it also is something that the administration has failed to do on other projects. We need to learn from those experiences to ensure a Highland Ave project that is a benefit to the entire community.
Judy Pineda Neufeld (Ward 7)
As the daughter of immigrant parents, a community organizer, small business owner, new mom to baby Isaac, and your Ward 7 City Councilor, I care deeply about making our city a better place to live, work, and thrive. Equity and justice are not just boxes to check on a to-do list, but rather a lens by which I live and lead. I’m serving on the Council to take bold action on our common challenges from greater access to affordable housing, an accessible and livable city, healthier connected communities, and more. My husband and I just had our first child this April, and as I welcomed Ward 7’s littlest constituent I am reminded of the importance of this work to not only improve Somerville today, but prepare our city for an even better and brighter future. I am so proud of all we have accomplished thus far, and I look forward to continuing my work standing up for the community I love each and every day.
As City Councilor, I have pursued policies for safer walking, biking, and public transit access for all. My first orders as a Councilor focused on traffic calming needs and safer streets in my ward. I plan to continue improving street safety and mobility around our city to reduce traffic crashes and help drivers, cyclists and pedestrians all safely share the roads. I am proud of the progress I have made for the streets of Ward 7, including working with the Route 16 Safe Street Coalition, made up of neighbors, advocates, and elected officials from Somerville, Arlington, Cambridge and Medford, to successfully advocate for $100,000 in this year’s state budget for a traffic study of the Route 16 and Broadway intersection. The study will provide information on how the state can move forward with much needed street safety improvements for this dangerous corridor.
In my role as Councilor, I also recently worked with city staff, residents, stakeholders, and small business owners on the redesign and reconstruction project for Holland Street, one of Ward 7’s busiest arteries. Through my own outreach, I was able to advocate for additional ADA parking spots in Teele Square and work with residents and business owners on placement of loading zones. I am very excited that the redesigned and repaved Holland St will have protected bike lanes, ADA compliant sidewalks, and other improvements for safety and accessibility. I believe that Highland Ave also needs this level of community outreach and engagement with residents and business owners and here in Ward 7, I intend to be involved, engaged, and focused on the redesign and reconstruction of West Broadway from Teele to Rt 16, beginning soon.
I have also been in close touch with residents who are concerned about the safety of their own street and neighborhoods. Recently I met with residents on Victoria Ave who are concerned about the speeding cut-through traffic that flies down their street in order to avoid the traffic and light at Rt 16 and Broadway. We are discussing with the Mobility and Traffic and Parking departments options to install traffic calming and better signage on that street.
I am looking forward to continuing this work on behalf of and for our neighbors in Ward 7.