Category: Beacon Hill Times

West End Civic Association Winter Meeting Set for Feb. 21

Beacon Hill Times Staff

Please join the West End Civic Association on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. for its winter meeting held at Amy Lowell Community Room, 65 Martha Road The doors open at 6:45 p.m.

State Rep. Jay Livingstone and Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim will update on issues affecting the West End.

Special Guest Speaker

Reverend Joseph M. White – Saint Joseph Parish

Father Joe will discuss the opioid and drug crisis that is affecting our – and all – neighborhoods. West Enders have learned a great deal about drugs in the city as we engaged in dialogue over the licensing of marijuana establishments in our community. We see an increasing number of drug addicts here, and we are concerned. We need to educate ourselves and our children about the addicted community.

One great service comes from The Archdiocese of Boston, which has a special ministry to assist addicted persons and families of addicted persons. AARPSS, the Archdiocesan Addiction Recovery Pastoral Support Services, can be reached through Father Joe frjoe@stjosephboston.com.

On the 21st, join in this neighborhood meeting and learn what actions we can take in dealing responsibly with this growing problem.

Spread the word – all West Enders are welcome, refreshments served.

Are you interested in making a difference in your neighborhood? 

Become a member of the West End Civic Association and join neighbors keeping the West End a special place to live. Take part in one of our many on-going projects – or help start a new one.

As a WECA member, you help ensure our residents’ needs are brought to our city government’s attention.

We can keep our West End neighborhoods, from Charles River Park to North Station, special.

Stand with us to help protect the future of our West End neighborhoods.

For the Coming Year Livingstone’s Legislative Agenda Considers Both District-wide and National Issues

by Dan Murphy • February 7, 2019 •

While State Rep. Jay Livingstone conceived his legislative agenda for the new year with his constituents firmly in mind, he hopes it will also reverberate on a national level.

“I focused on priorities for the district, as well as thinking about how to continue making Massachusetts a leader, which is more necessary now because of what is happening at the federal level,” he said. “One thing that is under attack nationally is women’s reproductive rights…and we want to make it clear that Massachusetts reaffirms women’s reproductive rights.”

Livingstone and Rep. Pat Haddad have filed legislation called “The ROE Act” to protect women’s decisions regarding their own bodies, which has become the “top priority in the legislative term” for the nonprofits NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts and Planned Parenthood.

According to Planned Parenthood, “The ROE Act eliminates the onerous requirement that forces teens to obtain permission from a parent or judge to access abortion. This process causes teens to delay care or travel outside of the state, and is opposed by the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.”

Another bill that Livingstone filed with Rep. Adrian Madaro, who represents East Boston, aims to raise fees on Uber and Lyft to better align them with the fees levied on ride-sharing services in other states while using the proceeds to improve public transit, as well as bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

 “I’m excited to address improving our transportation system and discouraging use of fossil fuels,” Livingstone said. “I think this bill will help address congestion that is increasing at an exponential rate because of these services and decrease transportation pollution as a result.”

Meanwhile, Livingstone and Rep. Andy Vargas have filed new legislation t to further facilitate early voting in all elections.

“I think we should continue to make voting as easy as possible for people to increase participation,” Livingstone said.

http://beaconhilltimes.com/2019/02/07/for-the-coming-year-livingstones-legislative-agenda-considers-both-district-wide-and-national-issues/

Gearing Up: Plans for Bike Lanes on Craigie Bridge Move Forward

by Dan Murphy • January 31, 2019 • 

Following the end of the public comment period on Jan. 22, the state is now moving forward with plans to install dedicated bike lanes on the Craigie Bridge.

Current conditions on the bridge, which carries traffic on the McGrath O’Brien Highway (Route 28) between Land Boulevard in Cambridge and Leverett Circle in Boston, include six travel lanes with no dedicated bike lanes leaving bicyclists to use travel lanes or the sidewalks and no defined turn lane into the Museum of Science, according to The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).

MassDOT and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) unveiled two bike-lane options, as well as planned safety improvements for the bridge, on Dec. 18 at the MIT Stratton Student Center in Cambridge.

New safety measures, which are slated for completion by this spring, include changing speed-limit signs to 25 mph; installing “speed feedback” radar signs; conducting road-safety audit; installing pavement-marking change; and installing flex posts if possible, according to MassDOT.

The design team presented two options for creating bike lanes, both of which would eliminate one traffic lane.

The first option, which was developed in 2008, would create continuous on-road bike lanes and maintain the existing sidewalks while providing two travel lanes in each direction and adding a left turn into the Museum of Science.

The alternative is just like the first option, except that it would create three travel lanes into Leverett Circle and restrict left turns into the Museum of Science.

The final design is expected to be presented in the winter of 2019, wrote MassDOT spokesman Maxwell Huber.

“O’Brien Highway is a key bike route between Cambridge and Boston,” according to a statement from the Boston Cyclists Union. “It’s also eight lanes wide in parts, with a high volume of truck traffic and speeding vehicles. Protected bike lanes are absolutely necessary to minimize conflicts on this road.”

The bridge was the site of a fatality on Nov. 9 of last year when 24-year-old Boston University Meng Jin,24, was struck and killed by a dump truck while biking there.

Stacy Thompson, executive director of the Cambridge nonprofit Livable Street Alliance, is pleased that the state is proceeding with the project, albeit more slowly than was originally anticipated.

“Citizens have been advocating for bike lanes since the late ‘90s…and we’ve been asking for these changes for more than a decade,” Thompson said. “There was a commitment when Longfellow Bridge rehabilitation project was complete that they would install the bike lanes, but there were various delays with that bridge and now that it is complete, we still don’t have the bike lanes [on the Craigie].”

While Thompson said she sees no merit in debating which alternative is preferable, especially since they were developed, at least in the case of the first option, more than a decade ago, she emphasizes that “the devil is in the details,” such as connectivity to the Charles River and whether or not buses can make a left turn into the Museum of Science.

“Having strong biking infrastructure is an absolute must, but they still have work to do so that the bridge can move the most people, which includes improving walking and biking infrastructure,” Thompson said.

State Rep. Jay Livingstone also said he was pleased that the project is moving forward while underscoring the bridge’s potentially hazardous conditions. “I think current situation is unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclist, and I think separated bike lanes should be installed with minimal disruption to current traffic,” Livingstone said. “I’m pleased that MassDOT is doing the public process with all stakeholders involved so that everyone has a say.”

Esplanade Association Board says ‘Thank You’ to Rep Livingstone

November 9, 2018

By 

The board of the Esplanade Association hosted a reception to thank State Rep. Jay Livingstone for his contributions to the Charles River Esplanade, and to the neighborhoods of Back Bay and Beacon Hill on Thursday, Oct. 25, at the home of T.K. and Lianne Ankner.

At this intimate gathering, Livingstone met with EA supporters and spoke of some of his proudest moments while in the Legislature. He was acknowledged for his contributions to public access to the Charles River Esplanade, including advocacy for the completion of the Fanny Appleton Footbridge, inclusion of Commissioner’s Landing for funding in the Governor’s 2018 Environmental Bond Bill and his active role in planning for the future of the former Lee Pool site.

“As a Friends group to a state park, it is invaluable to have allies in the State House to help secure funding for major improvements to the park or advocate for the removal of impediments to public access,” said Michael Nichols, executive director of the Esplanade Association. “Rep. Livingstone understands the role the Esplanade plays in improving the quality of life for the people in his District and beyond and he has been a strong supporter of the park throughout his years in office. We were thankful for this opportunity to express our gratitude.”

Hill Voters Still Have Early Voting Option

November 2, 2018

By 

Beacon Hill voters can cast their ballots in the Commonwealth’s general election at their assigned polling locations on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, or take advantage of early voting ending on Nov. 2.

Republican Charlie Baker will be seeking a second term as governor in the race against Democratic candidate Jay Gonzales, who served as the state’s secretary of administration and finance under Gov. Deval Patrick from 2009 to 2013, while KarynPolito, Baker’s Republican running mate in the reelection bid, is vying for her second term against Democratic challenger Quentin Palfrey, an attorney who worked as senior advisor for jobs and competitiveness in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy during President Barack Obama’s first term.

In the race for U.S. senator, incumbent Democrat Elizabeth Warren is running for a second term against Geoff Diehl, a Republican who represents the 7th Plymouth District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and Shiva Ayyadurai, a scientist and entrepreneur running as an Independent.

 

Incumbent Democrat Maura Healy will face GOP challenger Jay McMahon, a Cape Cod attorney, in her bid for second term as attorney general, while Democrat Bill Galvin is seeking his sixth term as secretary of state against Republican Anthony Amore, director of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Green-Rainbow candidate Juan Sanchez.

In the race for state treasurer. Democrat Deborah Goldberg is running for a second term against Keiko Orral, a Republican who serves in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and currently represents the 12th Bristol District in the General Court, and Green-Rainbow nominee Jamie Guerin.

Incumbent Democrat Suzanne Bump is seeking a third term as state auditor running against Republican Helen Brady, Libertarian Daniel Fishman and Green-Rainbow candidate Edward Stamas.

In the race for Suffolk County district attorney, Democratic candidate Rachael Rollins, former general counsel of the MBTA, will face Independent candidate Michael Maloney, a criminal defense attorney. Rollins has made waves during her campaign by vowing not to prosecute a list of 15 crimes if elected.

Meanwhile, the general election ballot also includes Question 1  – a proposed law that would limit the number of patients who could be assigned to each registered nurse in Massachusetts hospitals and other healthcare facilities; Question 2, which the secretary of the state’s website describes as a “proposed law would create a citizens commission to consider and recommend potential amendments to the [U.S.] Constitution to establish that corporations do not have the same Constitutional rights as human beings and that campaign contributions and expenditures may be regulated’; and Question 3, a “law [that] adds gender identity to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination in places of public accommodation, resort or amusement.”

On November 6, Election Day, the polling location for voters for voters in Ward 3, Precinct 6 is Boston City Hall, 1 City Hall Square; for voters in Ward 5, Precinct 3 – the State House, 24 Beacon St.; Ward 5, Precinct 4 – the West End Branch of the Boston Public Library, 151 Cambridge St.; and Ward 5, Precincts 5 and 11 – Hill House Community Center, 127 Mt. Vernon St. All polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The state’s early voting period runs from Monday, Oct. 22, to Friday, Nov. 2. A Massachusetts state law passed in 2014 requires that cities and towns offer early voting for the general election every two years. The first early voting period was in 2016, so this year is only the second time the City is offering early voting.  Anyone who is registered to vote in Boston can take advantage of early voting in the city at any of the polling locations.

The main polling place in Boston is City Hall, though there are a number of pop-up locations throughout the city to make it more convenient for people to cast their ballot. This year, the city offered a full weekend of early voting on Saturday, Oct. 27, and Sunday, Oct. 28.

The most successful polling place over the weekend was the Copley branch of the Boston Public Library, bringing in 1339 voters on Saturday. Overall, there have been 15,603 early voters as of Oct. 29, according to the Election Department—and there are still two more days to go.

City Hall remains the main polling place, and will be open for voting from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, but there are also a few remaining pop-up locations. On Thursday, Nov. 1, polls will be open from noon-8 p.m. at: The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center, the ABCD Thelma D. Burns Building, and The Blue Hills Collaborative.

State Rep. Jay Livingstone, who also supports early voting, said he hopes that the initiative makes it easier for people to access their right to vote and subsequently leads to higher voter turnout.

As for the ballot questions, Livingstone expects Question 3 will do “overwhelmingly well.” He added, “I’m pleased that the voters have upheld civil rights granted to transgender people in 2016 with the legislation that I actively supported.”

Also, Livingstone applauded Rachael Rollins as candidate for Suffolk County district attorney, adding that he “look[s] forward to the benefits to our criminal justice system and society as we encourage treatment and rehabilitation over incarceration.”

Livingstone also predicts that Elizabeth Warren and Maura Healy will “blow it out of the water” in their respective races for reelection as state senator and district attorney.

“It’s great working with Elizabeth Warren and Maura Healy, and I’m pleased that voters are returning them to office,” Livingstone said. “I’m grateful for people’s continued faith in me to serve them in the House of Representatives, and I look forward to this new term.”

Kenzie Bok, chair of the Boston Ward 5 Democratic Committee, also expects that Warren will handily win her bid for a new term while adding that she is encouraged by Jay Gonzales’ and Quentin Palfrey’s hard work on the campaign trail.

“Jay Gonzales and Quentin Palfrey are really doing a great job raising important issues and challenges in Massachusetts and… by not giving Charlie Baker a free pass,” Bok s aid. “The overall direction that the Republican party is taking the county in is disturbing and worrisome… so we still hope on Tuesday, the people will send [Baker] a message.”

Bok said the Ward 5 Dems are pleased with the return of early voting, which they hope will be available in all elections going forward.

“As far as increasing participation, early voting really moves the needle forward the most when combined with same-day registration, so that is hopefully something we can get in next election cycle,” Bok added.

Bok is also encouraged by the many people in their 20s and 30s who were engaged politically for the first time during this election, volunteering for campaigns and taking an active part in the process.

“It’s exciting…and this activation will matter a lot for future elections,” Bok said.