Alderman Maryann Heuston:What’s New in Ward 2

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Flooding Issues
Flooding, water, and sewer issues have long plagued this City and as the Chair of the Flood Forum Committee this is one of my top priorities. Recently many projects were started, some already
completed, to help with flooding. These projects include improving the infrastructure on Cedar Street as well as the Ten Hills/Assembly Square area. Also, an Infiltration/Inflow Stabilization Fund was recently approved. This will require developments with 18 or more bedrooms to make a contribution to the Stabilization fund, developments of this size or greater add over 2,000 gallons to our sewage system everyday day. The fund will be used exclusively to finance projects that will fix defects in the system that prevent groundwater from entering the sewers and to mitigate groundwater flow into drinking water.

Some long-term plans to reduce flooding include:

Building a holding tank at Nunziato Field
Significant water and sewage infrastructure changes to Union Square
Development of 15-year capital plan to address issues city-wide
Impervious surfaces are a major contributor to Somerville’s flooding problem. In 2012 the Board of Aldermen passed/amended two ordinances to address the issue of rampant asphalt coverage. But it’s clear that we need to revisit those ordinances so that we can better protect permeable surfaces and limit the addition of impervious surfaces. There are way too many municipal facilities with unnecessary cement and asphalt. Recently, in Ward 2 there were several examples of backyards that were dug up and paved trading greenery for asphalt. The two ordinances were sent to the Legislative Matters Committee for revision, we need something stronger to protect what little permeable surfaces we have and I am committed to reducing the amount of paved surfaces in the City. One place for us to start is in our own back yard.

Pedestrian Safety
I get lots of complaints about speeding cars, speeding bikes and ineffective pedestrian crossings. Safety is not something I take lightly and the Beacon Street Reconstruction project will address many of the issues along that corridor but completion is a long way off. In the meantime, look for some changes coming to the Buckingham and Beacon Street crossing and possibly something for the Kent and Beacon Street crossing as well. Palmacci Park has benefitted from some new signage. Hammond Street and Elliot Street are small streets used by cut through traffic. I have requested temporary speed bumps but none are in supply at this time and unfortunately they are usually in use during winter. These areas should see some additional signage including blinking lights on STOP signs and I’ll continue to work with the Traffic and Parking Department on additional measures.

Perry Park
Perry Park could use more attention and possibly a spiff up. Since dogs seem to be off leash at various times a suggestion was made to establish off-leash hours. This way enforcement will be easier and dog owners will not have to give up off-leash entirely. If we go this route som|dog has volunteered to run some off leash clinics. Look forward to a neighborhood meeting right after the holidays to discuss that and more for Perry Park.

Illuminations Tour
Saturday, December 13th – For the 5th year I will be a conductor/narrator on the Arts Council Illuminations Tour. The tour hits the streets where folks have traditionally elaborately decorated their houses for the Holidays. It’s great fun and it is something people of all ages can enjoy. The tour lasts about 45 minutes and you can find me on the 5pm eastern route where many Ward 2 home will be showcased. There several tours throughout the early evening. Contact the Somerville Arts Council for schedules and tickets.

Ward 2 ResiStat Meeting
Tuesday, December 2nd at 6:30pm in the Argenziano School. Come meet and schmooze with City officials and discuss projects large and small related to Ward 2.

Be sure to get engaged on my website and follow me on Twitter for up to date news on all the issues and events in Ward 2.

Until soon,
Maryann Heuston

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