BOSTON – Representative Mike Connolly (D-Cambridge) and Senator Pat Jehlen (D-Somerville) secured $95,000 in funding for improvements to Somerville’s Kensington Underpass in the Fiscal Year 2019 state budget.
Rep. Connolly and Sen. Jehlen filed successful amendments in the House and Senate, respectively, during the FY19 budget process to secure funding for improvements to the underpass. Rep. Connolly’s amendment was co-sponsored by his Somerville colleagues, Reps. Christine Barber and Denise Provost. Governor Baker initially vetoed the funding, but the Legislature voted to overturn his veto, ensuring the $95,000 was included in the final budget. This funding will be used in conjunction with existing mitigation funds from the City of Somerville to bring improvements to the underpass.
“I am proud that our amendment to fund improvements to the Kensington Underpass in East Somerville has been approved by the state legislature,” Rep. Connolly stated. “Working together with Senator Jehlen and all of our local colleagues, we are proud to secure this funding to help bring improvements to such an important connection for our community.”
“Thanks to the hard work of Rep. Connolly and Alderman McLaughlin, this project has come a long way,” said Sen. Jehlen. “I look forward to continuing to move the design process forward to give people in the neighborhood a clean, safe, and easy route to navigate.”
Last year, Rep. Connolly organized a walking tour with Senator Jehlen and other Somerville elected officials, including Mayor Joe Curtaone, Ward One Alderman Matt McLaughlin, Alderwoman-at-large Mary Jo Rosetti, MassDOT officials, representatives of East Somerville Main Streets, the Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership, as well as local residents. The tour focused on the need for improvements to the area, particularly the underpass.
The Kensington Underpass serves as a vital connection between East Somerville and Assembly Row. It provides residents in East Somerville with access to the amenities of Assembly Row and the Mystic River, and alternatively provides residents living at Assembly Row with access to other sections of the city. Residents have expressed concerns about the dark and unwelcoming nature of the underpass for several years, but state funding had yet to materialize until now.
Photos by Liz LaManche and her IDEAS FOR THE KENSINGTON UNDERPASS:If I had my way, this is what I’d do in the Kensington Underpass (that ugly walkway under 93 from the Stop & Shop to Assembly Square). Painting with Color Kinetics lighting. The complicated one would use stencils to make parts of it resemble the Dushanbe Teahouse in Boulder, CO, a symbol of international friendship. I also like how that’d contrast fancy, detailed and ugly, rough surfaces.