Connolly, Jehlen Announce Funding for East Somerville Pedestrian Infrastructure

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.


2 thoughts on “Connolly, Jehlen Announce Funding for East Somerville Pedestrian Infrastructure”

  1. Nice. Joe can’t help a 4 term homeless vet but we can spend thousands to paint under a bridge. Terrific use of our tax dollars..

  2. Great. Winter Hill – the ugly forelorn and forgotten stepsister. We never had block funding to pay someone to promote WH for years upon years. We don’t have a subway stop or a square – all the more reason effort and funding should be focused on Winter Hill. WTF has our ward 4 alderpeople beening doing over the last decade – as East Somerville has been marketed and improvements have resulted. Winter Hill Brewery – yeah that. And that’s IT. And Joe is downgrading the north side of Broadway from RB to NR. Homeowners on the Mystic Ave side of the hill have seen the least appreciation, and now Curtatone intends to limit existing 2 units to 2 units – even though there are more 3 units than 2 units. You don’t have to be a genius to know this is not changing the flavor of the neighbor. The 2 units are the exception. Because renters pass through the city, no one is appreciating the impact of this zoning – essentially eliminating the potential of thousands of units that could be built onto existing 2 unit properties. A rental unit created on an existing property and land is designed to be more affordable than building a new construction building on a purchased parcel of land. Example, corner of Broadway and Temple. High priced rental property because of acquisition cost and new construction. $2300/2400 for a one bedroom plus paying for parking. The City is considerate only of low-income housing and home ownership – when the massive need is for RENTAL housing for the average earners. Renters and housing advocates???? What’s your position because no one is stepping up on this issue. 80% approx are renters and no one has your back – in fact the goal to create more low income housing will only remove more general rentals from the pool, tighten inventory, and increase the rent you can expect to pay. Add to those lost units, the potential units being slashed/eliminated by the new NR zoning. Good thing renters are just passing through, because you can expect rental costs to increase thanks to the City of Somerville’s objectives which offers zero consideration to the housing crisis and rental needs of the average joe.

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