By Mark Niedergang, Ward 5 City Councilor
I am writing to invite you to the Safe Streets virtual Summit on Sunday, February 28 from 4-5 PM.
I also want to share with you our Declaration and Call to Action, and I ask you to read it and consider signing on in support.
There is a LINK where you can register for the Summit and read and sign onto the Declaration.
Councilor Will Mbah and I are part of a coalition of residents, parents, seniors, transit users, bicycle riders, business owners, and elected officials who have formed the Somerville Alliance for Safe Streets (SASS). We share a common goal for Somerville’s streets and sidewalks — safety and equitable mobility for all. We have seen far too many injuries and deaths on our streets.
It is time to come together with one voice and demand more be done to keep our residents safe.
We have prepared a Declaration and Call to Action that has already garnered over 300 signatures in a couple of weeks. I invite you to a virtual Safe Streets Summit on Sunday, February 28 from 4-5 PM. at which we plan to present our Declaration and Call to Action. The Summit will feature a moderated session where five people from diverse parts of our community will share their concerns regarding their mobility and safety in our city. Two hundred people have already registered for the Summit and we expect many more. The Mayor has already agreed to attend and I expect many Councilors and other elected officials will as well.
I know that you support safe streets in our City and I hope you can support this Alliance and its goal of ensuring safety on our streets, especially as the City prepares its FY2022 budget. We are asking the Mayor and the City Council to increase funding devoted to street safety. Our biggest ask is that the Mayor forms a Department of Transportation that includes a Chief of Streets and several new hires focused on transportation and safety. We also have prepared a document, “SASS Specific Recommendations,” with action steps to ensure a safe streets environment (this is linked to from the Declaration and Call to Action).
Here is a LINK that will bring you to the sign-up form to register for the Summit and to sign on to the Declaration if you wish to do so.
If you want to read one key document about Somerville’s commitment to ending deaths and serious injuries on our streets, review the City’s Vision Zero Action Plan here: https://www.somervillema.gov/visionzero
In 2017, Mayor Joe Curtatone formally adopted Vision Zero, a worldwide advocacy campaign focused on reducing and eliminating transportation injuries and fatalities. The Action Plan is the City’s strategy for eliminating deaths and serious injuries from our transportation system and details the actions the City will take over the next five years. It was developed by a team of City staff and resident volunteers. The objectives, strategies, and actions set forth are intended to be ambitious, specific, actionable, and measurable.
Mayor Curtatone wrote: “As Somerville strives to become the most walkable, bike-able, and transit-friendly city in America, we must take a systematic and proactive approach to creating safer streets. Even a single death or serious injury on our streets is too many, so we must treat traffic safety like the public health crisis that it is, examining our own behaviors, city policies, and the conditions on our streets (emphasis mine). Creating safer streets also helps advance our city’s wellness and sustainability goals, providing improved infrastructure to support increased physical activity for people of all ages and abilities, and reducing harmful carbon emissions and pollution in our transportation system.”
SASS is one of the most exciting and promising initiatives that I have been involved in during my seven years as a City Councilor.
I am happy to answer any questions you have about SASS, the Declaration and Summit via email or phone and/or to discuss this with you.
Thank you for your consideration.
Mark Niedergang, Ward 5 City Councilor
617 629-8033 firstname.lastname@example.org