Public comments needed to keep Green Line on track
Since the announcement by the state that the Green Line would be extended through Somerville there has not been significant public discussion of major transportation concerns for Somerville residents. However, there are now some important comments you can make that will affect transportation and environmental justice policies for Somerville residents.
Your action and thoughtful comments are needed in the next two weeks regarding important transportation, environmental justice and development decisions that will affect Somerville’s future.
1. Comments on Massachusetts’ Long Range Transportation Plan must arrive at Executive Office of Transportation (EOT) by Tuesday, October 25th.
It is important for Somerville residents to thank the state for attention to our long-delayed Green Line extensions, to request that further delays in planning and financing the Green Line be eliminated, and to respectfully insist that the public health impacts we have long suffered from regional highways and diesel rail be measured and mitigated. See below for suggested comments.
Find Long Range Transportation Plan information: http://www.eot.state.ma.us/
Send email comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Send comments via regular mail to:
John Cogliano, Secretary
The Executive Office of Transportation
10 Park Plaza, Suite 3170
Boston, MA 02116
2. Comments on Massachusetts’ Environmental Justice (EJ) Policy must arrive at the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA) by Friday, October 28th.
This policy is reviewed every three years. Currently EOEA’s EJ Policy is directed at lessening the effects of stationary sources of pollution on neighborhoods with significant percentages of minority, low income and immigrant residents. Stationary sources include as power plants, printers, gas stations, hair salons, waste facilities and other local businesses. The EJ Policy does not yet address transportation pollution and related injustices even though they have more devastating impact on health in our communities. Mobile sources of pollution must be included.
View policy at: http://www.mass.gov/envir/ej/
Send email comments to: Tony.Chaves@state.ma.us
Send comments via regular mail to:
Tony Chaves, EJ Coordinator
Executive Office of Environmental Affairs
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114
3. There will be an important hearing at the Massachusetts State House on two similar Environmental Justice Bills proposed by Senators Barrios and Wilkerson respectively on Monday, October 24th at 1 PM in Room A-1.
Admirably, these bills aim to encourage cleaner communities and local businesses. However, they need immediate amendment to instruct state agencies to work with environmental justice communities to reduce exposures to and harm from transportation related air pollution. Any neighborhood with residents, workers, students or recreation areas within 1000 feet of major roadways, diesel rail corridors, port or airport emissions deserves additional public health protections now. Our EJ communities have already suffered too much.
Look up proposed bills and history using: âSenate Bill 471â for the Barrios EJ Bill, âSenate Bill 556â for the Wilkerson EJ Bill, House Petition filed by Rep. Sullivan (Fall River)
Send your comments via: http://www.mass.gov/legis/legis.htm
Or, use the following contact information for your legislators
|Name, Title & Mailing Address||Telephone & Fax||Email Address||District|
|Senator Patricia Jehlen
Rm. 213, State House, Boston 02133
|2nd Middlesex. All Medford wards & Somerville
ward 1, precincts 2 and 3, ward 2, precincts 2 and 3, wards 3 to 7,
inclusive, Woburn Ward 2 & Winchester
|Senator Jarret T. Barrios
Rm. 309, State House, Boston 02133
|Middlesex, Suffolk & Essex:
Cambridge ward 3, precinct 2, wards 6 and 7, ward 8, precincts 1 and 2, ward
9, precinct 1, ward 10, precinct 2. Boston: ward 2, ward 21,
precincts 4, 6 and 7, ward 22, precincts 1, 2 and 5, Chelsea & Revere
Ward 6, Saugus pcts. 2,6, & 10
|Rep. Carl M. Sciortino, Jr.
Rm. 39, State House, Boston 02133
|34th Middlesex. All precincts in wards 4 and 5,
precinct 1 of ward 7, and precinct 2 of ward 8, city of Medford, precincts 1
and 2 of ward 4, and all precincts of ward 7, of the city of Somerville
|Rep. Timothy J. Toomey, Jr.
State House, Boston, MA 02133
Middlesex: All precincts of ward 1, precinct
1 of ward 2, precincts 1 & 2 of ward 3, & precinct 1 of ward 6,
Cambridge, and all precincts of ward 1 and precincts 1 and 2 of ward 2, of
the city of Somerville
Thank you for your continuing efforts in creating a healthy, equitable and prosperous Somerville.
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Suggested Talking Points For Somerville Transportation Comments
1. Progress on the Somerville Green Line extensions has not kept pace with the schedule laid out by DEP and EOT during the Ozone SIP transit commitment hearings in late 2004 and early 2005. The specific financing sources and new Ozone SIP language were expected to be completed by the end of 2005. What is the story?
2. The draft long range transportation plan calls for the state to provide funding for “corridor planning” to be undertaken in local communities. This could have enormous benefit for the land use, pedestrian and bike planning needed to gain the most benefit from the Green Line extensions. How might this work and when will it start?
3. New Secretary of Transportation Cogliano states in his cover letter that the state will focus on making sure that the various transportation agencies no longer think and act as isolated and uncoordinated transportation providers. How will EOT implement and manage this new more multi-modal philosophy?
4. The draft long range plan speaks to a greater commitment to pedestrian and bike modes than in the past but does not explain who will take responsibility for these long neglected, but healthier and more community friendly ways of getting around. Could a new more recognizable group within EOT help with this?
5. Massachusetts has committed to fund the Ozone SIP transit projects but the plan lacks robust funding strategies for the full list of transit expansion projects. A $.10 gas tax increase and/or a $4 toll into Boston on major highways could fix our bridges, roads and transit more quickly, as well as supply new transit and more walkable communities.
6. The draft plan speaks highly of environmental justice and clean air commitments but gives no details. Since the Boston Transportation Plan Review and the Clean Air Act of 1970 over a generation ago, a series of regional transportation and environmental decisions made without regard to local impacts have caused enormous public health disparities.
Enormous public health damage in Somerville, Chelsea, Everett, Revere, South Boston, East Boston, Charlestown and many suburban neighborhoods – all overrun by heavy transportation corridors or nodes serving the region – resulted from a complete lack of responsible local health risk assessment and mitigation. No level of government protected our neighborhoods from harmful transportation impacts.
The final long range transportation plan should include a more thoughtful assessment of existing disparities in transportation service, benefits and burdens. It *must* include a more responsible approach to health risk assessment of regional transportation and “smart growth” projects or local injustices will certainly grow larger.