Author Archives: smulder

Health Issues

People of color more likely to live near high-polluting roads

A new study from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) found that 45% of the greater Boston area’s Black residents, 47% of the region’s Asian residents, and 54% of the region’s Latino residents live in the highest-pollution areas, compared to only 29% of the region’s white residents. Exposure to vehicle air pollution increases the risk of heart and lung diseases, which have been associated with higher death rates for patients suffering from COVID-19.

Read more of the study’s findings.

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Green Line

Feasibility studies for future Community Path connections

The Friends of the Community Path and the Friends of the Mystic to Charles Connector released this Joint Report on two feasibility studies of regional trail linkage to the Community Path extension:

  • Study A: Connection to the Grand Junction Path
  • Study B: Connection to the Mystic River Greenways at Assembly Square

Low Resolution File

High Resolution file

Detailed Survey Results:

Thanks to:
– MassTrails for co-funding these Feasibility Studies with the Friends of the Community Path and the Friends of the Mystic River Connector
– Alta Planning + Design the contractor we selected to perform the Feasibility Studies
– Our non-profit fiscal sponsors for this MassTrails grant: Somerville Community Corporation (SCC) and Mystic River Watershed Association
– Friends of the Grand Junction Path for their assistance with this project
– The 650+ community members who participated in the Feasibility Study Survey

These feasibility studies allow us to pursue the next the step – project design, which may occur in stages for different areas.

We hope these proposed bike-ped connections will someday benefit people of all ages, abilities, and walks of life, by creating healthy, enjoyable active transportation and recreational opportunities with connections to public transit.

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Online public Green Line meeting

Wednesday, June 24, 5:30-7 pm
Register here

GLX project officials will make information available on:
* Project Overview and Benefits
* Construction Update and Look-Ahead
* Work Forecast, Locations, and Hours of Operation

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Green Line

Two Somerville bridges reopening

The Washington Street bridge/underpass near McGrath Highway reopens today after a long closure for Green Line construction. There will be one travel lane and one shared bus/bike lane in each direction. A temporary pedestrian sidewalk will be open on one side of the roadway until final surface restoration is complete. Work will continue overhead on the elevated track level during this phase. Permanent pavement, finished sidewalks on both sides, lighting, and street markings will be completed this summer.

Later this week, the Broadway Bridge in Ball Square reopens as well. It will initially reopen with one travel lane in each direction. During this early stage, temporary accessible sidewalks and bike lanes will be installed on one side of the bridge allowing ped/bike travel in both directions at all times. Final surface restorations are expected to be completed this summer. At that time, the bridge will include permanent pavement markings with two travel lanes in each direction in addition to finished sidewalks and bike lanes on each side of the bridge. When the future Ball Square Station now under construction is complete, the bridge will feature a fully accessible entrance to the station platform from the bridge sidewalk via an elevator and staircase. A second at-grade entrance will be constructed from Boston Ave.

Other bridge updates:

  • Work on the Medford Street Bridge in Gilman Square is progressing with completion scheduled for fall of 2020. The new design for this bridge calls for an additional span to be added at the south abutment in order to accommodate new Green Line tracks below.
  • School Street Bridge in Somerville’s Gilman Square will remain closed until spring of 2021. This long-planned closure will facilitate the widening of the rail corridor beneath the bridge to accommodate GLX tracks and the construction of a future Gilman Square Station entrance to be located along the bridge span.
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Health Issues

Virtual community meeting June 1 on traffic pollution research

You are invited to participate in a Community Meeting (via ZOOM) reporting on research done by the CAFEH research team on how traffic related air pollution and noise affects the health and wellbeing of Somerville residents. 

At the meeting we will cover what we have learned about the impact of traffic related air pollution on health, the results of noise testing along I-93 and how noise pollution affects our health. And, We will present the results of recent air pollution monitoring during the Covid pandemic when traffic has been very reduced in comparison to the more typical heavy traffic traveling through Somerville. 

June 1st, Monday 
5:00 pm to 6:00 pm 

In the comfort of your home via ZOOM 
Register Here 

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Green Line

Green Line update: construction, detours, and more

Coronavirus canceled the official Green Line Extension meeting recently, but you can view the slides from the comfort of your couch. You’ll find updates on:

  • Lechmere area construction details
  • Lechmere closure and replacement bus service
  • Street closures and detours

We were hoping for more details on station designs, but those weren’t shared.

By the way, this is the 1,000th post on STEP’s website! The fight for better transportation in Somerville has been a long one.

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Green Line

Updates to Somerville bridge closures

As Green Line construction continues, three bridges will continue to be closed longer than originally planned. Here’s the latest schedule:

Washington St.: Expected to reopen in May 2020.  
Broadway: Expected to reopen in July 2020. 
School St.: Expected to close after Washington St. bridge is reopened in May 2020 and reopen in June 2021 (the School St. bridge will not close until the Washington St. bridge is reopened.)
Medford St.: Expected to reopen in October.

The reason for moving the date is based on the contractor encountering an environmental contaminated water condition and the fact that the Broadway Bridge has been reconstructed a few times in the past and they have hit granite bridge abutment foundations that were unforeseen.

Officials still expect the Green Line Extension to be completed on time, by the end of 2021.

“Green Line Extension Bridge Openings Delayed” (Somerville Patch)

“In his testimony before the MBTA’s Fiscal Management Control Board today, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone said the city is “deeply disappointed” by the delays and will need additional assistance to address the impact of the closures. He said his community has had to shoulder a difficult burden during construction and will work with the MBTA and MassDOT to reduce its effects, including advocating for assistance with public safety and traffic management and support for local businesses .”

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Green Line

Lechmere closes in May for Green Line construction

“Lechmere Station closure looming as Green Line extension moves forward” (Boston Globe)

The MBTA is closing the decrepit Lechmere station at the Green Line’s current northern terminus next spring while it builds a new station across Monsignor O’Brien Highway, meaning for the better part of a year the trolleys will end their run at North Station. The Science Park station will also be closed while the T conducts major repairs to the viaduct that carries the Green Line.

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Green Line

Bridge closures: updated Green Line schedule

MassDOT shared an updated schedule for bridge closure at the public meeting last month. View all the slides for a Green Line construction update.

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Green Line

Noise, Path, trees, and more concerns at Green Line meeting

“Somerville wants open bridges, less noise, and more trees from GLX team” (Somerville Journal)

Though many residents attended the Nov. 19 meeting to learn about the progressing work, many shared concerns about construction noise, loss of trees, and community path design.

Concerned resident Wig Zamore noted thousands of trees were cut down due to the GLX and high school projects, and felling just 10 mature trees can trigger an action with the Massachusetts Environment Policy Act, should citizens choose to file it and start the process.

Cherry Street resident Allen Moore is invested in the community path: he is a member of the Somerville Bike Committee and is co-president of the Friends of the Community Path.

“We have given a lot of suggestions to the state on widening this path,” he said. “We understand no one wants to delay the project, including us, but there are some small changes — without changing the structure or retaining walls, etc. — which we’ve requested, and have not been adopted, so I’d like to know why they can’t be done.”

“Buses will be back for 11 months at Lechmere as green line extension T project rolls onward” (Cambridge Day)

Before a relocated Lechmere light rail station opens in December 2021, residents can expect 11 months of bus service to replace trains starting in May, state transportation officials say.

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