What’s New: City Beat

Photo courtesy of City of Somerville.

City of Somerville begins construction on new “life sciences” building in Union Square
Joe Cutatone took to Facebook to announce that the city began construction on a “new life sciences building” in Boynton Yards this December. The building is part of a larger project to increase “extensive community benefits” in that part of the city, according to his post. An official groundbreaking ceremony was held on Dec. 2, though the project had already been underway for months, and is expected to be completed by the summer of 2021, according to Curbed Boston.

Transit officials update community on GLX progress 
Transit officials held a meeting at the end of November to discuss the progress of the ongoing Green Line Extension Project (GLX), according to Somerville Patch. The meeting covered an overview of the project and benefits, a discussion of the project outlook, forecasts for upcoming work, locations, and hours of operation, and talk of the location for a new community path. The GLX team announced that the Washington Bridge will reopen permanently in April, but that they have encountered greater difficulty with their goal to reopen the Broadway Bridge by March, according to The Somerville Journal. 

City proposes increased parking ticket fines
A new Traffic Commission proposal put forward at the end of November aims to raise parking fines in the city, according to Somerville Patch. The current tiered fine system dictates a $25 ticket for parking over a meter limit; a $30 ticket for parking for over 48 hours, parking in a restricted area, or committing a parking zone infraction; and a $40 ticket for parking with an “unattached trailer” or failing to leave adequate space between cars or leading up to intersections. The new Traffic Commission proposal would leave the tiered system behind and increase all ticket fines to $50. 

Locals petition for bike lanes on Powderhouse Boulevard
Nearly 700 locals signed a petition at the end of November demanding “protected bike lanes” on Powder House Boulevard and on any city roads undergoing construction, according to The Somerville Journal. Local group Somerville Bicycle Safety has been leading the initiative, and delivered the petition to Mayor Joe Curtatone. Currently, only “non-protected” bike lanes runs along Powder House Circle and Powder House Boulevard. “The city made the wrong decision on Powder House Boulevard, sacrificing the safety of people on bicycles,” Somerville Bicycle Safety member Arah Schuur told the journal. “This is not an acceptable outcome for one of the city’s major connecting streets.”

Somerville officials want to make childcare a legal campaign expense
Somerville and Cambridge Representative Mike Connolly teamed up with Senator Pat Jehlen this November to propose legislation that would budget childcare as a legal campaign fund expenditure, according to The Somerville Journal. The push for this new legislature comes in response to Lee Erica Palmer’s run for School Committee in Ward 3, during which she “couldn’t canvas as much as she wanted to because it was difficult to find affordable childcare.”

This story appears in the Jan/Feb print issue of Scout Somerville, which is available for free at more than 220 drop spots throughout Somerville (and just beyond its borders) or by subscription.

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