Townie Tidbits


Once again a roadblock has been thrown down on moving ahead with grant funding for the Sullivan Square re-design. I have been attending meeting after meeting on the future Sullivan Square and traffic flow.

I usually sit next to community activist John Dillon, who always has an opinion and not afraid to state it. The last meeting we were joking about the number of meetings already held and how there are still some who refuse to budge from their no-underpass demands. Seems the tree, bicycle and anti-car folks will never surrender on their disdain for tunnels or underpasses.

I was a little kid when both the underpass to Everett and the overpass to Somerville/Medford were constructed. My Uncle Nick helped build those passageways. He took a liking to East Somerville and moved his family there from Prince Street in the North End because he thought when you crossed over the overpass, you were in the country.

Overpasses and underpasses were popular 60-70 years ago as a means to move traffic, which by the way, has only gotten worse with time. However, I digress. Recently, the anti-tunnel folk showed up at Councilor Wu’s Transportation Committee. You know this Surface Option group. They won›t give up. The City Council was to vote on February 5 on releasing $250,000 in grant funding. Should have been a done deal but thanks the Rutherford Corridor Improvement Coalition, the vote to release the monies was not taken. Thank you  to the improvement coalition.

Kudos to State Rep. Danny Ryan for saying what most in Charlestown believe that, “If this is still about surface versus underpass, to the best of my knowledge that ship has sailed.

Ryan has been since first elected, a voice and vote for the best interests of his district and has represented Charlestown quite well. He is 100 correct. Enough games have been played. Time to stop talking and start doing.

By the way, wanna bet if the Surface Folks win out in Sullivan Square that it is only time before they start planning for a surface option for Austin Street too. Don’t they see the gridlock that will come if they win? I am sure their motives are honorable but their idea is doesn’t make logical sense and never has. I like trees like the next guy and you can still have your trees whether traffic slowly goes by them or invisibly beneath them.

Let’s stop throwing roadblocks and third rails at making Sullivan Square work for the community and for motorists going here to there.

Just one man’s opinion. What’s yours? Let me know at [email protected].



Stopped by the brand-new Starbucks  inside the old bank building in Thompson Square. Quite a few customers inside checking out the place and relaxing with a nice brew of coffee. I wished the manager well but also hoped that Zume’s would survive the competition. I think it will after building up a good reputation over the years. I think there are enough coffee drinkers around for both places.

The Starbucks is pretty huge, and Zume’s much more intimate. One is part of a large chain and the other a local business. I was surprised it took this long for Starbucks to find Charlestown. However, gentrification always seem to bring out the need for caffeine. Maybe it is the high costs of living in a great community. You need lots of java to make it through the day.



I remember when I was a kid, Charlestown had its own Charlestown Savings Bank but that bank left Thompson Square for the new Bunker Hill Mall when it opened almost 40 years ago. Immediately it became Neworld Bank or as the Townies referred to it as the “Nee World Bank.”

Well with the recent arrival of Cambridge Savings Bank, the bank building is now home to a bank again.




I noticed that the new Starbucks has located its restrooms in the rear of the store. I started laughing when I realized the toilets are exactly where the old Lorraine’s Coffee Shop had been located. Now, that›s sad, isn›t it. A great hangout has been turned into outhouses.




People in Charlestown have a good voice at City Hall with District 1 Councilor Lydia Edwards getting pretty proactive from the get-go. She is calling for a hearing in Charlestown as chair of the Council’s Housing and Community Development Committee. She recognizes the need for a public hearing bringing B.H.A. and developer transparency to the community at large. This meeting should be happening next month.As Edwards noted, I felt it was necessary for our community to be at the table. We will be impacted the most and we need City Hall to come hear us.» BHA. Director Bill McGonagle stated upon hearing Lydia’s plans for a meeting next month as something he would welcome saying that more discussion is always better and added that he thought the process had actually been pretty open to date. I agree with him on that but more communication is always a positive. What happens with the One Charlestown housing concept is too important not to be as open as possible to community input.  If you have something to say at the upcoming meeting, send your comments to [email protected]. She wants to hear from you. Your voice counts because Charlestown counts.

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