Townie Tidbits is usually good for a story, a memory, or a laugh, but the February 22 piece, “Why Won’t These People Just Go Away,” brings an unnecessary tone and inaccurate claims to the conversation about the Rutherford Ave redesign.
After throwing out the previous plan for no clear reason and a year of spending on consultants, the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) still does not have a plan for the Austin Street intersection that works.
In the meantime, Dr. Peter Furth, a transportation expert and professor at Northeastern University, has used the same traffic data and projections as BTD and produced an alternative layout for the Rutherford Ave/Austin St intersection that handles traffic better than BTD’s underpass plan. Professor Furth’s plan accommodates the same number of cars/trucks as the City’s design – it would provide sufficient capacity for vehicles traveling through the neighborhood, while also making sure residents can get where they need to go. In addition, it would provide better service for pedestrians and bicyclists and leave an additional 49 feet of space for a park to buffer Charlestown residents from air quality and noise impacts of Rutherford Ave. Finally, his plan provides flexibility to adapt to future changes in traffic that could result from all the development in and around Charlestown— if ever needed, it would be a lot easier to add a lane to his plan than to an underpass.
We commend the Transportation Committee for pausing to consider Professor Furth’s plan rather than throwing good money after bad. The $250,000 at issue has been set aside for Charlestown by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (not, as some incorrectly believe, by Congressman Capuano). It’s not going anywhere. This new plan has the potential to be the consensus for which many have been searching. Waiting a few weeks to examine a superior option makes sense, whether you care about cars, trucks, pedestrians, bicycles, strollers, air quality, resiliency to flooding, construction costs, or all of the above.
For those interested in reviewing a plan for Austin St that actually works, Professor Furth has posted a summary and the full report at http://bit.ly/austinstreet. More history and information are available at http://www.rcic-charlestown.org/.
We thank Mr. Giarratani for recognizing we won’t give up until we have a design that works for all of us!
Nathan and Gitte Blanchet
Ivey St. John
David and Emma Yashar
Charlestown Residents who support the RCIC
HOUSING CRISIS EXISTS IN BOSTON neighborhoods
We have a housing crisis in Boston, and everyone admits more units are needed, but no one wants them in their neighborhood. This means that, if any housing is to be built, it will be on old industrial sites with a minimum number of neighbors. Hood Park is perfect for this. Cambridge has put Boston to shame by building tall transit-oriented dense development on its side of the border near Community College, Somerville is doing its part by building Assembly Row. Parts of Charlestown are quaint and beautiful. Parts of it are industrial wasteland. Hood Park is the latter. It is well removed from the historic area, and the only view it would block is of a highway. Building tall there will ruin no historic neighborhood. The only opposition I see to building a lot more housing is coming from homeowners who get richer and richer due to the housing crisis, while we renters get poorer and poorer. It’s time for this ridiculous and destructive anti-housing mentality to stop. We are pumping insane amounts of carbon into the atmosphere as people commute from New Hampshire because they can’t afford to live in Charlestown, all while homeowners in $1 million homes decry housing being built on the other site of town by mass transit in a vacant industrial lot. That’s as ridiculous as it gets. Consider me at least one resident of Charlestown who wants to see Hood Park built up to 330 feet, or even taller if possible. The more housing, the better.
A Call to Support Students and Teachers
This is NOT an assault on the Second Amendment but an assault on the assault weapon and an action plan.
Since the Parkland massacre, there has been much written in the media regarding the present gun laws.
According to a USA TODAY/ Suffolk University poll finds Americans overwhelmingly support tougher gun laws but also agree that: Congress isn’t likely to act anytime soon. Why this disconnect?
A Republican, Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, stated at the Conservative Political Action Conference, “GOP lawmakers are feeling perfectly secure in their gun views.”
Now is the time to make the lawmakers feel perfectly insecure in their gun views.
Just to help me understand the Second Amendment and assault weapons and to cut through all the written and media coverage, I needed to educate myself.
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution reads, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be in-fringed.” It was ratified on December 17, 1791.
Most American soldiers used muskets in the Revolutionary War. The qualities of an 18th-century musket, has a 60-yard accuracy for hitting man-sized targets, doesn’t work in the rain and averages about four rounds per minute.
Assault weapons have been involved in at least 62 mass shootings in the United States since 1982. The AR-15 has a 30 round magazine and can fire 45 rounds per minute. The assault weapons kill more people in a short time as well as inflict larger wounds and more permanent damage than a handgun. Assault weapons belong in the battlefield, not in a citizen’s hands. Ironically, the shooter in the Parkland massacre was not able to purchase a handgun because of his age  but was able to purchase an assault weapon.
The Parkland students and teachers experienced unconscionable trauma from the deaths and injuries of their classmates. The students took their concerns to their lawmakers and to our President. These people in office have offered “thoughts and prayers.” The students are asking for a ban on assault weapons. They were not listened to. The NRA offers money to our lawmakers. The lawmakers listen to them.
What we ALL need to do. Our lawmakers may be morally bankrupt but we are not. Our first obligation is to support the Parkland students as they struggle to remain strong, find a voice and make changes.
There is a march in Boston on the 24th of March. We must all attend.
The next step is to educate ourselves and others as to which of our representatives in Mass. as well as nationwide, the NRA has a grip on.
This process will entail work, research and coming up with a plan to educate the other marchers regarding the monies the legislators are currently taking from the NRA. This is short term.
The long term is to educate the rest of the nation before the elections on their legislative representatives and senators stance, or not, with the NRA. This can be accomplished by alerting and encouraging major newspapers across the nation to use this information, through their media to inform the voter.
This is an opportunity for all of us who value our students, teachers and all children that we stand with them and are willing to go that extra mile and make a difference. They need us and we need them. They will be the change that has to happen. These mass shootings must stop now.
If you have ideas, thoughts, or are willing to get involved with the March event, please step up to the plate by volunteering through marching, working on research, making banners, or just by engaging others to participate in the march. We cannot let this moment evaporate and come alive again with the next mass shooting.