By Adam Swift
The Charlestown Neighborhood Council’s (CNC) agenda coming into 2020 likely won’t come as a surprise to anyone living in the community, or any high-density urban area, for that matter.
During the CNC’s first meeting of the year Tuesday night, Jan. 7, Vice Chair Margaret Bradley unveiled the results of a recent survey asking Council members their top areas of concern for the coming year. The goal, Bradley said, is to invite City and State officials and stakeholders to future meetings to discuss and resolve the areas of concern.
“Traffic was the top result by one, followed by development and the One Charlestown project, and then City services,” said Bradley. “We want to make sure we devote a series of meetings to these issues.”
Among the officials, Bradley said the Council is seeking to meet in the coming months to address some of these issues are City Councilor Lydia Edwards and city Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ryan Woods.
Bradley and Council Chair Tom Cunha are also holding out hope that Mayor Martin Walsh will find the time to visit the CNC this year.
Cunha said he and Bradley met with the mayor last year, and he said he was willing to appear at a CNC meeting this year.
In the meantime, CNC members spent a portion of Tuesday night’s meeting discussing possible questions to ask Edwards, Woods, and any other officials they can schedule to meet with to discuss traffic, development, and city services.
CNC member Tera Lally recommended taking a slightly different approach to traffic than has been attempted in the past.
“We should approach traffic as a safety issue,” she said, with an emphasis on painting street and crosswalk lines.
While CNC member Ed Grace said people would drive recklessly with or without freshly painted lines, Lally said the move would at least emphasize safety issues and get some drivers to slow down when speeding through Charlestown.
For Cunha, the biggest issue with traffic in local streets is people from outside the community cutting through Charlestown. He said traffic solutions should include measures to divert vehicles from local streets.
“We need to get traffic that does not belong in our town out of our town,” said Cunha. “We can do our own traffic.”
When it comes to dealing with development in Charlestown, at the moment, there is the massive Bunker Hill project with nearly 2,900 proposed units, and there is everything else as well.
Cunha said he and other CNC members have continued to meet with developers and builders of the project to try to get a better handle on the impact it will have on the community. He said the CNC will continue to attempt to bring the project’s proponents to public meetings to address concerns and impacts.
According to the last meeting he attended, Cunha said demolition permits could be in place for the first phase of the Bunker Hill project by the late spring.
When it comes to other potential Charlestown development, Bradley agreed that the CNC should keep an eye on the City permitting process, and invite potential developers before the council to answer questions about proposed projects.
“Anyone who wants to build in the community should come to four or five meetings, then we can explain our concerns, and they can follow up and come back and answer our questions,” said Cunha.
In addition to the items mentioned in the survey, Lally suggested that the CNC get input from a School Committee member to address school development plans in Boston and how it will affect the number of school seats available in the neighborhood for Charlestown residents.
In other business, the CNC approved sending a letter to the Bunker Hill developers asking them to make sure any streets or blocks currently honoring veterans within the scope of the project remain in place.
The CNC also tabled a vote on extending member terms from two to three years, with the mind to take that up again at the February meeting. Mayor announces application open for Boston