Letters to the Editor

Thank You, Morrissey Family

To the Editor,

I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the Morrissey family and the Ryan “Duce” Morrissey Scholarship committee.  I have been blessed to have known Ryan and am honored by the Morrissey family’s generosity. I am entering my junior year at Colby-Sawyer majoring in early childhood education and hope to become a teacher. Again, thank you so much and thank you also for helping “Townie” students reach their dreams and goals. GOD BLESS!!!

Conor Kelly

Concerns as to the Status of the Rutherford Avenue Infra-structure Project

To the Editor,

(The following letter was sent to BTD Commissioner Rooney by State Rep. Dan Ryan.)

I write to express my concerns as to the status of the Rutherford Avenue Infra-structure Project, as well as other revitalization and transportation improvements in the vicinity of Sullivan Square. I understand the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) project schedule is fluid and timelines often change. The Boston Transportation Department (BTD) has worked diligently to hit planning goals and deadlines to ensure we access the federal funding set aside for this project. I thank you and your team for your attention to, and prioritizationbof, this area of Boston, thus far. I also appreciate the interim work done to maximize state and local resources, along with mitigation money from the Encore Resort and other developments, to address current traffic concerns until our long-term vision for  Rutherford Avenue and Sullivan Square is completed.

As you know, the nexus that is Sullivan Square is not only important to the residents of the Charlestown neighborhood, but also serves as a vital access point to northern New England from the Boston peninsula since the Colonial era. Therefore, this critical neighborhood project is not only urgent to the Charlestown community, but also Greater Boston. Nearly a century of neglect rendered this transportation corridor not only unmanageable, but also a hindrance to the future economic prosperity of Boston and its environs. Further delay will be crippling to the regional economy. Development in the region has not slowed during the past year at the same rate as our infrastructure planning targets. We also cannot let the recent diminished commuting volumes cast from our memories the snarling traffic and public safety issues that plagued this corridor pre-pandemic.

In 2003, decades of deferred maintenance caused the overpass in Sullivan Square to be condemned and demolished as an emergency act, not as a pro-active transportation plan on behalf of our community. Since then, we have been living with ramps to nowhere and a promise of correction. Through the focused efforts by BTD and other stakeholders in the past seven years much progress has been made toward a permanent solution to our infrastructure embarrassment. We do not want to lose that momentum. I respectfully ask for a reinvigorated community process with a timetable of goals for both the Rutherford Avenue Corridor, as well as interim mitigation plans for Sullivan Square and the areas of Charlestown past the Sullivan Square MBTA Station including, but not limited to: Parker, Brighton and Caldwell Streets.

The area is undergoing various public processes pertaining to future development and other economic activity. These transportation plans and construction timetables will be critically important to have in place before moving forward with major development and new enterprises in this area. The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) has also engaged the community in a comprehensive PLAN: Charlestown process, which will envision and encompass much of this area. The status of current traffic mitigation plans for this area, as well as future infrastructure needs, must be part of the BPDA conversation.

Better pedestrian, bicycle and multi-model access to public transportation hubs on the periphery of our neighborhood will allow some of our city’s most isolated residents an opportunity to embark upon workforce opportunities sprouting up around us. The outskirts of town are being darkened by development because of advances by cities on our immediate borders. Due to the lack of attention to public infrastructure at our end of the City, Charlestown, and therefore Boston, is bearing the brunt of the expansion of Assembly Row, North Point and Kendall Square. We are receiving very little of the benefit.

Moreover,  Charlestown is home to the largest public housing development in New England, along with two other major subsidized housing complexes. Tremendous efforts have been made to give these residents quality housing well into the future. We need a transportation system that will simultaneously make this neighborhood a desirable place to live, but also a realistic place to access economic opportunity for those often shut out. One without the other is just a perpetuation of the same systemic problems that have been brought to the fore this past year.

I thank you for your attention to this matter and for the work being done thus far. Please, let me know how I can best be of assistance. I await your response.

State Rep. Daniel J. Ryan

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