gingicat: drawing of me based on wedding photo (Default)
[personal profile] gingicat
(Havurat Shalom is a small Jewish congregation affiliated with the Jewish renewal movement. that resides on College Avenue in an unassuming yellow house next to the house with the giant face on it.)


Havurat Shalom is joining Cambridge's Humanist Jewish community Kahal B'raira in their project to collect donations for refugees. They, in turn, are participating in a drive organized by Boston Friends for Refugee Support and Nu Day Syria. There are plastic boxes on the front and back porches of the Havurah for you to drop off (in new or very good condition, please)
- feminine products.
- children's clothing
- women's clothing, comfortable shoes
- sheets & towels
- stuffed animals

The deadline for contributing is May 20.
[identity profile]
From the Somerville by Design website:
The City of Somerville’s Planning Department invites community members in the Davis Square area to a series of Somerville by Design meetings aimed at chartering the next steps in developing this great neighborhood while preserving its character.

Whether you are a renter or owner; new to the neighborhood or a long time resident, a planning meeting veteran or never attended one: We want to hear from you!
February 13th – History and Future
March 2nd – New Developments
March 21st – Aesthetics and Character
April 4th – Aesthetics and Character Continued
April 25th – Design Guideline Reviews
Somerville Baptist Church
31 College Avenue
[identity profile]

Get the next LandLine ride on your calendar! LandLine is MAPC's vision to connect our greenways and trails into a seamless network. The plan has been developed in coordination with the LandLine Coalition, a group of 40 volunteers representing a number of local agencies and advocacy groups.

What: Mystic River- the final frontier of waterfront path and park development in Metro Boston! This ride will include beautiful spaces along the Mystic and Malden Rivers as well as projects in the works to expand and connect the network*. Bruce Kulik of the Medford Bicycle Advisory Committee will be co-hosting and Jay Monty, Transportation Planner with the City of Everett will be joining to share the latest in Everett.

When: Wednesday, July 13th, 5:30 pm (end by 8 pm)

[more details over there]
[identity profile]
Greetings Davisonians!

You may have heard rumors about the proposed West Branch Library Renovation Project and the tree and garden destruction it would involve. Here’s an overview of what’s going on:

The West Branch of the Somerville Public Library is in drastic need of renovation. All agree on that. However, the current project design also calls for the paving over of the gardens presently surrounding the building, replacing them with a “low-maintenance plaza space,” and the construction of a meeting room extension onto the existing building. Here is a link to the design plans:

The plans for the present garden areas are disturbing. Over the decades, the Somerville Garden Club (which is not associated in any way with this opposition) has designed and maintained lovely gardens around the library and has planted several significant trees, including Somerville’s only Dawn Redwood, two Columnar Beeches, and a Fernleaf Beech, among others. All are rare and mature and are great landscape features.

The current design plan would remove all of these trees.

The proposed plan also raises a number of other issues:

First: it flies in the face of the City of Somerville’s policy of maintaining and acquiring new open green spaces. The past 20–30 years have been significant in the history of the city. The advocacy for green spaces, street trees, and gardening under Mike Capuano’s and Joe Curtatone’s terms as progressive mayors who actively encouraged the development of public green spaces and private gardens, has been a glorious period of renewal. Their advocacy of gardening contests and awards and their hiring of a city Senior Planner/Landscape Developer to help implement green plans and acquire new green areas have been tremendously revitalizing throughout the city.

All of these changes—including the development of the West and Main Branches of the Library—are as valuable a part of Somerville’s history as are the historical monuments and homes. These sites deserve preservation, and not an opportunistic “update” of a site which is a monument to the best changes brought about during the past years of Somerville history. The West Branch Library building was designed by McLean and Wright of Boston, and was built in 1906–09 with funding from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and the city. It is the city’s best example of Classical Revival architecture, also exhibiting Beaux Arts details that were then in fashion. It was the first branch library in Somerville .

Second: the projected concrete plaza area would not be low maintenance, as claimed, but would, rather, be much higher maintenance than the gardens have been. There are mulberry trees on adjacent lots that would cause considerable mess. And most of the garden maintenance is done by SGC members, aside from occasional mowing.

Third: the projected plaza would be redundant, since there is already a nicely paved plaza area across the street from the Rite Aid on Highland Ave.

Fourth: the tax burden ($6–8 million) would be substantial, especially at a time when the Green Line Extension and Somerville High School projects are placing additional tax stress on residents.

Fifth: the addition of a meeting/performance space intended to accommodate a hundred people would mean that dozens of people at once would need parking in the Davis Square area. Yes, the Red Line is right there, but many people don’t use the T and/or would be coming from other directions. Traffic and parking problems are already severe in the Davis area—we don’t need more.

Members of the Somerville and Davis Square communities in general and the library property abutters in particular are all opposed to the current design. All parties are in favor of renovations to the existing building—and would be happy to see additional funding granted to upgrade the library’s services. But we oppose any other alterations, except insofar as are needed to make the existing building ADA compliant.

We do appreciate the need for more meeting and performance space in Somerville. But the proposed addition wouldn’t even be good for these, since they would be squeezed into a site not fit for the purpose. Further cramming of the small library lot, increased parking demand, and a considerable tax burden on the residents of Somerville (just at the time when we’re about to be whacked with Green Line and High School project expenses)—all for a project of dubious value that the people don’t really want—all seem like a no-go.

The City Aldermen have received a great many emails and phone calls on this subject, and a community meeting has been scheduled for:

Wednesday June 1, 2016 @ 7:00 pm
TAB Building – 169 Holland Street. Second Floor

This meeting will review and discuss the renovation and scope of library program services in the historic structure. There will be discussion of the community’s preferred landscape alternative. The meeting will discuss the scale and viability of the proposed community room addition. The ultimate objective is a project that meets the goals outlined by the community and garners the support of direct project abutters.

Additionally, people who are interested in this issue should:

1. Make sure they’re on Steve Vitello’s (the Project Manager’s) email list (by calling or emailing him at 617-625-6600 x5124).

2. Join the Facebook page created by Janet Campbell on this issue. (

3. Join the Google Group moderated by Ulysses Lateiner and Janet Campbell. (!forum/somerville-west-branch-library-renovation).

We’ll make sure you’re up to date on what’s going on!
[identity profile]
The city is removing 155 trees because of ash borers. There's a public hearing about this issue on May 25 at the DPW building, 17 Franey Road, 5:30 PM.  I hope the city will replace the trees, but the person I talked to at 311 didn't know if this would occur.

Here's a list of trees slated for removal:

Here's information on what Cambridge is doing:

Now that I'm looking at this list of trees, I don't think it is complete. There is a tree at 268 Willow that is marked for removal, but it is not on the list.

Notice of Public Hearing )
[identity profile] courtney
Reposting from another online source.

Somerville history - walking tour May 7 of Magoun Square to Armory neighborhood3h ago
Maida Tilchen from Magoun Square

On Saturday, May 7 from 10 am - noon, starting in front of the CVS, there will be a walking tour about the history of the neighborhood that goes from the CVS in Magoun Square (that's the next big intersection on Broadway east of Ball Square), down Lowell Street, Hudson Street, Benton Street, and then turning onto Highland near the Armory and ending up at Lowell Street.

The neighborhood once included a Hostess Cupcakes factory; a Hires Root Beer plant, some houses going back to the 1870s and other surprising history. The land was once a farm owned by an abolitionist.

This will be an informal tour with everyone invited to contribute what they know. It is part of the international Jane's Walk, an event of neighborhood walking tours inspired by Jane Jacobs, the urban renewal activist who saved Greenwich Village from being a big highway.

The walk is sponsored by the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission. It will be video'd and that will be on There are already some great videos of past walking tours if you click on Brochures and Self-Guided Tours. May is Historic Preservation Month in Somerville so check that site for other events in May.
[personal profile] ron_newman
Davis Square Somerville By Design Relaunch

April 27, 2016
6:00 pm
First Church Somerville UCC
89 College Avenue

We will be relaunching the Somerville by Design in Davis Square on April 27th, 2016. This is the kickoff meeting to review the major topics coming out of the open house: building heights, cooperative management, and the public realm. Gehl Architects, the same firm that helped Somerville conduct the world’s first city-wide Public Space Public Life survey, will be attending to review next steps in planning Davis Square’s public realm.

(I thought someone had already posted this, but I couldn't find it)
[identity profile]
While it's certainly not uncommon for me to be clueless as to the redevelopment going on around me in Davis I was kind of surprised when I got a notice of the Somerville Street Improvement Project starting in Davis next week. I'm certainly all for the improvement of the streets and sidewalks of my neighborhood, but was shocked to learn they're going to be replacing the charming red brick sidewalks with poured concrete. Anyone know more about this?
[identity profile]
I have kayaked up to this buoy and wondered what it was doing. Mystic River Watershed folks will have an open meeting to share some info.

Have you ever noticed the buoy in the Mystic River near the Blessing of the Bay Boathouse in Somerville? While deployed, this solar-powered buoy takes water quality measurements every 15 minutes and sends this information to the EPA website, allowing public access to near real-time conditions. On Tuesday, March 1st, hear from Tom Faber, Water Quality Environmental Engineer, US EPA, about the results of this program to date. This presentation is part of the Mystic River Watershed Association’s monthly Committee Meeting. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. on March 1, 2016 at Tufts University, Tisch College of Citizenship & Public Service, Lincoln Filene Hall, Rabb Room, 10 Upper Campus Road, Medford.
[identity profile]
Have seen the windows in The Found (consignment shop next to Foundry) and they've all been papered over. Anyone have the scoop?
[identity profile]
Anyone know anything about the one on Highland across from Cherry? Used to be a real estate office then some kind of early education thing. But now it's a hole in the ground.
[identity profile]
Today I received a citation because a tree in my yard is partially obscuring a street name sign. I've lived in Somerville for 25 years and never heard this was the responsibility of the home owner or heard of anyone receiving such a citation. I think the city is reaching into the depths of ordinances to find ways to raise money. If it's so important, why didn't any of the gazillions of emails I receive from the city mention it like they mention snow shoveling?

I've heard of other places which enforce such ordinances as a way to achieve public good--not to raise money. In such places, it is official policy that if you correct the problem and bring evidence to the hearing officer, the fine will be suspended.
gingicat: drawing of me based on wedding photo (Default)
[personal profile] gingicat
Well, I guess people who live near the station will need earplugs tonight... my sympathies.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: MassDOT <>
Date: Wed, Jun 3, 2015 at 11:45 AM
Subject: MassDOT Green Line Extension Overnight Work Tonight At School St.
Bridge in Somerville

Green Line Extension Friends -

The Green Line Extension Project (GLX) wanted to inform you of overnight
work scheduled for tonight.

Tonight at midnight through 7AM Thursday morning (June 4), the GLX
contractor, White Skanska Kiewit (WSK) will be performing work at School
Street Bridge in Somerville. This work is in conjunction with the School
Street Bridge work & lane closure which began in April 2015.

WSK is currently preparing the foundations of the utility bridge being
erected alongside School Street Bridge. In order to complete this, WSK will
transport a drill rig across the railroad tracks to clean out the
foundation shafts, then move the drill rig back across the tracks in the
early hours of Thursday morning.

This work is being coordinated around the train schedule, as the tracks
must be clear before the first commuter train comes through. Consequently,
work will need to be done in the early hours of Thursday morning. This work
will take place inside the current work zone and will not further impede

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding of time
constraints. This work is an important step in bringing the Green Line from
Cambridge to Medford and Somerville. Should you have any questions please
feel free to contact the Green Line Extension at 855-GLX-INFO (459-4636) or
[identity profile]
Hey kids, I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for a local service that can take back some unruly, unmaintained grape vines? Thanks!
[identity profile]

I received this email today.  This is the fund collected from the property tax surcharge.  Those monies will be dispersed and if you have thoughts, now is the time to be heard.

Good evening,

The Community Preservation Committee (CPC) received 15 applications for Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds totaling $8.8 million in December and wants to hear from you about which should receive funding. Please send your comments to Emily Monea at or Emily Monea c/or SomerStat, 93 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA 02143.

You can review the project proposals HERE as well as the applicants’ presentations from the community meetings. Comments will be accepted through 5 p.m. on Wednesday, January 31st.

Please forward this email to anyone who may be interested in joining the CPA conversation.



Emily Monea
Community Preservation Act Manager
Mayor’s SomerStat Office
City of Somerville
617.625.6600 x2118

Sign Up Now for CPA News

For Email Newsletters you can trust.

[identity profile]
A quick report on my take about this meeting. I will try not to editorialize, but just report on the content. Anyone else who attended should feel free to add further detail, correct my perceptions, or discuss further. Full version below the cut.
Read more... )
[identity profile]
Via: @MysticMyRWA, tweetable version here:

Presentation & Discussion Forum on Environmental Issues

October 28, 2014 - 7:00 p.m.
Winthrop Street Functional Hall at Tufts University, 51 Winthrop Street, Medford, MA.


(I don't know if registration is required for attendance)

[personal profile] ron_newman
Four years ago, I began making a Google Map of obscure stairways, ramps, paths, and shortcuts in and near Somerville. Since Google Map URLs are quite long, I gave this map a shorter one that's easy to remember:

Please look at the map and let me know of anything you think should be added to, removed from, or changed on this map. You can comment here or send e-mail to the address on my LJ profile page.

I post this notice once or twice every year. Here are links to the earlier posts:
June 2013 | April 2012 | April 2011 | June 2010 | May 2010

Notable changes from last year:
  • a new pedestrian/bike underpass below Route 28 between Ten Hills and Assembly Row
  • the Gilman Street underpass is closed to both pedestrians and vehicles due to McGrath Highway bridge construction

(Even though I'm tagging this "bicycle", many of the places marked on the map are suitable only for pedestrian use.)
[personal profile] ron_newman
Some time in the past few days, the Community Path extension was fully paved from Cedar Street to just beyond Lowell Street. They've taken away the chain-link gates and the "Construction Area - No Trespassing" signs at the Cedar Street end, so people are now walking (and walking their dogs) on the new pavement.

The path entrances from Maxwell's Green are still blocked by chain-link fencing, but there are gaps in the fences that appear to have been deliberately left open.

The path currently dead-ends past the Lowell Street bridge, because they haven't yet built the U-turn ramp up to the bridge. (Are they also planning to build a stairway? I can't quite tell.) There is no fence or railing yet to protect you from walking off the edge and tumbling down the hill to the railroad tracks. Also, no lighting has been installed yet, and a lot of landscaping is still in progress.
[identity profile]
A big sinkhole opened up over at the intersection of Medford and Pearl streets, near City Hall and down the hill from the main branch of the library. Medford and Pearl streets are closed between School and Walnut streets at the moment, if you're wondering why there's been crazy deadlock traffic this afternoon - I'm not sure how far Davis-ward the traffic extended.
pictures behind the cut )


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