Councilor Flynn Addresses Eight Streets, Supports More Traffic Planning

City Councilor Ed Flynn told the Eight Streets Neighborhood Association on Tuesday night, Oct. 9, that he would support more in-depth study of traffic and transportation in the neighborhood and throughout the South End.

Flynn was the keynote guest for the meeting on Tuesday and one of the top items for the neighborhood was the traffic that they expect as a result of so much development in the New York Streets and Albany Street areas – which abut Eight Streets.

“I do support more comprehensive study and traffic planning throughout the South End,” he said. “There is so much ongoing development, whether at Ink Block, Flower Exchange, South Station and South Boston. All of these will affect the Eight Streets neighborhood. Everything within a mile has an impact here. There’s only so much development you can continue to have and then at some point it doesn’t work anymore. I think we need to start concentrating on quality of life.”

That discussion was framed around several issues regarding pedestrian safety, and even rideshare drivers that seemingly stop wherever they want – causing near accidents routinely.

“I do see a lot of Uber and Lyft drivers speeding through the neighborhood,” said Flynn. I think that’s an issue in the neighborhood, especially to the elderly and the children here, many of whom walk to school…The police are doing their job. The Boston Transportation is doing its job. We need to do it more consistently.”

One idea he said he has been contemplating is the possibility of putting a surcharge on every ride-share trip in Boston, a pot of money he proposes to use for enhancing pedestrian safety and for funding the construction of the Long Island Bridge.

Flynn said he is advocating for reducing the speed limit further, from last year’s change to 25 mph to 20 mph.

“When a driver sees a person in the crosswalk, it’s impossible for them to stop in time at 25 or 30 mph or faster. At 20 mph, they can stop much easier.”

  • RATS ON THE AGENDA

Rats were a major topic of discussion at Tuesday’s meeting, with President Michael Almond saying they have been doing a lot of work and contemplation of ways to reduce the problem in Eight Streets.

All present agreed that rats were really out of control over the summer, and Almond reported that an ISD employee did a walk through with neighbors recently. Since then, the City has baited the sewers, alleys and other primes rate rousts in Eight Streets.

But a major problem persists – trash.

One of the key magnets for the rats, the inspector believed, were the three trash barrels in Ringgold Park. Almond said there needs to be a change in the way trash is handled there and in Peters Park.

“The barrels are essentially a rat restaurant every night,” he said. “The Friends are now considering moving one of the barrels to Waltham Street. The big question is whether we take out all the rest of the barrels.”

He said that has been done in Hayes Park, and Watson Park in the neighborhood already has no barrels.

“If we want to keep the rats down at Ringgold and the Parks and around them, we can’t keep feeding the rats with these barrels,” he said.

Interestingly enough, three bait stations were also put out in Ringgold, but someone stole two of them – an odd theft to contemplate.

The final piece was for everyone to encourage neighbors to put trash out on the morning of pickup and not the night before. By putting it out overnight, it allows rats to feed on the trash and draws them into the neighborhood.

“Rats are night feeders and we provide them with a rat restaurant through our trash,” he said. “This is really why we have so many rats in our neighborhood. We have to take action in order to help ourselves here.”

  • PETERS PARK CONSTRUCTION BEGINS

Ted Pietras of the Friends of Peters Park reported that construction is getting ready to begin over the next two months to improve the entrances to the Park and add an irrigation system to the meadows area.

The project has $360,000 in funding available, with $260,000 coming from mitigation from one of the developments in the New York Streets. That money, he said, isn’t going to go far.

“There are a lot of things we asked for that we didn’t get, but it’s what we have here,” he said.

The improvements will include a better entrance on Washington Street where the area near the crosswalk will be “greened” up and better defined. Bradford Street will also have a new configuration, while Shawmut will feature a U-Shaped flower bed at the entrance to greet users.

It is still uncertain whether a separate pot of money will pay to resurface the basketball courts. Commissioner Chris Cook promised Eight Streets that would be done at the same time as the park project.

Separately, the Landwave is slowly moving towards removal, though it appears some red tape still exists. There still needs to be a limited liability policy, he said, to prevent the artist from suing the City once they remove the artwork.

  • WATSON PARK HAS WATER

After more than two years of trying to get water turned on in Watson Park, neighbors reported they have been successful at long last.

Now they are turning their focus on trying to trim and remove some trees in the park so that plants and flowers will have sun to grow.

Neighbors explained that the park is full of shade and damp now, and they hope to remove a large pine tree and trim up the remaining trees.

At the moment, they are gathering signatures to turn in to the Parks Department to show major support for the change.

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