State Rep. Jay Livingstone connected with constituents during his first virtual office hours last Thursday, May 14.
The virtual office hours drew around 12 to 14 participants from Beacon Hill, the West End, Back Bay and Cambridgeport. But unlike his normal office hours, which Rep. Livingstone typically holds once a month in the neighborhoods he represents to speak individually to those in attendance, this new format allowed him to interact with everyone tuning in at once in real time.
Participants from the West End were eager to discuss the closure of Lechmere station on May 24 for almost a year to work on the MBTA Green Line, Rep. Livingstone said.
Shuttle buses will run between the Lechmere area and North Station for the duration of construction, and Rep. Livingstone said he has worked with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to situate a new bus stop in front of Whittier Place in accordance with the wishes of West End residents.
The virtual discussion also touched on reopening the economy and associated health concerns, Rep. Livingstone said.
“At the state level, I’m looking at if restaurants are allowed to reopen, how they could have an easier time receiving approval for outdoor space,” he said. “And if restaurants have a liquor license, they now need approval from both the city and the state, so I’m working on streamlining the state process to lessen time.”
Otherwise, Rep. Livingstone said his virtual office hours were relatively standard fare.
“People had questions about pending legislation,” he said. “ It was typical office hours.”
Rep. Livingstone said he intends to hold virtual office hours once a month going forward.