Mission statement (6/16/17): The WHNA's mission is to bring together all residents of Winter Hill to protect and improve upon the things we love about our neighborhood and to have a say in its future by building unity among neighbors.
This is modeled on the successful community forum of Davis Square: https://davis-square.dreamwidth.org/ Thanks to Ron Newman for help in learning about the features of community forums and for wise moderation advice.
We hope to collect useful information about community issues, businesses, services, and sometimes just gossip or interesting tidbits related to our neighborhood.
Other Winter Hill relevant links:
Facebook group: http://bit.ly/WHNAfacebook
Google groups (mailing list): http://bit.ly/WHNAGoogleGroup
This forum: http://bit.ly/WHNAforum
WHNA is currently holding regular meetings on the first Wednesday of each month, 7pm, often at the St. Polycarp community room or the Mystic Activity Center. But sometimes the meeting will be held in other neighborhood locations. We'll post the current meeting details prior to each meeting.
I am Mary Mangan, current admin, and we'll see how this goes! Feel free to offer comments, suggestions, guidance, or any other thoughts you have on how this community should evolve. Off we go!
I've heard about these kinds of efforts, but hadn't seen one around here. I know there are running groups that do this, and it seemed like an interesting idea to combine some fitness and some community. Anyone interested in something like this? The link is broken but I'll try to get more info.
The quick takeaways were something like this:
- This is not a large scale street improvement project, although it will be a significant change.
- They will not be repaving the street or working on sidewalks. Instead the bulk of the work will be with paint, plastic bollards, and signal timing.
- The scope of the project is Broadway between Magoun Sq and McGrath Highway (in both directions). The main change will be painting Broadway to designate two lanes in each direction--one for cars (closest to the median) and one restricted to just buses and bikes.
- In addition to/in support of the lane designations there will be several other markings/changes including turning lanes, crosswalks, areas where the bike lane is protected from traffic
- For the most part the parking will stay the same but there will be some spots removed and some added, with a net loss of parking.
- In addition to the City's work, the MBTA will also be removing some bus stops and moving some others so as to space out the stops a little more evenly
- For many more details, see the power point presentation here.
- Sign up for the emails here.
- And the project page is here: www.somervillema.gov/winterhillmotion
- Local news coverage here.
Via Jesse Clingan's newsletter:
Join the Hillens to discuss the idea of a wild Soap Box derby. Have a look at this one in Denmark to get an idea of the concept: https://youtu.be/aniXVSMaekY
Of course, we'll touch on the regular other items that come up around the neighborhood, but this meeting will include a specific section on this possible festival idea. One of our members has done a deep dive on having an event of this sort and will report in to us.
A quick other note: our next meeting has to be moved to the second Wednesday of March, so plan for March 13 at 6:30pm at the Mystic room for this event: https://whna.dreamwidth.org/36092.html
Actually, we are covering the same content in both the 1-day and the 3-session, but we thought some people might like to take it more slowly... Same material.
Volunteer for the Medical Reserve Corp: Info Meeting Thurs., Feb. 7
To learn more about the MRC join us at the upcoming Somerville Public Health/ Medical Reserve Corp information and registration meeting on Feb. 7. If you can’t make the Feb. 7 information session, you can still sign up anytime at www.maresponds.org.
Where: Cross Street Senior Center, 165 Broadway
Contact Sara Harris, PHN at 617-625-6600 x4320 with any questions.
Winter Hill in Motion Community Meeting
Please join our transportation planning team to learn about Winter Hill in Motion – a project that will include bus lanes, bike lanes, and retimed traffic signals on Central Broadway.
Via Ben Ewen-Campen on twitter: https://twitter.com/BenForWard3/status/
An article about displacement in Somerville, and the possibility of a Tenant's Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA).
But even if it doesn't have a change (indicated by the dark blue color), the route info sheet done for each one is fascinating. And they "score" the busses with values for the kind of service it offers on that route. These seem like they might be useful to know for the future too.
89: Route 89 is moderately important route within the MBTA network (see Figure 2). On a relative scale of 0 to 10, the route rates 5.2 in terms of ridership, 3.6 in terms of transit dependent ridership, and 6.9 in terms of its value to the network (which reflects the number of people who are uniquely served, the number of jobs and other important destinations, and the number of transferring passengers). Its overall score, which gives a 70% weight to overall ridership and a 15% weight to both other measures, is 5.6.
Someone reviewed and commented on the changes here, which I found helpful. http://milesintransit.com/2019/01/28/
A transit mailing list I'm on had an announcement of these "open house" events to talk about the bus updates of some sort. I haven't been following the project before, but you can learn more here:
And the email version of the meeting list is here, you can also see them at the project web site.
At the end of January, we will be sharing a package of proposals to update and modernize some existing routes. The proposals will lay the foundation for a bus network with more frequent, reliable service that provides better connectivity in Greater Boston...and we want your feedback on these proposals.
Join us at an Open House
We will be hosting a series of Open Houses over the next several weeks, starting at Boston City Hall Plaza and different bus stations around the region. Feel free to stop by any time during our open house hours.
Location Date Open House Times
Boston City Hall Plaza
Sullivan Square Station
Forest Hills Station
Malden Center Station
We will also be at upcoming MBTA Community Meetings and will share the details soon.
Please visit www.mbta.com/betterbus to learn more about the project, sign up for email updates, and review project materials.
I've been increasingly interested in the local history lately, and something I stumbled on recently was a great deal of Winter Hill fort information. Our hill was a great location to see what was happening in Charlestown proper and Boston during the Revolutionary War. A major and influential account of the Battle of Bunker Hill came from someone said to be perched on Winter Hill:
Elijah Hide: https://www.masshist.org/bh/
Check out this sketch of the Winter Hill fortifications, from a powder horn of the time: https://www.masshist.org/database/3519
WHNA Meeting Notes from 1/9/2019
We reviewed a list of possible meeting topics and events for 2019 from our December meeting. We added more to the list and then prioritized and discussed several. We then scheduled (or at least assigned some to calendar months) and one or more person volunteered to bottom line each. There were also some events or topics that were discussed but not actually scheduled. More details below.
Meetings/events that we discussed and scheduled:
February 6, regular monthly meeting focused on exploring a Soap Box Derby down Winter Hill. We talked about the possibility of coordinating with City to host a Summer Streets (the Arts Council’s summer events that have been hosted in most neighborhoods except Winter Hill where a main street is shutdown). Folks recognized the large amount of time and effort that an event of this scale would require. We also talked about possible ways to scale it down (side streets as opposed to Broadway, doing it on our own without the Arts Council, etc.). Folks mentioned some other possible partnerships with the schools, Parts and Crafts, Tufts and more. September was the suggested goal. All agreed that our February meeting should be used to further explore. In the meantime, Alderman Clingan has reached out to the Arts Council to see about the possibility of Winter Hill hosting a Box Car themed Summer Streets in Winter Hill. See Tim’s email with a lot more thoughts on this.
March: Screening and discussion of The Staircase.
Date not yet determined but in the place of our regular meeting we would like to host a screening of The Staircase movie followed by a discussion. The Staircase is a 1986 documentary about Mystic View Housing residents organizing to get a staircase built between the Mytstics and the Healey https://nemmc.org/2015/10/11/104/. Ian will bottom line this but if anyone is interested in helping, please contact him!
April: Two things: 1) regular monthly meeting 2) participation in the City’s Spring Cleanup (usually the Saturday before or after Earth Day). The City provides supplies and a BBQ at Blessing of the Bay. We can try to choose a section of our neighborhood to clean up. Mary will bottomline this, but if anyone is interested in helping, please contact her.
May: Historical Walking Tour of Winter Hill. A walk to some known and lesser known historical sights, buildings, and locations in the neighborhood (for example, did you know that top of Winter Hill used to be home to a massive revolutionary fort?). Candice said she will bottom line this, but if anyone is interested in helping, please contact her.
June: City-wide neighborhood groups summit (I think we paired this to December? Might have been November?). In coordination/partnership with the many other neighborhood groups across the city, we imagine a City-wide summit where groups could share best practices, tools, goals, stories, victories, challenges, etc.
July: Basketball tournament at the Mystics in July. Ian and Steph will continue to discuss and come up with a more formal proposal. Maybe kids vs adults? Maybe challenge other neighborhood groups? To be determined, ideas most welcome!
August: Regular meeting? No meeting? We didn’t pair an event or activity to August.
September: Soap Box Derby! Actual feasibility to be determined. But can keep open for the box cars or another hill themed outdoor event.
October: Tenant Education Workshop (goal of making this an annual event). Ellen Schactner from the City’s Office of Housing Stability was not able to come to our last one but said she’d come if we held another one. Steph said he will coordinate this and we’ll try to partner with the Mystic Tenant Association to co-host it.
November: Regular meeting? No meeting? We didn’t pair an event or activity to November
December: Regular meeting? No meeting? We didn’t pair an event or activity to December. Or end of the year celebration?
There were several other ideas that we discussed but not paired with a month or met with a commitment to pursue this year. There are open months and always next year so we will continue to develop these ideas and see where it goes.
Conversation with an urban economist. Or an urban development academic or someone from the development world that does not have a vested interest in Winter Hill but would be will to speak frankly about how developers see our neighborhood. We don’t want to limit what happens in Winter Hill to what a developer sees as feasible, but we would like to have a better understanding of how they assess the potential. Why are luxury condos or apartments the only things proposed? What are their profit margins? What are their timelines? What are the make or break factors?
Chili cook off (might be possible to roll into another event)
Some kind of event or activity that would support the businesses in the neighborhood (again, might be a part of another event).
Helping implement some aspects of the Somerville Climate Action plan. Some parts of the plan included neighbor to neighbor outreach, local resiliency and preparedness plans.
Another meeting with City staff from the Economic Development office to talk about implementation of the Neighborhood Plan.
SomerVision 2040 Kickoff
6 - 8 pm
Tuesday, January 15
The Armory, 191 Highland Ave
Join the City of Somerville as we share our progress on SomerVision 2030 and our plans for creating SomerVision 2040 as a community. We encourage everyone to attend and want to hear from you!
We are also seeking to establish a SomerVision 2040 committee. We have invited representatives of local organizations but realize that even our best attempts might still miss some organizations, constituencies, and or community groups that want to participate. Please fill out this form if you wish to participate. Deadline for application submittal is January 25, 2018.
Lastly, check out our newly released document, The Path Since 2010, which captures the programs and initiatives that have been implemented since SomerVision was adopted and introduces the new plans and research that have emerged since.
Visit www.somervision2040.com to learn more, view the original plan, progress reports, and data mapping.
1940 other direction: https://www.historicnewengland.org/
There are a couple of other similar examples too.
WHNA Meeting Notes for December 5, 2018
Next meeting is scheduled for January 9, 2019. Location TBD. One major item will be a deeper discussion on plans for 2019.
Review of the tenant workshop.
- Folks felt like it was a success
- Appreciated having partnered with the Welcome Project to expand the reach of the event and information
- Felt like the two experts from Cambridge Somerville Legal Services did a fantastic job. One feedback on format was not start with evictions. To instead start with something a little lighter or more positive and build to addressing the really negative things like evictions.
- Folks want to see a flow diagram for eviction proceedings since that was a somewhat complicated and detailed process that was a little hard to keep straight
- Folks also wanted more info about addressing condo conversions
- Hopes of making this an annual topic. Plan to host Ellen from the City of Somerville’s Office of Housing Stability in 2019 since she was not able to come this time.
FYI: City officially released the Climate Action Plan. You can read the plan here: https://www.somervillema.gov/sites/
- Several WHNA members participated in various working groups. There may be some opportunities for WHNA to work with the city to implement aspects of the plan, e.g. climate preparedness education, rapid response networks, neighborhood organizations to act as Climate Resilience Hubs.
- The State is putting money towards building a turf field where the current dust bowl is along with lighting and drainage. There is a strong desire to see more happen there and to have a real community process. Nothing seems final yet, but there have been a few community meetings. You can read some notes here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/
133jDMzmgCMXC1yhG38HHSuIAzfVyKDfdllGkiGE Krz8/edit?ts=5c0962ca#heading=h. qiwdyrib1a60.
- There is also a Foss Park google group that you can join to get email updates and be a part of the conversation. I believe you can request to join by emailing: FossParkFriends@googlegroups.com
There are also community meetings happening to get an update about the redevelopment of the Healey Schoolyard. The next meeting is happening on Thursday, December 13 at 6pm at the Healey.
We ended with some brainstorming for 2019. We’ll revisit this in more detail at our January meeting. Some of the ideas brought up included, more active effort to include/work with/support local businesses; more community shoveling, maybe adopting bus stops?; chili cook off; annual tenant rights workshop; collaboration with East Somerville maybe via Main Streets; dedicated roles including outreach; film screening of “The Staircase” (documentary about the the fight for a safe staircase behind the Mystics); tree plantings and neighborhood clean ups; Broadway summer streets type event where the street is partially closed; and more that I didn’t catch in the notes!
Forming a more perfect Union Square, by Tim Logan. It covers the development, the tensions, the CBA, neighborhood council, and touches on the Clarendon issues too. I think it's informative about what we could face here on the hill someday. Worth reading.
That is: What is lost, and gained, as a rough-edged old city gives way? And how much room should the new make for what came before?https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/
If you don't have a Globe subscription, of course you can use the local library database to read the articles for free. It doesn't have the photos, but they key info is here.
I also happened to catch this commentary on twitter that is probably good research for us to have. https://twitter.com/bhbradlow/status/
1. December 12: Foss Park meeting, supposed to have representatives from the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). They currently control the park and any changes to it. It would be good to show them how serious we are about the community desires for Foss Park. East Somerville Community School. 6pm.
2. December 13: Healey School plan related discussion, 6-8pm. We are told it's the Friends of Healey running this one, discussion about some things that need to be fixed regarding the playground area. I don't have any other info about this meeting, I'm not involved.