Mayor Walsh Transition Committee Public Hearing on Environment

EnvironmentHearing

Newly elected Boston mayor Marty Walsh has appointed experts to several different committee areas to serve as aides in his transition to the role.  The process also involves public hearings to allow Boston residents and other stakeholders to voice their opinions in the desired format of: keep, implement and dream.  The hearing on Environment was held on January 7th at English High School in Jamaica Plain.  More than fifty people stood up – representing themselves as citizens, environmental organizations, park groups and others – to ask for the following:

Parks

  • Encouragement of visitation to Boston Harbor Islands National Park
  • 2016 anniversary celebration of the Park Service
  • Better maintenance of Mission Hill parks and increased recreational facilities
  • Audit to ensure environmental justice by neighborhood, equitable distribution of green space
  • More “rec” in Parks & Rec, sports and educational programs in parks
  • youth employment in public parks
  • East Boston Greenway walking/biking trail
  • implement policies for old and large trees
  • encourage visitation to Allendale Woods and other urban wilds
  • permanent protection for Hellenic Hill
  • plant 12,000 trees/year
  • keep parks friends groups associations
  • 1996 Boston Common management plan to prevent misuse and overuse
  • increase number of park rangers
  • hire an innovative parks commissioner
  • increase parks department budget to 1% of city budget
  • raise the three historic parks to highest level of excellence
  • hire a dedicated superintendent for public gardens (last one was 1906)
  • use best practices for park maintenance
  • management plans for all parks
  • simplify permitting for events in park
  • permit fees should be an income stream for park restoration
  • no driving on parkland
  • support for cultural programming
  • Franklin Park clubhouse turned into a restaurant and restoration of crumbling buildings
  • cessation of chemicals to maintain parks
  • park system wide volunteer program
  • better lighting in parks
  • Mayor’s office should become actively involved in Muddy River restoration project
  • Better maintenance of tennis courts as well as improved waste and water facilities

Toxic Substances

Green Jobs & Businesses

  • Minority inclusion in the “green economy”
  • job creation through recycling and composting
  • green internships for youth
  • Build on momentum Boston has for leadership and encourage innovation

Waste Management

  • zero-waste master planning that engages community and creates “green” jobs
  • open up participation in waste management for small start-ups
  • increase recycling to 50% citywide by 2020
  • “pay as you throw”
  • Restrict burning of trash

Climate Change & Flooding

  • Use new research to enact precautionary policies
  • restrict new building in flood zones
  • incentives for moving out of flood zones with housing lotteries
  • climate predictions for public health and emergency management procedures
  • increased private and public partnerships on climate change issues
  • call municipal officials and other stakeholders together for climate adaptation summit
  • regional planning for climate change issues
  • Address the fact that climate change is an equity issue – poor disproportionately affected by high heat days
  • Climate change should factor into all city decisions

Energy 

  • no new fossil fuel infrastructure purchases
  • Fix gas pipeline leaks
  • pressure energy conservation from businesses
  • promote solar panel installation and solar shares for renters
  • anti-idling laws
  • retro-fit city vehicles for diesel

Education

  • Environmental literacy for children
  • outdoor learning environments
  • hire school superintendent that understands sustainability

Public Transportation

  • discounted T-passes for students
  • expand bike network and analyze gaps

Water

  • Water conservation
  • gray water and rainwater usage resulting in job creation
  • keep the right to water policy and commission a study of discrimination in water shut offs
  • reduce storm water pollution in Charles River
  • Maintain groundwater monitoring

Urban Agriculture

  • Encouragement for locally grown food and farmers markets
  • allow residents to have chickens and beehives
  • community garden expansion, 1,000 more community garden plots in 4 years
  • urban agriculture expansion
  • use yard waste as composting in community gardens
  • keep Boston Office of Food Initiatives
  • Turn Brook Farm into a community farm and educational center

Organizations Represented

The hearing can be viewed on the Boston Neighborhood Network website.

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