Creating Safer Streets - Alderman Bob McWatters

Creating Safer Streets

Screen_Shot_2017-10-18_at_3.26.00_PM.pngOver the past four years, I’ve heard repeatedly from residents concerned about speeding traffic on neighborhood streets.  I grew up in Somerville at that time neighborhood streets were also where children played, families walked, neighbors met, and grandparents strolled.  Ward 3 residents young and old tell me they want their streets to feel like a comfortable place to be, not just a conduit for traffic to pass through. 

Today there are more than 50,000 cars registered in Somerville, and new development will bring even more. Somerville also has one of the highest percentages in the state of people who commute by walking or biking, making safe streets even more urgent. Therefore, it continues to be a priority for me to make sure all our streets are safe and comfortable for everyone, including seniors, disabled people, and young children.

As chair of the Board of Aldermen’s Traffic & Parking Committee, I’ve worked hard to create safer streets. I successfully advocated lowering the speed limit near school zones, parks, hospitals, senior facilities, and several neighborhood streets in Ward 3.  I successfully led the effort to empower neighbors to request traffic calming efforts on their blocks by requiring only a nine-signature petition, a much less onerous task than previous rules. I have also been a strong supporter of the Somerville Neighborways program, and have worked closely with Neighborway founder and Ward 3 resident Mark Chase to work through the details of the program. 

In my next term, I will need your help to implement more safe street initiatives, including setting a citywide 20-mile per hour speed limit on all nonarterial streets and pushing for further traffic calming interventions such as protected bike lanes and pedestrian “bump outs.” Together we have set the stage for creating safer and more inviting streets in the years to come. 

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