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One-Way Meeting in a nutshell

What a doozy of a meeting

More than 100 people filled the cafeteria of the Condon School to “discuss” the temporary one-ways becoming permanent.  To say the meeting was heated would be an understatement.  The crowd was in fact angry and judging by the tone, the majority was anti one-way.    This was the first of two community meetings.  The second one will be held May 6th at the Tynan School at 6:30pm.  

The meeting’s moderators were Dan Manning of Neighborhood Services for the City of Boston and Kevin Donahue from the City of Boston’s Transportation Department.  We give these guys credit for standing up there for the hour and half-long meeting and not blowing up or breaking down.  The meeting was jammed packed with outrage, frustration and intensity.    

The residents’ complaints ranged from public safety to the inconvenience of driving around several blocks to  get to their destination to added traffic thanks to the one-ways.  The City stated that a survey would be sent out to residents about one-ways to help determine whether they will become permanent or not.  They tried to assure the crowd that this was not a done deal.  

City Councilor At-Large Michael Flaherty, City Council President Bill Linehan, a representative from the MBTA and Commissioner of Transportation Gina Fiandaca were all in attendance.

Highlights/lowlights from the meetings:

  • The majority of the meeting was anti-one-way.  When Kevin Donahue asked the crowd who was in support of one-ways becoming permanent a handful of people sheepishly put their hands up.  
  • The reason the City extended the temporary one-ways from April 1st to June 1st was due to the overwhelming positive response the City received.  The crowd boo’d and hissed.   Apparently the pro-one-way people stayed home and didn’t attend the meeting.  
  • Community meeting all-star Bill “Touchie’ McDonough gave us a history of the streets of South Boston and stated the obvious fact that Perkins Square is “a mess.”  He is anti one-way and thinks they should go back to two-way.
  • Bus battle – People who live on Broadway don’t like the buses on Broadway.  People who live on Fourth Street don’t want the buses back on Fourth Street.  A bus stalemate. 
  • Joanne McDevitt from the City Point Neighborhood Association stated that it doesn’t matter if you like or don’t like one-ways, bottom line is it’s a public safety issue.  What’s safest for our residents is ultimately what is most important.  
  • Dan Manning tries his best to control redundant questions and complaints
  • City Councilor At-Large Michael Flaherty got up and spoke and was heckled.
  • Parking enforcement is discussed.  Dan Manning says the BTD just can’t pick and choose what violations they enforce.  They must enforce all.
  • Kevin Donahue stating,  “I love South Boston.  I’m advocating for you.”  Crowd doesn’t buy it.
  • One guy shouting out over and over again, “The signs are up!” referring to the fact the City has put seemingly permanent signs in place.  Donahue defends the signs stating they are a neccesity.  “You can’t give someone a ticket if they can’t read the signs.” 
  • Bus issue brought up.  People from west side driving to city point & parking to get on bus because buses are so packed.
  • The meeting ends after someone in the crowd calls Donahue an “arrogant prick.” 

Takeaways:

  • The tone of the meeting was set right away when the majority of the crowd voiced their frustration and opposition of one-ways.  
  • Residents seem to be frustrated with overdevlopement in South Boston and believe that they are not being heard.
  • The meeting was not very productive
  • We believe the next meeting will also be non-productive unless the City has traffic and public safety reports on hand.  
  • Residents seem angry at our local politicians.  One resident asked the crowd, “Why do we keep voting them in?” while pointing to Linehan and Flaherty.
  • It’s is still unclear what next steps are in determining whether one-ways will be permanent of not.  
  • Whether you are pro one-way or anti one-way, you should let you voice be heard.  

Reach out to your local City of Boston officials:

  • City Councilor Bill Linehan – 617.635.3203 – Bill.Linehan@boston.gov
  • City Councilor Michael Flaherty – 617.635.4205 Michael.F.Flaherty@boston.gov
  • Dan Manning – Office Of Neighborhood Services for the City of Boston  617.635.3485 – daniel.r.manning@boston.gov

Take our poll: https://caughtinsouthie.com/poll/would-you-temporary-winter-2015-implemented-one-ways-stay-permanent

 

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.

Comments

  1. I’m curious about people who are driving from West to East to get on the bus before it fills up. Why wouldn’t they just get on an outbound bus and stay on it as it turns back inbound?
  2. At no time was it claimed that there was overwhelming support that lead to the extension only that they hade received positive feedback as well as negative.

    Furthermore, since the original plan was to let the 1 ways expire on april 1st, why would they have received any negative emails or feedback about it? 

  3. I'm a little disappointed in your summary of this meeting. Yes, tempers flared and people were frustrated. There's no place for the personal attacks on the city officials who were just there as messengers. But there were also numerous individuals who stood up, and voiced their concerns in a coherent and respectful manner. You're also missing the main reason that people are the most upset. It's because the one-ways were extended first before community input was solicited. The city officials first cited receiving positive feedback in emails as a reason for the extension, but later said that it wasn't this but rather a collaborative effort between bpd, bfd, and btd. When the emergency reconfiguration was rolled out, it was the understanding that this was a temporary implementation due to the complications of 110" of snowfall. There was never any indication that there was a possibility this would be extended or was even being considered for an extension. I can almost guarantee that if this was made known to the public, they would also have received lots of negative emails in addition to the positive ones. But if most people thought it was temporary, why bother emailing to voice their opposition to this being permanent?
     
    Bottom line, the city made a lapse in judgement by extending this first at the 11th hour on March 31st, without first asking the community how they felt. They're now having to backtrack and face a lot of angry and frustrated residents who are feeling like their voices and opinions are not being heard or taken seriously. See also the pilot 7 day resident parking program down in the City Point neighborhood that was supposed to last for only 90 days and is still in effect!

     

  4. The reason the City extended the temporary one-ways from April 1st to June 1st was due to the overwhelming positive response the City received. 

    After reading this in the Mayor's March 31st press release, I called the Mayor’s Hotline requesting the underlying stats on which the "overwhelming response" claim was based.  I was informed by the young lady manning the Hotline that "we really not keeping count."  She said that the Hotline did pass information on to the Neighborhood Liaison, Eric Prentis, and that maybe he was keeping track of the responses.  I spoke with Eric who stated the he too was not keeping a record.  "After all," he stated. "it's not based on popularity."

  5. The majority of people polled online showed overwhelming support of one ways. The majority of people in the meeting show overwhelming opposition to them. 

    Whether quiet or loud, neither of these camps alone should be considered the sole "true" voice of the neighborhood. Ideally, we should balance the inerests of both with real data on the true impact of the one-ways: Are buses taking longer? Are there more of fewer people riding bikes on one-ways? Are people driving faster on our one-ways than on our two-ways? Are there more or fewer pedestrian injuries or accidents? Getting this data requires resources however, so while ideal it may not be practical to do so.

    Sidenote to those citing the unsafe nature of one-way streets: the directional flow of traffic is just one factor to consider. Other factors that influence safety include lane width, presence of instersecting streets, length between stop signs/lights, speed limit, sightlines/presence of curves, and parking density. These should all be considered when determining the safety of people who walk, people who bike, and people who drive. 

  6. If the purpose of the meeting was to measure the level of support for keeping the streets as one ways-I'd say it was very productive. If not, what WAS the point of the meeting? Thats what they said it was for to begin with? I'm not a fan of the heckling or name calling part but this was a bad decision to extend the one ways from the get go–they should acknowledge that – take down the signs and move on.

  7. per his email reply, eric prentis is on long term paternity leave and is not available to help the residents of South Boston on this issue.

  8. He was there.  He came in late.  But he was there for half of the meeting. 

  9. If your refering to the Poll on this site–the last I checked it was a majority as you state but by a narrow margin, that poll is unscientific, it can easily be manipulated–The meetings carries far more weight when guaging support of the community—not a random poll on a computer which can be accessed by anyone in the country.

  10. In April called City Hall and was told that the decision would not be based on popularity.  City employees claimed that they needed the extension so a "traffic study" could be conducted to determine feasibility  – and that the study would be the determinate factor.  Meanwhile these same individuals also, through comments made to others, implied that it was a done deal -that there would be a learning period but people would get used to it and that they would accept it just like they accepted the "letter streets" being turned into "one ways."   

    So a month has almost passed and does anyone know if a "traffic study" has even been initiated?  If it has, what will be the process if the survey outcome is the opposite of the traffic study findings?  Will one trump the other? Is the traffic study out?  Who will receive a survey -will it be one per unit?  One per registered voter or it will it be open to anyone over (18) requesting a survey?  

    The City, I don’t know why, is determined to keep the streets one and not two-ways.  When confronted they sidestep and backpedal and claim that the extension of the current system is required so that a feasible or is it now a majority decision can be worked out.   All the while they are hoping that the extension will provide enough time for the residents to vent, to move on (summer is coming)  and to accept the current changes. 

    This is becoming more than an issue on one-way vs. two-way streets. It now has become an issue of elected officials imposing their wishes on the electorate through back handed deceitful means.

  11. I live on Tudor between D and E and 6th and 7th and people are going so fast down the street, lining up car by car to avoid the light on 7th to get to 6th.  It is shocking how much the increased traffic has been with several close accidents, specifically with small children and dogs.

    The change to the one-way streets is absolutely creating a negative impact on safety since many people are going down streets they aren't stopping down to get to the next one, which leads to speeding and issues for locals.

  12. Since the implentation of the one ways, the traffic in South Boston has increased tremendously.  Because people are forced to go certain routes towards downtown, the traffic on Broadway in the morning is horrendous.  Sometimes the traffic backs up from L Street to P Street.  One of the alternative routes (on East First), is also backed up.  It's a disaster and should end.  Between the traffic from just South Boston residents alone and those cutting through South Boston on Lstreet to get downtown, it feels like New York City.  Also, the article in Caught in Southie which used profane language to describe what was discussed at the meeting, was no different that the usual articles I read in Caught in Southie (profanity filled).  Juvenile!

  13. Yes there was someone shouting " because the signs are up '

    that was in response to Eric only having that one answer ….. Because the signs are up.

    the mayor should  have been at this meeting himself. Instead he sent two people that had no answers to any questions .

  14. residents are frustrated, mainly because the city has not been upfront about the extension or why they have not reverted back to two ways.  Their explanation at the meeting makes little or no sense whatsoever.

     

    We should go back to two way and do a traffic study which we have been asking for four years.

     

     

  15. The increased traffic on East broadway from L-P is due to the bus routes on broadway and has nothing to do with the one ways, East first has long been backed, the streets that connect to east first have not been changed by the new rules, so you are just making things up, clearly the one ways are a marked improvement, it is just the classic case of people fearing change in southie, OH NO WAAAHHH thats not the way it used to be, get over it, its called progress

  16. I also spoke with Eric Prentis and was told that the final decision would, in fact, be decided by popular vote. If the people don't want it, it won't happen.  We'll see!

  17. I understand that changing dynamics in the neighborhood can leave certain constituents feeling slighted, but to say there is marked increased traffic since the implementation of the one-ways (post-snow melt) is shortsighted and buried in resentment.

    East 4th for example should never be a 2-way, nor should it be a bus route. East Broadway's sidewalks are 2.5x as wide, as is the street. The houses are additionally set much further back from the road.  To say that E 4th is set up to better handle a bus route compared to E Broadway is just obnoxious. Just a slight bit of objectivity and logic is required to know that couldn't be further from the truth.

    Hopefully there can be a decision that works for everyone – but if the problems w 2-ways and buses were fine as they were, they never would have needed to be changed in the first place.

     

     

     

  18. "I was looking for the 'One Way' meeting and when I looked in this room and saw all the politicians, I knew it was going to be a 'One Way' meeting". Time to vote them all out and implement term limits.

  19. eric was not at the condon meeting. He was at the Tynan meeting and did a much better job with the crowd than the people at the first meeting. The signs being up was mentioned at the tynan and eric said they went up easy and could come down just as easy if that was the determination. Well we now know that was the determination and he has proven to be correct. The signs will be down by weds.           I was at both meetings and people should be appalled at their behavior. They were rude and ignorant to the gentlemen who facilitated the meetings (people even rudely commented on eric being on paternity leave, common people we should be better than that).  During the meetings people did not believe them when they said the end result has not been determined, people called them liars and other names while calling it a done deal. Well I guess they where right it wasn't a done deal – people need to realize that this is not the menino administration and that the now mayor is not pushing things down this neighborhoods throats and give him the benefit of the doubt