Rents have skyrocketed through the years in Boston, much of Massachusetts, and across the country. Unfortunately, salaries have not kept up with rising rents, and a state bill proposed by state Rep. Nika Elugardo wants to allow local municipalities the ability to reenact rent control in the Commonwealth. A hotly contested statewide ballot question banned rent control, 51 % to 49% across Massachusetts in 1994. At the time only Boston, Brookline, and Cambridge had rent control. "The current Rent Control Prohibition Act prohibiting rent regulation 'policy is based on the belief that the public is best served by free market rental rates for residential properties,'" said Elugardo in closed door testimony on January 14 (Rep. Elugardo, D-15th Suffolk, provided her talking points to Jamaica Plain News.
Mayor Marty Walsh and the Boston City Council were sworn into office on Monday, and nothing was more moving than At-Large City Councilor Julia Mejia adding to her American Dream. We'll just let Mejia tell it. And to think that Mejia was almost not elected, as she won a recount by one vote against Alexandra St. Guillen. Not only did Mejia make history, but this current Boston City Council also changed Boston history, which was pointed out by many people, including District 4 City Councilor Andrea Campbell.
As part of a city electric vehicle program, some municipal parking lots, including one on Centre Street, will have four to six parking spaces made into electric car charging stations. Boston has a stated goal of being carbon neutral by 2050, and transportation accounts for nearly a third of Boston's total carbon emissions, according to Boston.gov. Sixty-five percent of carbon emissions in Boston come from personal vehicles. As part of the Transportation Department's Recharge Boston program to support electric vehicles the city is encouraging drivers to use electric or zero emission vehicles. And most electric car owners charge their vehicles at home, but a city survey part of Boston's 2019 Climate Action Plan Update revealed that 45 percent of Bostonians would purchase an electric vehicle if they had access to a charger. But there aren't enough public electric car charging stations, so starting this winter and into the spring, the city will be installing four to six electric car charging stations in six lots.
The Department of Conservation and Recreation is evaluating the safety of the Arborway and may look to get rid of travel lanes. DCR held a public meeting on Nov. 21 to discuss its road safety audit that evaluated existing safety issues of speed, pedestrian and bicycle access and ADA accommodations, lighting, pavement marking, signage and more. The report is available online by clicking here. DCR officials said that consultants are being hired to come up with plans for a "...complete reconstruction of the Arborway roadways between Forest Hills and Jamaica Pond," according to mass.streets.blog.
With English High School students gathered in a packed gym, Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill into law that boosts investment in public schools by $1.5 billion annually over the next seven years. Baker was joined by numerous elected officials and business leaders, including Mayor Marty Walsh, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, Boston School Committee Chairman Michael Loconto, State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, City Councilors Matt O'Malley and Annissa Essaibi-George, and more on Nov. 26. The Student Opportunity Act will particularly provide new funding to school districts with high percentages of low-income students and English Language learners who often live in some of the highest-need communities. “This is a monumental moment for the future of our Commonwealth.