Letter: Franklin Park Action Plan Light Pollution Concerns

The following letter was sent to Boston Mayor Michelle Wu; Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space Rev. Mariama White-Hammond; and Boston Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ryan Woods. We are writing with concerns about proposals to make significant changes to Franklin Park in the recently released Action Plan. At well over 400 pages, it was too big for us to analyze everything in detail but the recently released highlights from the Franklin Park Coalition alerted us to the proposal to add significant amount of lighting to the paved park paths and clear a large border of understory foliage on the park edges. Both of these suggestions appear to be proposed in the spirit of accessibility, wayfinding and perception of safety however we are concerned that other important aspects are not being taken into account, such as increased light pollution, nighttime park uses that the added lighting would eliminate, added lighting's effects on the nocturnal creatures that call this urban forest home, as well as noise pollution, effective reduction of the size of the park, and elimination of habitat for park animals and birds that live in this understory habitat. Increased light pollution
We’d like to remind you that as a city councilor, you sponsored a Dark Skies talk by Kelly Beatty, editor of Sky and Telescope Magazine, at the Arnold Arboretum in July of 2019.


Letter: Community Meetings Needed to Review Franklin Park Action Plan Details

The following letter was sent to State Senator, State Representatives, City Councilors, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council, Franklin Park Coalition, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and press regarding the recently released Franklin Park Action Plan. Dear Mayor Wu, Rev. White-Hammond, and Commissioner Woods,

We respectfully request that you hold a series of community meetings to present and review the Franklin Park Action Plan in manageable but detailed sections, to answer questions and make clarifications about vague language in the plan. We appreciate that there is an online comment form and that the comment period has been extended to March 3. In recent weeks, hardcopies of the plan were also put in selected libraries for people to review, but this is not a robust enough community feedback process for such a large and impactful plan for Boston’s biggest park. A completely unidirectional input process has been set up that does not allow for people to ask questions or have plan language clarified.


Letter: Postpartum Depression Does Not Discriminate

Postpartum depression does not discriminate when it comes to race, socio-economic status, education or ethnicity means that anyone can suffer from this illness. The Duxbury tragedy affects all of us even when you don’t know the family involved. However, access to mental health treatment is often not available particularly to poor families and people of color in marginalized communities. Studies show that twice as many White adults utilize mental health services (18.3%) compared to Black and Hispanic adults (8.9% and 8.7% respectively), according to a recent report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).This is a huge wake up call for Massachusetts to increase awareness and services around mental health to all people no matter the zip code. As the CEO and Founder of Ferreras Counseling and Wellness Center, a mental and behavioral health clinic serving the Latino and minority communities in Jamaica Plain, Lawrence and Lynn, Latino and Black individuals and their families are more at risk of suffering serious mental illness than white families because of the lack of financial resources or insurance, structural barriers and social stigma as stated in the report by SAMHSA.


Letter: Our Vital, Historic State Parks Need Champions

The following is an open letter to elected and appointed officials and park friends with numerous originators who wrote the letter, followed by organizations that signed onto support the letter. Representatives for the Arborway Coalition, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, Southwest Corridor Park Management Advisory Committee, and more signed the letter. Massachusetts state parks are in crisis. More than a decade of funding and staffing cuts have eviscerated the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) ability to meet its mission “to protect, promote and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural and recreational resources for the well-being of all,” while digging a $1.0 billion deferred
maintenance hole. The December 2021 Legislative Special Commission report on DCR (p.51) found that Massachusetts, one of the wealthiest states in the nation, nevertheless ranks last in per capita spending on state and municipal parks.


Letter: Jamaica Plain Civic Associations Oppose DCR’s Selection for Arborway Project

The following letter was sent to Stephanie Cooper, the Acting Commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation. As chairs of the Jamaica Pond Association and of the Jamaica Hills Association through whose jurisdictions runs the entire Arborway from the Eliot Street intersection to and through Kelley Circle and to and through Murray Circle, we write to advise the DCR of the united opposition of the Jamaica Pond Association and the Jamaica Hills Association to DCR’s “Preferred Alternative” (Alt 4) for its Arborway Project and of our united support for Alternative 1. We oppose Alternative 4 and strongly support Alternative 1 because Alternative 1:

Eliminates the possible construction of two major, wide, signalized intersections in the park;
Protects against the build-up of air pollution caused by motor vehicles idling day and night at traffic signals at Kelley Circle and Murray Circle;
Allows for easier vehicular access outbound into the Eliot StreetBurroughs Street Pondside neighborhood;
Allows for the reestablishment of a two-lane roadway between Murray Circle and Forest Hills eliminating the present bottlenecks approaching Murray
Provides clearly designated pedestrian and bicycle crossings at Murray and Kelley Circles;
Removes far fewer trees than either Alternatives 3 and 4;
Allows Moss Hill residents direct access to the JP Business District and to travel to the Medical Area and to downtown Boston; and,
Our goal is to keep the parkway as a parkway. We ask that you meet with representatives of our associations so that we might discuss with you our opposition to Alternative 4 and our support for Alternative 1. Very Truly Yours,

Kay Mathews
Chair, Jamaica Pond Association

Andrea Howley
Chair, Jamaica Hills Assocation


Letter: Group of Jamaica Plain Residents Say Yes to Question 1

As you fill out your ballot consider a Yes Vote for Question 1, the Fair Share Amendment.  We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve our schools and transit infrastructure for years to come, with Ballot Question 1, also known as the Fair Share Amendment. A YES on Question 1, will amend the state constitution to implement a 4% tax on personal income over $1 million per year. The revenue, $2 billion per year, every year, is specifically designated to go towards funding public education and transit infrastructure.  Because that requirement will be in the text of the constitution, the legislature can’t change it. Only another vote of the people could. As residents of Jamaica Plain we know full well the pain of transit shut downs and the need to invest in a modern, energy efficient transit system.


Letter: You Should Support a Dog Park in Jamaica Plain

We are your neighbors. We all share the same love for Jamaica Plain and Boston
and we also have dogs. For over 20 years, the dog community in JP has tried again and again to have dog parks built in the neighborhood but each time we get close, the project is shutdown. As urban dwellers, we rarely have fenced yards and much of the parkland restricts dog
play. The need for a safe place to exercise our pups has only grown over time and now we are at a crossroads where the city has finally agreed to consider a designated section of the Flaherty Playground redesign to include a small dog park.


Letter: Minority Communities Disproportionately Impacted by Unprecedented Orange Line Shutdown

As communities across Greater Boston feel the effects of the MBTA’s 30-day Orange Line shut down we the representatives of the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA), with the support of the Coalition for an Equitable Economy, and the Asian Business Empowerment Council (ABEC) want to register our deep concern about the impact this shutdown will have on our community members, many of whom are Black and Asian residents that rely on the MBTA for transportation every day. 

The pause of one of the MBTA’s most popular subway lines affects a vital corridor connecting Boston’s downtown area to predominantly Black neighborhoods, including Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, Roxbury, and Mission Hill, as well as Asian workers and residents in Chinatown. 
Unfortunately, MBTA safety and efficiency issues have plagued the transit system for years. Accidents, derailments, and disruptions put people’s lives and livelihoods at risk, while also eroding trust in the system and its leadership. We have not been reassured by the quality of the MBTA’s prior mitigation efforts and now its communications to riders about this new initiative. Non-English speakers were the last to learn about the shutdown and consequently there have been no efforts to provide translated signage or easy access to interpretation services in advance, making these communities face a monumental task just to plan their commutes. Riders deserve a firm commitment from the MBTA that Orange Line service will significantly improve after this unprecedented diversion.


Opinion: Don’t Neglect Bone Health

Half of women, and up to 25 percent of men, age 50 and older will experience a fracture in their lifetimes – but most relegate bone health to the bottom of age-related wellness concerns. May is Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, and it's important to know that older adults are likely to focus on what they can do to prevent conditions like cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, or heart disease, believing those represent the greatest risks to quality of life and longevity with age. But that may be a mistake. Broken bones are a leading cause of hospitalizations among women aged 55 years or older, ahead of heart attacks, stroke, and breast cancer. Fractures significantly impact quality of life, causing pain, restricting mobility, and leaving many patients feeling depressed.