Community Vision Meeting: Community Corridor Planning

Everyone has a role in the Community Corridor Planning project! On October 28th, 2009, over 130 people filled the cafetorium of the Argenziano School to join their neighbors in talking, thinking, planning, envisioning a Somerville that reflects the needs and wants of the residents as we plan for the new Green Line. People placed their own histories and future hopes on a time line alongside the time line for the Green Line. Participants had the opportunity to see photographs and a video portraying the Green Line Corridor from the eyes of Somerville residents. Chicken legs and black beans were eaten in good company as participants got to know each other. Advisory Team members and other volunteers did everything from set-up, to emceeing, to facilitating the small groups, to cleaning up at the end of the night.

The bulk of the meeting focused on small group activities, where everyone was asked to share a list of important spots in Somerville , and to review principles that had been developed by over 250 residents who had participated in a small group meeting sometime in the last 6 months. Groups were given a pile of cardboard principles, from which they identified up to 12 principles they felt should be prioritized. By night’s end, the entire roomful of people had voted on a list of 11 core principles shared by the majority of groups as priority.

Community Principles:

More Local Jobs: We want a fixed percentage of respectable jobs of all types with good wages and benefits for Somerville residents, from construction to permanent.

Increase Commercial and Economic Development: We want to see the creation of squares as destinations, with careful attention to mixed use of commercial/residential, reuse of buildings, and economic development to increase the tax base.

Keep and Add Local Businesses: We want locally owned, culturally diverse, clean businesses in commercial areas with employees who live in Somerville.

Keep Somerville Affordable: We want to make sure people of all economic means have the ability to afford housing and living costs, so that Somerville residents, such as child care workers, cab drivers, local business employees and others can stay here affordably.

Maintain Our Diversity: Preserve and encourage economic and ethnic diversity of residents and businesses.

Improve the Green Environment: We want a safe, environmentally friendly neighborhood with more green space, trees, and gardens; reduction of noise; avoidance of light pollution; and prevention of toxic chemicals in the air.

Encourage Walking and Biking: We want to encourage walking and cycling, through safe, bike/pedestrian friendly design of streets and paths around and between stations.

Create Community Gathering Spaces: We want both indoor and outdoor safe, public gathering spaces for community members.

Improve Access: We want above standard, safe access to and between stations for people with disabilities, strollers, and pedestrians in general

Community Involvement: We want to make sure residents are included on an ongoing basis in the planning, design, and zoning chanYges to the stations and areas around them. Youth, artists, and others should help design stations, with attention to amenities. We need an easy and clear process for residents to address problems as they come up, with ways of immediately resolving unseen impacts.

Connecting Buses and Trains: We want to ensure inter-modal access between neighborhoods and stations, for new train service to be adequate and speedy, and for existing bus lines to continue to serve areas not connected by train.