By Mayor Carlo DeMaria
One of the wonderful things about Everett is its proximity to some of the best economic, health care and educational centers in the nation. The investments this Administration has made to our transportation infrastructure has made Everett a great place to live for generations of families and new residents who want to live in neighborhood communities and have convenient access to work, school and medical facilities. Our investments in roadways, sidewalks, rapid transit lanes, and bike and pedestrian access are part of the reason Everett is recognized as one of the best places to live north of Boston.
It is important for us to understand that transportation is not just about moving people and goods from place to place. It is important for us to think of our transportation system in a bigger way-how it moves not only us and goods forward, but also how it moves our City forward and creates investment that makes the housing market more secure and delivers new streams of funding for years to come.
We have made significant investments in our streets and sidewalks. We have advocated each year for the City to invest its own capital dollars to repaving roads and repairing sidewalks. While other communities choose to rely upon only state roadway funds, this Administration recognizes that maintaining the streets and sidewalks that we use every day is an essential service that our residents deserve. The investment made by the state also will allow for major renovations to Ferry and Elm Streets.
We also have found innovative ways to help our residents get where they need and want to go. Everett is a model that other communities are following for Rapid Bus Transit. Creating bus lanes for morning and evening commutes helps eliminate conflicts for buses with vehicle traffic and reduces roadway congestion. We are working with the City of Boston to expand these bus lanes to include center bus lanes that will extend to Lower Broadway and Rutherford Avenue to provide residents the ability to access connections at Haymarket and North Station.
There are additional measures in place to reduce congestion within Everett. Our Administration proposed a Traffic Demand Ordinance that prohibits new developments from having any off-street parking permits. The City’s software will prevent permits from being issued to tenants at these sites. Eliminating parking creates space to build housing units instead of parking spots. These housing sites are being marketed to residents who embrace a lifestyle that isn’t dependent on owning a car. Developers support these residents by providing them with T passes and shuttle services to stations, access to bike racks, and providing access to bike and car sharing services.
There is more work to needed as part of our transportation vision. We will continue to advocate for the expansion of the Silver Line Service. We are awaiting the announcement from MassDOT about funding for the Mystic River Pedestrian Bridge that will connect Everett and Somerville. We also are fighting for the electrification of the commuter rail to include a stop at Encore now and creating a subway stop there in the future because of modernizing public transit will open important economic doors for Everett and its residents.
Transportation is one of the critical elements of Everett’s continued economic development strategy that will bring benefits to all our residents. Transit oriented development will bring more affordable housing options, additional job opportunities and additional ways to move the city forward with less congestion. The work that we have accomplished and the efforts under way will enable us to realize the future of Everett that will benefit us all.
Carlo DeMaria is the Mayor of Everett.