Update from Mayor Ballantyne - September 2022

Dear Neighbors,

As you know, a 72-year-old Somerville resident was killed while biking in Teele Square in August. I am grieving this untimely loss, and I’m angry as we mourn a preventable death in Somerville. I ran for Mayor on a platform that included bold actions to keep our residents safe. Part of the reason that I am so upset is because we know how to prevent terrible crashes like this one.

A person parking their car opened their door into a marked bike lane and hit the victim resulting in fatal injuries. This type of crash would not have happened on the many Somerville streets that have protected bike lanes. This cannot happen again.

To reduce the risks for our residents, workers, and visitors, the City must urgently create protected bike lanes on busy streets. Long-scheduled paving of Holland Street will finally take place in mid-September. When I came into office, I inherited a design that did not include protected bike lanes for the full length of Holland Street. As Mayor, I have a unique opportunity to save lives by changing the design. I am determined to take that opportunity.

I have directed City staff to prepare a new plan for Holland Street that includes protected bike lanes from Teele Square to Buena Vista Road that will be implemented this fall. This plan would convert parking on one side of the street to allow for protected bike lanes on both sides.

To put this plan into action, the City will seek formal approval from its Traffic Commission. A public meeting will be scheduled in late September with opportunity for public comment.

City streets need to serve many functions, but safety comes first. I appreciate your patience as we work to save lives.

Yours in community,

Mayor Ballantyne

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