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Green Line Extension Delayed Again, Somervillians Voice Disappointment

Aug 04 4:09 pm

By Danielle Kennedy

The Green Line Extension project has been pushed back yet again, and Somerville commuters are not happy, to say the least. The project was already reslated for 2015 last year, much to chagrin of residents in Somerville neighborhoods that would hugely benefit from a T stop.

Is it 2014 yet? No, but looks like you'll have to wait even longer.

Now projecting stations will go into service 2018 at the earliest but possibly as late as 2020, MassDOT chalks up this most recent delay to a decision to acquire most of the necessary land and permits before allowing companies to bid on the building and design rights, which they say could have prevented expensive delays in the reopening of the Greenbush Commuter Rail line. Marc Draisen, executive director of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, told the Boston Globe that while MassDOT’s reasoning is valid, he also suspects the department’s ongoing financial issues, stating about better transportation offerings, “…People want these things, but if you want ‘em you have to pay for ‘em.”

Regardless of whether or not the state has the funding for this project to go forward, many residents are upset that aside from the vague promises, there has been nothing concrete offered to prove that this project is underway. Mayor Curtatone is one of these outraged residents, calling for Somerville inhabitants and business owners alike to demand accountability from all those involved in the process in a letter/phone/email campaign on the Resistat blog Tuesday. The mayor proclaimed, “A four-year delay of the Green Line Extension bereft of any tangible commitments from the Commonwealth is simply unacceptable. Somerville deserves a transparent, accurate timeline for the [project], with clear deliverables.” An online petition that went up the same day already has nearly 1000 signatures at the time of this post, with signers citing complaints from skyrocketing rents in promised T stop locations and suppressed neighborhood development to underfunding and broken legal promises.

Will a station in Brickbottom and other underserviced Somerville neighborhoods ever become a reality?

This delay prefaces what could be a frightening trend in greener transportation initiatives state and nationwide. The Green Line Extension was conceived in conjunction with the Big Dig in order to fulfill the tenets of the federal Clean Air Act and avoid a costly lawsuit from the Conservation Law Foundation. Obviously, these kinds of projects cost money, funds that state programs just don’t have right now in our current economic condition. However, this puts us in a catch-22, because the longer MassDOT waits to build, the more expensive the extension will become, and additional money will still have to be spent on Big Dig pollution-offset projects to comply with the original CLF settlement deadline in 2014.

In reference to court support his nonprofit has received for the Green Line extension and other air quality-improving projects across New England, CLF attorney Raphael Mares has said, “I think underlying all of this is an attempt to address the fact that we’re underfunding transportation in general.” Anonymous signer #274 in the aforementioned petition sums up this failure of accountability perfectly: “What good is a legal mandate if it can simply be ignored?”

The state, MassDOT, and the impacted community have all had their say, so what do you, as SLFers, think? How will another delay impact the growth of local businesses and burgeoning Somerville neighborhoods? We’d love to hear what you have to say, so please write in the comments section below.

 

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Redbones 14th Annual Bike Party & Benefit

Jun 01 2:30 pm

The 14th Annual Bike Party and Benefit for MassBike and the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) at Redbones is almost here! On June 6th, bike, walk or drive to Redbones in Davis Square to celebrate and support cycling with two advocacy groups and a block party outside the restaurant that includes great food, drink, live music and an amazing raffle.

Date: Monday, June 6   (rain date: June 13)

Ride By for the Biggest Bike Party of the year!

Time: 5 - 9 pm, raffle drawing @ 7:30 pm

Place: Redbones, 55 Chester Street, Somerville

Information: 617.628.2200 & www.redbones.com

Entertainment: Live music by The SAPS - Second Line Social Aid & Pleasure Society Brass Band: We aim to please if the cause is true and the time is right.

Tickets: $15.00 includes bicycle valet parking, a Redbones sandwich, soft drink or beer & a raffle ticket.   All tickets purchased on site. No advance sales.

Additional raffle tickets: 1 for $2.00 & 3 for $5.00

Proceeds from entry & raffle ticket sales go to: MassBike & NEMBA

Sponsors & Raffle Prizes:
The Grand Prize, a custom made cargo bike, is being donated by returning lead sponsor, Alternative Needs Transportation (ANT).   Many additional sponsors have donated awesome prizes for the raffle including  bikes, gear & lots of swag.

For a complete list of sponsors, please click here.

 

Bike Party Background:

Previously held in May during Bike to Work Week, the party moved to June three years ago to benefit from warmer weather, additional daylight, and more cyclists on the road for the season. The June date has proved to be a popular choice, attracting more people and proceeds every year - each of the last two, over $11,000 was divided between MassBike and NEMBA.

Redbones first Bike Party was conceived in tandem with Redbones free Bicycle Valet parking introduced in 1996.  Robert Gregory, co-owner of Redbones and a mountain biker initiated the valet parking for the cyclists who ride to the restaurant, as well as other destinations in Davis Square.   Success of the parking lead to the Redbones Rib Rider, a custom designed cargo bike from ANT, used for free dinner delivery in neighborhoods surrounding the restaurant.
Fifteen years later, the party is eagerly anticipated by cyclists, sponsors, and beneficiaries alike.

For more information regarding NEMBA or MassBike, please visit their websites.

Redbones, 55 Chester Street, Davis Square, Somerville, is open 7 days for lunch, dinner, and late night dining plus Sunday brunch.  Redbones is known for its authentic, real pit barbecue, carefully chosen selection of draft and bottled beer and full bar.  Take out, delivery and catering available.

 

Mike’s Auto Brings the Green Oil Change Revolution to Somerville

Oct 18 11:24 am
Mike's Automotive Somerville Green Oil Change

Mike's Automotive in Union Square

Today’s post comes from SLF member Mark Pedersen of Mike’s Automotive Services in Union Square. Mark works alongside his father, Mike Sr., and brother, Mark Jr., at this family run Somerville autoshop that’s committed to protecting the environment and building a more sustainable community. Learn more about their new green oil change service and how it benefits Groundwork Somerville:

Today marks a seminal moment in the movement for sustainability here in Somerville. Like many years ago, a revolution is taking place in Union Square at the foot of Prospect Hill. This time, the rebel color is green. At Mike’s Automotive Services we’re  issuing a sustainability call to arms by being the only auto shop to offer a green oil change in the Boston area.

What is a green oil change? A green oil change is one that uses re-refined motor oil. Mike’s green oil change uses EcoPower - a premium API-certified re-refined motor oil. What’s that mean? It means that EcoPower oil meets all of the same manufacturer specifications as any other conventional motor oil you’ve ever used.

A green oil change has tremendous benefits for the environment:

  • It results in 99.5% fewer heavy metal emissions and 85% less greenhouse gases than if used motor oil were used for fuel.
  • It saves more than one million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the road every year
  • It takes 85% less energy to produce than motor oil made from crude oil.

Those are just some of the benefits of choosing a green oil change (along with that great feeling you get when you choose sustainability). The State and Federal governments have been required by law to use re-refined oil since the mid-1990s. Now, the rest of us can use it too!

A lot of people talk about the fact that re-refined oil is much more expensive than conventional oil - and it is. But Mike’s is committed to sustainability. So we’re offering our green oil change for only $4.00 more than our conventional oil change.

For us, this is about leadership. If we are ever going to truly build a more sustainable community, it is going to take local businesses to stand up and lead the way. That’s what we’re doing - we’re putting principles before profits.

As part of our commitment to sustainability, we’re celebrating our green oil change in a big way. This week (October 18-22), for every green oil change we provide, we will donate $5.00 to Groundwork Somerville. Request your green oil change online with our convenient Mike’s Automotive web appointment scheduler.

So, no more excuses - the green oil change is here! Let’s see you show your green stripes by getting the word out. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Tell your co-workers. And above all, when it’s time to change your oil - go green at Mike’s!

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