The November Neighborhood Council meeting was mainly about one topic: Trash (below), but representatives from the N. Washington St Bridge project and the North End Library also gave very welcome updates.
Catherine Halpin, Branch Librarian, gave an overview of the upcoming and ongoing programming at the North End Library. See the Events section on their website for a list of upcoming programs. Halpin also notes that the Library is now staffed at such a level that is is able to be open for a full day - 9-5 - on Saturdays, the first time in the Library's history.
John Romano from MassDOT along with representatives from contractors gave an update on the North Washington St Bridge project.
- Mid-December 2023:
- All three lanes of traffic (one northbound and two southbound) will be switched from the temporary bridge to the partially-constructed new bridge.
- Pedestrians are moved from the west (locks-side) of the bridge to the east (harbor-side) of the bridge - eliminating the need for many of its users to cross several lanes of traffic (🥳).
- Southbound lanes may have sharrows marked on one of the lanes, northbound lanes will not have sharrows marked (because there is only one lane of travel in that direction).
- Signage placed that cyclists must dismount when traveling north (cyclists obviously may dismount southbound, but this means crossing 13 lanes of traffic since the pedestrian space is now only on the east side).
- Note: While not perfect, this phase is a huge improvement for 90% of pedestrians that use the bridge to travel between the North End and Charlestown by eliminating the need to cross over a dozen lanes of traffic.
- December 2024:
- Bridge construction complete.
- 4 lanes of vehicle traffic open on new bridge.
- 1 southbound bus lane open.
- Separated bike path open in both directions (one on each side of the bridge).
- Pedestrian access on both sides of bridge open.
- December 2025:
- Site construction complete.
- Pedestrian underpass from North End to Lovejoy Wharf open.
Dennis Roache, Trash Superintendent, came to talk about the challenges of residential trash collection in the North End as well as upcoming contract negotiations with providers and opportunities inside and outside those new contracts. District 1 Councilor Coletta and North End Office of Neighborhood Services Liaison Ciara D'Amico were also in attendance.
Notes from Dennis Roache's presentation:
- It's likely that the city will exercise one or more contract extensions with Capitol Waste Management.
- As of right now, Capitol Waste Management is likey to be the only bidder on the next round of contracts.
- Roache's department is currently working on researching modern trash best practices and improving contract language (such as putting in incentives for cleaner streets after collection). In support of this effort, Roache's department has hired a Tash Fellow who started two months ago.
- Roache noted that Boston may be the last major city in the country that doesn't use some sort of containerization program now that New York has moved to containerize their residential trash. (That's right, Boston may be the only city in the country that puts its trash in bags on the sidewalk.
One resident, who brought a copy of the Massachusetts Sanitary Code to the meeting (🖤), noted that we may be in violation of it because we allow trash to sit overnight. (The Code apparently states that trash must be picked up on the same day its put out.) That resident suggested that we switch the pickup time to something like 9pm so that trash was actually picked up the same day (night) that it was put out. Mr. Roache said that while this wasn't something that could be negotiated into a contract extension, it is something that could be a part of future contracts. Although it's not without its complications. Notably: contractors are busy at night doing commercial trash collection.
Hope for a containerization pilot
There was strong support for some sort of containerization pilot in the neighborhood. Mr. Roache said that this was something that his department and the Mayor are very interested in as well. Neighborhood Council President, Joel Faller, asked what it would take for the North End to be part of a pilot program. Mr. Roache said that working with Councilor Coletta's office and the Office of Neighborhood Services liason Ciara D'Amico is the best course (both of whom were in attendance!). He also noted that it may be possible to run a pilot program outside of contract extensions or negotiations.