Public safety, first


Last updated 10/31/2013 at Noon

Do we think up projects primarily to give our Public Works Director and City Engineer something to sink their spreadsheets into, because I don’t know another reason why the City should consider yet another mega-project, when a modest one can solve a crucial problem — getting emergency vehicles to the waterfront.

The mayor and staff are promoting a plan that includes changing the very nature of the waterfront, a plan that could include building an expensive tunnel under the tracks, moving the ferry dock, and possibly even moving the Senior Center. We're talking tens of millions of dollars in State funds, with a solution that will arrive five to 10 years from now. It will be fun living in a construction site for years.

The first step will be explained as asking the State for (merely) $2 million to study the options. Remember how this goes: Today: “It's just a study.” Tomorrow: “We spent all this staff time and money on the plan, and can't throw that away.”

Sound familiar? Keep that in mind when you hear the mantra — “It's just a study.” This is the same song as the Port proposal — getting us used to the idea of building on the waterfront — the band is just taking a break between sets.

There's an alternative that doesn't move the Senior Center, doesn't move or expand the ferry dock, doesn't dig an expensive tunnel under the tracks, and doesn't obstruct the business and recreational interests on the waterfront for years — a simple emergency vehicle and pedestrian overpass. At a fraction of the cost.

If the council and mayor can unite on a plan, our state legislators are ready to support our decision. But we do not have the luxury of time to come up with a plan that also solves ferry and train access, as well as emergency access. Voice your opinion at the Nov. 4 public hearing, or by email to


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