Facing many critics from the public that showed up to speak against two-way Broadway, the City Council on Monday decided to defer any vote and, instead, hold a Committee on Conference to review the matter.
In August, the Traffic Commission voted 5-1 to approve the two-way plan, as well as a spate of many other non-controversial changes to Fay Square, Chelsea Square, Bellingham Square and City Hall Avenue.
Council President Damali Vidot called for the committee, and the Council approved the move. She said they had until Oct. 6 to hold the meeting and to have a vote of the full Council. The City Council must approve all actions of the Traffic Commission, but if they do not do so by Oct. 6, the Commission’s approval will become law.
Many on the Council have not made their opinions known yet, but some have, and ultimately the fate of two-way Broadway will fall on the votes of 11 members of the Council.
Council President Vidot has been critical of the idea, and has particularly disagreed with the planning process that has unfolded over the past two years. In the past, she has been against the change.
Councillor Leo Robinson, however, said this week he is in favor of two-way Broadway.
“I’m a two-way Broadway guy,” he said.
Councillor Joe Perlatonda has also spoke in favor of the plan, and said the one-way plan is dangerous because it calls for cars to park outside of the protected bike lane. He said that would leave those exiting their cars in a dangerous position with oncoming traffic and with oncoming bicyclists.
Meanwhile, Councillor Bob Bishop said he doesn’t buy the idea of two-way Broadway. To this point, he said he isn’t convinced it’s a good change.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino and Chief Brian Kyes are some of the biggest advocates, and though they don’t have a vote, they have strongly called for the change for months.
Resident Sharleen McLain, however, was one of several residents who said the plan is flawed and has been forced upon the public.
“From the very first it was clear the City Manager and the planners have been pretty bent on getting two-way Broadway,” she said. “They’ve been pretty manipulative in moving forward on this two-way plan. None of these meetings have allowed for meaningful input. It wasn’t until the July Traffic Commission meeting that members of the public were able to speak directly to the plans.”
Said Barbara Richard, “I think two-way Broadway is spot-on dead wrong. Businesses will go under. I also think it hasn’t been a good enough outreach to the community.”
Ambrosino said he is in favor of the two-way plan, but he implored the Council to consider the plan is much more than just the two-way Broadway situation. He said there are many, many more non-controversial changes in the package that people do want universally.
“Much of what is before you is non-controversial,” he said. “Whether it’s Fay Square, Bellingham Square or City Hall Avenue, these provisions have no opposition to the changes.”
The Council will meet next on Monday, Sept. 24, and the Conference Committee will likely take place next week.
Pastors Ricardo Valle and Ruben Rodriguez show their determination to keep up the fight against homelessness during the one-year anniversary celebration of the Selah Day Center at Iglesia De La Luz Church on Broadway last Friday, Aug. 31. The Day Center has gone through ups and downs, but has provided great services to those facing homelessness and addiction issues.
An exhibit of contemporary photographs celebrating life in Chelsea will be on display starting Friday, September 14, at Gallery 456. The opening reception takes place that evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at 456 Broadway, Chelsea.
The featured images are large scale reproductions of the winners of the Welcome to Chelsea Photo Contest. Amateur and professional photographers participated with a dozen winners selected by a formal judging panel. The People’s Choice Award decided through online voting by more than 500 votes by people in the community.
The contest was presented by Chelsea Prospers, the City of Chelsea’s initiative for vitality in the downtown, and the facebook group Chelsea MA Photography Club coordinated by photographer and former City Councilor Matt Frank.
The judging panel included Darlene DeVita, an award-winning fine art photographer; Matt Frank, a former City Councilor and photographer who initiated the Chelsea MA Photography Club; State Representative Roselee Vincent, a champion for the arts and former member of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development; Sury Chavez, a local painter whose decorative murals and “Welcome to Chelsea” signs can be seen in key locations throughout the city; Marianne Ramos, a self-taught “outsider artist” and long-time Chelsea resident who serves as Program Coordinator for the Chelsea Senior Center; and Alex Train, artist and Assistant Director of the Department of Planning and Development for the City of Chelsea.
All of the winning images, submitted digitally, have been reproduced in high-quality, large format canvas prints. These framed works will remain on display on Broadway until mid to late October. At the conclusion of the exhibit the winners will take home their framed prints.
Gallery 456 is a storefront gallery so it is always open. The entire exhibit can be viewed from the sidewalk.
The Chinese company that was sent packing in 2015 for a far-reaching plan for the Forbes site that included skyscrapers more than 20 stories tall, is now back before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) next month with a more modest – but still large – plan for the site.
YIHE will present a plan for the 18-acre Forbes site on Sept. 11 to the ZBA that includes 630 residential units (approximately 700,000 sq. ft.), and 44,230 sq. ft. of non-residential space to include resident amenities, retail and dining and a co-working space. Some 60 percent of the units will be home ownership opportunities and 40 percent will be rentals. There will be 80 studios, 330 one-bedrooms, and 220 two-bedrooms in the residential scheme.
Known as Summer Court, the project will also include much improved public open space and public access to Chelsea Creek.
“The development will step down in height towards the waterfront, with the tallest buildings proposed along the eastern portion of the site to mitigate impact on the adjacent neighborhood and shorter, smaller buildings closer to the entrance,” read the report. “Parking will be provided in a single-story parking garage located beneath the plaza and a parking garage adjacent to the railroad tracks.”
The project will retain three existing buildings on the site, but others will not be able to be saved. There are 949 spaces contemplated in the garages, and the zoning requires 1,268 spaces.
Summer Court will have a large plaza in the middle parcel with ready access to retail and restaurant spaces. The portion of the project abutting Chelsea Creek is perhaps the most intriguing. Using a stepped board wark that will also serve as flood retention, the area will include a plaza with green space and water access.
“The waterfront plaza will offer opportunities for the public to enjoy the site’s magnificent views of the Boston skyline when using walking and jogging paths or resting on benches,” read the filing.
One major sticking point will likely be the one means of accessing the site over the MBTA railroad bridge. The only way to get to the large development will be to travel by a large school complex and through a low-density residential neighborhood on Crescent Avenue.
“The project includes the relocation of the western bridge to just east of the eastern bridge,” read the filing. “Both bridges will be placed into service in order to provide redundant access in the event of an emergency. The entrance road will ramp down from the elevated road over the tracks toward the waterfront plaza.”
YIHE purchased the site in 2014 with the intention of redeveloping the site.
Also at the ZBA, but on Thursday, Sept. 13, will be a proposal at 208 Spencer Street to redevelop a one-family home into a nine-unit, four-story residential building.
The proposal comes from South Boston’s OPC Development, and will include nine parking spaces (four of which are compact) on the first floor of the development.
The units will all be two-bedroom units with a private balcony and/or roof decks. They will average 1,134 sq. ft. with all units on floors two through four.
The meeting on Sept. 13 will also have on the agenda the four-story, 42 unit building proposed by Traggorth and The Neighborhood Developers (TND) on what is now a vacant lot (formerly Midas) at 1001 Broadway.
Nicole Zervas Dance Academy (NZDA) is celebrating its 30th anniversary, a milestone that owner and director, Nicole Paolo, is proud of. After 30 years, what brings Miss Nicole (as she is affectionately known) the most happiness is building the confidence of her students. Developing their strengths, communication and time management skills are all essential components to her curriculum.
“It feels great! We’re always moving forward. Three decades has been a long time,” said Nicole, who grew up in Revere. “My team of teachers do an amazing job. I have an incredible office staff. I also work very closely with my performance board, who have been with me since they were babies. It really is a big, collaborative effort.”
Paolo hopes to create a comfortable, safe atmosphere at her studio on Broadway in Revere, where children have a peaceful outlet to express themselves. She encourages her students to be ambitious and bold.
“My goal is that we give our dancers the skills to be successful young adults,” she explains. “When students leave, we hope to give them a broad range of tools to succeed—not only in dance, but also skills that will carry them through life.”
Nicole, who recently celebrated her 21st wedding anniversary with her husband, Domenic, also works full time as an administrator in the public elementary school system. Her work in special education inspired her belief in an all-inclusive environment at NZDA.
On her office wall is a framed chalkboard that reads: “Behind every dancer who believes in themselves, is a teacher who believed in them first.” The gift was created by a group of students who recently graduated high school and began dancing with her as toddlers in the studio’s “Tiniest Toes” program.
“Being influential in a young person’s life is truly one of the greatest joys I have,” said Nicole, whose tap shoes and worn ballet slippers line her office floor.
On her desk is a framed dance portrait of her mentor, Sharon Tirrell, whose concepts have inspired the principles at NZDA. The two met when Nicole first enrolled at Tassinari and Tirrell, a dance studio in Winthrop, when at the age of 10, she realized that music and movement made her feel complete.
“Sharon and her mother were both huge contributors to the foundational work and philosophies at my studio: dancing for a purpose, dancing for a message,” Nicole described. “Your biggest competitor is yourself. Make sure you are always your personal best.”
Tirrell, who eventually became NZDA’s co-director, was instrumental in encouraging Paolo to open her own studio. Tirrell also helped Nicole choreograph the routine for her appearance in a national Diet Pepsi commercial on Boston City Hall Plaza.
When NZDA opened, it was the first dancing school in the area to offer street dancing classes. Today, the studio provides in-depth foundational classes in ballet, tap, and jazz, as well as hip hop, Latin, contemporary, and tumbling.
“We’ve been steadfast in our philosophies,” Nicole said. “Being on the forefront of dance is an important key to keep dancers engaged. You need to constantly progress with the times and be aware of what is happening in your industry, but never forget about your foundation.”
Register at Nicole Zervas Dance Academy located at 790 Broadway, Revere, on Saturday, Aug. 18 and 25: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Thursday, Aug. 30: 6 – 8 p.m. Classes begin on Wednesday, Sept. 5. For more information, contact Nicole Paolo at (781) 284-3137, or email NZDance@verizon.net.
The Chelsea Day Center in the Light of Christ Church on Broadway has been a haven for those who had nowhere to go during the day, the folks that formerly hung out all day in Bellingham Square, and though it hasn’t been perfect City officials believe there is still a great need for the Center.
One wouldn’t get an argument from those who attend the Center.
“I came here to get away from the stress outside, and I have no stress here,” said Ovidio Ortiz, who has been coming for one year since the Day Center opened. “Shelters in Boston are very far and they have too much violence and drugs. Here, they don’t have that. This beats a shelter. There aren’t any problems inside and I wish they had it Saturday and Sunday too. Outside on the street people are fighting and drinking and doing drugs. Not here. I’m safe here and I can rest. We need this here.”
He was but one of about 20 people who were at the Day Center last Friday, Aug. 10. The Center is open Monday through Friday from the morning until 1 p.m. Those who attend can get food, three times a week they can take a shower, and they have access to medical care and a host of recovery services.
At the heart of it all has been Pastor Ruben Rodriguez and Pastor Ricardo Valle – who shepherds the Light of Christ Church.
Rodriguez has worked with the street population in Chelsea for years, and made a commitment to shepherd the Day Center for a year until it was up and running. On Aug. 20, he will move on to new things, and CAPIC will begin managing the Center with Valle and his volunteers.
“It’s been a great run, but it’s also been humbling,” he said. “There are pros and cons to it. We have had problems outside, and we’re working on that. What’s going on inside, people have gotten a lot from it. There’s been 6,000 meals served, hundreds of showers and hours and hours of rest for people who had nowhere to rest that was safe. We’ve had hundreds resourced to programs.
“The best part about this place though is a lot of the people doing the work are the people who come here,” he continued. “They have taken ownership of this place. That’s very good for them. They respect it. I hope they continue to respect it and build this community when I leave and CAPIC takes over.”
Pastor Valle said little by little they are making progress.
“When they come the first time, it’s really new to them and they aren’t sure about it,” he said. “But soon they come and it’s a home to them. The people who do really good, we give them work to do. When you start something like this, people will be against it and people will be for it. You do what you can to help. We pray about it, but the City agrees we need this place.”
And that is the case.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said there is still good work going on at the Day Center. While the functions inside have been exemplary in helping people have a safe place and access to resources, there have been some problems outside after the Center closes. It has been a sore spot with neighbors, but Ambrosino said he believes they can solve that issue with CAPIC.
“The City still feels it is of very great need to have and overall we think it has been helpful, providing food and shelter and resources for a population we’re really trying to reach and engage,” he said. “There’s been some hiccups there with people loitering outside. We think based on our discussions, some actions we’re taking with the pastor and CAPIC will address these things. CAPIC will begin to be more engaged in the operation Aug. 20.”
Rodriguez said he is very proud of the work they have done, and is excited to get back to working directly with those on the streets – a calling he is very passionate about.
“You always are surprised who shows up here,” he said. “Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. I want people to know we tried to know we tried to make it the best way we could. I think it was a success. I hope as it goes on these people in the community that need this help are blessed.”
Dimitris Meletlidis, owner of Broadway House of Pizza, was skeptical about the Chelsea Walk Revitalization Project when he was first approached about the idea. Now, he is one of the project’s biggest proponents.
Dimitris, came from Greece in 1981 and attended Northeastern University where he earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees in electrical engineering. He and his family purchased the Chelsea locale in 1987, just a few doors down from its present location. When the existing building became available, he bought it and opened up the thriving business he has run for the last 30-plus years. He also owns Prattville Pizza as well as locations in Revere and West Roxbury.
Dimitris comes to Chelsea twice a day and often is here until midnight or later. He knows practically everyone in the city, quickly chatting up teenagers, adults and the elderly alike. With a twinkle in his eye and a quick laugh, he says, “I’ve known this guy since he was practically a baby, always coming in for pizza!”
It is no surprise Meletlidis feels a strong sense of ownership and connection to Chelsea and the Chelsea Walk. He checks out the progress of the transformation daily and has donated pizza for Artist Silvia Lopez Chavez and the multitude of volunteers she’s had on hand over the past week.
Previously unsure of the project, now just like the Chelsea Walk’s transformation, Meletlidis is changing his mind and thinking it might just be nice to have the mural extend to the back of his building too.
As a proud husband and father of two Ð a son studying at Amherst and a daughter studying law at Suffolk Ð Meletlidis exemplifies the theme behind Lopez Chavez’ mural “A City of Dreams.”
The mural takes inspiration from the diverse multi-cultural background of Chelsea people, a city which has welcomed immigrants from various countries for many years, working together to promote inclusivity, diversity and tolerance.
On Aug. 2, at 9 a.m., CPD officers were dispatched to 738 Broadway for the report of a female party who had been in the bathroom and refused to leave. Officers spoke to the supervisor who runs the program at the church who told the officers that the female was not welcome anymore and needed to go. The officers entered the bathroom and observed the woman with multiple packets of drugs on her person and in the toilet. She was placed under arrest.
Ashley Tyler, 30, of 92 Park St., was charged with possession of a Class A drug, distribution of a Class B drug and one warrant.
CLIMBING THE LADDER, THE WRONG WAY
On Aug. 3, at 2 a.m., CPD officersÊresponded to a call for a report of two men who were stealing ladders off of the property at 127 Division St. Officers searched the area and observed two males that fit the description with an orange ladder next to them. They were both placed under arrest.
Jesus Palacios-Leiva, 24, of 128 Shurtleff St., was charged with larceny over $250, trespassing and giving a false name.
Salvador Pineda, 30, of Revere, was charged with larceny over $250 and trespassing.
ASSAULTED OFFICER, WANTED BY ICE
On Aug. 5, at 12:40 p.m.,Êwhile patrolling in the area of Essex and Hawthorne streets, CPD officers observed what appeared to be a verbal argument between a male and a female. As the officers approached, the man aggressively approached the driver side door of the vehicle. The subject refused the officers’ orders to back away and pushed the officer; he then grabbed a trash barrel.ÊWhile attempting to place the suspect under arrest, he struck both officers. He was eventually taken into custody. He was charged with assaulting a police officer, malicious destruction of property. It was later determined that ICE wanted the male for federal violations.
Elias Vincente-Morales, 21, of 78 Essex St., was charged with malicious destruction of property under $250, assault and battery on a police officer and one immigration detainer.
TOSSED BEER CANS AND FLED
On July 24, at 2 a.m.,a CPD officer while on Suffolk Street observed a male while standing next to his running car throw empty beer cans on the road, then drive away at a high rate of speed. After the car was observed committing several more vehicle infractions, it was pulled over. The operator attempted to flee the vehicle and was placed under arrest.
Abraham Lopez Rojop, 24, of 1A Clinton St., was charged with speeding, failing to stop for police, possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, unlicensed operation, negligent operation, and three stop-sign violations.
NO SERVICE AT THE BAR
On July 24, at 6 p.m., officers responded to the Los Amigos restaurant on Broadway for an unwanted party. Management told the officers that the female entered the bar and was highly intoxicated. Officers arrived and attempted to escort her off the property when she became disorderly. She was placed under arrest.
Ana Henriquez, 47, of 174 Chestnut St., was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
UNREGISTERED CAR, KNIFE
On July 25, at 6:40 p.m., a CPD officer, noticed an unregistered vehicle double parked in Bellingham Square. The officer pulled the car over. The operator did not have a valid license. He was placed under arrest. The officer also seized a folding knife from his person.
Jose Rodriguez, 20, of 120 Shurtleff St., was charged with unlicensed operation, unregistered motor vehicle and carrying a dangerous weapon.
CALLED A GANG MEMBER
On July 26, at 8:20 p.m., officers responded to the Chung Wah restaurant on Broadway for a disturbance. The officers placed a male under arrest after the subject struck a female patron with a sign. The suspect was said to be calling the victim a gang member as he assaulted her.
Edwin Ibanez, 30, of 589 Broadway, was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct and assault and battery.
Monday, July 23
Carlos Rios, 46, 139 Marlborough St., Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor, unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.
Henrique Castillo, 67, 100 Chestnut St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Whitney Baskin, 33, 101 Willow St., Lynn, was arrested on warrants.
Tuesday, July 24
Abraham Lopez Rojop, 24, 1A Clinton S., Chelsea, was arrested for speeding, stop sign violation (four counts), failure to stop for police, open container of alcohol in motor vehicle, unlicensed operation of motor vehicle and negligent operation of motor vehicle.
Ana Henriquez, 47, 174 Chestnut St., Chelsea, was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Wilfredo Ibanez, 41, 46 Oliver St., Everett, was arrested for operating motor vehicle with suspended license and on a warrant.
Melvin Maldonado, 32, 25 Whitter St., Boston, was arrested for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and possessing a Class A drug.
Wednesday, July 25
Wendy Chirino, 28, 35 Shurtleff St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Orlando Diaz, 62, 110 Bloomingdale St., Chelsea, was arrested for possessing alcoholic beverage.
Leonides Bones, 60, 4 Fernboro St., Dorchester, was arrested for possessing alcoholic beverage.
Fredy Lopez, 34, 220 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Jose Rodriguez, 20, 120 Shurtleff St., Chelsea, was arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle, unregistered motor vehicle and carrying a dangerous weapon.
Thursday, July 26
Edwin Ibanez, 30, 589 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct and assault and battery.
Friday, July 27
Carlos Ramos, 51, 27 Watts St., Chelsea, was arrested for unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of property damage.
Nelson Moises Vasquez Rodriguez, 28, 108 Norfolk, Boston, was arrested for unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
Cesar-Jose Valentin, 32, 23 Eleanor St., Chelsea, was arrested for dangerous weapon.
Mark Halloran, 19, 51 Village Hill Ln., North Kingstown, R.I., was arrested for trespassing.
Monday, July 30
JamieLynn Gemellaro, 36, 186 Wakefield St., Reading, was arrested on warrants.
Luiz DeFatima, 27, 37 Lawrence St., Everett, was arrested for possessing Class A drug.
Ramon Oquendo, 25, 52 Savin St., Roxbury, was arrested for possessing alcoholic beverage.
Tuesday, July 31
Anna Marshall, 20, 466 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Sandra Sargent, 34, 71 Winthrop Ave., Revere, was arrested on warrants.
Rosie Hurst, 56, 27 Thornly St., Dorchester, was arrested on a warrant.
Wednesday, August 1
Justin Rich, 40, 810 Border St., East Boston, was arrested on a warrant.
Juddony Felix, 24, 40 River Rd., Somerville, was arrested on a warrant.
Thursday, Aug. 2
Ashley Tyler, 30, 92 Park St., Chelsea, was arrested for possessing a Class A drug, Distribution of a Class B drug and on a warrant.
Elizabeth Quinn, 35, 12 Simmonds Dr., Portsmouth, N.H., was arrested for sexual conduct for a fee.
Friday, August 3
Jesus Palacios-Leiva, 24, 128 Shurtleff St., Chelsea, was arrested for larceny over $250, trespassing and furnishing false name.
Salvador Pineda, 30, 135 Falmouth St., Revere, was arrested for larceny over $250 and trespassing.
Saturday, August 4
Ramon Pagan, 57, 444 Harrison Ave., Boston, was arrested for possessing alcoholic beverage.
Elias Vincente-Morales, 21, 78 Essex St., Chelsea, was arrested for malicious destruction of property, assault and battery on a police officer and immigration detainer.
Jose Tejada, 37, 46 Hood St., Lynn, was arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle and immigration detainer.
The good news for Chelsea residents is that the $5 million redesign of the Broadway business district is moving forward, and a final decision will be made by the City Council about its exact components next month.
And if the vision and innovativeness that City Manager Tom Ambrosino fostered in all parts of Revere can be matched here, then Chelsea residents can expect a Broadway and Bellingham Square bustling with activity and commerce.
But a big question about “The New Broadway” remains: Should the six city blocks from Williams Street to City Hall Avenue be a one-way street (as it exists now and has for many decades) or a two-way street?
The Chelsea Traffic Commission hosted a public meeting Tuesday night at City Hall to hear residents’ opinions about the potential change of Broadway to a two-way street. The Commission is scheduled to vote on the matter at its next meeting before the Council casts the final vote about the entire redesign project, including the traffic plan.
Alexander Train, Chelsea’s assistant director of the department of planning and development, gave a thorough presentation of the re-imagined Broadway project that will totally transform the business district’s intersections, sidewalks, bicycle paths, tree pits, and physical appearance.
“We’ve completed the planning and development portion of the process and we’re now approaching the Traffic Commission to vote and adopt and enact the plan,” said Train. “Their vote will be relayed to City Council, who has the authority to approve or reject their decision.”
Police Chief Brian Kyes spoke in favor of a two-way Broadway, saying it would improve the flow of traffic.
“If a person double parks his vehicle, we have a reason to tow the vehicle ASAP,” said Kyes. “We want to keep the traffic flowing.”
Kyes said he was happy to hear that the intersection of Broadway and Third Street will have traffic lights in the redesign project. “Broadway and Third is probably one of the most dangerous intersections in the entire state,” said Kyes.
He said that when he drove from the police station to City Hall for the meeting, “the backup when I got to Hawthorne Street was incredible, because everybody is making the loop (around Broadway). I think the final [redesign] project makes a lot of sense. I drive down Broadway, Revere all the time and I very, very rarely see double parking there.” Councillor-at-Large Damlili
Vidot said she would like to see the city pay more attention to cleaning up Broadway (such as removing the weed in the metal grates). She also disputed the claim that two-way traffic would curtail double parking and that it would make it safer for pedestrians. She also asked about potential back-ups on the Tobin Bridge and how it would affect traffic on a two-way Broadway.
Vidot said she was not happy with the swiftness of the entire redesign process.
“I urge everyone to just take several steps back and let’s figure out a way to engage more people,” said Vidot. “The way that this process has gone, having a meeting in the middle of summer when the City Council isn’t even meeting – in a hot room where everyone is aggravated and we had to wait 10 minutes to even start the meeting, all of it is just not right.”
Ambrosino, who favors a two-way Broadway, said the traffic configuration should not predominate the discussion of the redesign project.
“That’s only a small part of the reimaging Broadway,” said Ambrosino. “Many of the improvements [to Bellingham Square, Fay Square, City Hall Avenue, traffic signals at dangerous intersections] are happening regardless of which of these two configurations between Williams and Fifth Streets is chosen. Even the one-way configuration is a major improvement over the two-lane speedway that currently exists on Broadway. The two-way configuration is still safer, calmer, and slower for bicylists and pedestrians.”
Ambrosino said the two-way configuration will be “transformative.”
“It will make a difference to the feel and the look of that downtown. It makes it vibrant. It makes it aesthetically pleasing. This will be better for pedestrians, for traffic, and for businesses.”
Rick Gordon, owner of Allen Cut Rite on Broadway, said the No. 1 issue in the downtown district is parking. “I personally prefer a one-way plan for the flow of traffic. The street is much narrower than other communities and I don’t think two-way makes a business more visible.”
Gordon credited the Chelsea Police for their efforts in slowing down motorists and enforcing double-parking restrictions on Broadway. Some residents at the meeting had noted that double-parking is a recurring issue on Broadway.
Councillor-at-Large Roy Avellaneda, whose family owns Tito’s Bakery, asked whether the City Council will have to vote on the redesign project in its entirety as opposed to voting on individual components such as the traffic configuration, and the placement of new bus stops and traffic lights on Broadway.
Following more than two hours of discussion, the one-way/two-way Broadway issue remains a hotly debated one and all eyes will be on the Traffic Commission when it convenes for a vote at its next meeting.WE should be Ambrosino said he favors a two-way Broadway
The Chelsea Walk – for those on the right side of the law – has been a place to run from.
Now, City officials, a local artist and GreenRoots are hoping to make those kind folks find a reason to stay in the Walk. After raising more than $58,000 and getting a MassDevelopment matching grant, GreenRoots and the City have now embarked on a public process to begin revamping the Walk – a long-troubled small stretch of walkway between the Cherry Street parking lot and the Broadway business district.
On Monday, the collaborators held a public visioning session on the Walk, complete with Chelsea artist Sylvia Lopez Chavez – who has been selected to design and carry out the sprucing up of the place.
Roseann Bongiovanni, director of GreenRoots, said the Walk was targeted as a place that could become very important to the downtown.
“We’re looking at murals, lighting, furniture and art installations on the roof fixtures to make it feel more friendly, inviting, safe and comfortable,” she said.
She said Monday was the first of two visioning exercises with the public, and then it will be full steam ahead. A community paint day led by Lopez Chavez is scheduled for Aug. 3 and 4 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day. Much of the changes are expected to be done in about one month, and the final result could be programming that includes game nights and more seating.
“I’m excited about a new look and design for the walkway,” said City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “It would really make it pop. That the goal and it’s in a very visible spot.”
Chavez said she is very excited to get to paint a mural and refurbish something in her own community. A veteran of mural and public art work in Boston, she is now focused on what kinds of creative things can be put into the Walk.
“There are a lot of very good ideas,” she said. “There is a desire to keep the community fabric and to retain a part of the history of Chelsea. There will be a lot of color. That’s a signature of mine. The space seems very art deco to me. I’m thinking of patterns…I’ve looked at textiles of different cultural background. It will just flow from the walls. I like the zig zag line that is already here. That will be a starting point.”
Additionally, she is working with members of the community to think about what should be decorating the top rafters of the walk. There is talk about things hanging from it, perhaps lights, and maybe even colored plexiglass to make the look very unique.
Bottom line, she said, is to create a space where people feel comfortable and want to stay for a bit.
That won’t be entirely easy to come by, as reclaiming the space from the criminal element and the bar crowd from the pub next door will take work. Even during Monday’s event, there were some incidents that had to be ironed out.
Councilor Enio Lopez said he is glad to see it recovered.
“I think it’s a very good idea to beautify this space and to help in what GreenRoots is doing,” he said. “It’s going to look great. We need to beautify this area, especially around this bar where there are so many problems. It’s the only bar that opens at 7 a.m.”