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Archives for September 17, 2013

OBSERVER Staff Report

By NICOLE GUGINO

OBSERVER Assistant News Editor

SILVER CREEK – Although board members were hesitant, the board approved paying a bill for alleged damage to a resident’s basement.

Article Photos

OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino
Pictured are Silver Creek Mayor Nick Piccolo and Attorney Dan Gard.

One of the topics at the Silver Creek Village Board meeting that was debated was whether the village should pick up the $437 for damage to a LaFayette Street resident’s basement.

According to Mayor Nick Piccolo, he spoke with Desiree Coon who says when the village had a hydrant put in, her basement flooded causing $3,800 to her basement and hot water heater.

Water Supervisor Herm Griewisch said the day she said the damage occurred the village was not putting in the hydrant but the contractor was putting in the water line for the hydrant.

Coon has asked that the village pay for the deductible and plumber’s fee not covered by her insurance.

Piccolo said it would be better for the village to pay this than risk having to deal with the insurance company’s lawyers.

Trustee Tom Harmon asked whose fault it is that the basement flooded. Piccolo said he does not want to point fingers.

Trustee Warren Kelly asked Attorney Dan Gard what he thought of the situation. Gard said he didn’t know enough about the situation.

Clerk Kerrieann Pelletter said Coon has not submitted an insurance claim to the clerk’s office. Piccolo said this is because she spoke with him and has agreed to not submit a claim if the village pays the $437.

“I feel obligated because somewhere along the line the village is at fault,” Piccolo added.

When it came time for the board members to call the motion before the board, the trustees hesitated. Piccolo reminded them that paying the $437 would be better than to risk dealing with insurance company’s lawyer’s “shady tricks.”

Eventually Trustee Anthony Pearl and Harmon allowed the action to be heard and they cast affirmative votes. Kelly abstained, which initiated a vote from Piccolo in Trustee Ben Peters absence for deployment. Piccolo also voted to approved the measure and it was passed.

After the meeting Kelly explained that he did not feel comfortable voting on something he did not have any information on.

“I felt that I didn’t have enough information to review prior to the meeting. So, I felt I couldn’t make a decision. … I would have preferred we tabled it until more discussion was done and more written information was provided,” he said.

The board also received reports.

Griewisch reported that phase II of the waterline replacement project is completed except for landscaping touchups. For phase III of the project, lines on Karen Drive and Crandall Avenue are done and should be ready for service hookups next week. He said after that the contractor will move on to Babcock Avenue.

Kelly said letters will be going out to downtown businesses to schedule inspections to make sure storm water is not going into the sanitary sewer.

Harmon reported on attending the New York Conference of Mayors conference last week with Piccolo, Kelly, Pelletter and Treasurer Janet St. George. He said they were able to attend many workshops on municipal issues and gain new ideas for issues from other elected officials.

Piccolo said he spoke with a party interested in the Petri factory. He also said the building previously holding Uncle Sam’s Unlimited was issued a permit to remodel the building to be a pizza restaurant.

He also encouraged everyone to attend the Festival of Grapes this Thursday to Sunday.

Comments on this article may be sent to ngugino@observertoday.com.

Article source: http://www.observertoday.com/page/content.detail/id/588936/OBSERVER-Staff-Report.html?nav=5047

Mayoral candidates’ responses to transportation questionnaire

FELIX G. ARROYO

1. The MBTA has cited financial issues as the primary reason why it can’t provide late-night hours on the T or expanded service on the Fairmount commuter rail line. If you propose a partnership with the MBTA to improve public transit options, where will you find the money?

The Governor’s proposal earlier this year would have been a long term, progressive solution to many of our transportation needs. I believe the legislature dropped the ball and should have passed a package that addressed our transportation needs without putting the burden on those that can least afford it. We cannot continue to ask MBTA users to pay more for less service. As Mayor, I will work with legislators and the Governor to implement a package that would raise funds in a progressive way to help fix our transportation long term.

2. It’s a common complaint: It’s too hard to find parking in Boston. How do you plan to fix this problem?

We rely on four basic modes of transportation–the car, public transportation, biking, and walking–and we need to make sure that each of those choices is accessible to all of Boston’s residents in an equitable and safe way. By incorporating multi-modal transportation into new developments, redeveloping existing residential areas and promoting “smart growth” development, we can help ensure that Boston’s burgeoning business and residential districts provide residents and visitors with multiple transportation options, including mass transit, bikes, and walking. Making our city’s hubs complete, compact, and accessible while encouraging alternative methods of transportation is essential to decreasing the number of cars on Boston’s roads and reducing the demand for limited parking options.

3. You’ve found the money to install five new Hubway bike-share stations. Where would you put them?

As an organizer I practice “collaborative politics,” bringing people together so that everyone’s voice is heard. We have many opportunities to expand the Hubway stations and I believe in working with the cycling community and residents to determine the locations that fit into our vision for a bike network throughout the city and reach communities that do not currently have access to transportation.

4. Would you change Boston’s current policies on minimum off-street parking requirements for new housing developments and businesses?

We cannot talk about reducing parking until we ensure safe and equitable access to transportation. The more we can encourage alternative options of transportation, through public transportation, bicycling and walking, the more we will be able to relieve traffic and parking concerns. We must work with our residents and businesses to utilize the best opportunities and type of parking that should be available in our neighborhoods.

5. What is your best idea on how to make intersections work better?

We have to make sure that all modes of transportation are able to safely travel around our city. I believe we need to take a look at all of our intersections throughout the city as well as accident data through police and emergency response reports to identify the most problematic intersections in the city. By understanding our most dangerous intersections, we can prioritize places that need the most improvement and improve the safety for everyone who uses our streets.

6. What do you think is the biggest problem facing Boston’s taxi industry?

The Boston Globe spotlight on the industry exposed the many problems facing Boston’s taxi industry. At the core of the matter is that the workers, mainly comprised of immigrants have not been treated fairly. We cannot be a city where some freely accept the labor of immigrants, but stubbornly reject their humanity. An organizer at SEIU, I worked for janitors, security guards, and building service workers. Some do not see them, and many perceive them to be powerless, but by coming together, by organizing, and making sure that everyone’s voice was heard, we were able to win fair pay, good benefits, but – most importantly – the respect and dignity that everyone deserves. As Mayor, I will work to reform the industry to help improve the way our workers are treated.

7. Much of the rush hour traffic in Boston is a result of back-ups from state highways. How would you work with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to alleviate gridlock at highway on-ramps?

If we are serious about investing in Boston, we must be serious about investing in transportation. As Mayor, I will work with our state partners and residents who use our highways to identify the root of the problems we have and work to alleviate gridlock at highway on-ramps.

8. Boston’s bicycle community has asked for separated bicycle facilities known as “cycle tracks,” but there are many different ways to design those facilities. What, to you, does an ideal “cycle track” look like, and where, if anywhere, would you put them?

Thanks in large part to the Boston Bikes program, bicycle ridership has more than doubled since 2007. We can continue to ride the momentum, towards a goal of a 10% mode share for cycling by 2020, by making more infrastructure improvements including cycletracks, and linking neighborhoods with the “Bike Network Plan.” Forward thinking street design in tandem with safety education efforts, data collection, and collaboration can make Boston a model bike city.

Government works better when it works with you and not over you. As Mayor, I will work with the cyclist community to identify the best opportunities for cycle tracks and bicycling infrastructure that will help connect our communities.

9. Discuss one idea on how you would make Boston’s roadways more beautiful.

One of the major components to a vibrant neighborhood and attractive roadways is a successful small business district with a diverse and full set of businesses. As Mayor, I will implement legislation that I authored called “Invest in Boston” that will ensure that we only do business with banks that are lending to small businesses, to qualified homebuyers, to development projects, and that are helping solve our foreclosure crisis. Small businesses are the backbone of our neighborhoods, employing the majority of our workforce, contributing to the livelihood of our communities, and creating welcoming and attractive streets.

JOHN BARROS

1. The MBTA has cited financial issues as the primary reason why it can’t provide late-night hours on the T or expanded service on the Fairmount commuter rail line. If you propose a partnership with the MBTA to improve public transit options, where will you find the money?

I support the efforts to increase the state gas tax and implement a more progressive income tax as ways to address the overall transportation-funding gap, which includes the MBTA’s financial issues. As Mayor, I would advocate for MBTA at the state and federal levels. One funding solution that we can work on in the city is the U-Pass. As Mayor, I would work with our universities, hospitals, and other big institutions to offer a universal transit pass to their students and employees. These institutions would pay for these passes as a benefit for their people, but the result would be more funding for the T as well as more riders.

2. It’s a common complaint: It’s too hard to find parking in Boston. How do you plan to fix this problem?

Our parking infrastructure needs to be part of an overall transportation system in which people have real choices and not be as dependent on driving. The fix to the parking problem is improving transit and walking and biking infrastructure.

3. You’ve found the money to install five new Hubway bike-share stations. Where would you put them?

I’d prioritize putting the stations in an area that is currently underserved, but where the potential ridership exists. I believe that there are many areas of the city. I would consider concentrating all of the stations in the same area or corridor to enhance the network and boost ridership. The challenge is to get enough people using Hubway so that the system can pay for itself and fund future expansion.

4. Would you change Boston’s current policies on minimum off-street parking requirements for new housing developments and businesses?

I would start a community-driven process to comprehensively update the zoning code, which contains these requirements. Such a process needs to start at the neighborhood level, where each neighborhood can develop its vision, just like we did in the Dudley neighborhood. As I’ve said before, such a process needs to be guided by a new planning entity, that is not the same as the development agency. BRA currently does both. In this process, residents need to discuss and debate off-street parking requirements that they think will lead to a more livable neighborhood. I would encourage all to envision a 21st century city that is more livable, walkable, and bikeable, where we can reduce our over-dependence on the automobile.

In the short term, I believe we need to focus on Transit Oriented Development and incentivizing housing be providing density bonuses next to transit nodes.

5. What is your best idea on how to make intersections work better?

Our intersections need to work for all users, whether we are walking, biking, or in a car or bus, whether we live near the intersection or are just passing through. My best idea for intersections is to first identify the most dangerous intersections and then have our transportation department engineers partner with local users of each intersection to develop improvements. Local residents could help collect data and co-design better solutions. The users have the best data on what the problems are and can work with the city’s help to get to balanced solutions that work for all. For example, I have heard from our senior citizens that many of the crossing lights don’t give them enough time to cross wider streets.

6. What do you think is the biggest problem facing Boston’s taxi industry?

Taxi’s are a critical component of the City’s transportation system. The City needs to take a fresh look at how it’s licensing system and oversight responsibilities can be improved to ensure that taxi’s are reliable and safe.

7. Much of the rush hour traffic in Boston is a result of back-ups from state highways. How would you work with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to alleviate gridlock at highway on-ramps?

We need to look at the overall transportation system and not just as a City, but with all our neighboring cities and towns, and our state and federal counterparts. I will partner with MassDOT to improve current bottle neck and ramps that are create traffic congestion. I will work with MBTA’s commuter rail and other mass transit so that fewer folks have to drive. I will also urge MassDOT to enhance its carpooling programs and high occupancy vehicle lanes to reduce the number of cars on the road.

8. Boston’s bicycle community has asked for separated bicycle facilities known as “cycle tracks,” but there are many different ways to design those facilities. What, to you, does an ideal “cycle track” look like, and where, if anywhere, would you put them?

Boston is a on a great trajectory to become as bikeable as it is walkable. Cycle tracks are just one of the ways that we can continue to improve our bike system. As with other public infrastructure, I believe that no one size fits all and that there are certain high volume roads and intersection that should be prioritized. Commonwealth Ave, Washington Street, Columbus Ave and Mass Ave could be where we start.

9. Discuss one idea on how you would make Boston’s roadways more beautiful.

Portland, Oregon has a city program that enables residents to paint and beautify their intersections. A similar program in Boston would both tap into the creative talent of our residents, give each neighborhood even more character and calm traffic in more residential areas.

DANIEL F. CONLEY

1. The MBTA has cited financial issues as the primary reason why it can’t provide late-night hours on the T or expanded service on the Fairmount commuter rail line. If you propose a partnership with the MBTA to improve public transit options, where will you find the money?

The city of Boston already contributes over $75 million in assessments to the MBTA. The MBTA is also a true regional transportation service over which the mayor of Boston has no real authority or control. As Mayor, I intend to advocate vigorously for Boston and its residents, and will work with neighboring municipalities to achieve a unified, regional vision and agenda, to ensure that public transportation throughout Greater Boston safe, efficient, affordable and sustainable. I support extended operation hours for the MBTA because I see it as one part of a larger transportation challenge that, if handled correctly, is not a fiscal burden but an economic growth strategy. It’s in this context that financing for the expanded service should be considered. One way to inject cash into the system is by encouraging colleges and universities and major employers to purchase Charlie Cards at discounted rates in bulk for students and employees. I will also encourage Boston’s sports teams and cultural institutions to include Charlie Cards in the purchase price of season tickets and memberships.

2. It’s a common complaint: It’s too hard to find parking in Boston. How do you plan to fix this problem?

I think we need to maintain a careful balance between our desire for a greener city and the reality that we still have a lot of people who really must rely on automobiles. I’m very progressive on the environment, but I am also practical so I don’t reflexively endorse every policy aimed at decreasing parking. I think the way to approach this is via master planning and consider each neighborhood differently based upon proximity of public transportation, density, demographics (younger residents are far less likely to own a car) and other factors.

3. You’ve found the money to install five new Hubway bike-share stations. Where would you put them?

I would like to see new Hubway bike-share stations in Franklin Park, Upham’s Corner, the Forest Hills T Station, the Arboretum, and Hyde Square. I’d also like to see helmet vending machines and kiosks. Hubway is a great service that should be steadily expanded to our outer neighborhoods.

4. Would you change Boston’s current policies on minimum off-street parking requirements for new housing developments and businesses?

I believe this policy should be carefully tested before it is too broadly implemented. Let’s start in neighborhoods where there is easy access to public transportation and demographics showing residents who are more apt to take public and other forms of transportation. Boston’s population has more young people who are less likely to own car or even have licenses. In those places it makes sense not to force developers to create parking spaces that would go unused and instead apply those resources to create more open space and so forth to benefit a neighborhood. But for families with young children or people caring for an aging parent, their car is a necessity and a lifeline. And while many residents prefer to walk to work, many still also own cars that need to be parked somewhere. And in those neighborhoods where there is less easy access to public transportation, where competition for limited spaces remains fierce, and the local population is still growing, I would proceed with caution and would actively seek out the full input of neighborhood residents. Those might not be easy conversations. In many instances, city officials can fully expect that residents won’t tell them what they want to hear. But these conversations need to be had. It’s what leadership requires, and they are critical to building consensus and support over the long term.

5. What is your best idea on how to make intersections work better?

Providing more exclusive lanes for public transport and engineering traffic signals to enable their speedy passage through intersections is a low- to no-cost way of making intersections (and traffic overall) work better. New York City introduced express bus services that in one year reduced travel time by an average of 11 minutes and helped to increased ridership. This change compliments a larger move I support towards a Bus Rapid Transit system which is the most cost-conscious means of finally creating the long dreamed of, and critically important, Urban Ring. The Urban Ring system connects residents of Boston’s neighborhoods to jobs hubs like the South Boston waterfront and Longwood medical area – easing congestion while facilitating future jobs growth.

6. What do you think is the biggest problem facing Boston’s taxi industry?

Ensuring that its drivers are treated fairly is a major issue, and was highlighted in dramatic fashion by the Boston Globe earlier this year. Apart from those abuses, my office was part of an investigation into a scheme at Logan Airport where attendants who directed travelers to taxis were demanding bribes so they could jump the line, so to speak. While I applaud the declaration of the Boston Police to crack down on these kinds of abuses, like many, I am awaiting the results of a study of the industry ordered by Mayor Menino in order to determine next steps.

7. Much of the rush hour traffic in Boston is a result of back-ups from state highways. How would you work with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to alleviate gridlock at highway on-ramps?

We need to continue to encourage people to take public transportation. As our public transportation infrastructure crumbles, as the system itself continues to devolve into a less efficient, less pleasant but more expensive experience, it forces people back into their cars which adds to gridlock and costs Boston, its businesses and its workers, dearly in terms of lost productivity and increased pollution. Systemic solutions are required, including adoption of an Urban Ring based on an affordable and smart Rapid Bus Transit system which will immediately help to alleviate gridlock problems in vital and growing economic areas of the city, including the Innovation District and the Longwood medical area.

8. Boston’s bicycle community has asked for separated bicycle facilities known as “cycle tracks,” but there are many different ways to design those facilities. What, to you, does an ideal “cycle track” look like, and where, if anywhere, would you put them?

I don’t think there is an ideal cycle track in a congested city where cars, bicyclists and pedestrians need to share the roads and other space. For example, some designs might work well only on heavily traveled roads, with few intersections and a higher speed limit. I would rely on experts to make recommendations, depending on the street and the neighborhood.

9. Discuss one idea on how you would make Boston’s roadways more beautiful.

More trees. I’d like to expand the City’s investment in trees in a number of ways, including more aggressively seeking out private and non-profit partners, as well as public and private grants. In addition, I’ll enlist neighborhood, civic, business and advocacy groups to assist in the effort by helping to keep the trees healthy once they are planted – checking the trees for fungus, aerating the soil around the trees, and other measures that protect the investment and reduce tree loss.

JOHN R. CONNOLLY

1. The MBTA has cited financial issues as the primary reason why it can’t provide latenight hours on the T or expanded service on the Fairmount commuter rail line. If you propose a partnership with the MBTA to improve public transit options, where will you find the money?

We need to be creative about new sources of financing. A UPass program, wherein colleges and universities would purchase discounted T passes for all their students, was first proposed by advocates in 2012 and again this year, and it’s worth exploring. New Balance is funding the construction and operation of a new commuter rail station in Allston Brighton. We should look to leverage corporate and institutional dollars for things like expanded service hours. As mayor, I would also use the bully pulpit of the office to be a strong advocate for increased state funding for the MBTA and for holding the T accountable for wisely and efficiently using the resources it has. I would work with lawmakers and mayors from Gateway Cities, which have regional transit service, to create a coalition for transit across the Commonwealth.

2. It’s a common complaint: It’s too hard to find parking in Boston. How do you plan to fix this problem?

Given the cost of building more structured parking, this is not a problem we can build our way out of. We need to be willing to test different solutions. For example, by taking a smart approach to metered parking, we can encourage more turnover of parking spaces and decrease the time, traffic, frustration and wasted fuel motorists spend looking for spaces. Other cities like San Francisco are using new technology to control the supply and demand of parking, and we should explore whether those ideas would work here as well. We need to find ways to optimize the use of our parking and street space while also doing everything we can to provide people with safe, appealing alternatives to traveling by car. The Boston Redevelopment Authority reported recently that the number of registered automobiles in the city has dropped 14 percent in the last 5 years. We’re seeing that many Bostonians want to be able to take advantage of alternatives to driving walking, biking, and taking transit.

3. You’ve found the money to install five new Hubway bikeshare stations. Where would you put them?

I led the effort in the City Council to provide $5 million in funding for the Hubway bike share program, which I believe we need to expand farther out from downtown. It’s time for Hubway to start branching out into the neighborhoods, ideally near popular destinations like T stations, parks, health clinics and community centers, and our Main Street business districts. This will be a gradual process, because stations needs to be close to one another to really work effectively, but over time I believe our goal should be for every neighborhood to have Hubway.

4. Would you change Boston’s current policies on minimum offstreet parking requirements for new housing developments and businesses?

We will have opportunities to reexamine parking requirements, but we need to do it in a transparent way with meaningful community input. One of the biggest challenges we face in Boston is the high cost of housing. Reducing parking requirements, in appropriate places and with community buy-in, could be a key strategy for lowering construction costs and creating a true middle market for housing in Boston. This is not one-size-fits-all; in certain neighborhoods there is a real parking crisis that we must work to alleviate. Finally, we must recognize that any successful strategy must improve other modes of transportation.

5. What is your best idea on how to make intersections work better?

We need intersections that can accommodate all users cars, transit, pedestrians, and cyclists as safely and conveniently as possible. That’s what our planning, through what’s known as a “Complete Streets” approach, should accomplish. We also have to look at signalization. I will instruct the transportation department to review our signalized intersections and implement the appropriate solution for each situation. Signal times must be long enough for elderly pedestrians and pedestrians with disabilities to cross safely. Buses and trolleys should have signal priority at intersections.

6. What do you think is the biggest problem facing Boston’s taxi industry?

I think the Globe’s indepth reporting highlighted a number of issues that we really should not consider in isolation, including significant failures in the Hackney Division’s oversight; poor treatment of drivers, including classifying them as independent contractors; and inadequate liability insurance. We need to bring our taxi system into the 21st century so that it provides fair treatment for drivers, modern conveniences and reliable transportation for passengers, and adequate insurance coverage. We also need to make sure that Boston is friendly to alternatives, like Uber and car-sharing, that give residents additional ways to access a car without owning one themselves.

7. Much of the rush hour traffic in Boston is a result of backups from state highways. How would you work with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to alleviate gridlock at highway on-ramps?

Every day, Boston’s population swells as commuters come into the city for work. The single best thing we can do to alleviate traffic is to provide those commuters options to take public transit for all or part of their trip. That’s why as mayor I will prioritize bicycle infrastructure and be a forceful advocate for funding of the MBTA system. We need more parking at our outer T stations and commuter rail stations, and we need to invest in new trains and train cars so that the system is reliable and not overcrowded.

8. Boston’s bicycle community has asked for separated bicycle facilities known as “cycle tracks,” but there are many different ways to design those facilities. What, to you, does an ideal “cycle track” look like, and where, if anywhere, would you put them?

Cycle tracks will be an important part of Boston’s transportation strategy and I will prioritize them in the city’s capital budget. Studies have shown that these separated facilities are the single best thing we can do to improve the rate of casual cycling, especially among women and children. But the “ideal” cycle track depends on the specific situation, based on factors like how much space we have.

9. Discuss one idea on how you would make Boston’s roadways more beautiful.

I strongly favor a “Complete Streets” approach to planning our streetscapes, which can make our streets more beautiful by including in their designs things like planted medians, landscaping, and public art. We should also be open to fun innovations like holding community competitions to design benches and bike racks.

ROB CONSALVO

1. The MBTA has cited financial issues as the primary reason why it can’t provide late-night hours on the T or expanded service on the Fairmount commuter rail line. If you propose a partnership with the MBTA to improve public transit options, where will you find the money?

The city of Boston has numerous budget priorities, and while efficient and effective transportation is certainly a priority, the cost of expanding service on the MBTA is well beyond our other priorities. I will look to form public-private partnerships, similar to the construction and operation agreement between the MBTA and New Balance for the new Boston Landing Commuter Rail Station in Brighton, to help generate funds for transportation and to hold the corporate community accountable for improving the quality of life in our city. Also, I will advocate to the federal government for more transportation funding for our city.

2. It’s a common complaint: It’s too hard to find parking in Boston. How do you plan to fix this problem?

First, we need to recognize, that a lot of people in Boston have cars and they need them for their job, to take their kids to school and to go to the grocery store. Cars play a major role in many people’s lives and that isn’t going to change any time soon. We need to create incentives to get people out of their cars –through programs like Ride Share, flexible work-schedules and telecommuting – but we can’t penalize people who need their cars on a daily basis. I’m going to make sure that no one in Boston lives more than 5-minute walk from an accessible form of alternative transportation, so that everyone has options. That means moving HubWay out into the neighborhoods, making safe bike travel easier, working with the MBTA to make its services for efficient and looking for good ideas from our universities, other cities and countries. I would be willing to pilot innovative new technologies like those that actually allow people to reserve parking spots via their smartphone as a way to potentially alleviate parking congestion. At the end of the day, we need parking out in the neighborhoods.

3. You’ve found the money to install five new Hubway bike-share stations. Where would you put them?

In the neighborhoods – particularly around transit oriented housing and along the Fairmount Indigo line.

4. Would you change Boston’s current policies on minimum off-street parking requirements for new housing developments and businesses?

No.

5. What is your best idea on how to make intersections work better?

We have to stop people from blocking the box. You can’t drive through another vehicle when it’s parked in the middle of an intersection. As mayor, I’ll identify the worst intersection and we’ll make sure be the appropriate enforcement personnel there to direct traffic and fine offenders. We have to change the driving culture in this city when it comes to blocking intersections and I’ll stand out there myself if I have to.

I’ve also proposed creating illuminated sidewalks to help pedestrians cross the street and move through intersections and installing transponders on fire and police vehicles to make sure they always get a green light when they are heading to an emergency.

6. What do you think is the biggest problem facing Boston’s taxi industry?

Balancing the interests of passengers, drivers, medallion owners and businesses remains an ongoing challenge – not just here, but in any major city. As mayor, I will strive to ensure the safety, and fair and equitable treatment of all parties.

7. Much of the rush hour traffic in Boston is a result of back-ups from state highways. How would you work with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to alleviate gridlock at highway on-ramps?

Having worked in city, state and federal government, I have seen the debate surrounding highway funding from all sides. As government budgets continue to shrink, highway construction dollars will be less. As mayor, I will collaborate with federal, state and local governments to develop a modern transportation system that works for the entire region. While economic growth in our city is a good thing, it has also contributed to congestion and added traffic from neighboring communities and highway systems. I look forward to working with the MA DOT and local stakeholders who are involved in the Boston Ramps Study to determine the feasibility of new or revised ramp access to ease this problem.

8. Boston’s bicycle community has asked for separated bicycle facilities known as “cycle tracks,” but there are many different ways to design those facilities. What, to you, does an ideal “cycle track” look like, and where, if anywhere, would you put them?

Given Boston’s different neighborhoods and the condition of its roadways, there is no one-size fits all cycle track. In some areas, dedicated cycle tracks will work and in other neighborhoods, it is only possible to include dedicated bicycle lanes. As we work towards a “Complete Street” solution for our roadways, we will implement best practices for determining the appropriate type of track for the area. We have to remember that a lot of Boston residents still have cars that they need to use on a daily basis.

9. Discuss one idea on how you would make Boston’s roadways more beautiful.

The surest way to make a city street shine is to line it with beautiful blue Consalvo for Mayor signs!

Creating welcoming public spaces alongside our major roadways with street trees, greenscapes, street furniture, eco-friendly rubber sidewalks, planters and clean trash-free streets are other great ways tp add to a roadway’s beauty and should be incorporated into transportation design and engineering where possible.

MIKE ROSS

1. The MBTA has cited financial issues as the primary reason why it can’t provide late-night hours on the T or expanded service on the Fairmount commuter rail line. If you propose a partnership with the MBTA to improve public transit options, where will you find the money?

In 2001, working with partners in state government and the community, I led the fight to implement the MBTA’s late-night “Night Owl” bus service, which extended public transit service in Boston until 2:30 a.m. That extended bus service provided a safe, reliable, and convenient way home for third-shift workers coming home from jobs in our hospitals, restaurants, or dynamic start-up companies, for students studying late, and residents enjoying a night out in the city. As Boston continues to develop as a dynamic, global city, we need to reinstate the Night Owl to serve residents who are increasingly pushing Boston past its current closing time.

As Mayor, I will bring back the Night Owl service and commit to finding the funding to make it sustainable. Boston can no longer afford to shut down its transit system at 12:30 a.m.

To fund this service expansion, I will work with our area universities to implement the U-Pass program, which lets those institutions purchase MBTA passes for every one of their students at discounted rates. The U-Pass program has the potential to generate close to $50 million in revenue for the MBTA, more than covering the estimated $10 million cost of renewed and expanded late night service.

I also think we can consider offering special late-night licenses to bars and restaurants in some neighborhoods, which could provided added revenue for late night service.

2. It’s a common complaint: It’s too hard to find parking in Boston. How do you plan to fix this problem?

While I support the ultimate goal of getting people out of their cars and onto public transit or bikes, there are things we can do now to make parking easier.

I support the implementation of mobile apps that identify open parking spaces for drivers to reduce time spent driving in search of spaces. That means less congestion and carbon emissions from circling vehicle. We also need to replace coin-only parking meters with a city-wide transition to smart kiosks that accept coins, cash, and credit cards to make paying for parking more convenient and help increase potential street spaces by eliminating space-specific meters.

3. You’ve found the money to install five new Hubway bike-share stations. Where would you put them?

The subway network to all neighborhoods, especially those underserved by public transit. Right now, I’d favor expanding subway stations into Southie and Dorchester — neighborhoods that are lacking in subway stations but close to the network.

4. Would you change Boston’s current policies on minimum off-street parking requirements for new housing developments and businesses?

I support reducing parking minimums where it makes sense. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to a city as diverse as Boston. As mayor, I would aggressively pursue more transit-oriented development, and support easing parking requirements near subway stations or transit hubs.

5. What is your best idea on how to make intersections work better?

I would establish a Problem Intersection Task Force to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians at key intersections across city. This multi-agency, community-connected effort will work to identify simple street improvements that can be implemented ahead of comprehensive “complete street” redesign efforts. Sometimes all that is needed is to move a bus stop 50 feet or install a turning signal to make a dangerous intersection safer.

6. What do you think is the biggest problem facing Boston’s taxi industry?

Today, Boston’s fleet of taxis and livery cars are managed and regulated by a special unit in the Boston Police Department – the Hackney Carriage Unit. Over 100 years after it was first established to oversee horse-drawn hackney service, it’s time to transfer these responsibilities to the City’s Transportation Department. We are more aware then ever that the Boston Police have very serious public safety concerns to focus on; managing a rapidly evolving transportation industry should not divert their attention from keeping our streets safe from violent crime. The regulation of the taxi industry also needs serious study and reform to protect both drivers and passengers. As Mayor, I will move taxi oversight to the Transportation Department and modernize it in a number of ways including more policies to protect drivers and riders.

7. Much of the rush hour traffic in Boston is a result of back-ups from state highways. How would you work with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to alleviate gridlock at highway on-ramps?

One reason highway ramps are backed up is because traffic is flowing directly off of them and into a street grid system with little to no signal timing, coordination of flow patterns, or plans for managing peak hour traffic. By improving our city streets brought smart traffic grid technologies, traffic coming off highways won’t be entering bottlenecks which cause the off ramp back ups. I would be sure to coordinate all of these improvements with our partners at MassDOT to make sure our networks are connected.

8. Boston’s bicycle community has asked for separated bicycle facilities known as “cycle tracks,” but there are many different ways to design those facilities. What, to you, does an ideal “cycle track” look like, and where, if anywhere, would you put them?

First, I would hire a transportation commissioner with a background in cycling and a commitment to multi-modal transportation and “complete streets” design principles. In an ideal world, cycle tracks should be separated from the street and connect our neighborhoods so that cycling can become a more viable commuting option.

9. Discuss one idea on how you would make Boston’s roadways more beautiful.

Following through on planting 100,000 trees in Boston as part of the Grow Boston Greener initiative, focusing plantings first in neighborhoods with the lowest levels of tree canopy.

BILL WALCZAK

1. The MBTA has cited financial issues as the primary reason why it can’t provide late-night hours on the T or expanded service on the Fairmount commuter rail line. If you propose a partnership with the MBTA to improve public transit options, where will you find the money?

Because of the nature of the MBTA, I believe funding should come from the state and federal levels. The MBTA is not relegated to Boston, it is a regional issue, one that pertains to outlying cities and towns as far as Worcester and Lowell. I support extended 24-hour transportation, but considering the fact that transportation is not relegated to city operation, the state has an obligation to provide funding for extended runtime.

2. It’s a common complaint: It’s too hard to find parking in Boston. How do you plan to fix this problem?

Our first step would be to reduce traffic in the city. Less cars on the road results in less of an need for parking. We can achieve that in two different ways. First, we must increase safety and access to cycling in the city. This means delineating bike lanes and expanding them to every neighborhood in the city. The more bikers on the road, the less traffic congestion and the less need for parking space for automobiles. Second, we need to employ a method of development called Transit Oriented Development, which orients housing near T stations and bus lines to not only provide easier access of the entire city to all of our residents, but also to increase ridership which will the again reduce the amount of cars on the road. In a metropolitan area, there are many easy ways to get from point A to point B, we must do our best to encourage and facilitate them to allow for safer, less congested roads and easier access to parking.

3. You’ve found the money to install five new Hubway bike-share stations. Where would you put them?

In all neighborhoods that need them that have limited access to public transportation –such as Roxbury, Hyde Park, and Mattapan.

4. Would you change Boston’s current policies on minimum off-street parking requirements for new housing developments and businesses?

No.

5. What is your best idea on how to make intersections work better?

I like what they do with “Block the Box” in NYC where they fine you for tying up intersection. I would like to see something similar put in place and enforced in Boston.

6. What do you think is the biggest problem facing Boston’s taxi industry?

The biggest problem with the taxi industry in Boston is the way it looks at its employees. We need to ensure that taxi drivers are looked at as full-time workers with wages and benefits instead of contractors. We also need to make sure that we have the right amount of medallions for the city. It takes too long to hail a taxi in Boston, and I understand the frustration that comes with needing quick access to a ride. I plan on bringing an independent group in to analyze and determine the proper amount of medallions for taxis in this city to make sure we are serving Boston residents in the best way possible.

7. Much of the rush hour traffic in Boston is a result of back-ups from state highways. How would you work with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to alleviate gridlock at highway on-ramps?

I think we need to encourage more people to commute through public transportation options and make those offerings more attractive. We can do this in Boston by working with the state and regionally with other municipalities to create commuter programs and transit-oriented housing so commuting into Boston is easier and people have options other than driving

8. Boston’s bicycle community has asked for separated bicycle facilities known as “cycle tracks,” but there are many different ways to design those facilities. What, to you, does an ideal “cycle track” look like, and where, if anywhere, would you put them?

I support the idea of cycle tracks. I believe cycle tracks need to be delineated by a different color with bicycle markings, they need to be separated by barriers from car lanes, and the must be expanded into every neighborhood in the city. If we are encouraging and increase in ridership, we must take all of the necessary measures to make sure that our riders are safe. There have been too many horrific stories because of lack of clarity and understanding between bikers and drivers in this city, and in order to have the healthiest, safest city in the country, in order to have a city that is devoid of crippling traffic and a lack of parking spots, we need to be serious about reforming the infrastructure for biking in Boston.

9. Discuss one idea on how you would make Boston’s roadways more beautiful.

I would like to create a crowdsourcing program for more public art in the Boston area – and this includes our roadways. I think there are numerous places to put art throughout Boston and crowdsourcing ideas for art along our roadways is a great way to start.

MARTY WALSH

1. The MBTA has cited financial issues as the primary reason why it can’t provide late-night hours on the T or expanded service on the Fairmount commuter rail line. If you propose a partnership with the MBTA to improve public transit options, where will you find the money?

I am a strong proponent of expanded late-night T service, and, as mayor, would coordinate with the MBTA and MassDOT and work with businesses (24-hour businesses, restaurants/bars) and colleges and universities to assess demand. The most realistic funding approach is probably a mix of state aid and creative public-private partnerships here in the city. Having represented Boston for 16 years on Beacon Hill, I am the candidate best positioned to win the necessary support from the Legislature. Beyond that, I would work with private institutions, especially universities whose students are likely to be major users, to fully fund the extended service.

2. It’s a common complaint: It’s too hard to find parking in Boston. How do you plan to fix this problem?

Parking presents very different problems depending on whether we’re talking about the downtown or the neighborhoods. I would work with the Boston Transportation Department, Technology Department, and private sector to develop applications that could locate available parking Downtown and in commercial areas. I would also work with the MBTA and MassDOT specifically to encourage residents and visitors to leave their cars at home and use public transportation, bicycles, or walk when applicable, helping to relieve parking constraints. The MBTA is underused by many commuters into Boston. I will work to make public transportation a more attractive option for commuters so that vehicle congestion is lowered in the city. This will not only help with parking but will also help to reduce pollution in the city that can impact public health and climate change.

3. You’ve found the money to install five new Hubway bike-share stations. Where would you put them?

I would favor locations that expand Hubway to more Boston neighborhoods, and would ask the Boston Transportation Department to review user data collected as part of the Hubway program to determine where demand is greatest. It will also be important to continue to coordinate with Cambridge, Somerville, and other surrounding communities that are currently part of the Hubway program, as well as those considering becoming part of the program to determine the routes and locations with the highest demand. Uphams Corner/Jones Hill seems like a natural spot, since it not too far from UMass Boston and South Bay Plaza, where there are existing stations.

4. Would you change Boston’s current policies on minimum off-street parking requirements for new housing developments and businesses?

Different policies should apply to different areas of the city depending on local parking situations. Minimum off-street parking requirements should be required for new residential development in neighborhoods where parking is at a premium. Incentives could be provided for those developers to promote transit-oriented development which would require less parking.

5. What is your best idea on how to make intersections work better?

Many of the intersections in the city are controlled with signals using old technology. The first step would be to identify the older signals and determine if they need to be upgraded. For newer signals, retiming may provide for improved traffic flow, especially on entry roads to the city such as Mass. Ave. If lights are timed correctly congestion will be greatly reduced. Other actions would be to increase the monitoring of busy intersections by the city’s traffic operations center to improve traffic flow on a daily basis.

6. What do you think is the biggest problem facing Boston’s taxi industry?

I think that the biggest problem facing the taxi industry in Boston is the way in which it is regulated. As the Boston Globe pointed out in a 2013 series, the system is currently not working and has created great inequality within the sector. I think we need to investigate taking the regulatory authority and shifting it to another part of city government. It has been suggested that the Transportation Department is a proper place for taxis to be regulated. I am open to talking about this change or any other ideas for improving the current system.

7. Much of the rush hour traffic in Boston is a result of back-ups from state highways. How would you work with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to alleviate gridlock at highway on-ramps?

I would continue to coordinate with MassDOT and the MBTA and find areas where Intelligent Transportation Systems and Technology can be used to improve traffic flow. Applications and communications allowing drivers to make decisions on the best routes to take to avoid congestion and determine the timing of their travel will prove extremely useful. We reconfigured Glover’s Corner in Dorchester (Freeport Street and Dorchester Avenue) and that’s working well. If that one could be fixed, they all can!

8. Boston’s bicycle community has asked for separated bicycle facilities known as “cycle tracks,” but there are many different ways to design those facilities. What, to you, does an ideal “cycle track” look like, and where, if anywhere, would you put them?

An ideal “cycle track” is safe and allows easy access for bikers to get through the city quickly. “Cycle tracks” can only be implemented where there is adequate right-of-way. There are many additional factors involved in choosing appropriate locations, such as parking and connections to other bike lanes and/or facilities.

9. Discuss one idea on how you would make Boston’s roadways more beautiful.

Landscaping and greenspace, including flower pots and trees, could make a big difference. Small changes can make Boston’s concrete jungle much less menacing. I would work with neighborhoods to develop an Adopt-A-Roadway or Adopt-An-Area program (much like the Adopt-A-Highway program on major roadways) to keep roadways and neighborhoods clean. Those big planters on Boylston Street near Mass. Ave always looks nice. There’s no reason why we can’t do something similar everywhere.

Article source: http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2013/09/16/mayoral-candidates-responses-transportation-questionnaire/iayq8jrl7sw9upSrJLN2wK/story.html

Architectural home tour to focus on Forest Hills area in Longview – Longview News

Anyone who enjoys taking a peek inside the homes of others will get a chance to do so this weekend at: Landmarks of Longview XIV, an Architectural Home Tour.


The event is an annual fundraiser for the Gregg County Historical Museum. This year’s tour focuses on the Forest Hills Subdivision, located off of Judson Road between Pegues Place and Marshall Avenue, said Debbie Hancock, committee chair.

“This is our third year of concentrating on a particular neighborhood,” Hancock said. “We’ve found that makes it easier for everybody, instead of having the homes on the tour spread out all over Longview.”

The homes on this year’s tour are: the Ruff home, 200 Sunset Dr., the Salmon home, 1111 Yates Dr., the Wells home, 1115 Yates Dr., and the Goolsby home, 1205 Yates Dr.

While a shuttle bus will be provided for people who need one, the homes are all within walking distance of one another.

“The tour is a lot of fun and people enjoy it for different reasons,” Hancock said. “People who have lived here a long time enjoy seeing the interiors of a home they may have visited in their childhood, when it was under different ownership. Others enjoy seeing the architectural details and home decor choices.”

The houses date from different eras.

The Ruff home was built in 1938, the Salmon home in 1942 and the Goolsby home in 1952. The Wells home was built in 1987, making it one of the newest homes ever featured on the tour.

The Ruff home is built in a traditional Federalist style and is complimented by classic colonial blue gray paint. Many of the furnishings have been collected during family trips to various places around the world.

The Salmon home is a Greek Revival style house which retains the original flooring, windows, light fixtures and tile. The interior showcases and extensive collection of art.

The Wells home is a traditional red brick with black shutters and white trim in a Georgian style. The grounds include a sparkling, well-landscaped pool in a park-like atmosphere.

The Goolsby home is an expansive mid-century home which has undergone extensive remodeling in recent years. Additions include a new master bedroom, two cozy fireplaces and a complete renovation of the kitchen.

“They’re all different, but each house has a lot of interesting elements and beautiful interiors,” Hancock said. “The yards are also part of the tour, so people can get ideas for landscaping as well as decorating.”

The owners of the homes put a lot of effort in getting them ready for the tour, she said. In most cases, the whole home is open, although some owners do chooses to block off bedrooms or other private spaces.

“We’re expecting a good turnout,” Hancock said. “More younger people seem to be showing an interest in these tours lately and that’s always good for the continued success of the event.”

The Landmarks of Longview tour goes from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 during the tour; all tickets are valid for both days. Advance tickets are available at the Gregg County Historical Museum, Barron’s, Horaney’s, Louis Morgan #4, Pen and Company, C.S. Cutting and Texas Bank and Trust (downtown). Tickets will be available at all the homes on the days of the tour. For more information, call (903) 753-5840 or visit www.gregghistorical.org.

Article source: http://www.news-journal.com/news/local/architectural-home-tour-to-focus-on-forest-hills-area-in/article_b1017564-3aa7-5e37-b87e-69f92d48fad5.html

2 Long Beach Schools Getting Visit From Federal Schools Officials

Long Beach schools that were honored with a Green Ribbon award for their work in reducing their carbon footprints will be toured by U.S. Education Department officials Tuesday.

Longfellow Elementary School, 3800 Olive Ave., will be toured from 9 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.

From 10 a.m. to 10:50 a.m., officials will tour Charles Evans Hughes Middle School, 3846 California Ave.

The two are Green Ribbon award winning schools.

Through Longfellow’s lunchtime and classroom recycling programs and other efforts, the school has diverted more than 100,000 pounds of trash from landfills over two years, the district announced in 2012.

The daily recycling of food wrappers, juice pouches and other items has become second nature at Longfellow, where students diligently separate their trash into recycling bins.

“It’s become part of our campus culture,” principal Laurie Murrin said at the time.

In addition to recycling, Longfellow Green Team volunteers deliver unused cold foods and milk to Food Finders, a local food bank distributor, on a daily basis. 

Students participate in a Walk to School Wednesday program.  Volunteers hold a monthly Uniform Swap, and the school has a new Junior Green Team of fourth and fifth graders.

At Hughes Middle, students since 2007 have built 12 themed gardens and planted more than 40 campus trees.

New landscaping on the campus perimeter includes plants known to capture particulate matter, in an effort to improve air quality for the school and its neighbors.

Hughes’ Student Green Team publishes the Green Gazette, a schoolwide eco-newsletter that includes healthy recipes using produce from the school’s gardens. 

Interpretive signs outline the environmental principles in the school’s landscape, like composting, vegetable gardening, xeriscaping, butterfly gardening, recycling, biodiversity, beneficial herbs, and labyrinth walking. 

Hughes joins forces with a local bike store to host monthly bike repair and safety workshops on campus, encouraging ridership throughout the community.

According to the Dept. of Education Website, the award is given to “schools and districts that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff.”

Officials attending include: 

  • Hal Plotkin, senior advisor to the under secretary, U.S. Department of Education
  • Helen Littlejohn, western states regional director of communications and outreach, U.S. Department of Education
  • Linda Pauley, public affairs specialist for the Northwest, U.S. Department of Education
  • Tom McKenna, teach ambassador fellow, U.S. Department of Education
  • Ronna Bach, division director of special nutrition programs, USDA

  • Michael Ladd, regional public affairs director, USDA

The visits will include tours of school buildings and grounds, conversations with students and teachers regarding environmental education, health and sustainability, and discussions with key partners and energy management personnel. 

In addition, during the tour, all state and district facilities personnel from the region are invited to attend and participate in listening sessions in which they share best practices on school facilities and provide input to the U.S. Education Department.

The ‘Education Built to Last’ Facilities Best Practices Tour began in mid-July with visits to several schools in rural Alabama. 

The ED-Green Ribbon Schools and District Sustainability Awardees are recognized for reducing their environmental impact, including energy use, waste and water; creating healthy learning environments and fostering wellness practices; and providing effective environmental education that prepares students to succeed in the 21st century, including STEM, green careers and civics.  

A report with highlights on the 78 honorees can be found here.  More information on the federal recognition award can be found here.

 

Article source: http://belmontshore.patch.com/groups/schools/p/2-long-beach-schools-getting-visit-from-federal-schools-officials

Three free water-efficient landscaping classes this Fall in Menlo Park

drought resistant plants

This fall, the City of Menlo Park will be hosting three, free water-efficient landscaping classes in Menlo Park. Did you know that lawns and gardens consume almost half the total water use of an average home? Learn how to have a beautiful garden while saving money on your water bill and conserving our natural resources.

Water-efficient Edible Gardening Workshop, Saturday, Sept. 28, from 9:00 am to noon

Learn how to reduce water needs for seasonal vegetable gardening by learning how to grow “cool-season” vegetables to harvest all winter long. This class will also cover how to incorporate organic maintenance techniques into seasonal vegetable gardening such as how to use compost and cover crops/green manure. Bring gardening gloves and a 6′′ pot and take home your first promise of vegetable abundance.

Lawn Replacement with California Native and Drought Tolerant Plants, Saturday, Oct 12,  from 9:00 am to noon

Discover the benefits of native and drought tolerant plants as an alternative to your lawn, and create a water-efficient, low-maintenance landscape. Learn how to achieve a lush look in your garden with beautiful, native shrubs, grasses, trees, and flowers.

Sustainable Landscape Techniques Saturday, Nov. 9, from 9:00 a.m. to noon

Discover how to create a sustainable, low-maintenance, and water-conserving garden using native plants that are right for your yard. Learn about the Bay Area’s water cycle and the use of native plants to reduce your water use, garden waste and maintenance time.

Registration is required. Class size is limited. For additional details or to register for this class, please call (650) 349-3000 or register online at www.bawsca.org/classes. This class is co- sponsored by the City of Menlo Park and the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA).

No related articles.

Article source: http://inmenlo.com/2013/09/16/three-free-water-efficient-landscaping-classes-this-fall-in-menlo-park/

Options for deer control outlined in West Seneca

Those who live in and drive through West Seneca know where they’re likely to cross paths with deer: East and West Road, and Clinton Street are among locations known for car-deer accidents, according to Police Chief Daniel M. Denz.

So is it time for the town to take the buck by the antlers and control the deer population?

There was no quick answer Monday afternoon, when lawmakers learned their options from a senior big-game biologist for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Officials said they’ve heard complaints from residents – particularly those whose gardens and landscapes have been eaten.

“As you know, West Seneca is probably the forefront of a deer population explosion that is occurring throughout Western New York,” said Tim Spierto of the DEC.

As old forests and farmland disappear, white-tail deer are feasting on the landscaping surrounding suburban homes. “Arborvitae is like candy to them,” Spierto said, referring to the popular evergreen.

And as the food supply increases for deer, so do reproductive rates.

Calculating the population is difficult in West Seneca, where hunting isn’t allowed; DEC estimates typically include the number of deer “harvested” during hunting season.

Spierto guessed West Seneca’s population is somewhere around 50 deer per square mile. He said it doesn’t take much more than 30 per square mile to make an impact.

Even so, the police chief said the number of car-deer accidents has been falling annually since 2009, when there were 212; to 180 in 2012; with 107 so far this year. “They still are significant,” Denz said.

What can be done?

Fencing and deer repellents, such as coyote urine, applied around landscapes can be time-consuming and expensive, Spierto said. Deer contraception costs about $1,000 per animal. And trapping deer, then transferring them to other locations can’t be done when diseases are present.

Which leaves killing them.

“This is where the public gets involved, and they are passionate about it,” Spierto said.

Nearby suburbs, including Amherst and Cheektowaga, control their deer populations with DEC-permitted bait-and-shoot programs, carried out by police officers firing from tree stands to ensure human safety. It’s done during the winter, when does of breeding age are pregnant. “It helps you reduce the population a little quicker,” Spierto said.

Several businesses in the town, including landscape nurseries, already have permits to control deer on their land.

“I think whatever the board decides, it should be well thought out,” said Denz. “I’m not going either way with it.”

Councilman John Rusinski said: “I think it’s important to get how the residents feel on something like this.” He proposed an online poll.

email: jhabuda@buffnews.com

Article source: http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/west-seneca/options-for-deer-control-outlined-in-west-seneca-20130916

Look Around Lubbock: Garden Tour teaches waterwise tips

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Article source: http://www.myfoxlubbock.com/news/local/story/look-around-lubbock-garden-tour-arboretum-waterwis/z5KjAbntuEKQ6Xzly2-rNw.cspx

Garden club member offers valuable tips

Linda Shefcheck, a member of the Rices Landing Town and Country Garden Club, presented the program, “Putting the Garden to Bed,” at the club’s September meeting. Putting the garden to bed involves preparing the garden for spring planting. This procedure is vital to ensure a successful summer garden.

Shefcheck discussed harvesting and storing flower seeds for spring planting, such as zinnias. Another procedure is to separate plants and share them with fellow gardeners. Tall ornamental grasses can be contained with garden tape over winter. This will keep them intact during winter and make it easier to cut down in the spring to make room for new growth.

Mulching the garden should be done after the first frost to deter small critters from taking up residence in the soil. Granular fertilizer, rather than powder should be used. Leaves can be placed around plants for mulch as winter protection.

To complete the cleanup, all gardening tools need to be cleaned, sharpened and properly stored for spring use.

Shefcheck emphasized the importance of having the pH (acid or alkalinity) of the soil analyzed. This can be done by requesting a soil kit from the Greene County Extension Office in Waynesburg. A soil sample is taken from each corner of the garden and the kit is returned to the Extension Office, which sends the samples to Penn State for the pH results.

A question and answer session concluded the presentation.

Article source: http://www.observer-reporter.com/article/20130916/NEWS02/130919468/-1/NEWS

FRED gardening symposium set for Sept. 21 in Riverside

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FRED volunteer Mike Maloney (left) and landscape architect Scott Mehaffey (right) preview a private garden for the FRED tour in Riverside Sept. 21. (Photo provided)

RIVERSIDE – Gardening enthusiasts and and green thumb newbies will have a chance to learn from a number of landscape architects and designers at the FRED (Frederick Law Olmsted Riverside Education and Design) day-long garden symposium Sept. 21.

Riverside is known for its outdoor spaces, many of which were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, a 19th century American landscape designer.

“Riverside, I like to think of it as the first conservation community in America,” said FRED co-chair Cathy Maloney. “Because Olmsted designed it with all native plants, with 50 percent green space and so forth. Part of what we try to do with these design seminars is [promote] sustainability and conservation.”

The event will include displays from a number of exhibitors, vintage garden artwork, landscape designs and flowers to plant. New this year is a display titled “Beyond the Barrel” that will demonstrate imaginative ways to harvest rain water. Participants will also have eight class options to choose from, including:

• Walk Talk Landscape Design: A sidewalk tour by Scott Mehaffey, former landscape architect for the city of Chicago and the Morton Arboretum.

• Sneak peek of “The Living Green”: A preview of a documentary on the “dean of landscape architecture,” Jens Jensen.

• Garden Makeovers: A class with Tony LoBello of Mariani Landscape.

• The Late Summer Garden: A class by Roy Diblik of Northwind Perennial Farm.

“I think it’s an opportunity to get exposure to a lot of different ideas and inspiration in one day,” Maloney said. “You get a chance to see garden design in real life, if you will, because it’s the only symposium that uses real-life public spaces as the laboratory.”

Registration is open on FRED’s website, www.Fred2013.com. Pre-registration is $20 for four classes plus the keynote session –featuring TV and radio gardening personality Mike Nowak –a 25 percent savings from the full price.

FRED is sponsored by the nonprofit Frederick Law Olmsted Society, Home Depot of Countryside and Riverside Public Library. The event takes place at Riverside Village Hall and Riverside Public Library.

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Article source: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/2013/09/16/fred-gardening-symposium-set-for-sept-21-in-riverside/ac48cyd/