Letter to the Editor – October 10

On October 10, 2017, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

Re: Beacon St Trees

One day last  week 37 trees were cut down on Beacon Street in relation to the Beacon Street Reconstruction project  which is funded and managed by Mass DOT with a contractor chosen through the State low bid process.

I, along with many of my Beacon St Neighbors and friends are shocked and outraged that this has happened. I will continue to send updates as I have them, but here is what I can report so far:

First, my fellow Aldermen and I were never notified or approved of these trees being removed. If we had been, you can bet I would have made sure it did not happen this way.

Second: The City reports that this was not something the Administration was made aware of either. The Mayor and his staff are continuing to meet with MASS DOT to figure out what happened.

I promise to get to the bottom of this. This is not the way residents should be treated.

I, along with my fellow Aldermen, have requested a full public accounting from the City and Mass DOT at this week’s Board of Aldermen meeting.  I will also submit an order asking for a moratorium on the project until we have some answers and also until the City can assign a staff person to monitor this project on a daily basis and provide information and updates to residents in a timely and transparent manner.

I will also work with my fellow Aldermen to amend our tree ordinance and close a loophole regarding tree removal and street construction projects. The full Board is behind me on all of these actions and will not be satisfied until we have answers and see changes.

Since this project began, I have asked for regular updates to the Beacon street reconstruction project, that weekly updates be posted on the City’s website and that the City provide “boots on the ground” to oversee this project because I know, from the Somerville Ave reconstruction project, that local daily oversight is crucial to protecting the City’s residents in relation to such a project.  Contractors who are not hired by the City but are beholden to the State for payment must be aggressively monitored by the City on a daily basis in order to protect residents and the City’s interests.

My request was never fulfilled, had we had such oversight from the City, this wholesale slaughter in one day would not have occurred.

I invite all those who care about trees to join me and other Beacon street residents at a Vigil on Sunday October 15 at 5pm across from Whole Foods and to attend the BOA meeting on Thursday, October 12th at 7pm.


Maryann Heuston

Ward 2 Alderman


(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries and letters to the Editor of The Somerville Times belong solely to the authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville Times, its staff or publishers)


6 Responses to “Letter to the Editor – October 10”

  1. Old Taxpayer says:

    When you are trying to fit a project in an area too small for the project it only made common sense the trees would go. That was obvious to anyone with construction knowledge from the start. I have spent my whole life in construction and that part is a no brainer. Basically you gave up several things for another which as logical to make it work. Tree hugger or not. That is the reality of the porject.

  2. amen says:

    Imagine how long it took to cut those trees, load them up, etc.? My neighbor had the city show up when getting some repairs done. Thought no permit. City showed up when a friend trimmed a sidewalk tree (after requesting city for years) I got a ticket on trash day from dew riding around. How did they miss this? Mmmmmm…….

  3. Local Homeowner says:

    I get that people are upset about the trees being cut down, but I don’t think a “moratorium” on the entire Beacon street project is a good idea. Finishing the bike lanes on Beacon and making them operational ASAP is essential to the protection and safety of human lives. Lets not delay in the completion of this important public safety project because we are upset about the loss of the trees.

  4. CAP says:

    The Administration didn’t monitor a development project the way they were supposed to and that they told everyone they would? C’mon, you expect me to believe that . .?

  5. Josie says:

    It would be so nice if the city monitored any development. Once someone gets a permit, even if there are conditions on the permit, they are on their own. Noone checks it again.

  6. Seriously? says:

    Is the good Alderperson seriously suggesting a vigil for trees? Massachusetts lost 2,107 people to addiction, much caused by doctors and pharmaceutical companies. Has Ms. Heuston attended any vigils for these mostly young people who were killed by pain pills? I for one found the comment to be very insensitive in light of the national loss of 64,000 people in 2016 (more than the number killed in 20 years in VietNam), and I’m sure that the thousands of grieving families would agree.

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