Data Download with Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone

On December 7, 2017, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

Taking a closer look at notable city data – and interesting numbers.

By Joseph A. Curtatone 

(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)

1 of 2 Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Communities in Massachusetts: The League of American Bicyclists announced last week that Somerville earned the distinction of a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community, joining our neighbors in Cambridge as the only two communities in the Commonwealth to do so. There are 29 Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Communities in the United States.

The distinction bumps us up one step from our previous Silver Level award and is the result of recently constructed bike lanes in Union Square, the upcoming completion of the cycle track on Beacon Street, the expansion of our Neighborways program, and our bolstered commitment to bicycle education efforts.

Many in the community deserve thanks for their advocacy and efforts to support improved and safer cycling here, and special thanks are owed to the Somerville Bicycle Committee, which encouraged us to apply for the entry-level bronze designation a few years ago, worked tirelessly with us to get us to silver and now to gold. We’ve come a long way, but won’t stop here. There are five Platinum Level Bicycle Friendly Communities in the U.S., and we intend to join their ranks.

For more information on the award, visit www.somervillema.gov/bicyclefriendly.

272.8 pounds of medication collected: A 2015 study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescriptions drugs, and many of those abused drugs were often obtained from the medicine cabinets of family and friends. The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to address this issue by encouraging people to anonymously turn in unused medication so that it can be disposed of properly.

At the conclusion of the last National Take Back Day, which took place in late October, 5,321 drop-off sites around the country collected 912,305 pounds (456 tons) of prescription drugs. At Somerville’s two locations, 272.8 pounds of medication were collected.

Take Back Days typically occur twice each year, once in the fall and once in the spring. However, if you missed the last collection date but still want to turn in unused medication, a kiosk is available 24/7 at the Somerville Police Department Headquarters. Disposal is free and anonymous. For more information about prescription disposal or the National Take Back Day events, contact Cory Mashburn at cmashburn@somervillema.gov or 617.625.6600 ext. 2570.

14 Cities and Towns of Metro Mayors Coalition of Greater Boston Partner to Address Regional Housing Challenges: The challenges around housing affordability and availability in the Greater Boston region are of crisis proportions. While many towns and cities in the area have been working on initiatives and policies to address these challenges, a critical gap is the lack of a defined regional approach.

This week, I stood alongside the 13 other members of the Metropolitan Mayors Coalition to announce our partnership on a regional housing task force. The task force, which Mayor Walsh and I worked to establish and will co-chair, will focus on housing production to meet the region’s range of urgent needs from affordable and workforce housing to market rate, family, and senior housing. Through production and other initiatives, our goal is to prevent displacement and increase housing stability for the region’s residents, and the Task Force will allow us to come together to create bold strategies and solutions.

In shore, we’re accelerating this discussion and will amplify our work over the next six months. Soon, with the help of some of the brightest minds in the region working in a variety of housing-related sectors, we will identify regional housing goals and establish a timeline to achieve them.

To learn more about the partnership, visit www.mapc.org/metro-mayors-coalition.

$68,300 in projected annual savings: Completing energy efficiency upgrades in City buildings isn’t only good for the environment, it’s also better for the City’s finances. The five City-owned buildings where LED lighting upgrades have been completed (City Hall Annex, the Traffic and Parking building, and the Brown, Healy, and Winter Hill schools), together are projected to save the City $68,300 annually. With another four City locations with LED upgrades in progress, we’re looking at an additional savings of $42,000 annually beyond that. These projects are funded in part by the Green Communities grant awarded to Somerville by the Commonwealth.

Data-based decision making is at the core of how the City of Somerville develops policy and sets priorities. Every day we check the latest 311 stats, and throughout the week we meet for in-depth review of departmental data and city trends. The monthly Data Download column shares some of the data we’ve been reviewing recently, as well as interesting updates. To see more Somerville Data, visit the online Somerville Data Farm at http://www.somervillema.gov/datafarm/.

 

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