Meeting Minutes: Friends of the Community Path 02/11/2002

NEXT MEETING IS MONDAY, MARCH 11th. See you there!


Present: Karen, Bryce, Joel, Turil, Jessie, Kindra, Bill, Martha.


The tourism grant application has been turned in and looks nice. We have 30 letters of support in the application and more are promised.


O2 Yoga has written us a letter, and they are dedicating the proceeds of one class to the Friends of the Community Path! There's a sign up at the studio encouraging people to come--I think it's the Saturday 5pm class, 2/24.


Bryce did some networking at the Bike to the Sea meeting.


There's a new template for the letters of support, angled more towards thanking the City and encouraging them to keep going, since they're pretty much doing everything we want. This will be sent out to the list. We notice that we can't read all the letters even though we're interested; we might want to tell people that a short letter is just as helpful.


Do we still need to send these letters to local politicians, or should we just collect them? We'll ask Jeff Levine whether it's helpful for the Mayor et al to have them.


There's an open space meeting tomorrow [Tuesday, 2/12]. Joel will go. On Wednesday [2/13] someone should go to the Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting and mention us; Karen will go to that. Karen, Bryce, and Turil are going to the Assembly Square planning meeting.


There's also a meeting about the Cross Street bridge, just the other side of the McGrath highway, which Joel will probably go to. The bridge is scheduled to be replaced in a couple of years and this is a planning meeting. This section of the rail lines (from the high school to Cross St) is especially important because some bridges are currently too narrow to accomodate the Green Line and the path. We should keep track of what they're doing and make them aware of us, as usual.


The Red Bridge, the five-track trestle bridge by Brickbottom into North Point, has been bought by the MBTA. Rumor is that they're planning to demolish it--there's flooding on the Fitchburg line and they want to raise the tracks three feet. This is the bridge that the path would run through, so if it were demolished the path would become much more expensive. It sounds like the North Point developers, Spaulding & Slye, are counting on its presence. The Green Line and the Community Path are also expected as part of their traffic strategy.


What can we do? Joel will probably send out advice about contacting politicians, a letter-writing campaign, etc. Everyone should keep an eye out for any more information about this.


Bryce is researching pathways to link the path to the Bike to the Sea path: "Bike to Bike to the Sea." There are two plausible routes. This is a good thing to bring up when you're talking about the path, it's another connection.


Martha reports that the Charlestown Waterfront Commission is eager to make a connection to Somerville and they're happy to hear about the path. There's some big development going on in Charlestown and they're trying to keep open the route for a path. It would be great if we had a path up towards Bunker Hill Community College. Martha is going to their meeting on April 1st, would like another group member to attend. Joel may be able to go.


Joel: MBTA strategy still under discussion. Sooner or later? We don't know. Our contact, Matt Amarillo (sp?) has moved to the Mass Pike Commission (?). So far the MBTA is not supporting us at all.


Martha: the community outreach group is working. They're making an outreach presentation about the path. We have ~8 offers of hosts or helpers. We'll probably all get to see a practice run and then we'll have a first open-house event, possibly for people already on the path, seeded with supporters. We might have some events at the VNA or the library. Can we get the path-supporting community police officers to talk?


What will the presentation involve? We'll address specific concerns, have pretty pictures of existing paths, hopefully bring in residents adjacent to the path to talk about how cool it is.


Bryce has some cool waterproof paper we can use to make outreach signs.


Bill will talk to the people who own the info kiosk in Porter Square.


Another project: letting people know about all the different parts of the existing path, from Cedar to Davis, Davis to Mass Ave, Mass Ave to Alewife, and so on. Many people don't know that the Minuteman doesn't end at Alewife. The city might make up maps and signs to direct people through the tricky intersections.


Web site update. Kindra has some ideas about getting more people to find our website. She's going to create a little round icon with our logo. We discuss the Rail-Trail FAQ. Turil will rewrite the FAQ to put a more positive spin on it, Lynn will help edit, and then she'll send it out to all of us. We'll put it up on the site.


Also on the site: a list of supporters and some choice quotes. Joel will work on this. Kindra will add a message encouraging abutters and affected homeowners/residents to contact us. "We want to hear from you!"


We might start asking people to send postcards in support instead of letters. Easier and as effective.


Bryce has a nice picture of the Somerville-Boston area with the path drawn on it. We're going to make them into postcards and give them out to people. Kindra will play around with the image first.


If you have receipts, give them to Joel and he'll reimburse you.


We're going to join Bike to the Sea and possibly the Mystic River Organization, for networking and connections etc. And that's it!


See you at the next meeting

(Monday, March 11, 7pm)! --Jessie