Friends of the Community Path meeting -- Minutes, September 13, 2001


Place: 112 Belmont St. Apt #2


Members attending:  Joel Bennett, Philip Chonacky, Turil Cronburg, Tim Maher, John Mann, Bhupesh Patel (representing Somerville Bike Committee), Lynn Weissman.

New members attending: Matt G.



1.  Spice of Life Festival -  This Sunday!  Sept. 23 (Raindate: Sunday Sept 30)


** We need folks to sign up for these  shifts!  Please contact Joel (617) 776 7769. **

10-12 set-up

12-1, 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 4-5 tabling

5-6:30 breakdown


- We will be selling Cycle/Recycle calendars for $12.00, in addition to maps

- This is a good opportunity to recruit East Somerville folks, by emphasizing the benefits of path to E. Somerville



- Joel has been going to Spice of Life meeting to organize parade and Bike Valet parking.

* Bicycle Parade 2:00 pm. 

Decorate your bikes.

Assemble at 1:30. 

Joel will lead parade with his child-laden canoe rig.


- Bicycle Valet Parking.

 We may ask our volunteers to help Somerville Bike Committee with this as needed.


- Tim volunteered to call reporters (Somerville, Phoenix, Globe, Herald) about Spice parade and valet, and to maybe write a press release.



2. Making contact


2A. Senator Birmingham


                Senator Thomas Birmingham's letter (which Joel has) referring to moneys available for this sort of thing was referring to the DEM grant for which Somerville was ineligible -- because Somerville has not secured the right of way for the rail corridor  from the MBTA!  Thus, contact with the MBTA has moved up the Friends' priority list (more below on this).


** FYI: Senator Birmingham (President, Ways and Means Committee) is holding open office hours in Somerville City Hall, in the 2nd floor committee room, on September 27. 


                In May, we wrote to him (a little too late) to ask him to include a budget item for path design  in the state's annual budget.   Please come to talk with him about the Community Path then or call his office (617) 722 1650 to urge his support for the path, telling him why it would be important not only for Somerville, but for all of the Boston area.



2B. MBTA and Corridor Access


                Jeff Levine (Office of Housing and Development, Somerville) told Joel that we should approach the Mayor and our alderpeople about securing right of way for the rail corridor from the MBTA, to make this a priority for Somerville.  We think that by starting with getting access to the Cedar to Lowell section, we can jump-start the rest of the path. 


                We should address this issue when we talk with the Mayor and alders, and we can also address this in our postcards.  Once a lease for the right of way is secured

- Somerville can apply for the DEM grant for greenways!

- ADA (American Disabilities Act) issues will need to be addressed re: egress at Lowell St. end.  John offered the clever idea of egress at the VNA.


                Joel asked Jeff about $30K for E. Somerville.  Jeff says there is no deadline to use this $.  It will not be used for anything but the path.  But, because Somerville has not secures right-of-way from the MBTA, design in E. Somerville cannot begin.  This yet another reason for us to get the Mayor and alders to make MBTA corridor access a priority.


                Joel and Bhupesh will talk with John Berkhart who has contact w/MBTA because of his job.



2C. Political leaders;  how best to approach - tabled until next meeting. 


                Tim Maher said he'd be Glad to draft a letter as needed, introducing the Friends of the Community Path through our postards, which will grow in number with the Spice of Life Festival.



2D.  Politics of the Big Picture


                Bhupesh Patel of SBC has spoken with politicians (Tim Tuomey, Ann Paulsen,  Pat Jehlen, Jarrett Barrios) and shared what he has learned with us.  Jarrett Barrios, who "has lots of leverage" is excited about this path.  He told Bhupesh that the project is most likely to be funded if:

1) it costs less than $5 million

2) it is done in phases funded in smaller money-bytes

3) it is has implications for areas other than Somerville

4) 7 or 8 reps  are behind it

5) we mention to one politician the names of other politicians who support the path.


                In summary, politicians need to know that their constituencies and cronies support the path, and that the path serves a large number of constituencies.



3. Spreading the word


3A. Poster


                Tim  designed an awesome poster, which he brought in for feedback.  Per group suggestions will make minor revisions to graphics (add walkers/bladers?), language (nix property values, layout/formatting (add "lead-ins"; put 1-5 list in one column), attach pockets for brochures and postcards.  Tim will bring the revised poster to our next meeting.


3B.  Path Trek


                Tim came up with a great idea - a march/walk (and maybe ride or roll) down the existing path.  Maybe continue the walk down to Boston along McGrath to emphasize how yucky the current route is and how nice path could be for the surrounding areas.  Maybe get Mayor to walk with us, and culminate in a picnic or other festive activity.


                Organize this trek over the winter to happen in the spring? 



3C.  Cambridge Bicycle Committee: New feasibility study for another path


                Joel said that the Cambridge Bicycle Committee (CBC) was happy to hear from him.  CBC just got $50K for a feasibility study for a potential path  running along the rail corridor from the BU bridge to Twin City Plaza.  CBC would like to link this path with ours!


3D.  Network of Groups


                Rosalie Saunders (CBC) plans to set up a networking meeting of path and bike groups.  So does Bill at BBAC, says Bhupesh.  Joel will hook up Bill and Rosalie.  More info to come



3E.  Chamber of Commerce


                Steve Mackey (President of COC) told Joel he likes the path and will talk with Jeff Levine about his support.  Joel got a list of 200 Union Sq. businesses, but  not for all of Somerville.



4. Cambridge Health Alliance - land parcel/parking lot


                Joel reported that Jeff and Bill Lyons (Somerville Traffic and Parking) requested revisions to the plan submitted by Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA).  No public meeting scheduled yet.  CHA may try to sell the property if can't work out a plan with Somerville.


                Jeff told Joel that it "couldn't hurt" if the Friends contacted the CHA.

** Can someone volunteer to draft a letter to the CHA to be accompanied by our literature?  Please reply to Joel.



5. Other Funding News


5A. 25%

                Joel asked Jeff if 25% of $150K enough to begin the design process.  Jeff replied that we could maybe start to design the Cedar to Lowell section if we got $75K.   Less $ needed if the CHA contributes to the cost at Central St. prrking lot.


5B. 501(c)3 Non-profit status update


                Matt G. (a law student)  will join Jessie Strickgold-Sarah (not present) and David Merfeld (CPA who volunteered to help us; not present) in getting 501(c)3 non-profit status for the Friends.  This will allow us to apply for many grants, if we choose.  Joel will hook the 3 of them up.



5C.  Grants?


                Lynn  Weissman identified a few potential funders of the Friends (while doing a grant search for something else).   We will keep these on file.



6.  Other Upcoming Events


* Groundwork's will be at Spice of Life, promoting their events, including plantings at Cedar St.


* Tour de Somerville, Saturday October 13, 10 am?  Rain date Oct 14.


                We will be co-sponsoring this Bike tour with the Somerville Bike Committee.  Tour will focus on Community Path.  We will help promote events, act as tour guides.  Tim will write a press release, and Public Service Announcement (PSA) for local radio stations and Somerville Journal.



7.  Miscellaneous


                Our newest member, Matt G.. offered to help us w/land use and other legal issues as needed.



8. Action Items Summary


Spice of Life:

Turil - will print brochures, postcards for Spice and get them to Joel by end of week.

Lynn - will get calendars for Spice

John -will bring banner thing

Tim - volunteered to call reporters (Somerville, Phoenix, Globe, Herald) about Spice parade and valet, and to maybe write a press release.


All - Visit Senator Birmingham on 9/27 or call him (617) 722 1650


All - Tell your friends about Tour de Somerville, Saturday October 13, 10 am?


John, (Maureen Johnston) Tim - will head up how best to approach Political leaders, how to make an appointment, etc., at our next meeting.


John - will call Pat Jehlen about this, too.


Joel - will try to make contact w/Rep. Michael Capuano's office via a neighbor who works with him


Turil -  will work on some promotional materials


Tim and Gabriel Ostriker - will  think about places for posters, leaflets, etc.; list suitable for long-term use


Tim - Poster revisions; bring to next meeting


Tim - volunteered to call reporters (Somerville, Phoenix, Globe, Herald) about Spice parade and valet, and to maybe write a press release.


Tim - will draft a press release and PSA for Tour de Somerville, and bring it to next meeting.


Joel - will get list of all city businesses from Steve Mackey at the Chamber of Commerce


Unnamed volunteer - to draft a letter to the CHA to be accompanied by our literature?


Joel - will send e-mail addresses and phone numbers to Matt G., Jessie Strickgold -Sarah , and David Merfeld so they can coordinate 501(c)3 non-profit status


Joel - will get a list of businesses from Steve Mackey at the Chamber of Commerce


Joel - will hook up Bill and Rosalie re bike/path groups networking meeting.


Joel and Bhupesh - will talk with John Berkhart who has contact w/MBTA because of his job.



9. Next Meeting:  Tuesday, October 9, 7:00 pm. 


                The meeting will take place at 112 Belmont St., Apt #2, unless we let you know otherwise.


*** If 7:00 is not a good time for people, please let us know so we can start a little later if needed.  People have been trickling in around 7:30, and it makes it hard for us to all be on the same page.   It is really important that we respect everybody's time by starting each meeting when scheduled.  Also, it would be great if y'all RSVP for meetings, so we know whom to expect and when.  Thanks.


Respectfully submitted,

Lynn Weissman



*** " To Lechmere .....  and beyond !! "  ***