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LaMattina: Charlestown Looking Better After Storm

The Boston city councilor says the neighborhood's side streets got some attention on Monday but that there is still a lot of work to be done.

Though there was a delay in getting Charlestown’s side streets plowed after the weekend snowstorm, the neighborhood was looking much better by Monday afternoon, District 1 City Councilor Sal LaMattina said.

“Today they’re out there full swing and the neighborhood looks good. We still have major snow piles on Main Street and Bunker Hill Street, and those need to be repaired. Hopefully the city won’t lift the parking ban until they remove some of those piles of snow,” LaMattina said.

The city councilor said he wasn’t sure what exactly caused the delay in plowing but that crews worked during the weekend to clear Charlestown’s major thruways.

“I heard that they were concentrated on the main arteries, which is Bunker Hill, Austin and Main Street, and they were working through the night,” he said.

While some Charlestown residents seemed to enjoy sledding and even skiing on the snow-covered streets, others were frustrated by the lack of plowing.

On Twitter, Stephen Newman posted a photo of snow piled up to vehicle wheel tops in the middle of Prospect Street at 11 a.m. Sunday, directing the tweet at the city's @NotifyBoston and added the hashtag #taxdollarshardatwork.

Twitter user KindofLuke said a local man in need of medical attention had to be "dragged out on sled" because the ambulance couldn't make it up unplowed Pearl Street.

By the time crews got to the side streets, there was so much snow piled up that backhoes were brought in to help clear the roads for traffic, LaMattina said.

Though driving is becoming easier through the neighborhood, parking in Charlestown remains a problem in the neighborhood, with snow piled along every street and reducing the city’s already limited on-street parking spaces.

Charlestown’s only city-approved snow emergency parking is located in Building 199 in the Navy Yard, and as of Monday it was completely full.

Some residents who parked at the Bunker Hill Mall in front of the former Johnnie’s Foodmaster returned to find their vehicles towed, LaMattina said.

“I’m not very happy with that,” he said of the tows. “That’s maybe something we need to work out with the owner of the parking lot, that maybe people could park there during a snow emergency."

LaMattina encouraged residents to call his office at 617-635 3200 if they continue to see issues related to the storm.

“For the most part, when people go home tonight, they’ll find the streets are plowed and passable,” he said. “The city still has some work to do. We need to remove a lot of snow. I think people just need to have a little patience.”

Eric Hawkes February 18, 2013 at 02:07 AM
Have to say, I'm not happy with the cleanup for this snowstorm. There are still issues with parking on Main St and Warren St. and the storm happened a week ago.... Not sure what's going on?
oneofseven February 18, 2013 at 05:54 PM
As I am not a regular "Patcher", I'm wondering if anybody has brought up the conversation of why the city allows people without Resident Parking Permits to park, shovel out "their" spots and hold these spots with their chairs, trashcans or whatever they can get their hands on. I know the city cannot tow these "scofflaws" but I really think tagging theses people and letting them know that even during a "weather emergency" the rules still apply. I know for a fact that it would have eleviated 6 spots on my street . Maybe an actual person with a Resident Sticker would have had the privilege to park, shovel and put their "marker" there. Somebody that actually has their vehicle registered and insured at their Charlestown address. Im sure this would not solve all of the parking problems which occur during "snow weather emergencys" but every little bit helps. BTW, after the weather emergency was lifted, the above mentioned vehicles were tagged by the Meter Department never to be seen again, that is till the next weather emergency. Also as of last night, Medford Street was a disgrace, down to basically one lane. I am a lifelong TOWNIE............
Dan February 18, 2013 at 06:52 PM
It's a catch 22 problem: Roads not passable for the BTD to ticket the illegal parked cars. The staff are not seen as emergency so they are given the day off and they don't ticket on weekends. All they can do is ticket they can't tow in legal parking spots. I agree we need to improve things not sure of a good answer here.
oneofseven February 18, 2013 at 07:43 PM
Dear Dan, Wherever and Whoever gave you that information is sooooo dead wrong. BTD (the Meter Maids) are NOT given the day off. Accordinging to BTD they are considered ESSENTIAL employees and must report to work. They are the ones that are out ticketing the main thoroughfares for snow emergencies . I agree some streets were not passable by vehicle, but in this instance these vehicles were tucked in neatly, well before 8pm on Friday, Feb 8th. Also lots of times when a "weather emergency" is called we typically dont receive this much snow. Major thoroughfare in Charlestown I believe are Main, Medford, Bunker Hill and Chelsea streets, Warren may be also, not sure. I think, perhaps the next weather emergency all of the citizens of Charlestown should demand that Non Residents be tagged if the streets are passable. Although it is just my own personal opinion, I think Charlestown should either change their Res Prking Times or make it 24/7. South Boston's Res Prk hours (I believe) are 6pm to 10am. I am more of of fan of these hours than what we have in place. I think the RPP days and hours in Charlestown need a closer look. I personally, now I said personally, think it should be 24/7. JUST SAYING
Dan February 18, 2013 at 08:22 PM
Remember the BTD only goes through the streets 3 - 4 times a day so it's possible they got missed. Having parking control later than 6:00PM won't make much of a difference as the the BTD doesn't have the staff. I spoke with the one parking person and they stated they got the day off. One problem is lack of general parking around town for visitors and at the T stations for commuters. Have you noticed the lack of parking at the C-town mall even when the stores are closed.
oneofseven February 18, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Well, Dan they are considered ESSENTIAL, and they dont get the day off, during weather emergencys EVER. As far as not having enough staff, they work round the clock and they already have enforcement out here after 6, as a matter of fact, I believe thats their busiest time to tag the scofflaws. The problem is the people that sit in the visitor parking longer than 2 hours, making it difficult for the next person to access that spot. You have residents that own driveways or garages and feel its not necessary to register their vehicles at their ctown address like the rest of us, and when they get tagged for parking in the resident spot, because maybe they gave their driveway or garage spot to a friend of relative the get all high and mighty. After all they pay taxes and the rest of us just live in caves. As far as the Ctown "mall" Its always been that way, and only God knows where they are. Now it looks to me as though they have fenced it off for the construction that is taking place in Johnnies Foodmaster. LOng before resident parking, Charlestown was actually the best parking, for those commuters that didnt live here, park your car and hop on the bus. Long ago at one time if you told people you came from Charlestown they actually looked at you as though u lived in a cave, my has that changed............CHARLESTOWN IS AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN THE BEST LITTLE SLICE OF HEAVEN............JUST SAYING
Dan February 18, 2013 at 10:00 PM
Linda cool your jets here. I'm with you, it needs to be better. I've lived here over 35 years and have seen the changes too. I don't know were you got your info on the BTD being out there after 6:00PM. I've never have seen them later than 5:00 - 5:30 checking the cars. The worker I spoke with after the storm stated clearly they where told not to show up on Friday, so unless they had a limited staff during the snow storm I can't explain why he wasn't working on Friday. I do remember when they started resident parking years ago they couldn't do any later than 6:00PM as they didn't have the staff for the evening or the weekends. Maybe things have changed, I looked at the city web site and I don't see anything there.
oneofseven February 18, 2013 at 10:41 PM
Dan, maybe the residents that park on your street are well behaved and have resident stickers. Believe me THEY ARE HERE.......... BTD has about 200 parking enforcement officers in and around the city round the clock........................with different sections of the city having different enforcement hours..................I know where the gaslights are in the town it can be quite dark as the gas lamps dont project as much light as the electric streetlamps, but THEY are here. If you ever bump into one be very, very nice they work hard and take a lot of abuse out there........and besides you catch more bees with honey...............
Bette Task February 18, 2013 at 10:56 PM
There's a car parking regularly on Chestnut St. with no resident sticker. I've reported it about 6 times and he never gets tagged!
oneofseven February 18, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Call and give them the Plate #, they will be able to tell if they have one, maybe you just cant see it as they put them all over the cars..................They imput them into their computers and lets them know if that vehicle has one. It is also able to tell which neighborhood they are from
Just a person! February 19, 2013 at 02:18 AM
Hey Dan I don't know where you get you idea that there are no meter maids after 5:00/5:30, where do you live? The meter maids are on our St. At 6:00 in the morning and I have seen them make their last run down here at 7:45 , enough time to get back to frontage rd. to end their shift.. And also for your information about the hours of the permit parking, it was decided by the BTD official , because none of the residents that attended the meetings at StFrancis lower hall could make up their mind, so they made the 8:00-8-00 time. I myself would rather see 4:00pm till 6:00am resident only parking. Who cares who parks in front of your house all day while you are at work? When you come home at 8:00 or 9:00pm is when you would like to be able to park, and the game with the visitor spots is, you park at 6:00 pm and you can stay there till 10:00 am go figure! Either do away with resident parking , or change the hours.
Dan February 19, 2013 at 02:17 PM
As I said: maybe it has changed from when we started resident parking program and what I had seen when I was out and about in the evenings. As I have a sticker I hadn't worried about my self getting a ticket, but I've come home late having to search out a spot and now with the snow stealing needed spaces, I've had to park in the garage a few times. I park over in Stations Landing garage as its a lot cheaper than the navy yard MGH parking garage. So I'm angry as well here to hear we have residents which are scoffers still out there. But, it's also possible they are visitors or an employer supplied car? We still have no visitor pass program (which could become a big mess it's self). My sister and her family came to visit me a couple years ago, I ended up paying around $300 of tickets for their car. Then a few of years ago my car died and I had a rental for a few weeks while I got a new car. As it was a rental I was able to get the tickets canceled but it was still a hassle. I think the bottom line here is we need more parking nearby that's at a reduced price for C-town residents.
Just a person! February 19, 2013 at 02:58 PM
No Dan, I think we need more housing built with "NO PARKING" How's that White Elephant on West School St looking? Or Nancy Sales and parcel 39 @ the Navy Yard.
Dan February 19, 2013 at 03:16 PM
That makes no sense! If they don't have on premises parking that makes it worse not better for all of us.
Just a person! February 19, 2013 at 05:22 PM
Hey Dan, Take a look at what the BRA and the CNC just approved at the Navy Yard, what a joke!
Toonie February 19, 2013 at 07:39 PM
My goodness! The NERVE! Someone is developing an empty lot in a CITY!? That's outrageous! Are you kidding me with all the complaints about the new development around town?
Ginger D. February 19, 2013 at 09:13 PM
I've lived in Charlestown for 5 years and have always had to park on the street. Some days I find a spot out front, other times I have to circle for 15 minutes and park a few blocks away. This is city living folks -- it's never going to be free-flowing with open spots (unless you live down on Medford ha) and you might have to drive around a bit, but that's what you get when you live in Boston limits.
Dan February 19, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Toonie - I don't think JAP or the others has an issue with development, just the amount of new cars doesn't create more of a hardship for the rest of us. This is more so in the Navy Yard. Clearly the CNC saw it needed to be addressed. Sadly, from the report by Becca here in the Patch they gave a thumbs up before getting a firm commitment on getting the full allotment of spaces for the number of units. The CNC will need to address this failing before this gets out of hand.
Charlestown joe February 19, 2013 at 11:45 PM
Hey Toonie, Look around, how many multiple dwelling housing developments do we need in one square mile??? How about leaving a little green space, better still let's get rid of all that too, starting with the community gardens, let's put some housing at those areas also, what do you think?
Dan February 19, 2013 at 11:55 PM
Ginger, trust me I've done the same. I don't think that in its self is the issue. Clearly we have three different problems beyond the snow clearing that does need to be addressed some how: 1 - People who don't have proper parking permits taking spaces away from those who have permits. At least that what some think in this thread. 2 - Failure of BTD in ticketing scoffers. I'm not sure if there is a way to solve this. 3 - New development that does not have even 75% of its' units with deeded parking (which is the case of Parcel #39 in the yard). The bottom line here is we do need to create new parking options in C-Town. One option I see is to build a large garage where the BHCC parking lot is. It could solve many of the different parking issues we face and we do need to balance development so we don't over saturate any one area and leave some green space as well.
Matthew February 19, 2013 at 11:59 PM
I emailed LaMattina's office the other day and got a call back today. Communicate with your local politicians. Apparently they listen.
Toonie February 20, 2013 at 07:41 PM
Joe - not sure what you're talking about. They have recently put a very large, but beautiful, building where that eyesore of a KOC building already was. They're building another in an empty dirt parking lot in the Navy Yard where a building once stood. The Warren street townhouses are beautiful and are in a lot that no one was allowed to step foot on. So, what precious green space are people taking from you? If it's green space you want....hit the sticks!
Charlestown joe February 20, 2013 at 09:07 PM
Yes and took away the sunlight from the elderly at the Zelma Lacy house,also all of Mishawam. But, let's forget about ther quality of life! Because we have a new high rise. And the Warren st townhouse, lovely, just where I want to live right above and beside the highway. And as far as the Navy Yard, correct me if I am wrong,but there is a building there. So maybe you got wrong information! Hello,. And if you don't care about green space then why do you want to close the underpasses on Rutherford Ave, so you can have bike paths and parks? Hello! And why are you concerned about Sullivan Sq. Rotary just leave that alone also.. And let's not forget about the beautiful resort area down on Medford St. (nancy Sale) Just another wonderful place that I would like to live ,close to the carport,wind turbine testing,and less not forget the lovely housing project across the St. So I ask you, Your Point is???
TheMaskedTruthsayer February 20, 2013 at 10:18 PM
I wanna see a 38 story hi-rise where the Charlestown Working Theatre now is. c'mon, it will be a beacon, directing everyone to the other high-rises.
TheMaskedTruthsayer February 20, 2013 at 11:47 PM
"Beautiful?"
Charlestown joe February 21, 2013 at 12:04 AM
I believe that the BRA should give the land back to the community where they tore down housing and replaced it with a Community Garden , right at the entrance to Charlestown, get rid of that and build a a five story apartment complex there ,with retail stores under the apartments for, resturants and pizza places and maybe a tavern or two so the other end of Charlestown can benefit with some Re-development. Instead of a Green Space for fruits and vegetables.
Bette Task February 21, 2013 at 12:44 AM
I hope your not really seriously about that. The BRA can't take it back unless the Garden doesn't keep up it's obligation to keep it as it is under the deed!
j February 21, 2013 at 03:49 PM
Yes and took away the sunlight from the elderly at the Zelma Lacy house,also all of Mishawam. *** Give me a break, it's 5 stories, not a high rise. And don't give me this "it's a high rise for Charlestown" Its not a high rise, its a building in a place that was an eyesore and has the appropriate number of spaces for the number of units. And the Warren st townhouse, lovely, just where I want to live right above and beside the highway. *** I didn't realize that you were being forced to live there And as far as the Navy Yard, correct me if I am wrong,but there is a building there. So maybe you got wrong information! Hello,. *** Yea, an empty boarded up building. You would rather that? And if you don't care about green space then why do you want to close the underpasses on Rutherford Ave, so you can have bike paths and parks? Hello! *** I like that you conveniently leave out the expanded Paul Revere Park and the pedestrian to the beautiful park on the water in Cambridge.... HELLO And let's not forget about the beautiful resort area down on Medford St. (nancy Sale) Just another wonderful place that I would like to live ,close to the carport,wind turbine testing,and less not forget the lovely housing project across the St. *** Wait, I thought you were being force to live at Warren St? They are making you live in two places at once? How unfair.
j February 21, 2013 at 03:51 PM
Wait, first you argue for green space, now you want to take it away. Then you argue against development, and now you want another mall??? I'm just so sick to the vocal minority on this site that feel they need to bully anyone who has an opinion other than theirs. I love that I never hear outrage when a developer buys a single family who with a nice yard (bartlett and school, that side street off of Green) and rips down the trees and the yard for condos, but since that was private green space, thats ok I guess
Michael T February 22, 2013 at 02:43 PM
It's still no excuse, but maybe this news would help explain why the snow removal/plowing was so exceptionally poor during the last snowstorm: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/columnists/joe_battenfeld/2013/02/battenfeld_city_fired_contractor_week_before_storm

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