After a very productive first six months of the year, A Better City is excited to share their first round of accomplishments for the 2019 year. Read the comprehensive accomplishments report spanning from January 2019 to June 2019 here.
1. Released State of the Built Environment Report: ABC finalized and released the second edition of the State of the Built Environment report in consultation with consultants from the UMass Donahue Institute in February 2019. This report provides a quantitative update of the Transportation Finance Commission reports from 2007 and assesses the funding needs for the Commonwealth's transportation infrastructure system, the current funding available in MassDOT and MBTA budget plans, and what is necessary over the next ten years to meet the needs of our transportation system.
2. Secured At-Grade Preferred Alternative for the Allston Interchange: ABC has continued to advocate for elimination of the Turnpike viaduct in the narrow transportation corridor along the Charles River that includes the Turnpike, the Worcester Commuter Rail mainline, Grand Junction rail service, Soldiers Field Road, and the Paul Dudley White path in open space along the river bank. In January 2019, in a major victory for ABC, Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack announced that the Turnpike should be located at grade with four lanes of Soldiers Field Road elevated over one half of I-90.
3. Advocated for the South Boston Bypass Road Pilot: ABC organized a letter writing and public comment campaign to support the South Boston Bypass Road pilot program and ask that MassDOT keep this program going past September 2019. The current pilot program is underway and MassDOT is monitoring the use of this road, which is open public traffic through September. Thus far, the pilot has mediated some traffic congestion in the Seaport area, however increased awareness of the access road is necessary.
4. Completed Birch Street Plaza Project in Roslindale: From April 29th to May 5th, the project team from ABC and Merritt Chase tested an interactive design concept on Birch Street in Roslindale as part of a week-long pop-up event to talk directly to community members. This pop-up plaza acted as an experimental community meeting where business owners, residents, and visitors could give feedback directly to the City, Roslindale Village Main Streets, volunteers, and the landscape architects.
5. Continued to Support the Greenway BID: The Greenway Business Improvement District enters its second year with many positive steps from the first half of 2019. The BID held two Board of Directors meetings, approved a FY20 budget, created both an Enhancement Committee and Finance & Audit Committee, and approved the initial round of Greenway Enhancement projects.
6. Launched Climate Resilience Guidelines for Commercial Buildings: In March, ABC published climate resilience guidelines for commercial buildings, which are now available on ABC's Sustainable Buildings Initiative website. The guidelines include a template for buildings to help commercial real estate property owners and managers prepare their facilities for climate change, a workbook to capture facility specific data, and a vendor list of climate resiliency service providers.
7. Launched Building Operator Certification Program: ABC partnered with Eversource and National Grid to host a Building Operator Certification training for the facilities staff of thirty member organizations. The eight-day training, which began at the end of March and concluded in mid-June, was designed to optimize building performance and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in existing buildings in Boston.
8. Welcomed New Members: In the first half of 2019, ABC has brought on two new members with Arrowstreet and Perkins + Will. ABC has also welcomed 10 new alternates, advisory committee members, or emerging leaders this year.
9. Hired New Executive Vice President: Following the completion of an extensive organizational assessment, ABC created the new Executive Vice President role to serve as the organization's Chief Operation Officer, as well as the public-facing expert on energy and environmental issues, including climate resilience. In May 2019, after an exhaustive search, ABC hired Kate Dineen to fill this role. Prior to joining A Better City, Kate served as the Chief of Staff for State Operations in the Office of New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, where she garnered significant management experience as well as noteworthy expertise in energy and environmental policy.
10. Grew Subscriber Base: ABC now shares a monthly newsletter with a base of 3,989 subscribers.This newsletter highlights recent accomplishments, upcoming events, statements, and organization updates.