Tim Flynn Answers Our Questions
Road Rebuilding Projects, Entrance Corridor Zoning, North River Canal Flooding & Polluted Runoff
Question 1 – The Boston Street rebuilding project is soon to be at the 25% design phase with Mass DOT, and the Highland Avenue re-design is in the preliminary phase. What are your priorities for the planning of these two Salem entrance corridors?
As the current Ward 4 City Councillor I am closely following the rebuilding of Boston St. along with any proposals to make changes on Highland Ave.I have been in close contact with numerous city officials regarding both of these roadways. In my opinion the current condition of Boston St. is totally unacceptable. However, it was great to see the recent repaving of Boston St.from Dunkin Donuts up to the Dairy Witch Ice Cream. I will continue to press to have the rest of Boston St. repaved up to the Peabody line. I would also like to see traffic flow better on Boston St..since this is a highly used road accessing route 128 in Peabody, Ma. I have also heard concerns during past Gallows Hill Ward 4 meetings regarding a much needed crossing light in the area of Boston and Bridge Streets. This is a very busy area and will see more future foot traffic due to the new Community Life Center.
As we look to improve Highland Ave. my main concern is making traffic flow better and safer. Currently, at different times of the day traffic can back up in all directions. This can cause a problem for Police, Fire or EMS trying to get up or down Highland Ave. to respond to an emergency. I also would like to see an improvement for those traveling inbound while trying to turn left at the traffic lights at Highland Ave. and Marlborough Rd. During different times of the day this traffic can back up all the way past Swampscott Rd. Improvements in traffic signals and road designs could make a huge improvement.
I would like to remind people that the Gallows Hill Ward 4 group meets on the third Tuesday of the month at the AOH on Boston St. and begins at 7PM. At our last meeting we had a Salem Police Officer there to answer questions and write down any concerns
Question 2 – Ward 4 features a unique for Salem mixture of Business Highway (B2), Residential 1-Family (R1) and Residential 2-Family (R2) Zoning on both Boston Street and Highland Avenue. What should be done to fairly address the concerns of both the residents and the businesses?
I agree that Ward 4 has a very unique mixture of zoning on Highland Ave. and Boston St. My top priority is making sure we have a high quality of life for our residents. I have said many times that I don’t have one boss at City Hall but instead my bosses are made up of the residents living in Ward 4. A great way to address concerns is to be a good listener and bring a strong voice to City Hall. I want to make sure any new developments are presented early to the residents and that they have a voice. This can be through a neighborhood meeting, phone calls or emails. In the past there was a concern by many residents that the retail pot shops where going to be clustered on Highland Ave. I felt this was unfair to those that lived in the Highland Ave. area and I fought alongside the residents to make sure this didn’t happen. I am glad that the city spread those retail pot shops throughout the zones they could operate in. My quick answer to this question is to listen to the residents, protect our zoning laws and be transparent. In my opinion our residents and businesses pay high taxes and deserve to have the highest quality of life possible.
Question 3 – The North River Canal is the largest source of fresh water to Salem Sound. The North River is listed on the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s list of impaired waters and suffers from severe flooding, polluted urban runoff, pathogens and visible environmental degradation. How should the City prioritize improvements to this vital waterway to mitigate both flooding and environmental issues?
As a lifelong resident of Salem I feel that we need to protect and improve our surrounding environment. Unfortunately, Salem in now paying the price of cleaning up the mess left behind by many of our former businesses that used toxic chemicals. How many times have we seen a sports field in our city being updated only to find chemicals in the ground? How many times have we seen an old factory torn down to build something new to then have a piece of land that needs to be cleaned? I am proud that steps have been taken over the years by groups to clean up the North River area. Anyone from Salem should be able to remember going over the North St. overpass and smelling the North River during low tide. We are lucky that groups like Salem Sound Coastwatch got involved to clean this area up. A high level of pollutants and sewage have been dumped into the North River over our cities history. As we build new developments in this area we need to make sure any hazardous materials are properly removed. The is no excuse for causing any further damage to the North River Canal.
Flooding is also an issue from Webb Plumbing all the way along the river area down Bridge St. by the Community Life Center. Large storms along with extra high tides have caused severe damage along Commercial St. in the past. The walls along the river are going to have to be raised ASAP to protect this area in the future. It is our job to make sure we protect our city and environment to the best of our ability.