JPA Expresses Frustration With MBTA Over Arborway Plans

The Jamaica Pond Association (JPA) held its regular monthly meeting this past Monday, December 5.

Chairperson Kay Mathew and fellow board members Barry Schwartz, Franklyn Salimbene, Peter Elmuts, Peter Steiger, Martin Thomson, Jasmine Crafts, Tamara Pitts, Michael Reiskind, Jaime Maguire, Kevin Moloney, Martin Thomson, Rosemary Jones, and David Moir were in attendance for the meeting, as were a number of community members.

In the business portion of the meeting, Martin Thomson presented the Treasurer’s report, informing the board that there is an account balance of $3660.95, and Jasmine Crafts presented the Secretary’s report, which involved approving the minutes from the November meeting.

Boston Police Officer Carlos Martinez of District 13 was on hand to give the monthly Community Safety Report. Martinez thanked the board for its “huge donation” to District 13’s Halloween Drive, which enabled the police to distribute 500 bags of candy to trick-or-treaters from the neighborhood, and to District 13’s Thanksgiving Drive, in which the officers distributed more than 300 Thanksgiving meals to the needy. He added there are 300 children on the list for gifts from Santa for Christmas.

Martinez informed the board of the big news that the suspect in the sexual assault that took place in a home mid-afternoon on the Arborway in October was arrested in Norfolk, Virginia, on November 29.

“He didn’t break down a door to get onto the premises,” said Martinez, “but he did force his way in through the interior door.

“Residents have to make sure that your outside entryway doors are locked, because that’s how he made his way into the building,” urged Martinez.

Martinez reported that there were no crimes in the local area in the past month, but there was a robbery of a Domino’s Pizza delivery driver in a nearby neighborhood by two suspects, one of whom brandished a firearm, who took the victim’s cash and a cell phone.

Martinez made note of a number of other arrests in the vicinity involving firearms: two juveniles, who were shooting two firearms nearby; a larceny from a motor vehicle in which the suspect, who was apprehended thanks to the assistance of witnesses, was in possession of two firearms; and separate incidents on Parker Ave. and Lamartine St. behind the Jackson Square MBTA station.

In response to a question from board member Thomson, who suggested that guns seem to be more prevalent today than in the past, Martinez said that in his years of experience, guns always have been a serious problem in the city ever since he was a student at the old Boston English High School.

The next items on the agenda were the committee reports. Peter Steiger presented a report from the IDEA (inclusion, diversity, and access) Committee and discussed the progress that the committee is making.

“I think we have a really engaged group serving on the committee,” noted Steiger. “We have a lot of ideas about how to make the JPA a more modern and more relevant organization.”

Moloney and Salimbene discussed the updates regarding the plans of the Dept. of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for the redesign of the Arborway.

Moloney said that both the JPA and the Jamaica Hills Assoc. (JHA) are in favor of the so-called Alternative 1, whereas the DCR has made known its support for Alternative 4, which entails the elimination of the current traffic circles in favor of the signalization of those busy roadways.

Moloney said the JPA has been attempting to obtain documents from the DCR that it has relied upon for its support of Alternative 4, but thus far that effort has been unsuccessful. Moloney said that the board ultimately will have to make a request to the Secretary of State’s Office to force the DCR to make available those records.

Salimbene noted that there will be a meeting next Wednesday, December 14, between the stakeholders in the process, which includes the JPA, and the DCR to discuss the project.

Community member Sarah Freeman noted that although the boards of the JPA and JHA favor Alternative 1, there are many residents who favor Alternative 4.

Reiskind presented an update of the doings of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council, which did not have a quorum for its November 22 meeting, although its Executive Comm. met separately to approve some zoning matters that had been approved by its Zoning Committee.

Reiskind also noted that the Jamaica Plain Business and Professional Assoc. held its annual meeting, at which a new board of directors was elected. He reported that the recent dog costume event was a huge success with 97 entrants parading down Centre St.

My’Kel McMillen, the Director Of Constituent Services and Organizing from District 6 City Councillor Kendra Lara’s office, was on hand and noted that Councillor Lara will be hosting coffee hours with constituents throughout the month in various locations throughout her district.

Barabra Hakim, a resident of South Huntington Ave., informed the members that the city plans to add a bike lane to the newly-paved roadway that will be located on the inside of parked cars (i.e., between the parking lane and the sidewalk, as is common on some other city streets), which she suggested could prove dangerous for the operators of parked vehicles, who will be opening their doors into oncoming traffic.

Mathew said she will place the matter on the agenda for the association’s next meeting on January 9.

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