Special to the Gazette
The Public Service Committee of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) held its regular monthly meeting this past Tuesday.
Chairman Michael Reiskind and fellow committee members Bernie Doherty, Robin Cheung, Dot Farrell, Paige Sparks, and Louise Johnson were on hand for the meeting.
The Public Service Committee’s mandate consists of addressing issues related to public safety, licensing, transportation, and public works.
The first matter taken up Tuesday evening pertained to a public works issue to request the City of Boston’s Dept. of Public Works (DPW) to place more trash and recycling barrels in the JP business district and in other areas where littering is a problem.
The committee has addressed this issue in the past, but no progress with the city was reported at Tuesday’s meeting, inasmuch as the district’s DPW liaison has not been in contact with the committee.
Reiskind also suggested that trash barrels should be placed at all MBTA bus stops and noted that some trash barrels have not been moved in coordination with recent changes in some bus stops.
Johnson recommended that trash barrels be placed across from the Cabot Estates, where people park and eat in their car, but then just dump their refuse from their cars into the parking area.
Cheung made an interesting point that the City of Cambridge has trucks that lift and clean the trash receptacles, which she said was “very impressive.”
Regarding transportation issues, there was a discussion about the city’s supplemental sidewalk clearance program for snow removal from sidewalks. Reiskind said the city will be increasing its program to encompass more of the 1800 miles of sidewalks in the city.
He suggested that the city’s efforts should be concentrated on JP’s business districts, with special emphasis on the corners where there are handicapped ramps and crosswalks, as well as along the Green St. area, senior citizen residential areas, and bus stops.
Doherty noted that businesses are responsible for shoveling snow and ice from in front of their storefronts and can be subject to fines for failing to do so. However, it was noted that the city’s Inspectional Services Dept. lacks the resources to enforce the ordinance, which prompted Doherty to suggest that the power to levy fines should be vested with the DPW, which originally had that authority.
Sparks asked whether there might be alternatives to the use of rock salt because of the harm it causes to pets. She noted that JP ranks either first or second among the city’s neighborhoods for dog ownership and that dogs can suffer injury to their paws from rock salt.
Reiskind provided an update on licensing issues and noted that the Canary Sq. restaurant at 435 So. Huntington has closed and is selling its liquor license outside of Jamaica Plain to a movie theatre that will be selling alcoholic drinks in the Seaport area.
He also reported that a new restaurant, Across the Border, at the corner of Center and Sheridan Sts. is opening, but will not be serving alcohol.
The committee briefly discussed the problem of the large number of nip bottles and cigarette butts that are littering the neighborhood’s streets.
On a separate note, Sparks mentioned that the family of Justin Root, a 41-year-old man with lifelong ties to Jamaica Plain who was shot and killed by police on February 7, 2020, will be holding a vigil on February 7 at 9:15 a.m. to mark the third anniversary of his death. Six police officers fired 31 rounds in a matter of a few seconds at Root after a car chase that began at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where Root allegedly brandished a BB gun, and ended when his vehicle crashed on Hammond Parkway in Brookline.
Norfolk County District Atty. Michael Morrissey cleared the officers of any wrongdoing. However, Root’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
The next meeting of the committee is set for the evening of February 7.