Did you know you can report infrastructure problems to the city of Waltham through an online form? This is a good first step in making it easy for residents to report potholes and other concerns, but I think we can do more. Carlos Vidal, a current at-large city councillor and candidate for re-election, originally proposed that Waltham should implement a 3-1-1 system, and I agree. Rather than hunting for the correct department, residents can simply pick up the phone and easily access the help they need with paving, trash pick-up, snow removal, or other problems. This investment will also help the city identify ongoing maintenance problems and address them early, before they worsen.
City Website Improvements
The city of Waltham’s website contains a lot of useful information, but can be confusing to navigate, lacks accessibility features, and does an incomplete job of communicating current issues and available services. I support devoting additional resources to the city’s IT department, including funding a dedicated web development position if requested by the department.
The current Social Media Coordinator does an excellent job keeping Waltham’s Facebook, Twitter, and other outlets up to date with big events in our community. However, as Ward 7 councillor, I will do more to keep residents of our neighborhoods up to date with ward specific issues such as road paving, street openings, and other day-to-day issues that affect us. I will be responsive to your concerns, and will help make sure city services are being delivered effectively and fairly.
Street Paving, and Waltham’s Private Ways
Currently, the city of Waltham has many residents who live on private ways: roads that are not owned or maintained by the city. However, many of these roads are effectively used as public ways. Although the city will construct repairs and contribute to the cost, residents often find the process to request such repairs confusing. I will work to improve transparency with the current betterments process and help residents navigate the city offices involved. Additionally, the city council has previously discussed a plan to take over management of some private ways, converting them to public streets. I will work with current city councilors to fully develop and implement this plan to improve road conditions for all of Waltham’s residents and commuters.
Biking in Waltham
Waltham is currently working to improve many of our major roads, and some parts of the city have added bike lanes by painting symbols and asking drivers to share the road. However, parts of the city remain quite hazardous to cyclists. Other nearby cities, including Boston, have begun to designate dedicated bike lanes, separated from car traffic by curbing, ensuring safety for both cyclists and drivers. Where possible, current and future road paving projects should assess the feasibility of adding dedicated bike lanes. In addition, Waltham should continue to develop and steward public biking routes, such as the Charles River Greenway, to provide both safe commuting routes for bikers and recreation for all residents of our community.
Green City Certification
In addition to providing rebates to homeowners for investing in sustainable technology, the state-funded Mass Save program also offers a Green Community program. Waltham should seek to qualify for this program and use the funding to improve the energy-efficiency of older city-owned buildings. Additionally, the new high school should be built with sustainability in mind, incorporating the most up-to-date technology and energy efficiency standards. To learn more about how Waltham can be a greener city, click here.