Chelsea Street Bridge Meeting Brings Federal Delegation, Coast Guard Together

Special to the Record

On Saturday, Jan. 25, GreenRoots organized a meeting regarding the Chelsea Street Bridge. Residents of Chelsea and East Boston gathered with representatives from MassPort, the Coast Guard and local, state and federal-level politicians to push for action around the frequent and disruptive closures of the Chelsea Street Bridge. The was the first event about the Bridge, led by community rather than by state officials such as MassDOT.

MassDOT was invited to attend, but declined the invitation.

Community members from both sides of the Creek gave testimonies that highlighted the impact of the bridge on people’s everyday lives. Commuters recounted their experiences waiting in traffic for over an hour, because the bridge went up during rush hour and backed up the hundreds of vehicles that were trying to cross the bridge at that time.

Parents and teachers shared their concerns about children who were stranded at school after hours when their parents got stuck in traffic at the bridge. City Manager Tom Ambrosino and City Councillors Judith Garcia and Enio Lopez spoke about the impact of the bridge on Chelsea as a whole and pleaded with federal representatives to take action to address the situation.

Residents also presented ideas for solutions, including improving communication with commuters, and imposing blackout periods on bridge lifts during rush hours. The overall message was that community members face constant stress and uncertainty about the bridge, and need a guarantee that they can travel freely for some window of time during the morning and the evening commutes. Although the decision makers in the room did not clearly state support for blackout periods during rush hour, staffers for the federal elected officials expressed a willingness to convene a meeting with the community and the politicians themselves in order to plan next steps.

If you have questions about the campaign to alleviate some of the impacts of the Chelsea Street Bridge on the community, contact GreenRoots at (617)466-3076 or [email protected]

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