Our work to make Boston safe, healthy, and accessible

July 22, 2020 News

Here in Boston, we continue to move forward cautiously in Phase 3, Step 1 of the statewide reopening plan. I wanted to give a few updates on our work to keep Boston safe, healthy, and cool this summer.

We’re reminding everyone to be careful during this hot weather.

  • Last weekend, we declared a heat emergency in Boston, and we are looking at similar weather this upcoming weekend. For tips on how to beat the heat, visit boston.gov/heat.
  • Seniors should be especially careful and be on the lookout for signs of heat exhaustion. I’m asking everyone to check on elderly neighbors on hot days, by phone or in person while wearing a face covering and physical distancing. As always, please call 911 if you see anyone experiencing difficulty.
  • The City opened 20 BCYF community centers to the public as cooling centers, at 40% of building capacity for distancing needs, for those in need.
  • Starting today, the City’s two outdoor swimming pools, the Clougherty Pool in Charlestown and the Mirabella Pool in the North End, will be open to the public. Please note that capacity is limited, and you must register for a time slot the day before.

We’re making progress in our work to make public space and transportation in Boston safe, accessible, and healthy. 

  • Yesterday, we completed temporary bike lanes in several downtown and Back Bay locations. These are streets that connect neighborhood routes to downtown job centers, making for safer and healthier commutes. And a temporary lane reduction and bike lane will be installed this Friday on Cummins Highway in Mattapan.
  • All of this work comes together under our Healthy Streets Initiative — a package of changes to improve social-physical spacing in Boston’s neighborhoods.
  • We’ve made great progress so far this summer, which includes: extended bus stops; bike lanes; outdoor dining locations on sidewalks and streets; temporary Food Pickup Zones; temporary Food Truck locations in our neighborhoods; and mobility ramps for restaurants with outdoor dining.

We’re celebrating a milestone in the disability community, and continuing our work to build an inclusive City for all. 

  • The disability community is hit hard by the pandemic. We’ve seen how disability, health inequities and systemic racism work together to create deep injustices in quality of life, basic well-being, and fundamental rights.
  • This week marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s a profoundly important piece of legislation in the history of our nation.
  • In recognition of this milestone, today at 1 p.m., we are holding a virtual rally. It’s co-hosted by the Boston Center for Independent Living and our Commission for Persons with Disabilities. We hope you will join us.

Lastly, I want to talk about the recent violence in our neighborhoods, and the work we are doing to both increase safety and reduce violence on our streets. 

  • Unfortunately, this summer, we’ve seen several instances of violence, which have resulted in loss of life. When young people are victims, it is especially devastating.
  • We are focusing resources on the most highly impacted communities in our city. We’ve built a coordinated strategy, which includes our Office of Public Safety, Neighborhood Trauma Teams, SOAR Boston street workers, Boston Police, Boston Public Schools, as well as community and state partners. All of us are working together to reach young people and adults who are at risk, and offer them pathways to safety and opportunity.
  • I want all parents, grandparents and guardians to know there is help available if they are concerned about a young person in their lives. They can reach out to the City at 311 to get connected to support.
  • Also, there are still open slots for our BCYF programming and virtual teen programs, and you can learn more and register at Boston.gov/BCYFSummer.

I say this often, but I’ll say it again: We can’t do this work alone. We need everyone’s help, and every single person has a role to play in keeping our City healthy and safe. We must continue to follow the public health guidelines, which remain the best ways we can prevent another surge from happening in Boston and Massachusetts.

Our greatest strength is, and will always be, the strength of our community. We will continue to draw on this strength, as we move through this crisis together. When we come together and support one another, we can get through any challenge that comes our way. Let’s always remember that.

Stay safe and stay cool,