Friday, November 1, 2013

Renew Boston Energy Action: Save $ and win stuff!

Planet Southie is celebrating the power of Energy Action by co-sponsoring Renew Boston's Energy Action drawing! 

Choose any of the Energy Actions below and you will gain a chance to win a prize. Drawing prizes are:  1. Nest thermostat, 2. Solio solar charger, 3. Satechi LED desk lamp, 4. Eton emergency radio/charger, 5. Belkin Conserve Valet charger, a $50 gift certificate from Boston Building Resources, and 6. Chinese Lantern LED light strings.
Enter and win this! Keep your home cozy with this Nest T200577 Learning Thermostat that remembers the temperatures you like and switches to an energy-efficient setting when you're away. Wi-Fi connectivity lets you make adjustments from your mobile phone, tablet or laptop. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

See you Next Year! Next Planet Southie Monthly Meeting is January 23, 2014

Hello Southie!

We ended this year's meeting cycle with a big party last month. That was fun!

As you know, we meet regularly on the 4th Thursday of the month. October's meeting is cancelled (10/24) due to schedule conflicts. November and December meetings fall on holidays.  Soooo.....

We will see you on Thursday, January 23, 2014! 

Stay tuned for a strategic planning survey and an online walk report form. Feel free to contact us in the meantime with questions, comments and inspirations.

Thanks and Happy Halloween, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

...And the Green Globe Awards Go to...

Seventeen amazing individuals and organizations were nominated online by their neighbors for the First Annual Southie Green Globe Awards. After thoughtful deliberation, six nominees were selected by the Green Globe Awards Committee to be awarded with special thanks and recognized for their work towards a greener and healthier Southie.

Awards Ceremony and Celebration will be held on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 7:00 pm at the Distillery. Optional mixing and mingling from 6:00 - 7:00 and 8:00 - 9:00 pm. RSVP and details. All are welcome to attend!

And the awards go to...drum roll please!....

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Taking Time to Say Thank You

Please join Planet Southie & Friends for the
First Annual Green Globe Awards and
3 Year Anniversary Celebration!  

Thursday, September 26, 2013
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm (Awards Ceremony at 7:00 pm)
The Distillery Building, 516 East Second Street, South Boston, MA
Please RSVP here.

Nominate a neighbor below:
Announcing the First Annual Planet Southie 
Green Globe Awards!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

August 22 Meeting Focus on Green-space and Development: Advocating for our quality of life

Tree cut on E 4th Street this week despite opposition
Development in South Boston is feeling increasingly out of control and is chugging along with little regard for our community members' quality of life.

Why aren't our families' needs for green spaces, trees, gardens, safety and other essentials more valued in planning? Who's benefiting? Certainly not Southie families.

Let's talk about it at the August Planet Southie Monthly Meeting!

Special Guests:
South Boston Grows
Southie Trees

Meeting Details:

When: Thursday, August 22, 2013 from 6:30 - 7:30 pm
Where: The Distillery Building, 516 E 2nd Street, South Boston

As always, all are welcome at Planet Southie

***Post-Meeting Wrap Up***

Thanks to all who participated!
Great meeting with a civil and constructive conversation on the topics, including insights into the history and process of development in our neighborhood.

We plan to collaborate with neighbors, Southie Trees, neighborhood associations, elected officials and others on Good Neighbor Agreements and  the Master Plan process. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Climate Change Focus at July 25 Planet Southie Meeting

Please join us on Thursday, July 25 from 6:30 - 7:30 pm at the Distillery Building. 

Why 350ppm? Find out here!
The meeting will open with a brief presentation by 350MA about the current state of climate change and its impact on human health.

For the remainder of the meeting, we will break out into small groups based on interest (ex: climate, biketransitwalking, etc.).

As always, all are welcome at Planet Southie!

Meeting Details:

What: Montly Planet Southie Meeting: Focus on Climate Change
When: Thursday, July 25, 2013 from 6:30 - 7:30 pm
Where: The Distillery Building, 516 E 2nd Street, South Boston

I want a livable planet for my kid: One Southie mom's thoughts on climate change

Hey there residents of Planet Southie, it's Stefanie.

Some of you know me from Planet Southie meetings (I usually facilitate). This is a very different kind of blog post. 

Olivia and me
We usually blog about boring (but important) stuff, like meetings. Ultimately, the topic of climate change is a personal one, so this is a very personal post. It's also very long (sorry) and kinda intense (yikes). While climate change evokes images of far away polar bears and icecaps, the reality of it literally hits home when we start to think practically about what it means for our community and our families (more extreme weather, power outages, disease, stress, scarcity, etc.). Because my background is in public health and human rights, I tend to focus on how climate impacts people (not that I don’t love polar bears too).

As many of you know, Aaron and I became parents last year. You may have met our beautiful daughter Olivia (especially if you ride the #9 bus!). Since Olivia's arrival, we have felt an even greater urgency to confront climate head on. About three years ago, we started Planet Southie with hopes to connect with our neighbors to cultivate homegrown solutions (and it's worked!), but we have shied away from the term “climate change” out of silly worries over controversy. Time to stop worrying what people think and just go for it.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

On Sunday, July 7: Sniff out gas leaks and walking hazards

On Sunday, July 7  from 4:00 - 6:00 pm, South Boston residents are invited to help reduce our utility bills, make our neighborhood safer, and fight climate change by participating in a walking hazard/gas leak-detection effort. 

Why are we mapping walking hazards?
Faded crosswalks, sidewalks with out curb ramps, perilous intersections and poor lighting are among the hazards that seniors, kids, people in wheel chairs and baby stollers, and other pedestrians face daily in South Boston. When reported, these are easily and affordably fixed and the payoff is big. A walkable community benefits small local businesses, has less crime, fewer cars, healthier people and, of course, fewer injuries.

Join us for the July 7 waking hazards/gas leaks mapping event to help document and report these hazards to make it easier for the City of Boston to know where they need to make repairs. We will use resources provided by WalkBoston to map and report walk hazards.

Why are we mapping gas leaks?
Many gas pipelines are old or leak-prone and we, the consumers, pay the cost. As reported by Clean Water Action, natural gas companies collected nearly $40 million in 2010 from customers statewide for gas that never made it to our homes. In Boston alone, recent scans detected over 3000 gas leaks. These leaks also release methane into the atmosphere, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 27 mtg cancelled. Stay tuned for announcement about walk hazards/gas leaks mapping opportunity!

Hi from the Planet Southie team,

We just wanted to make two quick announcements:

1) Tomorrow's (6/27) monthly Planet Southie meeting is cancelled. 

2) Stay tuned for info about a Summer gas leaks and walk hazard mapping project! We will be needing lots of volunteers to help. Equipment will be provided by the Northeastern scientist doing gas leaks the study. More about gas leaks and why they matter to Southie below. While we are mapping the gas leaks, we might as will also document walking hazards to boost our walk safety advocacy.

Sorry for the short notice about the meeting. We were hoping to confirm the gas leaks/walk mapping date in advance of sending out the newsletter. We will make an exception to our "one email a month" rule and send out an announcement about that mapping date asap.

Many thanks and stay cool,

The Planet Southie Team

PS: South Boston Grows would like to share an announcement about a very important meeting tonight to support open space and organic food growing in our neighborhood. Tonight 6:30 pm at the Condon School. Info about the meeting and how to volunteer in the garden this summer.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Planet Southie Meeting 5/23: It's Time to Fix Gas Leaks in South Boston!

Look what's lost in the pipeline (click image to enlarge)
A high percentage of our pipelines are old or leak-prone, and we pay the cost. 

Natural gas companies collected nearly $40 million in 2010 from customers for gas that never arrived or got consumed. Customers are unwittingly signing big checks back to the gas companies for this polluting “gift.”

And if all that wasted money isn't bad enough: Gas leaks underneath Boston are releasing methane – a very potent greenhouse gas – at an alarming rate. Methane is 20 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than CO2.  Read more here.

At the next Planet Southie meeting, we will strategize a neighborhood gas leak mapping project to find potentially hazardous leaks; advocate for their repair; and keep our hard-earned cash from leaking out the distribution pipelines. Planet Southie Bike, Walk and Transit Teams will meet after this brief discussion.

Please join us at the next Planet Southie Meeting!
Thursday May 23, 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Location: The Distillery Building 516 East 2nd St, South Boston

As always, all are welcome!

On Tuesday, May 25: Share our dream for Southie with Rep. Linda Forry

We have arranged for a meeting with Rep. Linda Forry to share a green healthy vision for South Boston. At the April monthly meeting, neighbors met to imagine and share dreams for our community. This vision will guide our work. Please feel welcome to add your own ideas as well!

Above is some of what was envisioned at the April meeting.
On May 21, we will share this vision with Rep. Forry. Click to enlarge image.

Meeting Details:

Tuesday, May 25, 2013
5:00 - 6:00 pm
At the Distillery

Please RSVP here.

As always, all are welcome at Planet Southie!

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Join Planet Southie Bikes for a casual bicycle ride around the neighborhood. Nicole Freedman, Director of Boston Bikes, will be our special guest for the ride. Nicole will share with us the City's plans for bicycle lanes that may be in the works for Southie residents, and we will also have the opportunity to share our thoughts about what its like to ride here and where we'd like to see improvements.

Cyclists of all abilities are encouraged to attend. Please keep in mind that we'll be sharing the road with other vehicles. Helmets & smiles mandatory.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 6:30pm
450 West Broadway - Parking lot

Facebook Event page:

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tanya Connolly

September 17th, 2012 Tanya Connolly was killed riding her bicycle at the intersection of West Broadway & A-Street in South Boston.  Her brother Karl would like to share his painful story of loss & absence.

Tanya Connolly

Dear Planet Southie Bikes,

Over seven months have passed, and it’s still so hard for me to talk about Tanya in an abstract way. Writing this letter only reinforces the fact that she is no longer with us.

Tanya and I were very close. We were 14 months apart in age. Together, we grew up in Ireland and moved to Boston in the early 1990s. As early adults we lived close to Dublin; a city full of life and energy, and later Tanya lived in London England for a period before moving to Boston. Tanya was a lively and energetic person; one who broke down barriers, treated everyone with respect, and would enter a place a stranger but leave with a whole new circle of friends. When people die, they are often described as a loving, caring, full of life, etc. etc. In the case of my sister this is not some desired fabrication - it is quite simply the truth.

On Monday September 17th 2012, I was in the car leaving work heading to school when I got a frantic call from my wife who moments before had learned about the crash. I pulled over and got in touch with the police officer who was standing by. He put it simply on the phone when I asked - "Is she dead?" - "Yes" he replied. Those are words you never want to hear. That moment rushed in a sense of complete and utter surrealism. How could someone you've always known, someone you've always loved, and someone you always expected to be there suddenly be gone?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dream Big on Thursday

Please join us for our next Planet Southie Meeting!
This Thursday April 25, 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Location: The Distillery Building 516 East 2nd St, South Boston

Now is a good time to take a step back and look at the big picture. We have all had a challenging week, which was ultimately triumphant as neighbors helped neighbors. The heart of our city was tested and is now stronger than ever. It feels good to come together in a spirit of building community.

Please come and share your hopes and dreams for a greener and healthier South Boston. We will create a positive vision to share with our neighbors, elected officials and others who can work together to improve quality of life for everyone. DREAM BIG!

Originally, we had been planning a candidates forum for this month's meeting. Due to the events of past week, the forum has been cancelled. Instead, we will come together to imagine the kind of neighborhood we want to live in and creative ways to get there. As you know, Planet Southie is an all volunteer organization made up of ordinary neighbors like you and me. Our efforts are determined by the pas
sion and energy of participants. Planet Southie is a platform for neighbors to connect, communicate and collaborate on the issues that matter most to US. We can't do it without you!

As always, all are welcome at Planet Southie! If you can't make it to the meeting, please share your dream here.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Next meeting is Thursday, March 28 at 6:30 pm!

Transit, walking and biking are among
the issues we will discuss at the meeting

Hey there neighbors!

We hope you can join us at the next Planet Southie meeting. South Boston Grows will be on hand to give away free seedlings and talk about how you can get FREE TREES!

Thursday, March 28th  6:30 - 7:30 pm
The Distillery Building
516 East Second Street, South Boston

As always, all are welcome and 
encouraged to attend!

Learn what we tree huggers are up to in this month's newsletter.

Please mark your calendars: Planet Southie meets the fourth Thursday of every month.

See you there!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Is Southie “Walkable” enough?

Author and city planner, Jeff Speck, says that Boston doesn’t need his help in planning walkable communities-(Boston is in the top 10 in the world according to Lonely Planet).

But, in Southie, are the sidewalks wide enough for the stroller? Are there enough street trees to keep you cool during the summer? Are benches ample on the main streets so you can sit for a minute if you need too/want too? Is there enough interesting pedestrian activity? Are the crosswalks blocked by cars, parking lots bleeding into the sidewalk, and are garage doors obstructing visibility?

These are some of the questions the Planet Southie Walk Action Team wants to address. Come to the next meeting (3/28) to discuss plans for a Southie “Walkabiltiy Audit” to determine how comfortably and safely our streets and neighborhoods can be walked.

For more information, listen to this RadioBoston broadcast from December “Why Walkability Is Key To A City’s Vitality”

Planet Southie Transit Team Update

No. 7 Bus:
The transportation group has been collecting signatures on the proposal to move the No. 7 bus over from Summer Street to East First Street. We want now to arrange a meeting with Dave Carney from the MBTA to discuss our request. At the 3/28 meeting, we should plan that meeting, arrange to get more signatures to bring along with us, and prepare to introduce other recommendations for change in bus service in South Boston.

Southie Shuttle:
The start for a shuttle service on the First Street corridor has been scheduled for mid-April. We will see that is still on schedule and discuss details about pick-up locations, costs, and whatever else people want.

See ya Thursday,

Fred Gordon

Planet Southie Bikes Update

A brief update on what the Planet Southie Bikes Action team is up to. Thank you Jon Ramos for all of your amazing work!
  •  City Hall Meeting: Planet Southie Bikes gains more recognition from Councilor At-Large Ayanna Pressley's office. We met at City Hall to discuss our goals, and how her bicycle crash data collection initiative could help us reach our goals.
  • D-Street Development: Planet Southie Bikes attended the D-Street Development BRA community review meeting, and pressed hard for the BRA to go beyond a typical door-zone bike lane and opt for a cycle-track along the "super-block" instead. This just in! The bikes group got an official response from the City of Boston regarding our suggestions for the D Street plan. Pete Stidman from Boston Cyclist's Union will join our meeting once again to review the outcome and to help us plan our next steps.  If you want safer biking on D-Street in South Boston please be sure to attend this next meeting...  & bring your cyclist friends!
  • 275 Albany Street Project: Planet Southie Bikes attended the BRA community review for the 275 Albany Street project in an effort to improve cycling over the bridges adjacent to their property (read more)
Next meeting (3/28) we'll discuss how to reach more of our fellow Southie cyclists to get more riders involved. Ideas welcome!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

South Boston / South End

The 275 Albany Street Development project is one of many forthcoming developments stemming from the Harrison / Albany Strategic Master Plan that was created by the BRA in 2012. If you are unfamiliar with that master plan here is a brief summary:

The area along the 93 expressway, on the South End side, has been rezoned to allow greater heights and density. This was a tactic to make those underutilized plots of land more appealing to developers. Projects like the Ink Block, which will be a retail & supermarket destination, are among the projects coming out of this rezoning in addition to hundreds new residences, some restaurants, and hotel. Overall the re-zoning is a good thing for the city because it will reduce crime and enhance that grim section of our city along the elevated expressway. But there will be an impact on us. The Broadway Bridge will likely see significant increase in pedestrian traffic coming to the Broadway T Stop, as well as an increase bicycle and vehicle traffic.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Unsafe Bridges

Cyclists & Pedestrians: Join me TONIGHT at the 275 Albany Street's Boston Redevelopment Authority community meeting. We must let the BRA & the Developer know that safe bicycle & pedestrian access across the two bridges linking South Boston to the South End is CRITICAL. This new / large development is one of the many new large scale projects that have been made possible by the BRA's "Harrison/Albany Corridor Strategic Plan" that re-zoned the area to become more appealing to large scale developers. In that strategic plan, the BRA constantly mentions improving pedestrian & bicycling for that area, and connecting to South Boston. While some progress has happened, we have yet to see how the BRA defined "Green Corridors" make any real bicycle connection to South Boston. The two bridges are considered by Planet Southie Bikes to be the least safe roadways in our neighborhood, and yet they are among the most traveled roads because its the only way to reach the majority of the City of Boston.

Meeting is tonight, Feb 26th @ 6:30pm
1145 Washington Street, Suite #2, Boston MA

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Neighborhood Growth

Ever wonder where the boundaries of our neighborhood associations are? Ever wish there was an consolidated map showing the proposed construction projects in the area? Same with me! Check out the amazing interactive map that our South Boston Neighborhood Association Committee (SBNAC) has generated:

(Note: SBNAC neighborhood association boundary lines are "unofficial")

It's no secret, and made very clear in this map, is that South Boston is growing.... rapidly. To ensure that the neighborhood evolves and grows in a sustainable manner your voice and your opinions are needed.

Planet Southie Transportation Group Update

Planet Southie member Fred Gordon shared the following update about First Street bus service, shuttles, vans and more:

The Planet Southie Transit Action Team is working on transportation issues in South Boston. We started with the problem of bus transportation in the First Street area, but we’d like to gather together recommendations for transportation changes for the whole of South Boston.

First Street Bus Service: East First Street from Pappas Drive to Summer Street is between two bus routes. One of them—the No. 9—runs down Broadway and is a three block walk.  The other—the No. 7—runs along Summer and is about a half mile walk down E. First or along Pappas Drive. But the No. 7 bus could easily run down E. First. It now runs along Summer Street, and from E.

Announcing the South Boston Shuttle

Dennis Conway, a Planet Southie Transit Action Team member, shared the following update:

The South Boston Shuttle will be launched on Monday March 4th.  Service will be staged in three phases:
  1. Dinner time restaurant shuttle to various South Boston restaurants (no charge to residents). Restaurants will be under contract to the shuttle service.
  2. Free Senior Shuttle from 10-4 daily to South Boston business.
  3. East-West First St., residential shuttle to South Station to start by mid-April.
Full details will be in the South Boston Today Newspaper next week!

Learn what else the transit team is up to here

Clarification: The Southie Shuttle is not organized by Planet Southie. Some of our transit team members were involved in starting it. For info, please visit or email Dennis Conway.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What is your "Walkscore"?

The following story was posted by Jessica Buhler, Planet Southie's Walk Action Team leader.

Neighborhoods with great "walkability" are better for your health, the environment, and the economy. I recently discovered a website,, where you can type in a street address or walking route to find out how a particular area scores in regards to access to shops, parks, and transit (indicators of good walkability). 

Cars block sidewalk on East 4th Street
My address in South Boston scored an 80 (out of 100), primarily because the site noted that most errands can be accomplished on foot.  The site allows you to agree or disagree with their score and add in pictures and descriptions of items that may improve the score of the area.

Block length and number of intersections are considered when determining the score. However, whether or not there are safe and accessible sidewalks and crosswalks, if the weather is conducive for walking, and crime levels are not factored into the score.

Including that information would make the score more accurate. For instance, my area is very close to a grocery store and pharmacy (great for walkability). However, because the stores have huge parking lots with no buffers, the cars often park onto the sidewalk and become high car traffic areas that make it less safe and enjoyable for walkers.
Check out your score on and let us know if you agree or disagree.

For more reading, check out an article about planner, architect and author Jeff Speck's book "Walkable City" and his 10-step approach to create walkable urban areas. 

Learn more about better walking, biking, transit and more at the next Planet Southie meeting:

Thursday, February 28th  6:30 - 7:30 pm
The Distillery Building
516 East Second Street, South Boston

(All are welcome and encouraged to attend)

A & D Street Bike Lane Design Review

Jon Ramos, one of Planet Southie Bike Action Team's most active members, posted the below story.

Great news Southie Cyclists: we’ll soon be getting some bicycle infrastructure on A-Street & D-Street.  What does that mean exactly?  Well, the City’s current plan is a mixture of bike lanes, buffered bike lanes, sharrows, and perhaps even cycle-tracks making the crucial link between Dot Ave to the Seaport.

Overall the City’s plan is a great start, but there is room for further improvement and several ways to make the bike lanes safer… but we need your help if we want to see these improvements made. 

As the voice of cyclists in South Boston the City will listen to our feedback.  We need a good turnout at the next meeting to review the plans and come to a conclusion for which sections should be changed. 

To help us through this process Pete Stidman, director of The Boston Cyclists Union, will be attending our next meeting.  Pete has extensive knowledge of bike lane planning, and can help guide us through the process of discussing our conclusions with the City.  If you want to see positive change, and make cycling safer in South Boston then now is the time to act.

See you at the next Planet Southie meeting:

Thursday, February 28th at 6:30pm
The Distillery Building
516 East Second Street, South Boston

(All are welcome and encouraged to attend)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Planet Southie Bikes goes to City Hall

Exciting update from the Planet Southie Bike Action Team!

It's been a just over two weeks since we listened to the extraordinary presentation that transportation engineer Mike Tremblay delivered to Planet Southie.  Mike's proposal for major improvements to our urban landscape along East & West Broadway, immediately caught the attention of Mayor Menino's Boston Bikes director Nicole Freedman who requested a face to face meeting with us to review his key concepts, and to hear about Planet Southie Bikes' overall goals.  

Mike's plan goes well beyond the inclusion of bicycle infrastructure, its a much broader improvement to Broadway for pedestrians, motorists, trees and more; however, since Nicole represents Boston Bikes the topic she is most interested in hearing about is of course bikes.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

On February 28 ~ bike, walking, transit and energy savings solutions!

Please join us at our next monthly meeting. All are welcome at Planet Southie!

6:30 pm - 6:45 pm
- Brief Q and A about Renew Boston's energy savings incentives

6:45 pm - 7:30 pm
- Bike, Walk and Transit Action Teams meet in small groups

February 28, 6:30pm - 7:30pm
The Distillery Building
516 East Second Street, South Boston 02127

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Redesign East & West Broadway for Safer Walking and Biking?

We are pleased to announce that at our next Planet Southie meeting transportation engineer Mike Tremblay will share his study & design ideas for East & West Broadway. Tremblay will identify problem intersections, and present possible solutions ranging from the obvious to the innovative.

The presentation, devised by Tremblay and other former students of Northeastern University's civil engineering program, is focused around the idea of adding cycle-tracks, crosswalk improvements, and other street amenities to East and West Broadway. The plan is presented as food for thought along with other improvements for all modes of transportation.

All are encouraged to attend and provide their feedback. Hope to see you there!

Jan. 24, 6:30pm - 7:30pm
The Distillery Building
516 East Second Street, South Boston 02127

Monday, January 7, 2013

Development on D Street

Development on D Street:
What does it mean for Pedestrians, Cyclists, and Transit riders?

The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) will be hosting a community meeting to discuss the latest proposal along D Street. The project description paints a picture of an animated pedestrian friendly street-scape stretching from Summer Street to West First Street. In my experiences this picture is often described beautifully in words but neglected in reality... for example this proposal includes a large parking structure along D Street... how pedestrian friendly will that be? We won't know until we ask the question. What I do know is that these meetings are our one chance to tell developers what we would like to see. So join me at the meeting where we can tell them we want bike lanes, we want safe crosswalks, we want friendly human scale sidewalks, we don't want expansive blank facade parking garages (perhaps first floor retail / commercial at the parking garage would help). We can suggest additional buses or shuttles may be required to get people to and from this new place to alleviate our current bus shortage. Speak up now because once its built its much harder to change.