School Committee Candidate’s Responses

Every year we ask a question of those running for school committee, the question and responses from each of the candidates is below:

As you may know, the East Arlington Livable Streets (EALS) Coalition is a neighborhood-based advocacy rganization founded in 2008.  We advocate for a more holistic and sustainable transportation system and streetscape design
that balances the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and bus riders with motorists.

We are reaching out to all the School Committee candidates with a question. If elected to school committee, what would you do to help promote walking and bicycling to school to promote the health of our children and our

Response from Judson Pierce:

Thank you for your email. I am pleased to have participated in the Dallin Walk to School Day Celebrations each of the last few years. I play my sax and former School Committee Member, current Selectman, Joe Curro played his harmonica. We entertained the kids and their parents as they walked to school!
I would continue to do more of this outreach and talk about the importance of it in School Committee meetings and with the parents I see on a regular basis.
Any other questions please email/call me

Response from Michael Buckley:

I have said may times since staring this campaign for School Committee that our children are our most important investment and that every dollar invested responsibly in their education is one more dollar invested in their future. This includes a future that promises intellectual as well as physical fulfillment. Therefore, we must think of every way possible to make sure that our children not only have access to the schools and classrooms of the 21st Century, but have the parks, bike paths, playgrounds, roadways and recreational facilities that will mitigate or prevent the health challenges that many of our children face today as well as those that will arise if more is not done.

As a member of the school committee, I would work in conjunction with the Board of Selectmen in pushing for these measures. My argument is that it may cost a little more today, but the money, not to mention the problems it would save us, are immeasurable.

As an educator, I have alway prided myself on being proactive. This includes having vision and the will to carry out that vision.

if elected in April, I will work diligently and honestly with any group or organization that is willing to help our children so they do have the chance for a bright and promising future.

Michael Buckley

Response from Kirsi Allison-Ampe:

Hi East Arlington Livable Streets,
I fully agree that walking and biking to school promotes the health of our children, and to promote this I mostly plan to continue doing what I’ve already doing:

I try to be a good example: I walk with my younger daughter to Stratton; my older daughter walks to school every day (a mile each way) even in bad weather; we walk into town or for errands as much as possible.

I’ve worked to promote pedestrian safety via infrastructure: I requested a pedestrian sign at Summer & Washington in 2009; I’ve reported broken walk signals and unsafe intersections; I supported the bike-to-school initiative, and I continue to work on bus service improvements, since I feel they are an important adjunct to car-free or car-light living.

I’ve worked to promote pedestrian safety via snow removal. As a School Committee member, I’ve pushed the school administration to improve snow removal on crucial pedestrian areas such as the Hardy sidewalk along Lake St, the long stairs at OMS, and the Mountain Ave sidewalk at Stratton. On a personal level our family has put in a lot of effort clearing sidewalks at corners, sanding icy stretches, and shoveling critical sidewalk areas so that all kids can walk safely to school.

I also attended the Master Planning session at Town Hall and spoke up for walking and biking to businesses and to school.

Thus far many of my efforts have been expended on the west end of town, since that’s what I know best. The many hills here have made walking more of a focus.  In the future I will continue to support other community efforts such as yours to promote pedestrian and biking safety, including along Mass Ave, as well as working with our other town officials to improve things such as the Park Avenue crosswalk by the Water Tower. In my ideal world, all of Arlington would become pedestrian and biking friendly.

Kirsi Allison-Ampe

Paul Schlichtman Response:

Thanks for writing.

When I came onto the school committee in 2001, I was a proponent of the Safe Routes to School program. Arlington was one of the first two municipalities in the US to participate in the program, and Arlington’s success enabled the program to flourish across the country.

SInce then, the town and school department have worked to add sidewalks, signage, and other safety features around our schools. We need to continue to make progress every year, and work with the Traffic Advisory Committee and the selectmen to make Arlington a safer place to walk.

Our new student assignment plan has buffer zones that include Massachusetts Avenue in East Arlington. Ottoson students from East Arlington are encouraged to use the MBTA bus to get to school. For that reason, we need to make it safe to cross the avenue, and I support a NO vote on Question 1 – for a safer Mass. Ave.

There have been some issues with the reliability of the westbound 77 and 79 bus during the morning, making it less attractive for students heading to Ottoson and the high school. We need to continue to work with Rep. Garballey (who came to our assistance) and the MBTA to ensure sufficient reliable service to encourage our children to use public transportation.

I would also encourage the selectmen to increase enforcement of laws that promote pedestrian safety, including requirements to stop at crosswalks, bylaw requirements calling for the shoveling of sidewalks after a snowstorm, and parking regulations pertaining to bus stops, crosswalks, and parking on sidewalks.

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