Boston Mayor Marty Walsh offered praise to City Councilor Michelle Wu for her decision, announced Tuesday, to run for mayor in the city’s 2021 municipal elections.
“I want to commend Councilor Wu on her decision. I have great respect for her and anyone who runs for office,” Walsh said. “I look forward to having conversations about how we can move our city forward."
But Walsh demurred at commenting much further, including on whether he himself intends to run for re-election.
“Right now we are battling the COVID-19 pandemic, we are working to reopen our economy, we are working to reopen schools; we are housing homeless of hundreds of homeless individuals and families, we are preparing to open a stunning new library in Nubian Square, in Roxbury; we’re advancing historic reforms with our police department; and at the same time we’re focused on electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris so my administration can have a partner over the next four years,” Walsh said.
“That’s quite honestly what I’m working on right now.”
The mayor also announced a series of transportation initiatives, building on various pilot programs over the summer as part of his administration’s “Healthy Streets,” program aimed at reducing traffic-related deaths and injuries and increasing access to efficient public transportation.
“Transportation has been a critical focus of our planning efforts of the past few years. The pandemic brought a new urgency for safe and reliable transportation, especially for our front-line workers and essential workers who have been using it the most frequently over the last five months,” Walsh said.
The city will be installing dedicated bus lanes, Walsh said, on three major thoroughfares with heavily used MBTA bus routes: Columbus Ave, in Roxbury; North Washington Street, in the West End; and Washington Street in Roslindale – each of which see bus routes that serve thousands of riders daily.
“Bus lanes have worked well and proven popular, they get more people safety and efficiently where they need to go, and they also increase equity in our senior class and our working class,” Walsh said.
The mayor also announced that several new separated bike lanes, opened as pilot programs over the summer, will be made into permanent separated bike lanes this fall.
The streets, part of the city’s “Connect Downtown” plan, include streets around Boston Common and the Public Garden, Tremont Street, Boylston Street and Arlington Street.
Regarding the continued challenges facing Boston restaurants, Walsh said the city continues to expedite permits requests for outdoor dining, including “pop-up” dining spaces on city sidewalks, parking areas and other public spaces.
As cooler Fall weather begins, Walsh said the city is waiving application fees for outdoor propane heaters (restaurants will still need permtis) and is extending new outdoor permits on private property until the end of the citywide state of emergency, and outdoor permits for public spaces through Dec. 31.