Bathrooms on the Common Please
To the Editor:
The lack of 24/7 bathrooms on the Boston Common and at Copley Square continues to be a serious public health problem that affects homeless people who sleep outside, as well as the many people and tourists who enjoy these beautiful parks.
Because of COVID-19, we need to have public bathrooms open 24/7 more than ever. Many homeless people formerly used the bathrooms at the Copley Library, which has been closed since March. Hotels will not let non-guests use the facilities. Six weeks ago, I thought getting some 24/7 bathrooms to these very busy locations would be a simple thing. I advocated and wrote to the mayor, the city council, Parks and Recreation, the Massachusetts Public Health Commission, the governor and many others a number of times.
I got very few responses but still no 24/7 bathrooms – or porta-potties. I got bounced from one city department to another with no success and they were clear: “It’s not something we do.”
Actually there already are some great bathrooms on the Common – at the Frog Pond and at the Visitors Information Center. However, the City of Boston doesn’t manage them. The Frog Pond bathrooms are managed by the Skating Club of Boston and close at 4 p.m. It would be great if they would stay open later or all night. The Visitors Information Center on the Common is managed by the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau. Their bathrooms reopened in early September, but only from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and are closed all day Monday.
Clearly we need to advocate for longer hours at these existing bathrooms, as well some porta-potties on the Common and at Copley as soon as possible. I believe that the city should collaborate with the Skating Club and the Greater Boston Convention Bureau and provide funding so they can extend their hours and hire the staff needed to maintain and supervise these bathrooms.
I also believe it’s possible to use porta-potties in a safe and clean manner.
Supporting Candidates Who Believe in Science
To the Editor:
As a voter and a patient, I know that it is critical to support candidates who believe in science and believe in the work being done day in and day out by the biopharmaceutical industry and researchers. These researchers are working tirelessly in their dedication to defeating COVID-19, while also continuing to research new treatments and potential cures for rare and chronic conditions.
For individuals like me living with the gene for Huntington’s disease (HD), this work is of the utmost importance. Huntington’s is a genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. Some people describe it as having ALS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s all at once. Living with the gene, I can anticipate that I will eventually have the disease and start to experience symptoms, which can include everything from difficulty concentrating to lapses in memory, and other brain changes that cause abnormal involuntary movements and mood changes.
There is currently no cure or way of slowing down HD, only ways to manage symptoms. However, scientists and researchers have delivered options for the most complicated conditions known to man, and I believe that with the proper policies and support in place, they can also do so for patients like me. We must advocate for proposals that not only lower costs and ensure access, but also protect biopharmaceutical innovation. As we face one of the biggest public health challenges of our lifetime, there is only space for proposals that can promise to do both, and leaders that support it.
We need to elect leaders that will bolster the biopharmaceutical industry as they work to find answers for COVID-19. I can only hope that their efforts to do so will set a precedent for patients like me, who are waiting each day for answers of our own.
Seth Rotberg, MNM
This condition is unacceptable
To the Editor:
As a resident of Beacon Hill for many years, I await your paper each week for interesting pieces and photos of our historic neighborhood. There are so many facets of our neighborhood that make it as unique a place to live as any other.
One of the largest, if not largest projects that has ever occurred in our neighborhood is coming to a close in the very near future. That project is the construction of 75 condos in the Archer-Donahue buildings of Suffolk University that encompasses Derne St., Temple St., and Ridgeway Lane. For over two long years, our neighborhood has endured living with a huge construction site in our backyards, front yards, sidewalks, and streets. As your readers know this has impacted our daily life in ways that seemed we were living through the Big Dig. Heavy equipment, cranes, trucks, noise starting at 8 a.m. Monday through Saturday continued on with little regard as to how this upheaval would impact our historic neighborhood. There are multiple projects going on all over our city, but none in such an old, and historic neighborhood as ours. The residents had attended numerous meetings with the construction company, Consiglio, but each time they appeared to be deaf to our complaints and answered our concerns with little or no actual remedy.
Now, the project is coming to an end, and the condos are being sold. This project leaves our neighborhood in a condition that is unacceptable. Only the pavement up to their property line has been replaced, and only the sidewalks on their side of the project have been repaved. The surrounding streets, stretching fromDerne to Cambridge, have been ruined, and the brick sidewalks on both sides of the street need to be restored. And yet, when this was brought up at a meeting, their response was “this is not in our budget.” For a construction company to walk away like this seems unconscionable to me. It would only be a gesture of good will towards our neighborhood and the city to complete this in a manner that will leave our neighborhood in the way they found it.
My hope is that the City of Boston, the mayor, our councilors will realize our concerns and act quickly to solve this, before Consiglio packs up and leaves.