Hey, there! Log in / Register

Essaibi George calls for 'bridge hackathon' to get Long Island Bridge rebuilt right away

Annissa Essaibi George tonight told Quincy it can suck it - if she's elected mayor, she's going to re-open Long Island and she's going to get the Long Island Bridge re-built pronto.

In their forum tonight, a panelist asked the candidates to address the residents of Quincy, which has long fought the bridge, on the need for re-opening Long Island and re-building the bridge.

Michelle Wu went first, never directly said what she'd say if confronted by a mob of angry Quincyites, but said that Mass and Cass is too critical a problem now to wait four, five, ten years to get a bridge built that might cost $200 million and that she'd rather spend that money now to solve pressing homelessness/addiction issues now, in part by looking for city-owned buildings on the mainland that could be quickly converted into treatment facilities and housing. She added that should would at least partially re-open Long Island through the use of ferries.

Essaibi George, though, said she'd walk right up to all those Quincy people and say you bet she's going to re-launch the bridge - and also run ferrie - to a re-opened Long Island treatment facility.

Responding to Wu's point about how long it would take to get the bridge built, Essaibi George said that was nonsense. Boston has some brilliant people and it should hold a "bridge hackathon" to get the bridge built really quickly, she said.

She did not detail how that would work.

WCVB has more on the forum. WBUR covered the forum as well.

Neighborhoods: 

Ad:
Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

She did not detail how that would work.

Is it fair game to just copy your opponent's playbook?

up
Voting closed 49

Adam is really going to throw shade at AEG for lack of specificity while he supports Wu, who even the Globe acknowledges has her head too far in the clouds.

up
Voting closed 81

It's not like I brought up how Essaibi George responded to a question about how she's going to solve traffic jams by getting up in Wu's grille about "free the T!" and when she just kept going on and on about that, the questioner asked her what she would do in her first 12 months of office to make traffic better and her VERY FIRST suggestion was "fare free" bus routes.

Or like when she declared that rent control was the "status quo" when it was voted out of existence in 1994. Or how only the BPDA stands between us and the abyss.

Yes, Wu was vague on some of her answers, but if you really want to know how she stands on those issues, go to her Web site and read her, oh, 70-page proposals on them.

up
Voting closed 127

Thanks at least for not denying you are in full on support of Michelle. It's ok to have a bias so long as it is acknowledged. Go ahead and give a big WuHoo!

up
Voting closed 31

There is no more substance to her plans than Wu. Her response to Long Island is humorous. She really thinks that Quincy will snap out of it if she talks tough? Sure lets build a bridge super fast with crowdsourcing, that sounds safe! AEG isn't ready to run for Mayor. Her support is superficial. She isn't as conservative as her supporters want her to be.

up
Voting closed 36

Even if Quincy turned around tomorrow and said "yeah let's do it" there's no way the bridge doesn't take at least a few years to rebuild. The actual, PHYSICAL CONSTRUCTION of a bridge in the ocean having to deal with weather and wind and storms and all of that would take more than a year. And that's ignoring state permitting and environmental design and anything the feds want to have a say in and climate resiliancy design review and all of that. This isn't the Great Depression anymore, you don't just round up a bunch of dudes from a parking lot somewhere and go HEY WANNA LEARN UNDERWATER WELDING TODAY every time you have a major infrastructure project.

up
Voting closed 23

The actual, PHYSICAL CONSTRUCTION of a bridge in the ocean having to deal with weather and wind and storms and all of that would take more than a year.

Dude, didn't you hear? She's going to have a hackathon! I'm sure Elon Musk or some other Very Smart Person will find a way to disrupt the bridge-building industry and do in a couple of months. Safely, too.

up
Voting closed 26

I have.

The fault with the old bridge was that the steel was going, not the piers.

The piers are still there. That's is the biggest part of the bridge building part. The decking goes into place.

Bridges roadways get rebuilt very fast.

The opposition here comes from a lot of people believing a certain political PR person who has been masking themselves as Mr. Ferry who is on the least of the City of Quincy.

Shove your mockery of the potential .

up
Voting closed 16

They took the entire "bridge" (road?) down, and put one back up in about 25 days. 110 million bucks and the work was done 24/7.

I'm guessing a 24/7 operation costs more. How much more I have no clue. But it does show you that things can get done if you want them to get done.

(I also realize that the Mass Pike can't be effected for too long on projects like this)

up
Voting closed 8

Commonwealth Avenue? I didn't have to deal directly with it too often, since I had moved from that part of town by then, but if I recall...
Public meetings and outreach to abutters and traffic generators.
Design, reviews, planning, prefabrication - months/years in advance.
Preparation of foundations and retaining walls - many, many nights of low-disruption, low-impact work over months/years.
Two 17-day sessions of demolition and installing prefabs - one session each in separate years, at lowest-impact time of year.
Weeks/months of follow-up work after basic functionality restored following the demo/installation shutdowns.

up
Voting closed 10

The Comm Ave project took years of planning. The substructure was replaced in 2015, and the bridge itself in 2017 and 2018. So at a minimum it took three years. It's likely that the engineering took a couple of years longer.

And this is a bridge which is a couple hundred feet long and not over water. As opposed to 4000 feet long over the ocean.

$110 million for that project. Any guess as to how much the Long Island Bridge would cost? Sure it's 1/4th the width, but it's 20x the length.

Are the piers there structurally sound? Probably! But we should probably inspect them. That doesn't happen overnight. Then what kind of bridge do we build? It's over a navigable body of water, so bring the Coast Guard and the Army Corps into the equation. They don't work quick. Then do the actual engineering, which is going to be interesting: what structure do you use? What materials? What width? Then actually build the bridge, probably pre-fab off-site and float it in. Then get some huge cranes and lift it into place (also not cheap) and finish it. Probably during the summer construction season, too.

But, yes, have a hackathon and you can do it in a week, or whatever.

(Just take the $250 million and build what you need on terra firma …)

up
Voting closed 18

I was under the impression that the had the plans done.

up
Voting closed 2

“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.” -Sun Tzu

You lost John.

You just don't know it yet.

up
Voting closed 6

Go get another face lift. The old one is wearing off.

up
Voting closed 10

If you are alive you have bias. You have not cracked some groundbreaking mystery of how a Boston voted named Adam would have a preference for one political candidate over another in an election he will be voting in.

up
Voting closed 18

I'm crediting Adam for his admitting his bias, not criticizing him for it. Maybe read the post before you reply next time. Everyone knows how he feels. I appreciate his honesty. I wish every writer did so rather than pretend some kind of evenhandedness.

up
Voting closed 3

Thanks at least for not denying you are

Did he not deny, or did he admit? Those are different things, and they have different connotations.

up
Voting closed 2

No details on a plan that no one else has been able to pull off seems like a bit of a far reach. At least for Wu, the criticism is often that her plans couldn't happen without other powerful people or organizations going along with her plan. You can sway people, you can't sway timelines. Not to mention the money to build the bridge, especially if it somehow can be put on a massively accelerated timeline, does not exist yet as far as I'm aware.

A recent former President often gave unrealistic timelines on how he was going to completely fix problems, which naturally never happened on that timeline, if ever. On the policy/execution side, it was laughable every time to hear "in 2 weeks" every 2 weeks about whatever was the focus du jour.

up
Voting closed 20

If there was political support from the governor and statehouse, plus state funding and permitting to go with it, the bridge could be built in a few years.

Of course, Baker doesn't care about stuff like this but getting the state to fund the bridge is more likely than approving any form of rent control and is probably cheaper than making the T fareless.

up
Voting closed 30

Medical staff, social workers, life coaches, recovered addicts with long term abstinence who want to help others, janitorial staff, and, the ones who have all the money who are the drug companies who mske the drugs that put everyone in zombie mode are ready to work there? Shouldn't that be already drawn up on paper with contracts first, then hsve a timeline for the facility to open? Do that first, then get the transportation by ferry.

up
Voting closed 2

Can’t rely on ferries for transportation in Boston winters. Would need them staffed and running 24 hours/day and are not reliable— or often even operable—in bad storms. Long Island would need a way for ambulances and other emergency vehicles to get to and from the facility quickly, and ferries can’t do it. You need the bridge.

up
Voting closed 10

Someone ought to go to Portland Maine and tell everyone on Peaks Island that they can't live there because the ferries are unreliable in winter.

I would probably agree that critical care services don't belong on Long Island. But there might be things that could be there accessed by ferry for a heck of a lot less than $250 million or whatever a bridge is going to cost.

up
Voting closed 9

can operate in most weather. But the MBTA suspended all ferry service both yesterday and today because of the nor'easter, and there have been other such suspensions in my recent memory.

WGBH also reported this morning that the Salem Ferry will not run today.

up
Voting closed 1

Helicopters?

up
Voting closed 2

Somehow the population chilling out in front on Atkinson Street might have a wee more junkies than in front of the Yellow Kittens.

Just a hunch, actually, a fairly well placed observation.

up
Voting closed 3

In that both are incorporated towns with the infrastructure towns have. In fact, they even have a hospital.

up
Voting closed 4

200 million for a bridge to nowhere.

up
Voting closed 11

Try to keep up, reading champion

up
Voting closed 63

Medical staff, social workers, life coaches, recovered addicts with long term abstinence who want to help others, janitorial staff, and, the ones who have all the money who are the drug companies who mske the drugs that put everyone in zombie mode are ready to work there? Shouldn't that be already drawn up on paper with contracts first, then hsve a timeline for the facility to open? Do that first, then get the transportation by ferry.

up
Voting closed 7

It’s a win for the recovery community and local workers. $200+ million will bring a lot of jobs to the city.

up
Voting closed 17

A big problem with public works projects like these is politicians try to use them as backdoor public assistance projects.

This bridge is needed now and should not be mixed with "jobs for our community" language. A good way of saving time and money is fabricating as much as possible off site, likely out of state. The design should be as simple as possible with an eye to future maintenance.

It is possible to get this built quickly but that requires not being distracted. The sole focus should be on opening the recovery center ASAP, nothing else. This is a service bridge, nothing more.

up
Voting closed 17

"Hack", indeed.
Don't address the current problem.
Pick something that might have some results, someday, but is mostly just sweeping up the "problem people" and exiling them to an island where other people don't have to see them.
...and blame Quincy when it doesn't work.
---
Disappointing.

up
Voting closed 22

Because I've lived here 30 years. If you think that reopening Long Island is "mostly just sweeping up the "problem people" and exiling them to an island where other people don't have to see them" then you have no idea what the actual issues that the Long Island programs were treating. Isolating people in recovery from temptations and triggers, and getting counseling to overcome addiction is the point of Long Island. If you think leaving vulnerable people in one of the country's biggest open air drug markets is good policy because it upsets the landed class, then I have no more time for you because you are clearly a jackass.

up
Voting closed 109

Why don't they spend 200 million on building a facility like that somewhere more accessible and won't need a new bridge ever 50 years to get to?

up
Voting closed 11

I grew up the hill from Clifford Park, aka “the Prairie”. Most of the homes in the area has been occupied by the same families for over 50 years. Mine are still there. Properties purchased in the 60’s for $2-10k are now $1.8+ million. Heroin has always been there, was always a problem. From East/West Cottage and Dudley to Dudley station, skip to Parker Street in Mission Hill. These were Boston’s “heroin depot”. Meth-mile was never like this not even close! The crack epidemic during the 80’s-90’s, was met with new laws, federal funding, drug raids, military style divisions, addicts going to jail just for looking high. NOW, that it’s not the blacks……
Only in America

up
Voting closed 10

The shelter wasn't isolating them. They bussed them in at night and out in the morning. That commute takes away from the expense and time that could be spent on homeless services. Our approach to homelessness needs to evolve.

Even the treatment programs had to put a lot of expense into transporting people through Squantum. But I agree, the distance is helpful for the first stage of substance abuse treatment.

Honestly, commercial development could raise money for treatment. I know that's the boogyman, but what if Boston did long term leases instead of selling the land?

up
Voting closed 12

Mass Ave,

Nowhere did I say that the current (non)solution of Newmarket (going back years) is good policy or good state of affairs. Nor have I ever said so.

I have consistently challenged the fanciful notion that this portion of the public health was so much better when Long Island was in operation.
I have consistently challenged rhetoric and proposals that have been heavy on the broad strokes of moving people "someplace else" and light on any of the details of actually helping them.
I have consistently challenged people who have seized on "Rebuild the bridge! Reopen the island!" - who don't acknowledge that it will take years and that we need something workable (which, again, Newmarket isn't) in the meantime.

Also... Be outrageous, but pick a side. You want to slam "the landed class" for not wanting it in front of them - right after you play the "old towne" card of how long you've been in the neighborhood. If you want to shout down other people because you're more better equal than the rest of us, you might also want to shut up and take more responsibility on yourself, too. If you want the company of like-minded snobs, I'd suggest the local chapter of the Brahmin Society - they meet for lunch the second Tuesday of each month at the South Bay Applebee's.

up
Voting closed 2

How is the current solution working? The facilities on the island are structurally ready to offer shelter, medical care of all needs, support services, after care programs, and all the basics one would need to start anew. It’s not an exile - for some it may be their only renal chance for salvation and renewal. The judgment lies with you.

up
Voting closed 10

but put it in Roslindate or JP, where the virtue-signalling Wu supporters live. Never mind that the majority of the MassCass squatters come from outside the city.

up
Voting closed 16

Yeah, and many come from South Shore towns like Quincy. There’s got to be a compromise somehow when so many of their own residents need services.

There’s already a recovery campus ready to go. No need to build a new one. What are the requirements to have the Army Corps of Engineers build a bridge? Are those services restricted to natural disasters/emergency/security work? I realize this could be a useless question if Quincy wins their side of the fight, but the timeline could be significantly reduced.

up
Voting closed 6

I just couldn't shake the feeling that a lot of what AEG was doing during the debate felt like it was from a debate plan driven by a political consultant. "You need to show more emotion about the problems people have" "Make sure that you bring up diversity, equity and inclusion wherever possible to appeal to the minority sections of the city" "You need to display that you're going to be the tough mayor who gets things done" and so on.

It just rang hollow with me, it was as though she was putting on an act for the audience and I'm surprised to see some analysis that is giving her props for what I consider more like a high school drama club than a sharp debate performance.

I also should have kept track because I'm pretty sure that if you total what she's said she's going to do "on the first day" of her administration in all of the debates I think we're up to about one month of 24/7 effort at a minimum. There were a lot of buzz terms like that which she leaned heavily on to the point that whenever I heard them it seemed like filler material getting plugged in. So when the poll says that AEG's debate performance was "better than expected" in the eyes of most I think those expectations must have been pretty low.

Certainly Wu has her debate strategy as well, but her performance has been pretty consistent across their meetings in both the messaging and the style/tenor of them. It adds to the feeling that at least with Wu it's clear what we're going to get in a mayor, while with AEG and her strategy I think we have to wait to see who gets the ear of the queen to better know what will drive her decision making process.

up
Voting closed 13

Wu sounds Tinkerbell driven.

The fairy dust she is sprinkling about Free T and Rent Control is insulting to those of us who know she cannot impose it by law on a city regulatory level.

up
Voting closed 43

You keep acting like a Free T is a magical spell that must break the laws of the universe to happen. It actually already exists, you know that? With all the high school students in Boston? The City goes to the MBTA and says "I need X amount of passes" and pays them and those passes are distributed to the kids, for, wait for it --- Free.

Or when some Boston politician went to the MBTA and gave them money to cover costs of operating Fairmount for a few months over the summer - again, the MBTA supplied a number and the dude wrote them a check, and then those trains were "Free' for a while.

Unless you think Michelle legitimately thinks "free T" means free for the city? If so that's your magical thinking, not hers. Free at point of usage doesn't mean somebody isn't paying for it further up the line.

up
Voting closed 26

"Free at point of usage doesn't mean somebody isn't paying for it further up the line."

I think a lot of people are missing that point with transportation. As a parallel, gas taxes don't even come close to paying for roads and the percentage of federal highway and state roads that have user fees (tolls) on them is very small.

If anyone suggested that we needed to make every single one of those roads toll roads (which wouldn't be too difficult considering the gantry system currently in place for toll collection in the state) people would have a complete shit-fit. Yet, somehow proposing that we change funding for the MBTA to a similar system that eliminates or minimizes user fees to improve transportation is supposed to be a complete wack-a-doodle notion.

Wu could have busted this quote in the debates:

There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?

― George Bernard Shaw

up
Voting closed 5

High school (and middle school) T passes are budgeted through the education transportation budget. This could be seen as an offset. If the kids at Brighton High School (or whatever they call it) didn't have the T, they'd be riding buses contracted by BPS. Heck, given the requirements now, back in the day the BPS would have had to chartered a bus to get me from Roslindale to a certain Jesuit High School 5 miles from my house. As it was, the $12 (at the time) a month the city paid for my pass was a bargain.

As for the Fairmount line, that was a short stint thing, and I do believe that politician was from Beacon Hill, not City Hall.

up
Voting closed 5

Wu has been clear that it will take state and federal participation for some of those goals, but is there anything wrong with spelling out aspirational goals in a campaign?

By the way, on 'GBH they pointed out that the referendum on rent control passed with only three municipalities voting in favor of keeping it legal at the state level. Those places were Cambridge, Boston and Brookline which were also the only municipalities that had rent control. So it might be a state law, but it is also something that was applied to those locations that had it against their wishes.

up
Voting closed 21

It is too bad how state law works, in that it applies to the whole state, ain't it?

up
Voting closed 8

Great aspiration. Probably not going to happen. Not practical, like fairy dust

This whole local thing about rent control winning in Boston, Cambridge, and Brookline back in 94. Big deal.

There are a lot of people in Plympton and other places who love to have more guns than they know what to do with. Are you ok with letting Trump loving Jasper and Jethro have more guns or are you satisfied with how the state handles it now, on a statewide basis or should we go into devolution like Britain and let the locals handle different things which suit their political aspirations?

That is a dangerous precedent.

up
Voting closed 7

Guns are mobile in a way that property is not so can impact residents of other municipalities in a way that rent in one cannot impact someone in the other.

However, you are also wrong on this comparison in another key aspect. Jasper and Jethro already have an easier time getting guns because the permit is approved by the local chief of police. There is a clear difference in whether you're getting a carry permit for a handgun if you live in Plympton or in Boston despite all other things being equal in terms of the person's application and background. Yet Jethro and Jasper get to carry their guns within the city of Boston where the person here who was denied a permit cannot.

So, your analogy to try to goad me into agreeing that we need a statewide law in places absolutely fails because it uses an example of a statewide law that is applied in very different ways depending on where you live.

up
Voting closed 16

I said number of guns, not just a gun.

As far as property being mobile, if rent control comes into Boston, that will have effect on all the surrounding cites and towns.

Somerville remained working class because those gaming the system, mostly college educated people, remained in Cambridge, using the system to cheat the market, which everyone else had to play by.

If rent control comes in Boston, it will decrease moving and property availability, driving up rents in Chelsea, Quincy, Lynn, and other towns.

Don't kid yourself.

up
Voting closed 6

Any plan that puts the responsibility on the citizen, rather than the government, is going to fail in my opinion. Housing is a crisis. Part of that crisis is that prices are out of control. Some decrease in value may be just balancing things out. The city needs to create more city owned housing. Or at least non-profit owned housing that can rented at lower rates.

Free transportation is an investment. Remember the T doesn't pay for itself despite the rising cost per ride. It costs a lot of money to collect fares, so that would actually reduce the overall cost of the service. It would be a big help for employers to have free transportation for workers. It would be great the environment and traffic, to have less people drive.

up
Voting closed 14

God herself will not get this bridge built in the next 5 years. So what could we do as an alternative? What about running ferries to the island while we wait for the bridge to be built? Golly, it seems we could have ferries running in a matter of months (OK maybe a year to build quality docking facilities and get the island buildings back up to snuff.) This STILL makes sense and is a "very good" solution while we await the "perfect" bridge.

up
Voting closed 10

Saying outside the box without specific plans is magical thinking.

up
Voting closed 8

If Walsh couldn’t get his best buds Baker and Lynch to convince Quincy to get on board, I highly doubt AEG would fare any better. The politics around getting the bridge built means that it would be wrapped up in legal delays for years before anything happens. Wu is being more practical. If AEG wants to get a bunch of HS and college kids to come up with ideas for how to build a bridge, she can do that - but it won’t change the politics of actually getting a bridge built.

I think maybe buying part of moon island from Quincy might be the easiest path for the bridge to happen…

up
Voting closed 2

I am all for building that bridge but why can't we use that correctional building in the mean time? How is an island with a gate different from a former jail? Why is one amazing and the other not acceptable?

In the future I could see the corrections building being the intake zone. You process clients through that building and send them where they need to go from there.

up
Voting closed 9