We reached out to Malden’s candidates for ward-based seats on the City Council with four questions concerning community use of the former Malden Hospital land bordering Malden’s Olmsted-designed Fellsmere Park and Medford’s Fulton Heights neighborhood, traffic issues, and natural outdoor space. Here's what they told us.
(This article was published in the Malden Advocate on October 15, 2021)
The following ten candidates chose not to respond to this survey: Paul Condon (Ward 2), Glen Curtis (Ward 3), Peg Crowe (Ward 1), Jeff Donohue (Ward 4), Jerry Leone (Ward 6), Michelle A. Luong (Ward 7), Barbara Murphy (Ward 5), Nadege Philippe (Ward 1), Jadeane M. Sica (Ward 8), and Chris Simonelli (Ward 7).
We are grateful to the five candidates who responded for their time and attention, and their views are shared verbatim. Their replies are listed in alphabetical order by last name. Friends of Fellsmere Heights does not endorse candidates, and does not take a position on these questions.
Question 1: Community Use of the Former Malden Hospital Land
Lori Howley, Executive Director for Communications at MelroseWakefield Healthcare (MWH) has told the community that they are evaluating options for the Malden Hospital land that will allow them to balance the delivery of medical care with the community’s interests, which have been identified through an inter-city survey as follows: 1. A multi-use, natural grass, open field. 2. A multi-use indoor community space. 3. Connecting and memorializing the Hospital through a walkway/stairway. 4. A children’s natural playscape. 5. Maximized natural habitat preservation. 6. Improved transportation. How can the city best work with the community and MWH to realize these goals?
Nate Bae Kupel (Ward 8): “Robust and language accessible communications between the healthcare system, our city and residents.
The establishment of a community advisory group to guide the process.
A plan to involve input from relevant committees and commissions to ensure the accessibility and inclusivity of the green space/playscape/community space designs.”
Amanda Linehan (Ward 3): “I’m proud to have obtained a commitment from MWH to deliver a significant amount of open space on the Malden Hospital land in my first term representing Ward 3. Repairing the strained relationship between Malden and MWH was my #1 priority as a new Councilor, and they’ve become a very responsive partner, even during the pandemic. To move these goals to fruition, we need a robust community engagement process, something I’ve insisted on and which MWH has agreed to do thanks to my advocacy.”
Ryan O’Malley (Ward 4): “Through the leadership of Ward 3 Councillor Amanda Linehan, the Malden Hospital site is finally close to being repurposed after decades of inaction. The best way the city can work with the community and MWH is to re-elect Councillor Linehan who represents the people of Ward 3. We both agree that a community driven vision that preserves as much open space and public amenities as possible is crucial to the success of any proposal.”
Ari Taylor (Ward 5): “It is extremely importunity to listen to the residents. This land was gifted to city for the community. We should be honoring the intent of the giver. The city should facilitate open transparent conversations that are accessible to the residents on several platforms and available translated for both written and verbal communication.”
Stephen Winslow (Ward 6): “The best way for the community to endure the Hospital site furthers its vision is to continue to refine its ideas for the site. For instance, I participated in a planning effort for the Malden Hospital site with local architect students and the Friends.”
Question 2: Traffic
One of the recurring problems in every Malden neighborhood is traffic, not just in terms of commute times or delays on major arteries, but around peoples’ homes. How would you address traffic issues at the neighborhood level?
Nate Bae Kupel (Ward 8): “Traffic studies to account for the range of vehicles (including access for emergency vehicles) that will require access to and from the facility.
Review of reasonable traffic and speeding mitigation tools like speed bumps, and abutter access only time tables.
Research into potentially limiting GPS navigation apps from re-routing traffic down side streets during peak hours.”
Amanda Linehan (Ward 3): “Last week, I held a very well-attended hybrid community meeting (in person and on Zoom) to tackle problems of traffic and speeding throughout Ward 3. Thanks to resident input the DPW, Police, Fire & Engineering departments are exploring traffic-calming steps with me, such as speed tables, chicanes and center-line bollards, and we are working with DCR to step up enforcement and modify state roads like East Border and Fellsway East to be narrower, with wider bike and pedestrian infrastructure.”
Ryan O’Malley (Ward 4): “I support Councillor Steve Winslow (running in Ward 6) and his proposal to reform the Traffic Commission into a “Transportation Commission” with resident members sitting on the body. Residents are best equipped to understand the transportation needs in our community and they deserve a seat at the table.
By obtaining millions of dollars Federal and State grants I have helped make our roads and sidewalks so that they are safer for all users.”
Ari Taylor (Ward 5): “We need a transportation planner. Our streets and traffic lights were designed for a different time. In order to keep up with the ebb and flow of traffic and the needs of todays society. We need someone to study the traffic patterns and create solutions that will not only alleviate traffic but aid in reducing emissions and allowing options for all of us.”
Stephen Winslow (Ward 6): “I have been a strong supporter of hiring a Transportation Planner, developing a Transit Action Plan and the City’s Complete Streets Policy so that we have plans and pursue funds to help with mobility of all Maldonians no matter their age or mode of transportation.”
Question 3, Part 1: Outdoor Space
During the pandemic, the value of natural outdoor space became more obvious to all of us. But Malden in 2017 had the 5th lowest amount of outdoor space per person in the state, and our population is growing. What can you do in your ward to increase the amount of natural outdoor space and shade trees available to residents?
Nate Bae Kupel (Ward 8): “Continue implementation and planning of recommendations set forth by the Route 99/Broadway Corridor Framework Plan to increase tree inventory, pocket parks, and green spaces.
Build out community gardens along the bike path in Ward 8 like we have downtown, investigate programs and grants to offer container gardens for residents and tenants.
Conduct research on potential pocket parks in sections of our neighborhood.”
Amanda Linehan (Ward 3): “I’m proud to serve on our Community Forestry Committee which is starting a citywide tree inventory, and I support placing stronger restrictions on tree removals when developers and large projects in neighborhoods are before the Council. I have a strong record of doing so in my first term. Through our CPC, we’re expanding the usable space at Patchell Park and Fellsmere Pond, and I hope to see a future proposal for Amerige, as well as an outdoor component to the new Courthouse Arts Center project.”
Ryan O’Malley (Ward 4): “Since 2016, hundreds of street trees have been planted in Ward 4. I am also the founder of the city’s Community Forestry Plan Advisory Committee which helped conduct a complete citywide street tree inventory. I support paying our DPW workers more, hiring more DPW workers, and restoring the DPW site so that it no longer floods every time it rains.”
Ari Taylor (Ward 5): “Our best option is to utilize the space we have by creating pocket parks, urban gardens and encouraging businesses to incorporate greenspace where possible. We also need to create a parks department to keep our parks clean safe and toxin free.”
Stephen Winslow (Ward 6): “I will be working to add trees on streets and Trafton Park, I will continue to work to enhance the Northern Strand Trail as was done recently with Joseph’s Garden and collaborate with neighbors to create a natural space on Crescent Lane and Bowman Street.”
Question 3, Part 2: Outdoor Space
During the pandemic, the value of natural outdoor space became more obvious to all of us. But Malden in 2017 had the 5th lowest amount of outdoor space per person in the state, and our population is growing. What should be done to increase natural outdoor space and shade trees in the city as a whole?
Nate Bae Kupel (Ward 8): “Creation of youth ecology employment programs like youth conservation corps to develop and maintain city green space.
Deeper investment in our tree inventory across the city and investigate opportunities for local partnerships for fruit-bearing tree pilots.
A citywide and ward-by-ward community garden program along the bike path; grant funding to offer significantly free or significantly reduced resident container gardening.”
Amanda Linehan (Ward 3): “I'd like to see Malden incentivize pavement removal in private yards, which contributes to urban heat island effects and also increases pollution and stormwater runoff, and I believe we should use CPC money to preserve unbuildable land citywide. I would like to see us hold commercial properties to a higher standard of green space creation, including bioswales and other retention methods as extreme storms increase, and I support an increase in our tree budget and creation of more pocket parks.”
Ryan O’Malley (Ward 4): “I support turning part of the National Grid site at Commercial and Centre Streets into a public park with access to the Malden River Greenway.”
Ari Taylor (Ward 5): “I believe the same ward plan can be used at the city level but would also be in favor of large construction projects being required to install natural green space, trees living roofs etc. to ensure we are reducing our carbon foot print and providing a quality life for all residents.”
Stephen Winslow (Ward 6): “I will support the effort to use our street tree survey to add more trees at opportune locations. I will promote the Willow Street Greenway as a means to connect 4 parks spanning from Lincoln Common to the Salemwood School. That will ultimately add trees to the area as will the improvements at Roosevelt Field.”