Candidate Page ~ Bill Moonan, Selectman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click this link to read Bill Moonan’s caucus statement

 

Questions of the Selectmen Candidates asked by The Bedford Citizen

 

1 – Hiring a new town manager after 30 years is an opportunity to take a fresh look at the Town and perhaps change priorities. Do you have new goals that arise at this pivotal point in Bedford’s history?  One of the reasons I voted to hire our new Town Manager was that I knew she would be innovative and bring creative problem-solving to the job.  I am especially pleased that one of her first decisions was to change Town Hall office hours so that residents working during the day could come to Town Hall on Monday evenings to conduct their business.  This change is consistent with my goal of improving Town government accessibility and transparency by televising town government meetings and by encouraging more residents to volunteer to serve on Town boards and committees, because they can participate remotely while away on business.

There is still more that we can do to bring Bedford residents closer to their Town government, and I am certain that our new Town Manager will join me and the other Selectmen in further addressing this goal.

Each year, the Selectmen sit with the Town Manager to review a long list of goals, to remove the accomplished ones from the list, to prioritize some goals and to identify new ones.  Last December, all of the Selectmen conducted this annual review with Town Manager Sarah Stanton, using pair-wise comparisons to evaluate and prioritize our list of objectives.

Among the 30 goals chosen by the Selectmen that are high on the list (in no particular order) are:

  • Building a new fire station.
  • Expanding the police station.
  • Operating Springs Brook Park without a deficit or water clarity problems.
  • Dealing with the change in ownership of the Hanscom Field Navy hanger property.
  • Establishing a policy regarding the Town’s large free cash balance and excess tax levy.
  • Negotiating a new tax agreement with MITRE.
  • Expanding Bedford TV coverage of public meetings.
  • Performing a comprehensive traffic mitigation study.
  • Implementing the Bedford historical museum feasibility study.
  • Implementing an electricity aggregation agreement once the Town’s vendor provides an acceptable bid.

I support all of these goals, and the remaining 20 not listed here.  One includes a goal to utilize town bylaws for “housing diversity preservation.”  While I agree with identifying zoning bylaw changes to protect additional properties from being razed (resulting in McMansions in their place, more school children, etc.), I also would like to see this housing goal expanded to find ways of incentivizing the construction of new housing units for down-sizing seniors and for the grown children of Bedford residents who want to return to our town, but can’t find affordable homes for their young families.

Some of my other goals include:

  • Establishing a Bedford tree farm (or a few mini-farms) managed by the DPW to grow trees for later transplantation throughout town.
  • Establishing a fund to finance the underground installation of all overhead utility lines in Bedford’s historic Town Center, possibly by allocating a percentage of Building Permit fees towards this effort.
  • Amending State law to require mitigation, by Massport, of Hanscom Field noise and pollution.
  • Identifying opportunities to establish a solar farm for the Town, in spite of limited open space.
  • Acquiring property for the Town to meet its future needs (VFW building, Elm St., etc.)
  • Correcting traffic problems at various intersections.

No one Selectman can address all these goals in the detail they require. Each selectman takes a leadership position on some.  Because I am retired, I have been able to work full-time at the job of Selectman, using my experience as a financial officer and entrepreneur to find creative, cost-effective alternatives as we progress to solutions.

I feel confident that many of these goals will be achieved by the end of the year.  But, I can assure you that they will be replaced by an equally diverse and challenging list for 2020.

2 – The oldest and most current complaint in Bedford is about traffic. What opportunities for regional transportation would you welcome? It is believed that the vast majority of the vehicles on Bedford’s roads during “rush hours” isn’t due to Bedford residents commuting to or from work, or to employees working here, but due to people using Bedford as a “cut through” to get to a major artery such as Route 128 or Route 3.

The problem became noticeable in the early 90’s, when Route 3 was widened.  The construction created bottlenecks near 128 and, in looking for alternatives, Bedford was discovered.  More recently, the problem has been aggravated by social navigation tools such as “Waze”, which find the quickest routes to one’s destination.

Addressing traffic congestion requires both local and regional solutions.  Until we can get more fuel-burning vehicles off the roads, I believe it would be best to move vehicles through town as expeditiously as possible.  Four local solutions I suggest are:

  • A comprehensive traffic mitigation study is one of the Selectmen’s top priorities. Such a study will provide professional recommendations to reduce congestion, improve specific intersections, and enhance traffic calming.
  • Time the traffic lights on The Great Road so that vehicles can move at a constant speed, say 23 – 25 MPH, and therefore wouldn’t have to stop. This would reduce queuing and would make the commute less painful.
  • Continuing the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) for use by Town employees (hopefully someday, to include police, fire and DPW equipment) – a powerful measure to decarbonize short-distance vehicles – as Bedford already has begun to do.
  • Working with local businesses and industry to install EV charging stations. Bedford has just installed one at Town Hall and another at the DPW building.

Regional solutions require Bedford to remain active, as they are currently, with several organizations working to reduce commuting traffic, and I support these on-going efforts:

  • The Middlesex 3 Coalition engages with industry to ease the commute of their employees living in the Boston/Cambridge metroplex. To make working in a suburb more palatable, companies such as IRobot and MITRE are financing shuttle service to Alewife, thus reducing the number of cars coming to Bedford.  Middlesex 3 also has been working to establish an exclusive bus lane on Route 3, making it easier for riders to leave their cars at home.
  • Eighteen communities, including Bedford, are members of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), which provides technical assistance to address transportation concerns such as traffic operations, bicycle and pedestrian access, livability, parking, and bus stop locations. I support Bedford’s active participation in this organization that identifies creative solutions to some of our traffic problems.
  • In addition, I welcome Bedford’s participation in a Bedford-Burlington-Lexington sub-group to more closely focus on local transportation issues. This joint effort is in its formative stages, but should lead to creative thinking that can be implemented in the three towns and spread to the larger region if applicable.
  • Benefits that can be derived by working regionally are demonstrated by the fact that Bedford has joined a network of 15 neighboring cities and towns organized by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). The MAPC has contracted with the bike share company, Lime, to operate in all participating communities, making such a venture economically viable for the vendor.  Bedford does not operate the program nor provide funding for it.  Electric assist bikes now make it possible to commute anywhere in the region, including trips to Alewife, without the use of an automobile.  This is another great step toward a greener community!
  • I also endorse Bedford’s membership in the Community Compact Program (CCP), a State grant program that funds the implementation of “best practices,” e.g., successful municipal programs. The CCP already has funded a Bedford transportation study, with Interesting recommendations, including creating or expanding community parking lots near transportation hubs.  The Selectmen’s 2019 goal to conduct a comprehensive traffic mitigation study can complement these recommendations.

Final campaign statement

It has been an honor for me to serve as one of your Selectmen these past nine years, and I respectfully ask for one of your two votes on March 9.

I ask you to read my candidate statements and answers to the two questions that the Bedford Citizen has posted.  I ask you to go to my website, www.MoonanForSelectman.com, and find lots more background about me, my accomplishments on behalf of the Town over the past 39 years, some of my priorities for the next term, endorsements by wonderful Bedford residents who believe the Town will be better if I remain as a Selectman, and the final campaign events where you can catch me in person for a comment or question.

Being a Selectman takes time, energy, experience, and a willingness to work with a great group of town volunteers, including the other four Selectmen whom I admire and respect for the talents and dedication they bring to this job.  Bedford is a wonderful place to live, raise children, and retire; I feel that I can continue to contribute to improving it in my role as a Selectman.

There are so many goals I would like to see achieved for the Town, in every area from infrastructure, to regulations, to the environment, to quality of life issues.  Not all of them will be achieved immediately, but I want to continue pushing for them.

Traffic congestion has become so horrendous that dealing with it is one of my major priorities; I want to mitigate the long lines of cars and trucks idling through Bedford – not just to relieve driver stress, but because fuel-burning vehicles comprise the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions that are destroying our planet.  I want Bedford to continue phasing in electric vehicles for use by the Police, Fire Department, and DPW, as is beginning in some other states.

Our population is aging; in nine short years (2030), one in every three Bedford residents will be over 60.  Thirty-five percent of Bedford homes are currently owned by seniors; one in five local residents over 65 lives alone.  I will continue working on issues that affect this population: finding ways to help people stay safe and secure in their homes; identifying incentives for the creation of housing for down-sizing seniors; and expanding the activities of our terrific Council on Aging to bring seniors together for social, educational, and recreational programs, including on-site health services.

Our community has three centuries of rich history.  We are fortunate to have the Bedford Flag – carried to the Battle of Concord in 1775 — on display in our library.  But there are hundreds of other important artifacts and stories of Bedford and its people, and I will continue working with the Bedford Historical Society to create a Town historical museum for all age groups.

I can’t outline all of my goals for Bedford in this concluding campaign message because of word limitations.  There are more on my website, but even that site doesn’t include all my hopes for the Town’s future.  Thank you for the past opportunities to serve the Town as a Selectman and on the Bedford Housing Authority, Historic District Commission, Town Center, Inc. and other committees.  I will continue to work for our wonderful community, if given the chance through your votes on March 9.

Letters to the Editor supporting Bill Moonan

Bill Moonan’s PSA on Bedford TV

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