Office Hours on the Go: So You Don’t Have to Complain About the T Alone

This morning I held the first in a series of Office Hours on the T. As some readers may know, one of my favorite aspects of my job is holding district office hours. It gives me an opportunity to hear directly from my neighbors while letting them know what my office is working on (not unlike what I hope this blog can accomplish). While we typically alternate morning office hours between different local businesses throughout District 6, occasionally we’ll try novel ways to reach folks. Several years ago, I held Office Hours on the Run with neighborhood jogs and I’m thrilled to resurrect those on this Saturday, 2/23, at 9am at Jamaica Pond – so bring your running shoes and join me!

For today’s office hours I caught the 51 bus to Forest Hills, took the Orange Line to Green Street Station, and after 30 minutes talking with folks there, I hopped back on the Orange Line to State to finish my commute to City Hall.  We heard from quite a few constituents who read about Office Hours on the Go on social media, and several others who just happened to bump into us. It was a terrific opportunity to discuss transportation infrastructure, public safety, and Boston Public Schools, as well as some more light-hearted topics like Netflix recommendations (Kathryn and I watched the documentary, Abducted in Plain Sight last night. It was chilling for a whole host of reasons).

We’ll continue holding these Office Hours on the Go in the weeks and months ahead. In addition to more T office hours and this weekend’s 5K run around Jamaica Pond (fun fact: the circumference of the pond is nearly exactly 1.5 miles), I’d like to do other Office Hours on the Go using the other ways we get around our city: bicycling to work, walking to work, and carpooling. What else would you like to see? No idea is too off-the-wall.

One of the issues that came up today and has been a major focus for my office is safety of our streets. Next Wednesday, February 27th, I’m co-hosting a meeting on pedestrian and traffic safety in West Roxbury (please see and share image below):

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Everyone in our community is beyond devastated over the tragic death of our neighbor earlier this month. We must do everything we can to prevent another crash. That’s why I’m convening local officials, the Boston Transportation Department, the Boston Police Department, and experts like Northeastern Civil Engineering Professor Peter Furth to discuss strategies and ideas for street safety going forward. Every possible solution is on the table: street redesign, lane diets, protected lanes, center islands, raised crosswalks, etc., and I’m hopeful that neighbors will come with open minds to address this challenge. Additionally, we will be discussing added enforcement and better use of technology to build safer roads for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers alike. It won’t be easy, but I am confident that by working together, listening to one another, and being receptive to different ideas we will get closer to achieving Vision Zero and creating comprehensive road safety in our neighborhoods. The time to act is now.

O’Malley on the Web, Version 4.0

Today I’m beginning the fourth iteration of my blog, the first time I’ve done it in nearly a decade. I was an early adopter of this format in college. O’Malley on the Web (OOTW) 1.0 essentially consisted of my nascent resume, some thoughts on the 2000 presidential election, and God-awful geocities formatting like scrolling texts and plugins that never quite worked.

OOTW 2.0 was a big selling point of my 2003 City Council campaign. I was called the first blogging City Council candidate as I chronicled my thoughts on the campaign trail and my experience as a first-time candidate. It was as therapeutic for me as it was hopefully interesting for readers. If folks are interested, I’ll link to some of my old posts on this page.

OOTW 3.0 was my Blogspot page from 2006-2010 covering sports, politics, and pop-culture with a heavy dose of New England nostalgia. I slowly built up a small but loyal readership that was no doubt aided by my popular ward-by-ward election analysis. Then there was the time I went semi-viral for my beverage nostalgia—Boston.com featured my piece lamenting the paucity of Orange Juliuses in malls. Every mall of my childhood had an Orange Julius and then one day: POOF! They all went the way of the Dodo. Some digital editor at Boston.com must’ve agreed with my premise, and my readership went up tenfold. I like to imagine I educated some Orange Julius fans about civic engagement if they stuck around.

I am hopeful that OOTW 4.0 will combine the best aspects of 2.0 & 3.0 with a heaping helping of wonky policy added in (plus plenty of parenthetical asides).  I will update occasionally and invite you to share your thoughts or ideas for topics in the comment section under each blog post or on social media (my twitter handle is @MattOMalley and my email is matthew.omalley@boston.gov).  Let’s take this journey again together.