Julia Meijia

headshot of Julia Meijia, Boston City Councilor At-Large candidate

Q. Boston’s beaches, harbors, rivers, and islands provide tremendous public resources to residents and visitors alike, but too often, many of these spaces remain inaccessible and exclusive. How would you expand access to the recreation, economic, and wellness opportunities provided by the city’s waterfronts and ensure all communities feel welcome?

A.There are spaces throughout the City of Boston where you can see the intentionality behind creating a waterfront that is free and accessible to all. The work that the New England Aquarium has done to make their space more accessible, particularly for low-income communities and communities of color, is particularly impressive. In addition, the recent Allston Viaduct conversation has been a model for how advocates can successfully push for a more accessible waterfront that does not sacrifice green space for the sake of cars. The motto of my campaign is all means ALL, so I believe strongly in ensuring that all communities feel part of the process and have access to the same benefits.

Q. How would you work with local and state agencies as well as residents to implement coastal resilience projects that can reduce risks to neighborhoods and communities from the threats of climate change including sea level rise?

A. Growing up in Boston, the conversation around climate resilience never felt like something that made its way into my neighborhood, so as a City Councilor I have worked to create civic engagement pipelines in our city. Our language access ordinance requires all vital documents to be translated and released at the same time as they are released in English. Our office has worked collaboratively with our Council colleagues, city officials, advocates, and community members to preserve and expand climate resilience measures. On the Council, I was proud to vote for BERDO 2.0, and am dedicated to ensuring it gets successfully implemented. As an advocate, I have worked with residents throughout Roxbury and the South End to preserve the street trees along Melnea Cass Boulevard which were at risk of being torn up. I have also worked with local black and brown owned businesses who are feeling the effects of climate change now to educate them on climate change and bring them into the discussion. As a Councilor, I have worked to be a microphone for the voices of the people, envisioning a climate resiliency plan that encompasses policy, programming, procedures, and protocols.

Q. Investments in transportation infrastructure and services are needed to connect more residents to the waterfront — from parks and beaches to jobs and opportunities. This includes, but is not limited to, public transit, pedestrian access, bike routes, and ferry services. How would you work to improve affordable access to the waterfront around Boston and beyond?

A. We absolutely need to better invest in transportation to and around Boston’s waterfront. I am a proponent of bringing back late-night T service, which could help frame our waterfront as a safe and accessible evening alternative to bars and nightclubs. I will continue this work to fight to have expanded service at night. I also support the pilot programs the city started to allow for free bus fares to help incentive bus use. However, we cannot ignore the fact that the T is not accessible for many people in certain communities due to lack of service or just the transportation time residents face. I will continue to advocate for expanding service to neighborhoods such as Mattapan, whose residents are forced to rely on less frequent service.

Q. Massachusetts working ports and maritime industries have a rich history and have served as a critical economic driver for Boston since its founding. How would you balance and support the existing needs of the City’s working ports with the evolving needs of waterfront communities, climate resilience planning, and the importance of expanding public access to the waterfront?

A. As the Chair of Workforce Development, it's important that we protect our working ports and maritime industries, and we need to ensure those jobs are accessible to residents in all neighborhoods. In each budget discussion, I have advocated for millions of dollars in youth jobs spending to help close the generational wealth gap and these programs and funding could be a pathway to stable trades work, including working in our city’s waterfront ports. It is also important that we include the community in the discussion to ensure that we are balancing the needs of these communities, particularly as it relates to climate resilience planning. In my next term, my top priority is to bring Boston together in a way that really shows all means all, because it does not matter if its Beacon Hill or Mission Hill, Faneuil Hall or Grove Hall, Back Bay or South Bay, we need to ensure that all the people’s voices are heard in City Hall, and that includes on planning for our waterfront.