Local Government and Politics, News

Three-day Northern Strand saga ends in less than three minutes

Lynn City Councilor-at-Large Brian LaPierre rescinds his call for a reconsideration vote on the Northern Strand project during a meeting Friday evening. (Spenser Hasak)

LYNN — The Northern Strand On Road Extension project will ride on.

The nearly three-day saga over the future of the $11 million project ended in a two-minute and 45-second special City Council meeting after Councilor-at-Large Brian LaPierre made a motion to withdraw his motion for reconsideration, which he filed Wednesday.

“I want to say ‘thank you’ to my colleagues for showing up for this very special matter of business,” LaPierre said in his remarks Friday. “I would like to formally withdraw that motion for reconsideration and have my vote stand for what I voted in favor of on Tuesday night.”

LaPierre’s withdrawal was approved without any objections from councilors in attendance at the meeting, with Ward 4 Councilor Rich Colucci and Ward 3 Councilor Coco Alinsug absent.

The motion for reconsideration was filed the day after the City Council approved an order of taking for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s $11 million Northern Strand project, which would create 1.9 miles of bike lane from Western Avenue to the shores of Lynn and Nahant.

LaPierre’s vote on the winning side of the motion Tuesday allowed him to call the council back to the chambers for reconsideration. City Council President Jay Walsh blasted the move, calling it a political maneuver in response to the council’s tabling of the MassDOT traffic-improvement project on Broadway.

According to LaPierre, his motion for reconsideration was purely motivated by questions and concerns he had about the project and its impact on the community, which he said had been answered after conversations with Mayor Jared Nicholson and other city councilors.

“I am an authentic, hardworking person who’s looking at the residents’ best interests when I look at projects like this,” LaPierre said. “We don’t have time for anything other than that.”

Speaking to The Item after the meeting, Walsh said he was happy the project would be moving forward, and hopeful the council would use the episode as a lesson when looking at major projects for the city in the future.

“We need to bring (issues) to light before we try and stop a project that is in the 11th hour,” Walsh said. “I’m hoping we can move forward and just continue to try and put the city on a path to get things accomplished.”

Walsh said he was confident that the city’s legal department would be able to hit the deadline to acquire land rights for the project as approved by the order of takings.

“We’re hoping that deadline will be hit on Monday,” Walsh said. “I’m sure on our end everyone’s going to work to get that done.”

Around 50 people, including Nicholson, attended the meeting, which ended with a round of applause from the gallery.

“This is going to be a really exciting project for our community,” Nicholson said. “There’s a lot of community support for these important infrastructure investments.”

Walsh said he was excited for the project to move forward and bring a valuable asset to the community.

“This is a big moment,” Walsh said. “We’re ready.”

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