LETTER: Neighbors Say Athenahealth ‘Can Do Better’ With Construction, Parking, Lights

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Dear Athena,

Have to say, we are wondering when Athenahealth is going to live up to their last few years of lip service about being good neighbors and communicating with the town. Since garage construction was recently approved, right now would seem to be a good time to start sending notices in the mail, opening up a webpage, and sharing contact info for community concerns about construction issues.

Searching through all related documents and emails, we could find only one person to contact. Apologies, Mark Blair for sending our first email only to you, but we had no other contact information. Please forward to other appropriate contacts at Athena.

During the master plan approval process, we and other neighbors spoke repeatedly with Athena representatives, emphasizing that a single avenue of communication to our community is not sufficient. Letters in the mail, public notices, newspaper notices, website postings are all good options that Athena should be using. Maybe starting right about now?  But no, all we hear is … deafening silence. Except of course for all of the loud, new truck noises coming from the construction site.

Athena has repeatedly told us that they want to be good neighbors, yet despite repeated requests, Athena has not followed up on even the simplest of requests. One wonders if there will be any response at all if neighbors encounter issues during the construction of this garage?

• How hard is it to turn off lights in a building overnight? If it’s so hard, then find a way to cover the windows so the neighbor across the street does not have to suffer. This request was made many months ago and no change was made at all! Athena can do better.

• How hard is it to modify the lighting on the existing parking garage? This request was made numerous times over the 2+ years of conversations with Athena, both in small groups and publicly in larger town meetings. We were assured that this would be a relatively simple fix. The existing lights send glare in all directions and can be seen from a considerable distance, but now after a couple of years of conversations, no change. Again, Athena can do better.

• How hard is it to enforce a parking policy for employees? This was specified in Athena’s long-term traffic management plan, but what about now? On North Beacon Street, the employee parking has been a considerable problem for at least a year now and if it’s at all possible, it has actually gotten considerably worse recently. Athena cars are now being parked in front of neighbor houses and along the full length of both sides of the parkway section of North Beacon St. This is a hazard for bike commuters and an ominous sign of traffic problems to come as Athena expands.

• A group of neighbors negotiated with Athena developers over the last year about the garage location and design. We requested that some of us would be involved in design plans for the park area between the garage and N. Beacon St. We recently had a meeting on the site, but rather than discussing our ideas, we were presented with the nearly finalized plans. When we pointed out some of the features that we would be looking for in a park, the designers responded with a plan that made minimal changes. Again, Athena can do better.

Our neighborhood is already seriously frustrated and heavy construction has not even started on the garage site. Athena health, at this point it’s up to you to reach out to our community and to be a good neighbor.


Sarah Ryan, Paul St.
Marcia Ciro, Bay St.
Kathy Santoian, N. Beacon St.

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