LETTER: Former Councilor Questions Addition to Traffic Commission

Print More

Dear Committee on Public Safety:

Attn: City Councilors John M. Airasian, Chair; Emily Izzo, Vice Chair; and Vincent J. Piccirilli, Jr., Sec.

RE: Tuesday, 05/07/2024 Meeting at 6:00 P.M.

Discussion – Amendment to the Traffic Commission Ordinance

Herein, I reiterate my statement, with attachments, as read into the record at the First Public Forum of the 01/23/2024 City Council Meeting. On 01/22/2024, my opinions were also discussed with Councilor Caroline Bays.

I offer additional comments and emphasis as follows:

1. Membership of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee is comprised of like-minded individuals in joint efforts to support bicyclists. I see no commitment to protect me, as an elder pedestrian, by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee.


Nine members; appointed by City Manager

“The Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee works to promote non-motorized transportation in Watertown. The primary activities of the Committee are advocacy for the interests of bicyclists and pedestrians in road construction projects; sponsorship and organization of special bicycling events; advocacy for improved bicycle parking facilities; promotion of commuting alternatives; and providing relevant materials, both online and printed, for bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists.”

2. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee already has a great deal of “influence.” Make note of the fact that the Committee has a Staff Liaison within the DCDP; overseen by Steve Magoon, who currently serves on the Traffic Commission

Staff Liaison

Zeke Mermell, Transportation Planner, Community Development and Planning

3. At the 02/05/2024 Bike/Ped Committee Meeting, Zeke Mermell stated that City Mgr. George Proakis sent a “memo” to the Bike/Ped Committee to suggest a voting position at the Traffic Commission table.

To view the discussion, as recorded by WCA-TV, advance to the -28:14 to -18:12 hour markers in the link, as follows:


4. Excerpts of statements by Mr. Mermell at the 02/05/2024 meeting, used to recruit a member to serve, are as follows:

a. “Advocate for issues that you care about”

b. “A voice and voting member … at such a table that makes major decisions”

c. “City initiative … big priority”

d. “Link to [Bike/Ped] Comm.”

e. “Votes to pick [Traffic Commission] Chair”

I do not support the appointment of any member, of an advocacy Committee, to serve on a Board or Commission, that impacts my quality of life and safety. Requirements for candidates to serve on regulatory Boards and Commissions have been based on their expertise; not those of a special interest group. The proposed Ordinance is precedent waiting to happen.

In my opinion: the cart was placed before the horse. The Administrative Branch wrote an Ordinance, and contacted the Bike/Ped Committee, as a fast track for an imminent vote. Where was the transparency and open public process?


Angeline Maria B. Kounelis
Retired District A, East End, City Councilor

One thought on “LETTER: Former Councilor Questions Addition to Traffic Commission

  1. Angie accurately describes the issue and the related problems raised at Tuesday night’s Committee on Public Safety Meeting. A number of other residents addressed their concerns also. The people who spoke in favor of amending the Traffic Commission Ordinance to protect all of our interests made very valid and irrefutable points.

    I was watching the meeting and I want to thank Councilors Airasian, Izzo and Piccirilli for what, I think, is the right decision you made. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with an appointed Board Member automatically getting a seat on a Committee or Commission without the approval of the Councilors. We need complete transparency in these appointments and we need candidates who will truly represent all members of the public, not a specific special interest group.

    Thank you for thinking this through. Hopefully the rest of the Councilors will agree with these thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *