Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna started her personal crusade 18 months ago to fix the lights on the Rita Singer Bridge after hearing from a parent of a 20-year-old daughter who had to walk daily from Beachmont Station over the bridge to her apartment.
“It was dark and the young lady was afraid to cross over the bridge because of the fact there were no lights,” recalled McKenna.
Following the December, 2018 tragedy in which two children were killed on Revere Beach Parkway, McKenna stepped up her efforts concerning the lighting problems on the entire parkway.
McKenna conducted her own survey and learned that 17 lights in total were malfunctioning on the Parkway. She brought her concerns to a Revere City Council meeting where she blasted National Grid officials.
“The [Revere] Journal put a story about it on the front page,” said McKenna. “Speaker [Robert] DeLeo read it and said, ‘We’re going to fix all these lights.’ “Within a three-week period, all the lights on the Parkway were fixed.”
McKenna was crucial to the effort by taking down the lighting pole numbers and submitting those numbers to Speaker DeLeo’s office. DeLeo reached out to State Highway Department and National Grid officials and the situation was take care of – very quickly.
The new lights represented a big victory for the McKenna-DeLeo team and all the residents and motorists who use the Parkway.
“Getting those lights helped the people with safety,” said McKenna. “There are a lot of young people living in these apartments and they walk. I’ve been on the council for five years and that is why we serve: to make Revere a better place to live. It helped the people, that’s how I feel.”
DeLeo Praises McKenna
Speaker DeLeo thanked Mark Kratman, administrator in the Mass. Highway Department, and Joe Newman of National Grid, for their cooperation in getting the lights fixed on the Parkway.
But DeLeo saved his highest praise for McKenna, the fifth-year councillor known for her tenacity in responding to residents’ issues in her ward.
“I think the most important person to getting this
done was Councillor McKenna,” lauded DeLeo. “If you know Councillor McKenna and I’ve worked with various councillors in my time as a state representative, I think her professionalism, her efficiency, and her stick-to-itiveness get things done in the district. In all my years that I’ve dealt with this lady, she’s just superb and a pleasure to work with. She’s just dogged in terms of knowing her district and knowing when things have to get done, and making sure they get done.”