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Voting Now Open for Somerville’s First-Ever Participatory Budgeting Process

Community Members Ages 12 and Older Can Now Vote on How to Invest $1 Million in City Improvement Projects

Mayor Katjana Ballantyne is inviting all Somerville residents ages 12 and older to vote in the City’s first-ever Participatory Budgeting process. Voting is open now through Friday, October 13, 2023. The City will begin taking steps toward implementing the winning projects later this fall.

The Somerville community submitted more than 900 ideas for consideration. Throughout the summer, budget delegate volunteers collaborated closely with City staff to evaluate each idea’s need, impact, feasibility, and cost to determine the final ballot proposals. 

“Somerville’s first-ever Participatory Budgeting is a historic moment where residents have the opportunity to directly determine the allocation of city funds toward projects that matter most to our community,” said Mayor Ballantyne. “The proposals on the ballot reflect the passion and ingenuity of our community, and I’m excited to see which ideas are selected by our neighbors. I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to the budget delegate volunteers and City staff who collaborated throughout the summer to create the final ballot ideas. I encourage everyone age 12 and up to vote and help shape the future of Somerville.”


Somerville Participatory Budgeting 2023 Ballot Proposals 

For more information on each idea, including cost and location, go to 

Solar System Sculpture

Hire a local artist to build a scaled model of the solar system in a sculpture series

Concrete Safety Island Crossings on Wide Thoroughfares

Install concrete curb barriers and signage to create pedestrian islands at major thoroughfares (such as Broadway Ave, Elm St, Washington St, Boston Ave

Outdoor Living Rooms in Parks

Install furniture such as chairs, benches, tables, and picnic tables - so folks of all ages have comfortable ways to enjoy our parks.

Faster BigBelly Trash Bin Adoption for Rat Abatement.

Place additional BigBelly trash can units through the city to improve cleanliness and decrease the rat population

Additional Bike Racks & Fix-it Stations

Add fifty (50) bike racks across the city in high traffic corridors, and 5 bike fix-it stations

Play for All in the ’Ville

Make play accessible in Somerville by adding play equipment for kids of all abilities.

Library of Things Expansion

Expand “Library of Thing” program to include additional household tools such as cooking utensils, appliances, and power tools

Bus Stop Improvement

Improve access and condition of areas around bus stops in most heavily used corridors in Somerville

STEM Programming in Libraries

Create informal STEM programming through Somerville Library; providing unique hands-on experiences to people of all ages

Get Ripped in the ’Ville

Add fixed workout equipment, such as pull up and dip bars, throughout Somerville parks and facilities

Improve Pedestrian Safety near GLX Stops

Install crosswalks, lighting, speedbumps, or daylighting at intersections adjoining or nearby new Green Line Extension (GLX) stops

Support Direct Community Food Access

Contract with a nonprofit to strengthen direct community food access programs in Somerville

Accelerate Bike Lane Installation

Install one - two miles of Quick-Build bike lanes divided by flexible delineators. 

Somerville Safe Crossings

Add 15 crosswalks in Somerville with curb cut ramps on either side to increase safety and accessibility

Summer Music in the Park Series

Create a series of outdoor concerts featuring local musicians in a variety of genres, with a focus on highlighting different cultures.

Residential Street Speed Bumps & Daylighting

Create fund to support speed bumps and daylighting of intersections on primarily residential streets

Beating the Heat! Misting & Water Fountains

Add combined water fountains and misting stations to high traffic pedestrian areas

Light Up the ’Ville

Engage with local artists to design lively lighting for Somerville squares

Pedestrian Safety at Community Path Intersections

Add additional raised crosswalks, speedbumps, pedestrian islands, and concrete daylighting to intersections. 

Keep It Cool in the ’Ville

Install shade structures for parks and public squares.


How to Vote

Residents will be able to rank their five favorite ideas when casting their ballot. Ideas with the most votes will be funded until the $1 million runs out. The funded ideas will be announced this fall. 

Participatory Budget votes can be cast online, over the phone, or in person. Respect your neighbors: vote only once to give everyone an equal voice.  

  • Online
  • Call 311 (dial 311 or 617-666-3311) or call 617-863-6622
  • Complete a paper ballot at Somerville Public Libraries or City Hall. 


The funded ideas will be announced soon after the voting  and the City will begin implementing them later this fall. 

More complicated projects will take longer to realize, but the work to deliver on these community priorities will begin right away.


Persons with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication (i.e., CART, ASL), written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures in order to access the programs, activities, and meetings of the City of Somerville should please contact Adrienne Pomeroy in advance at 617-625-6600 x 2059 or

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