Hi Reddit -- I’m Mayor Marty Walsh. I was born in Dorchester, MA, and served for 16 years as a State Representative until I became the 54th Mayor of Boston this past January. I just marked my first 101 days in office; you can visit next.cityofboston.gov to learn more about what we’re working on.

My priorities include strengthening the economy and job creation; improving public safety and combating gun violence; making sure that Boston’s public schools help all our children to succeed; increasing access and transparency in city government; and making sure that when Boston does well, ALL of Boston does well.

I like hearing from you - for the next 30 minutes, I'm here taking your questions.

Watch this video


And for the record: I’d pick a horse-sized duck.


UPDATE: Thanks for the great questions- I have to run, but we'll do this again!

Comments: 396 • Responses: 34  • Date: 

Sacco425106 karma

Mr. Mayor,

After 9/11 the John Hancock Observation deck was closed due to concerns over security. Many observation decks across the US, including the Prudential, have reopened yet the John Hancock OB deck remains closed. The public observation deck was a requirement for the acquiring of permits for the building of the tower... My question to you is: When are we going to see this open again for the public? What can you do/will do about getting this reopen?

MartyWalsh117 karma

This is the first time it's been brought to my attention, and I'll look into it.

dm_design85 karma

Do you have any plans to help entice Google to bring Google Fiber to Boston? *edit for more formal wording forgot I was addressing the mayor.

MartyWalsh152 karma

We're working on ways to bring fiber to Boston. Stay tuned...

_ImOnRedditAtWork76 karma

Would you support legislation requiring Boston police officers to wear cameras? One study showed that after one year of officers wearing cameras, use of force dropped by 60% and total complaints dropped 88%. I am not suggesting the BPD has a specific problem in this regard, some may disagree but that hasn’t been my experience. I make the suggestion because a culture of accountability and transparency will help cultivate greater trust in our civil servants, and stronger, safer communities should follow. In light of the attention received as a result of the marathon events, the Boston police department is in a unique position to lead by example, to raise the bar and set the new standard for the rest of the country.

That’s my pitch, what do you say?

MartyWalsh28 karma

I haven't had a conversation with the police about this - I'd have to have a conversation with the Commissioner about the idea of police wearing cameras. Not sure how logistically this would work.

ShamblesMusic58 karma

Hey Mayor Walsh. Thanks for doing this. My question for you involves liquor and entertainment licensing in the city and what, if any, plans you and your office have to make the pathway for potential small business owners looking to open and operate restaurants, bars and entertainment venues less of a nightmare.

As anyone who lives in Boston knows, the city has both a robust population of young people (a recent survey says that Boston has the highest percentage of 20-34 year olds of any major city in the US) and a very strong knowledge and tech based industry. However, anecdotally, it seems like a lot of young people leave to go to places with a more thriving and diverse nightlife. Additionally, young people who are looking to inject new ideas into the bar and restaurant scene seem to be basically shut out, as there’s no way for them to get their hands on a liquor license that is passed between people in the industry or sold for ridiculous sums of money. It seems like our somewhat archaic laws in regards to licensing are really holding us back from reaching our full potential as a city. Thanks again!

MartyWalsh42 karma

I am in full support of Boston controlling its own liquor licensing process. I support Councillor Pressley's legislation, and I see this as an extremely important economic development issue. We just announced a late night task force to look at extended hours for bars and other retail venues. We're meeting now and I definitely look forward to their ideas.

mister_butch38 karma

Mr. Walsh,

Yesterday Boston Calling announced yet another festival in Government Center. Today, LiveNation has a monopoly over the booking and ticket sales of most of the city's venues. These two represent the worst of what Boston has to offer (along with Aerosmith) because 1) They're not local (unless you count Don Law's merged company which is a whole other argument about double standards) and 2) They only care about the $$$. It is becoming increasingly hard for bands in Boston to find ways to play without being pushed around by dumb rules such as "pay-to-play" or "you can't promote another gig within the next month in the city." Boston's arts scene is suffocating within the confines of the capitalist structure, which sees bands as marketing tools and money instead of human beings.

Basement shows are a part of Boston's history and after last year's "crackdown," many people simply decided to give up on the city and move because, among other reasons, obviously it's not giving 20-somethings the opportunities that a "world class city" supposedly does. Say a resident of the city wants to put on an event, but they lack the funds and corporate connections. What should be events for the community become events for those who can profit off it, and that really sucks for an area that is supposedly an arts hub.

So, here's the bulk of my question here: Community events such as the Allston DIY Fest ran into trouble last year when it became apparent that the Parks Commissioner had an incredibly petty, stereotyped bias against them -- going as far as to lying to the Boston Globe about "torn-up grass" and "too many people to handle." (Less than 250 people...which Pollack exaggerated to over 1000) After their permits were denied, they petitioned and got over 1500 signatures in all over online and physical petitions before having them reinstated and finally holding the festival in August.

Boston Hassle had also run into trouble last year after they weren't granted the permit to hold a community event in the same location and I hear they're hoping to be approved this year, with the Allston DIY Festival also in the early planning stages as well. Events like these are about community, culture, and art. NOT about money. In fact, most of those involved were either tricked into college and now have looming debt or could never afford it to begin with, therefore money is strapped for the arts community while Livenation continues to steamroll over everything.

**How will the permitting process be streamlined for these types of events and how can local music in general find more resources and performance space if the city continues to ignore it? How will the cabinet-level position of Arts and Culture Director help improve the current situation? **

Note: there is a difference between a party on Pratt Street and a show where residents have talked to neighbors and made it totally clear that they'll cut the sound if it becomes too much. You know, the neighborly thing to do.

MartyWalsh27 karma

We welcome proposals for ANY arts activities in ANY of our parks. We are working on streamlining the permitting process - we envision a city where arts happen in all places. (By the way, Boston Calling is a local company.) Now turn that racket down and get off of my lawn!! (JK)

ShamblesMusic12 karma

crucial username. RIP.

MartyWalsh44 karma

I might be the Mayor of Boston but he was the undisputed Mayor of Kenmore Square.

1bwash34 karma

Do you have plans to help new graduates and young professionals be able to work AND live in the city? As it is, they are largely priced out of the market in terms of rent and (considering educational debt load) buying properties is seemingly out of the question. What can be done to create more in-city housing supply that is actually obtainable for young people or even just working/middle class individuals?

MartyWalsh48 karma

One of the things we are working on is better use of city-owned land to build middle income and workforce housing, so that recent graduates and young families can afford homes in the city. In addition, I support Senator Warren's initiative to decrease student debt load.

frankenst26 karma

Mayor Walsh, thank you very much for doing this AMA.

I have a few questions which I hope you could answer (sorry for the length):

Franklin Park is a tremendous urban amenity, but the current design and surrounding street layout make it feel rather cut off from the rest of the city. I feel that a major reprogramming and redesign of the park and surrounding streets could help connect it back to the city and help revitalize the surrounding neighborhoods. Is this something that is on your radar?

Bike and pedestrian safety is a major concern of mine – especially in the southern neighborhoods of the city. People drive too fast down my street (which has many small children), and as a daily bike commuter, I often encounter some extremely disturbing purposeful motorist intimidation if I go south of the monument in JP or east of the southwest corridor (especially, but not limited to, places with shared lanes and/or no bike facilities). Aside from a real need for capital improvements and more aggressive physical calming measures, what other things is your administration working on to protect the safety of both pedestrians and cyclists? Reduced speed limits? What about areas around playgrounds and schools? Is there anything we can do to bring problem areas to your attention? This is a major quality of life issue in the southern half of the city and I’m not sure how much stepped up enforcement would help.

Is there anything you can do to get the MBTA to seriously look at adding an Orange line stop in Roslindale? There are 9 bus lines that run between the square and Forest Hills (combined ridership is in the 10s of thousands) – and the vast majority of these passengers never stop in the square. If several of these lines terminated there, this would be a boon to the local business district and to the neighborhood – and help make this area more accessible and potentially reduce traffic and commute times. The Arborway Yard is another issue that perhaps the city could force the MBTA to rethink – that area has tremendous potential to add much needed transit-orientated housing and office-space (now that the overpass is coming down).

That said – I am very excited about the Fairmount greenway initiative, and I hope the city finds money to make this happen sooner.

Thanks for your time.

MartyWalsh20 karma

I look forward to working with the Friends of Franklin Park and coming up with creative ways that everyone is ensured an opportunity to enjoy the park.

We also have to explore the idea of cycle tracks so walkers, runners and bikers can enjoy themselves in safety.

Re: MBTA, this is the first I've heard of it but will look more into it.

ScipioA25 karma

Pretty much everything that has recently been built or is under construction is luxury housing. Sure, developers make a few units per building affordable, but they write those off as the cost of doing business. How can the city make it possible to build affordable housing in Boston? Not just inclusionary housing tokenism, but actually make it possible to build an entire building with rents the middle class can afford?

MartyWalsh20 karma

My Chief of Housing, Sheila Dillon, is leading a task force to look at this very issue to find creative ways to finance workforce housing. While there is financing for affordable housing, and the market gives an incentive for luxury, there's no incentive for workforce/middle income housing. This is a huge priority for us. By the way, we are getting $5m out on the street for affordable housing this summer.

jaredmay7624 karma

Are you as against Verizon FIOS being available in Boston as Mayor Menino was?

MartyWalsh38 karma


MelodicWarfare22 karma

Yes, Can you please take back Scott Brown? New Hampshire doesn't want or need him.

MartyWalsh119 karma

No thank you.

roissy_3720 karma

Mayor Walsh Thanks for doing this. One of the goals I've heard you discuss is affordable housing and reducing homelessness, especially for vets. One big barrier (beyond the obvious lack of units) is the process itself. Reams of paperwork, countless letters, verifications and screenings; the entire process seems designed to fail, especially for more vulnerable clients. Any thoughts on encouraging BHA to streamline (or perhaps digitize) some of that process?

MartyWalsh15 karma

We are working on this - BHA won't be responsible for building that housing, but it's part of our Housing Task Force through the Department of Neighborhood Development and it's one of the categories we'll look at.

CamWalk113020 karma

Hey Marty, on a serious note, what's it like having a private elevator?

MartyWalsh61 karma


BostonUrbEx19 karma

Are you in support of re-utilizing the Tremont St Tunnel south of Boylston to provide Green Line light rail to Dudley Square? Silver Line Phase III would be absurdly expensive and achieve less economic impact than reusing the light rail tunnel -- you can provide more transit capacity to Dudley Sq and a one seat ride to points north of downtown by having this tunnel reused for the Washington St corridor. While you yourself do not have the power to authorize this, are you willing to give MassDOT and the state your support and continued lobbying efforts for this project?

Also on the topic of transit, are you in support of the Red-Blue Connector? This project can give East Boston residents better access to more jobs and a direct Red Line transfer. This would also open up capacity in the downtown core stations. This would improve regional mobility vastly, and would even open up East Boston to continued economic development. Again, I recognize you cannot authorize this project, but are you willing to give MassDOT and the state your support and continued lobbying efforts for this project?

Thank you for coming to Reddit and participating in an AMA. Will you do this again in the future? Thank you again for your time!

MartyWalsh15 karma

I would have to work with the MBTA to see feasibility and cost implications.

Yes, we'll do this again.

shitprincess18 karma

Thank you for participating in this AMA. I am a Roslindale resident and have been working for the past 6 months to try and navigate the permitting process for starting a small business in the food industry. I've researched everything from a brick and mortar establishment to a bike-cart. It has been exhausting, frustrating, and at times it feels like the system is working against me to get something started. I've spoken with people at the office of business development, the SBA, SCORE, and many others but almost never hear the same answer twice. I've also spoken to landlords and Main streets groups who find it easier to leave their storefront empty than making an investment to get the space up to code and ready for tenants. I've been to meetings, workshop, and a a dizzying array of websites to try and get my ideas off the ground but the longer I work on this, the easier it looks to move start my business outside of the city.

What is your office doing to reduce the burden on starting a small business in the city of Boston? What is your administration doing to make sure creative people in Boston can keep up with their counterparts in cities like New York and San Francisco?

MartyWalsh16 karma

First, please call my office for help- 617-635-3151. We have been working on this from day one of my administration, making small business opportunities more accessible to entrepreneurs and to streamline permitting.

AllThisPaperwork18 karma

Mr. Mayor, best Clam Chowder in the city?

MartyWalsh55 karma

Legal Seafood.

xalupa18 karma

Any plans to renovate City Hall so it's less hideous and more wheelchair-accessible?

MartyWalsh38 karma

I think about it everyday.

Dan-Defyno15 karma

Don't you hate it when you have relatives come from out of town and they want to go eat at Cheers?

I mean, you try to tell them it's a tourist trap, and maybe they can just buy a T-shirt of something, but nope... you still end up having a Norm Burger.

MartyWalsh35 karma

MY relatives don't want to eat at Cheers.

wheretheusernamesat14 karma

First off, considering the ENORMOUS shoes you have to fill by taking this office, you deserve plenty of credit for not completely falling on your face. So congrats

Now that I've buttered you up, can we pleeeeeease have Happy Hour back?

MartyWalsh29 karma

Gee, thanks. Keep buttering me up and we'll talk.

redsoxfan219411 karma

What has been your favorite experience that you have had in your first 100 days as mayor?

MartyWalsh26 karma

Unquestionably - watching the runners of the 118th Boston Marathon cross the finish line.

ScipioA11 karma

Understanding that you've lived and worked here your whole life, is there anything that you have only learned from the perspective of the mayor's office? What has been the most surprising thing you've learned about Boston?

MartyWalsh17 karma

I've been amazed at how so many different people from so many different backgrounds really want the city to succeed. It's inspiring.

deepkarmacanyon10 karma

Looking at the city budget, it appears that each year state aid is providing a decreasing portion of the city budget, and Proposition 2 1/2 limits the city's ability to generate new tax revenue. At the same time, costs in several city departments (notably BPS, BPD, and BFD) are expected to rise significantly in the next few years, due at least in part to contracts that were recently approved by the city.

Having largely inherited these circumstances, what specific steps are you taking to ensure that the budget will be fully funded in both the short and long term? Looking forward, when the city negotiates contracts and approves cost expenditures under your leadership, how will you ensure that revenue will be available to pay for those costs?

MartyWalsh10 karma

Continue the economic growth in our city by cultivating businesses here in Boston and looking to attract business from all over the world to our city.

meatfrappe10 karma

1) What is your favorite Boston sports moment, and why?

2) Have you ever had a Scropion Bowl at the Hong Kong? Come, on--admit it!

MartyWalsh33 karma

1) Montreal forum when Cam Neely scored the goal against Patrick Roy (I was at the game).

2) I had a scorpion bowl at Kowloon back in the day, but not at the Hong Kong.

silentpat53010 karma

Mayor Walsh, I live right outside of Boston, thanks for taking the time to do this. What is one thing you would like to accomplish in the city that you think would be the hardest to pull off?

MartyWalsh22 karma

Making sure every Bostonian has easy access to a computer and the internet.

AnCroiAit7 karma

An maith leat Gaeilge? An gceapann tú go mba chóir do Rialtas na hÉireann a obair a dhéanamh as Gaeilge? Maith agat & meas mór.

MartyWalsh23 karma

I can't write or read it, but I can understand spoken Gaelic.

HiTechCity6 karma

Hi Mayor Walsh! Any High Tech related initiatives to lure or keep Tech industry start ups and corporate headquarters in Boston proper?

MartyWalsh10 karma

Yes - a lot of initiatives. It starts here in my office at City Hall, with the installation of data dashboards that will help us deliver better city services - I think that in order to lure and keep tech here, we have to be the world class city I know we can be.

Johnny__Utah6 karma


MartyWalsh10 karma

His experience, being young with a technology skill set, brings a fresh perspective for the largest growing population in our city.

SeeShawnShout6 karma

How has MBTA late night service been faring (sorry)? Is it meeting projections?

MartyWalsh21 karma

It's been doing very well.

BostonTaxiDriver4 karma

Hello Mayor Walsh, thanks for doing this AmA and all your twitter Q&A's.

I am an taxi owner operator, and was wondering when we'll see some comprehensive taxi reform and regulation of other vehicle for hire services in the city of Boston.


MartyWalsh8 karma

We are in the process of forming a task force to look at all the forms of transportation in the city, not just taxi services but Uber, other livery services and other forms of transportation.

immersiveedemily4 karma

Hi Mayor Walsh,

My name is Emily and I am a student at Boston College in Professor Mikolajczak's class. I was wondering what advice you might give to a current Boston College student.

Thank you for this AMA!

MartyWalsh15 karma

Stay out of the Mods.

Axel9273 karma

Hey, Mayor Walsh! You're early!

1) Do you have a favorite book, or book you wish you had time to read, but haven't yet?

2) Do you have a favorite food truck?

3) Serious question: While we've seen fires become more and more reported in the city - and they certainly appear far more dangerous this past winter than before, the total number of fires in Boston remains well within the historical average. That being said, how much do you estimate could we reduce these fires by updating wiring and heating systems in buildings, and what can or will your administration do to reduce the possibility of apartment and house fires.

I may live across the Charles, but I'm keenly interested in seeing the direction you take the city in the years to come!

MartyWalsh11 karma

  1. Favorite book: "Mountains beyond Mountains" about Paul Farmer. Looking forward to "A Fighting Chance" by Elizabeth Warren. Also loving the selections of Bostonia in the bookcase by my elevator.
  2. Frosty Ice Cream truck, or anything on City Hall Plaza because I have a fighting chance of getting there.
  3. This is a very complicated issue because of the age of our housing stock, and changes in codes mean costs for landlords. But I think that we really have to explore this issue to protect residents.

jeifurie2 karma

Thanks for doing this Mayor Walsh! I've always wondered...how many miles on the Mayor's SUV?

MartyWalsh14 karma

Probably 54,000 but I got it used.

ItsJayonce1 karma

Hey Mayor Walsh! I just want you to know you have a woman working for you Named Linda L. And she's amazing.

Also, I'm glad you're mayor, but seriously, Linda is the best.

MartyWalsh6 karma

I was going to fire her today...

Just kidding, Linda is the best.