Frustrated South End residents share their safety concerns about Methadone Mile in meeting with Mayor Walsh

BOSTON — Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is responding to mounting criticism about the Mass & Cass corridor and the issues that some believe have not been thoroughly addressed.

Mayor Walsh answered a list of questions during his annual meeting with the South End Forum on Monday night.

The virtual meeting, which covered a range of topics, mainly focused the area widely known as Methadone Mile when the mayor took the floor.

Mayor Walsh said he doesn’t mind the criticism and told people that the city is doing its best to make it better under the current circumstances of a pandemic.

“I’m not happy. When people drive through there, all my friends and everyone I know who drives through there, they send me a text,” said Mayor Walsh.

The mayor suggested that a slice of the frustration be directed toward other communities across the state who aren’t owning their piece of the pie.

According to the mayor, residents from across the state are ending up on the streets of Boston due to programs shuttering or drastically cutting back.

“I am not one to put people in buses and drive them back to [their] neighborhood. New York has done that. Boston hasn’t done that,” he said.

Mayor Walsh said Boston desperately needs other communities to step up to the plate to help solve this crisis.

He said the problem has grown to a degree that Boston can’t fix alone.

“We’re one of the only entities in the Commonwealth serving folks like this,” said Walsh. “It can’t all fall on Boston. It’s not sustainable.”

The mayor also criticized leaders in Quincy for fighting Boston’s comprehensive plan to rebuild the Long Island Bridge and a substance abuse treatment center on the island.

More than 200 homeless people were relocated to the South End area when that bridge closed in 2014.

Boston’s plan to rebuild remains in a holding pattern due to resistance from Quincy.

“I don’t think the situation at Mass & Cass was created because Long Island shut down,” said Walsh. “The opiate crisis has gotten worse.”

Boston 25 News has been reporting extensively on safety and quality of life concerns in the South End and Roxbury in recent months.

Some neighbors have opted to leave the neighborhood, while others continue to devote a great deal of time toward exposing the daily issues they are encountering.

A coalition of neighbors in the South End and Roxbury have been holding weekly protests every Thursday night to bring attention to the situation.

“Never before have we seen so many hygiene issues in the South End,” said South End Forum Moderator Steve Fox, on behalf of questions and concerns submitted by neighbors. “No one else is experiencing this the way we are.”

Neighbors continue to complain about human defecation across the area, and some have routinely been finding human waste on front stoops and in yards.

Mayor Walsh said he’d look into the city’s current policy of not cleaning up human waste off of private property.

He did not offer any immediate solution to the number of needles being found but promised that the conversation would continue.

According to Walsh, Boston is working on creating more housing for the homeless and that the city needs “1000 units of housing right now”.