My Vision for Malden

Malden is a diverse working-class city of 60,000 residents, but I am growing concerned that we are closing our doors to newcomers and shutting down for business. Since 2015, Malden has implemented a two year moratorium on new apartments, cut building heights in half across the city, and increased parking requirements.

This is not my vision for the city.

David in front of the Converse Memorial Library designed by H.H Richardson For me, Malden should be a place where all residents can afford to live, work and play. Where we can all enjoy a growing, thriving transit-oriented downtown and its wonderful amenities. Where residents and visitors alike can connect with one another in social, safe and accessible ways without having to drive everywhere. I envision vibrant, welcoming squares, with streets full of small businesses and housing, free from unnecessary parking lots and ugly, expensive sprawl. I envision a community with ample usable green space where people from all walks of life and society can connect, and public spaces for art, artists and performers to inspire. If we can add to existing development by filling in the gaps on the street and building above businesses, we can have twice the people to fuel restaurants, fill jobs, patronize local shops, make our streets safer, and pay taxes, all while maximizing property values for homeowners and revenues for local government. I believe there is intrinsic value in welcoming people who bring with them new ideas, culture, history, and creativity which can enliven our city. Presently, we are facing a major shortage for affordable housing. Many long time Malden seniors and families are being forced out of the town because the high rental prices or property values make it difficult to afford living here. The already low housing stock is being worsened by the town moratorium on all new multifamily. In short, finding housing in Malden is extremely difficult. Then there’s traffic. Many people would be surprised to hear that our congestion is not caused by too many people—it’s caused by not having enough housing in the right places. There seems to be increasing numbers of single occupant vehicles on the roads. This is a symptom of tight housing regulations that force residents to live in places that are not walkable. We don’t have enough housing in downtown and the places people want to be, so they have to drive. This creates longer commutes for transit users, increased business costs for commercial vehicles, and lowered public safety by impeding first responder and emergency vehicle access. Not to mention the public health cost of sitting in cars and breathing pollution! I believe we can make better decisions if we work together to make Malden a welcoming place. We can have a better stock of diverse housing, walkable streets, and vibrant neighborhoods that work for families, seniors and everyone in between! I know that I am not alone in this vision, so feel free to reach out to me anytime. Moving forward together, David A. Senatillaka

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