Residents push for solutions to Savin Hill rat problem

A group of about 30 Savin Hill residents gathered in front of the Boston Collegiate Charter School last week to hash out neighborhood grievances over an increase in rats.

The Friday morning meeting was pulled together by City Councillor Frank Baker and state Rep. Marty Walsh, who joined the residents, along with officials from the MBTA and the city’s Inspectional Services Department. Recent MBTA track work is the likely cause of the increase of rats in the neighborhood, according to residents.

“I’ve noticed a substantial increase,” said Dennis White, who lives on Grant St. His dog recently killed a 3-pound rat, he said.

“It was enormous,” White said. “We have enormous rats running around the neighborhood.”

MBTA officials said they would clean up the embankment before Sydney Street and Columbia Road, and focus on the Sydney Street entrance to the Savin Hill MBTA station.

Walsh also pointed to the overflowing dumpster at the JFK/UMass station and a staircase into the station with a persistently putrid smell. Walsh called for the staircase to be power-washed and painted.

“We just want to be responded to,” Councillor Baker said.

“You’d see one every once in a while,” and now it’s seven or eight rats at a time, Baker said.

MBTA officials agreed to reach out to their contractors and move the dumpster and ISD staffers said they will selectively put down traps and attempt to educate residents on how to combat the problem.
The meeting, which lasted roughly an hour, also led to some venting from neighborhood residents.
“This is your dumping ground for all of your trash,” Joe Baker told MBTA staffers, adding that the dumpster is overflowing “all the time.”

He added: “We’re being overrun.”

But residents appeared heartened by the meeting, though more than a few noted that a similar one had been held years before. Another meeting is set for Saturday, Sept. 15, at 10 a.m., in front of the charter school.

“I think it’s a good start,” White said. “The neighborhood is doing what it can.”