Greetings! Here is my March update of what is going on in Ward 2 (and beyond).
 
Austin Street
Survey   The Newtonville Area Council released the results of their survey of Newtonville residents and businesses of their preferences for the Austin Street parking lot. The Boston Globe reported on the survey as well.
 
Parking Study  The planning department issued an RFQ for a traffic and parking study of downtown Newtonville in order to better inform the process of choosing a developer and shaping the project.
 
Hearing   In response to a petition signed by 50 residents, the Property and Reuse Committee will be holding a hearing on March 25 at 7pm at City Hall to review whether the Austin Street parking lot should have been deemed surplus. 
 
Court Street
As many residents know, a developer has proposed a 36 unit 40B development for Court Street, the one-way street that runs behind Cabot’s Ice Cream. The City Planning Department submitted a letter to the Mass Dept of Housing and Community Development calling for steps to be taken to mitigate the impact on the neighborhood of this development. The three Ward 2 aldermen submitted a letter as well (see pp 33-34).
 
Overnight Parking
The Board of Aldermen voted to raise the overnight parking ban fee from $5 to $25. I am working with my BOA colleagues to gauge interest in revising our rules in such a way that we can allow overnight parking during the winter when there is not a snow emergency, as many people lack long driveways and for those households the overnight parking ban can be a burden.
 
Washington St. Traffic Study
A meeting was held Feb 26 co-hosted by the City Planning Dept and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) re the Washington St corridor from Newton Corner to West Newton. Click here for the power point presentation shown. Slide 7 shows the significant number of crashes involved along this stretch of road. (In fact the crash data comes from the RMV, and it was stated that the real crash numbers are probably higher, because the RMV does not have access to all the city’s data.)

There were about 25 residents in attendance as well as several aldermen: myself, Susan Albright (Ward 2), Ted Hess Mahan (Ward 3), Jim Cote (Ward 3), and numerous staff from the planning and police depts.
 
Residents had many concerns, including but not limited to:
  • Safety of pullouts onto Washington from Beach, Central, Eddy, Parsons, Lowell, Walker (bad visibility for drivers)
  • Safety for pedestrians crossing Washington to/from Trader Joes, bus stops, Cook, Paint Bar, etc.
  • Calling for a left turn signal at Washington/Lowell (going east on Washington)
  • Ugliness along Washington next to Mass Pike, discouraging walkers
  • Lack of safety for cyclists along whole stretch
  • Question whether the bumpouts are beneficial – help pedestrians but make it harder for cyclists
  • Harvard St – city has made improvements, some asked whether enough has been done
Film: Chasing Ice
Under my role as co-chair of the Newton Democratic City Committee, I worked with Green Decade to arrange for the film Chasing Ice to run at the Newton Senior Center on March 27, at 7PM. A discussion will follow the showing.
 
Office Hours
I hold office hours on the last Fri of the month at 9am at the Newton Senior Center – next one is March 28.  Please drop by or call or email anytime to share your ideas or concerns.

Lastly - don't forget to turn the clock forward one hour this weekend... spring is on the way!

Warm regards,

Emily

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Contact Emily

Email: emily@emilynorton.org

Phone:  617-795-0362
Cell:  508-397-6839

www.emilynorton.org

Councilor Emily Norton
58 Prescott Street
Newton, Massachusetts 02460

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