Speed, data, crashes

11/2/20223 min read

If you feel like your street is treated like a racetrack, you are hardly alone. It's one of the most common complaints I hear from residents. The city has a list of requests for traffic calming--which uses paint or curb changes to force drivers to take it easy--for over 150 streets. Despite increasing budget lines (now at $350,000, plus $2m in ARPA funds), that list keeps growing.

Before we invest further, I asked the Transportation Division of DPW to report on some completed installations. It is important that we know whether these traffic measures work. The division has data on Grant, Beethoven, Allan, Chestnut and Pearl.
The upshot: more investment often produced slower speeds. Still, Director Jason Sobel and the committee agreed, Newton needs a regular process for post-construction evaluation so that we can invest smarter. Details of the department’s findings will be in the final report, in next Friday's packet. Meanwhile, the audio is here.

Keep moving forward!To continue this important work, the budget line for traffic calming will need to grow (and there's inflation…). This is one reason I enthusiastically support the proposed operating override--it will include funding for safety, add to our in-house team that does pavement markings, and help drive more repairs to roads and sidewalks. (More on the debt exclusion questions in a future update).
But that’s not all--to get up to speed on the whole proposal, visit the city’s informational site here, or attend one of these meetings

  • Hear from Newton's DPW at a virtual roundtable discussion about streets and sidewalks at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow, Nov. 1. Join the meeting here.

  • Chat with Senior Services Director Jayne Colino at a virtual chat on Wednesday morning, Nov. 2 at 9:00 a.m. Join here.

  • Hear from Department Heads from the City and Newton Public Schools administrators at a virtual Town Hall at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3. Join here.

More Transportation Dates:

  • Nov. 2 -- learn about the current options under consideration for the rejuvenation of Newton Highlands. Let DPW know what appeals to you! Details on joining the meeting here.

  • Also Nov. 2 is the MBTA’s public meeting on the second draft of the Better Bus Project. I would like to see further restoration of the one-seat Express Bus downtown from Washington St., the extension of the Rt. 60 bus to Newton Centre and a re-think of the rerouting of the 59 bus down Adams St, where it will likely wait multiple signal cycles to take a left off Washington. But please tell the T what you would prefer.

Cool Articles:

  • Tiny invertebrates are the basis of all life as we know it. Here’s how to figure out which of them is eating leaves in your yard.

  • Why small homes across the country are losing out to big McMansions.

Road Work

  • Chestnut St. between Beacon and Commonwealth will get a patch for the winter (smoother pavement, but temporary), and the sidewalk work may not start until Spring.

  • Needham St. will remain a work zone until 2024--but good things are coming there. Details in the mayor's newsletter.

  • OK, not a road, but work is starting on making the three Worcester-line rail stations in Newton accessible.

Council Updates

  • The FIRST DRAFT of the Village Center zoning maps is out. Let us know what you think!

  • Crisis Intervention Teams: The December 7 Public Safety meeting will build on the data presented at last month’s meeting with Chief Carmichael and HHS staff explaining how the CIT is working to help residents in crisis.

Money & other help

  • Child Tax Credit & Stimulus Payment If your household did not receive the child tax credit or third stimulus payments from 2021, there's still time to claim those benefits for eligible families! Households with low- or no income can complete a simplified tax filing tool at Deadline to apply is Nov. 15th! Call the City's Social Services Division if you need assistance at 617-796-1420.

  • That's also the number to call if you need help signing up for home heating assistance.

  • Access to Internet at Reduced Rates The Affordable Connectivity Program is an FCC program that helps connect families and households struggling to afford Internet service. Benefits for eligible households include a discount of up to $30/mo for broadband and a one-time discount of up to $100 toward a laptop or other computer. Learn more here. Or call 877-384-2575