The T’s "Better Bus" Newton plan would permanently eliminate many bus routes that were well-used before the pandemic (including popular express buses). The new plan also eliminates many of the stop gap routes that have been inadequately serving commuters and employers since.
Lost routes include:
Service on Chapel and Adams Street in Nonantum (home to a growing cluster of bio, technology and other companies) as well as service along a key part of Crafts Street.
A route along Commonwealth Ave and Washington Street near Newton Wellesley hospital.
Service along Eliot Street, just as the Northland and other projects are being developed in that corridor.
There are literally dozens of other changes too, which you can view on these maps. (But remember the routes marked “the network today” don’t reflect the network of two years ago, so this is a double whammy.)
Study praises efforts to include diverse voices in housing discussions
A new report from two Boston University researchers documents how older white, residents have a disproportionate say in what gets built in our suburban communities.
But the study's authors also give a shout-out to the City of Newton's Planning Department for its efforts to circumvent the problem.
“This report vividly illustrates how the housing process in cities and towns favors established residents with the time and means to be able to track town board schedules and attend in-person meetings,” writes Lee Pelton, the Boston Foundation's president and CEO, which co-sponsored the report.
“As a result, the bias toward older, existing homeowners effectively excludes a broad range of people from accessing housing in the communities of their choice and perpetuates housing segregation," Pelton adds.
The authors document how public meetings "disproportionately attract neighbors opposed to new housing and greater density” and excludes individuals, families are renters most likely to benefit from new housing.
But the study goes on to praise recent efforts in Newton (page 8 in the report) to address some of those shortcomings through deliberate outreach efforts to under-represented populations, including focus groups with high schoolers, folks with disabilities, older adults, renters, BIPOC and LBGTQ communities (that last one caused a bit of a kerfuffle), among others. Of course, nothing housing-related in Newton is controversy free. The study also points to a counter-offensive from one neighborhood group which urged participants to obscure the fact “you are a homeowner or a white, middle-aged person” when expressing opinions about development.
Wellesley seeking input on downtown streetscapes
Wellesley’s Select Board has begun an evaluation of streetscape features and amenities in Wellesley Square. There will be two virtual meetings next week to discuss design considerations and concept plans.
Meeting for merchants: Weds, June 22, 7 p.m.: Register
Meeting for abutters/residents: Thursday, June 23, 7 p.m. Register
Visit 74 Central Street or 50 Central Street to view images.
Other need to knows
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Needham’s Revitalization Trust Fund will unveil a really interesting rotating mural project Sunday that showcases the inspiring stories of Needhamites (an astronaut, scientists, musicians, artists, Olympic champions, professional athletes, entrepreneurs, inventors and more). “People From Needham Who Have Changed The World In Incredible Ways!” will be unveiled Sunday at 9 a.m. on Chapel Street, next to Needham Center Fine Wines 1013 Great Plain Ave.
Watertown’s City Council has finalized contract negotiations with incoming City Manager George Proakis. Proakis spent the past 12 years overseeing economic development and planning in Somerville and seven years doing similar work in Lowell before that. He begins his new position in August. (Watertown News).
The City of Newton will hold the first of a series of meetings tomorrow (June 17) at 8 a.m. with owners of the city’s largest buildings to discuss the eventual creation of a BERDO-like ordinance that would mandate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from properties over 20,000 square feet. Details.
Say hello to our newest members!
Chamber membership underwrites our advocacy, programing and this newsletter. Please join me in welcoming the businesses and nonprofits that joined your chamber in May.