Next week, the Newton traffic council is expected to review a soon-to-be docketed item that could potentially eliminate free parking along Walnut Street in Newton Highlands.
At present, an estimated 50 cars per day park on the stretch from the fountain on the corner of Forest to the aqueduct near Beacon Street. Residents along the street say the vast majority of those who park there are commuters using the Newton Highlands MBTA stop.
As you’ll see from the photos, the problem isn’t just that parking is allowed but that many drivers frequently ignore parking rules ( including parking within 10 feet of a fire hydrant, parking within 5 feet of a private driveway or alleyway and parking within 20 feet of an intersection).
Some of those in favor of eliminating parking there say it is necessary because the city doesn’t enforce the rules. But is that a reason to stop the practice or demand better enforcement? Others argue that any parked cars there create a visibility problems and thus, pose a safety hazard, especially for children crossing the street to get to the bus stop.
Some opponents worry that removing cars along that stretch will remove a traffic calming benefit and lead to more speeding. Others worry that eliminating the spots will just create new problems along side streets and potentially hurt Highlands businesses.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts here and vote in a poll on the Newton Highlands Neighborhood Area Council Facebook page.
photos by Paul Gilbert