Several years ago, the Newton Centre Task Force studied what was good about that village and what needed to be fixed. One of the few points where I think everyone agreed was that Union Street was a gem, with its cozy streetscape, passageways and courtyards.
Walking around Newtonville with some planners from the MAPC last year, some noted similar potential in Bram Way, not far from the Austin Street lot under consideration for development. There are several alleys cutting through the adjacent block, between Walnut Street and the Austin Street lot, which could be inviting passageways between stores and parking or perhaps even courtyard dining. Today, they lead only to desolate private parking lots, uninviting for pedestrians or business development.
Much thought is going into how to improve the Walnut Street streetscape. What if businesses faced Bram Way? Perhaps Bram Way could become another Union Street, providing a solid connection between the new Austin Street development and the Walnut Street shops?