A vision of Needham Street as more than just a car corridor is slowly taking shape. It’s not just in the Planning Department’s sketch books, and it certainly hasn’t hit Highland Avenue (Needham Street once it crosses into Needham), but it’s evident in Land Use decisions already.
Take the recent permit for 170 Needham in this week’s reports. Looks simple, but the full report shows that like earlier approved developments, this one will take down the current, set-back building, and replace it with one on the street, parking in the rear. Fewer curb-cuts and more curb-appeal make for a more walkable retail area–and with a chance at tempting shoppers to walk (and shop) more, you also get the possibility of higher foot traffic per car. All good for sales. Further, this permit requires undergrounding the utilities–as this continues down the street and the overhead wires disappear, street trees make a comeback and green medians and sidewalk strips are added…it becomes more like Newton and less like a series of strip malls.
Otherwise, you may be happy to know the moratorium on pot dispensaries is on; that sewer repairs are accelerating–which if you pay sewer rates is a good thing, since you won’t be paying for emergency repairs or water leaking into sewer pipes–and that work on the parking ban, the fire station and other projects continues apace.