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The group Newton Villages Alliance has posted an open call for ideas for the Austin Street parking lot, all of which, so far, call for planting majestic trees and turning part of the lot in Newtonville into a park. (None of the proposals explain how the work will be financed. And it’s not clear if the group is screening ideas and only posting the ones that fit its[secret] steering committee’s vision.)

Meanwhile, former Newton gadfly (and I use the term in the most endearing way)
Anatol Zukerman returned to Newton to attend the most recent Austin Street and in a TAB column concludes ….

People see the skin of a large building but fail to see the life inside of it. People think that every building increases motorized traffic but fail to notice that it makes people work, shop and entertain within a walking distance. On the other hand, the asphalted parking lots like the one on Austin Street across from Shaw’s Market create toxic hot spots, but “people” don’t mind that. Any new structure with greenery would be better than that lot, but “people” don’t like new structures.

…..Most Newtonians want to preserve their style of life and resist other forms of habitat, but urban growth is also natural and it promises a better environment for everybody. People crave parks but modern buildings themselves can contain greenery and produce clean energy.