With work planned for four crossings between Newton and Needham, Needham Selectmen are weighing the benefits of restricting access to and from the City of Newton. An abandoned railroad crossing over 128, championed by bicycle and pedestrian advocates as part of a new connection between the communities, is slated to be demolished in the coming months as part of the add-a-lane project. Changes to river crossings at Highland Avenue and Kendrick are in design, and a historic bridge at Central Avenue is slated to be closed, beginning this summer.
“An opportunity like this does not come along often, with all crossings under consideration at the same time. This could really be a game changer. Why not make the closing permanent?” asks Chairman John Bulian. “Keep out the riff-raff, and maximize the small town feel of Needham as well as the tax revenue of the New England Business Center on the outskirts of town.”
Previous attempts to lure the village of Newton Upper Falls to secede have failed, and with the imminent departure of Newton’s Mayor, the outlook for future relations seems unlikely to improve. Under the proposal, increased traffic flow from the newly expanded 128/I-95 highway would service Needham’s new office parks exclusively. Kendrick and Highland crossings could be limited to emergency access only after the latest round of work is complete.