At a press conference this week, Newton’s recently appointed first Environmental Commissioner, Rachel Carson, announced climate change preparation plans for Crystal Lake. “Like other forward-thinking municipal administrations, Newton is getting a head start on planning for likely impacts of the now unstoppable rise in global temperatures, which is going to result in Crystal Lake rising several inches.” Commissioner Carson promised that the Crystal Lake plan is the first in a series that will comprehensively cover the city.
According to Commissioner Carson, the Crystal Lake plan addresses three impacts of the anticipated rise in water level: the D-line tracks that run along the lake, surrounding streets, and lakeside homes. The plan calls for both the T tracks and the streets to be raised about a foot. Early analysis suggests that the section of track to be raised is sufficiently short and far enough from the Newton Centre and Newton Highlands stations that neither station will require reconstruction. The plan calls for the city to extend interest-free loans to abutting homeowners to raise their homes on pilings.
Commissioner Carson acknowledges that the plan is not yet funded, but expects the administration to work with the MBTA on the tracks and will put the other parts of the plan on the city’s capital project list.
When asked if the plan was perhaps excessive in light of the size of the body of water, the new Commissioner responded, “This is a plan that is appropriate for a lake. It’s a lake, right? Also, it’s not like we’re talking about quiet residential street. This is one of Newton’s few avenues.”