Thankfully, there has been growing awareness in Newton of the need for good pedestrian accommodations in new development projects. With development like the Newton Nexus (on Needham Street at the former TripAdvisor site) coming on line, it would be useful to understand what good pedestrian accommodations actually means in practice. This is the first installment (of what I hope will be a series) of videos looking at what works and doesn’t work around Newton, focusing on recent development.

In this installment (actually two), I look at the pedestrian pathways that connect the north and south retail sections of Chestnut Hill Square.

Full and fair disclosure: I was a long-time vocal critic of the project design. Now that it’s been around for a while, I find that I’m partially vindicated and also pleasantly surprised. Second video and written summary after the jump.

Bottom line:

  • The north and south sections of the upper part of Chestnut Hill Square are too far apart, separated by an unfriendly sea of parking — bad
  • There are nice pedestrian paths, with landscaping and seating, safely connecting the two sections — good
  • The design of the paths does not encourage folks from parked cars to use the paths (except from a few spaces), more or less forcing drivers and passengers to walk in the parking lot, in and amongst the traffic — bad

I should note that I looked at only one of the paths connecting north and south. There are three such paths.