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City Council President Marc Laredo shared some thoughts about traffic and parking in an email to campaign supporters (and also let them know that he will be seeking reelection).  Here’s the portion of his email about traffic and parking.

Dear Friends:

I hope that you and your families are doing well and looking forward to spring!
In this update, I will focus on two interrelated issues that are a source of continued frustration for Newton residents – traffic and parking.
As I travel through the city, whether walking, running, biking or driving, it is readily apparent that we have a lot of automobile traffic.  At times, it is difficult to walk or bike safely, and parking can be limited.  So what should we do?
We need to promote safe walking and bicycling and the use of mass transit. Yet, at the same time, we should acknowledge that many (perhaps most) of us use automobiles on a regular basis in Newton, whether in our own vehicles or through ride sharing companies, and it is likely that we will continue to do so in the near future.  There also is likely to be a significant increase in home delivery services.  So we need to provide safe and effective means of travel for all users (pedestrians, runners, cyclists, drivers, and mass transit riders), including places to park bicycles and cars.  We also need to be receptive to and encourage the use of new technologies that will change how we transport ourselves, self-driving cars, expanded ride sharing services, and electric scooters are just a few examples.
Here are some principles that should guide us as we tackle these issues:

  • Consider and balance the needs of all users as we undertake street and sidewalk improvements.
  • Plan for all seasons, especially for cold, wet and snowy conditions, and not just ideal weather.
  • Improving the physical condition of our streets and sidewalks is beneficial to all of us and needs to continue to be an important city priority.  
  • Seemingly small changes, such as synchronizing traffic signals and better lighting at crosswalks, can ease congestion and make walking safer.
  • Where feasible, try pilot programs for new initiatives that we are considering, such as if we decide to try to reduce the number of travel lanes on Washington Street.
  • As we try to encourage certain transportation-related behavior, acknowledge that our personal transportation decisions often are motivated by convenience. 
  • Carefully consider the consequences, including unintended ones, of our actions.  For example, if we lift the winter parking ban at the same time that we reduce the number of parking spaces required in new residential developments, will that merely lead to year-round overnight on-street parking rather than a reduction in automobile ownership and use? 
  • Continue to engage in respectful, measured civic discourse as we address these issues.


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