Back when Northland was just a twinkle in an architect’s eye. Back when Riverside was just a deal that fell through. Before Riverdale and Washington Place and Dunstan East. Before Right Size Newton and Voters for a Vibrant Newton. At a time when many housing activists on both sides of the debate were first cutting their teeth and getting their bearings at City Hall. 

First, there was Austin Street. Which at the time, depending on your perspective, was a modest proposal to begin creating new housing in Newton or an eyesore that would snarl traffic to a halt, shutter small businesses, and gentrify the neighborhood. 

So here we are. We watched the green boxes go up, and then disappear beneath brick and siding. The building is built. Residents (all? some?) having been living in their apartments long enough, perhaps, to call them home. The coming soon signs are on storefronts, hiring employees, and stocking the shelves. 

Now that we’re (basically) at the finish line, it seems like an appropriate time to ask: What do you think?

  • Did traffic get worse? Were you expecting it to?
  • Is the parking adequate? Full? Convenient?
  • Are the small businesses in the area thriving? Did they make it through the construction period alright?
  • Has the neighborhood gentrified? Is it an eyesore? Was it better than you expected?
  • Are the public spaces more than you expected? Less? Do you use the benches, the bike racks, or the playground?

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