Ward 1 Zoning Redesign Review Meeting — 2/7

Ward 1 Zoning Redesign Review Meeting — 2/7

I strongly encourage everyone to attend one of the ward review meetings of the first draft of the redesigned zoning ordinance. (That’s a mouthful, eh?) Up next is Ward 1’s meeting, on 2/7 at 6:30 PM at the Ciociaro Club, 144 Bridge St., Nonantum. They...

What if we pay for commuter rail stations

What if, instead of waiting for the MBTA to fix our horrendous commuter rail situation, we started to fix it ourselves? Adam wrote about the cluster that is the Auburndale Station project (here and here). Background: the three Newton stations on the commuter rail are...

Land-use regulation and wealth creation/destruction

The value of land, in most cases, has little to do with the intrinsic value of the soil. Land in Newton is more valuable than land in Wakefield because land in Newton is closer to Boston and living on land in Newton entitles one to send their children to Newton...

Zoning Rewrite: changing the how

Thirty years after the last wholesale1 rewrite, Newton is in the final stages of a redesign of the city’s zoning ordinance. As I noted here, this will arguably produce the most consequential change to the city in generations. Traffic, schools, McMansions,...

40B, but for housing near transit, sorta

Two state legislators have proposed a new bill that, among other things, would limit municipalities ability to block multi-family housing near transit. Bill SD.1640 would require covered cities and towns — Newton is covered — to create at least one...
Jake A. goes wonk on induced demand

Jake A. goes wonk on induced demand

If you received (and read) the most recent edition of Councilor Jake Auchincloss’s newsletter, you got a treat: an informative (and fun!) discussion of the economics of traffic. Go ahead and read it. We’ll wait. As Jake explains, traffic is as much...
Get thee to a Zoning Reform Meeting

Get thee to a Zoning Reform Meeting

Arguably, the upcoming changes to the zoning ordinance — the rules and the map — is the most consequential change to Newton in a generation. (Charter change would have been a contender, had it succeeded.) For that reason, I strongly encourage anyone who...

Bus issues

“Due to a variety of industry issues, Newton and other communities are experiencing severe shortages of bus drivers.” So write Newton Public Schools officials in a letter to NPS bus families. The consequence of driver shortages? “[S]tudents riding our buses may experience delays or gaps in routes.”

https://twitter.com/newton_ps/status/1038423699190374400

Any hypotheses about what’s going to happen as a result of “delays or gaps in [bus] routes”? 

I’m not an economics professor, but I’m gonna guess a pretty quick cure to the “industry issues” resulting in a driver shortage would be increased wages. 

We are so misaligned in Newton on school transportation policy. Any child living within two miles of school has to pay $350 (up to a family cap of $700). And, now, because the city (through contractor Eastern Bus) is not paying drivers enough, that $350 doesn’t even get you decent service. Meanwhile, it costs nothing to drive to school.

Is it any wonder that streets around schools are choked with traffic? 

Car culture run amok and car-free zones

This is how corrosive car culture in Newton is. A fully-grown adult stood up at a public meeting this week to argue for a right turn on red across the street from Angier Elementary School, otherwise frustrated drivers might blow through the crosswalk in a distracting...
Newton needs the Red-Blue Connector

Newton needs the Red-Blue Connector

If you have a moment, please consider signing the Red-Blue Connector e-petition. The petition urges the MBTA to commit to build an actual connector between the Red and Blue lines in the Focus 2040 visioning plan. We all benefit from improvements to connectivity across...

Ban cars around Newton schools

In the United Kingdom, schools are banning “school runs,” the morning drive to drop children off at school. We should do the same in Newton. With a few exceptions for children with special needs, there is just no reason that children need to be driven...

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