Campaign Week-in-Review: 7/5/19 - Voters want safe streets, less congestion

by Izzy Klein, Interim Campaign Organizer | Subscribe by Email

Happy Independence Day week! I hope everyone had a restful day off! Although many Ward 5 residents are out of town, we were able to meet many of you out in the community earlier this week. Despite the heat, Bill knocked over 240 doors in Waban, Newton Upper Falls, and the small piece of West Newton that is in our ward. As of this week, our campaign has knocked over 4,000 doors as we approach the end of our second pass through Ward 5. 

Last Friday, Bill had the pleasure of knocking some of these doors with Ward 5 environmental activist Helen Rittenberg. Bill and Helen were able to talk to our neighbors about the issues they are passionate about, including the environment and the ways we can protect various natural spaces in Newton. 

Bill also attended the annual Fourth of July celebration at Albemarle Field.

Traffic and Street Safety

While on the doors this week, Bill was able to talk to constituents about issues that matter to them. One of the most frequently mentioned issues was traffic and congestion, especially on busier streets like Needham St. Bill seeks policy solutions for traffic congestion in Newton, not only for its own sake but also to reduce our city’s carbon footprint. It’s one of the harder problems to crack in Newton, but there are steps we can take. One key will, of course, be to make it easier and safer for people to bike, walk, and use public transit in the city of Newton. While we’re not expecting everyone to make the switch from cars, enabling more people to do so would ease some of the traffic congestion in our streets. Many of you have told us that you would prefer to use these alternatives when possible if they were more available and safer.

In fact, a number of Ward 5 residents this week specifically asked about making streets (including sidewalks) safe for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers alike. Bill supports the substantial expansion of protected bike lanes and bike paths so that any resident can go anywhere in Newton safely by bicycle (which will also improve safety for drivers when bikes are on the road near them). Sidewalk safety has been a big concern for voters of all ages, from young parents with strollers and small kids going to the park to elderly residents and people with wheelchairs. Bill generally walks from home to his door-knocking areas, whenever possible, so he is keenly aware of the rough shape some of our sidewalks are in (or the streets where they do not exist at all).

Improving our existing transportation modes and expanding options will be critical to our city’s goals on traffic, the environment, economic development, and so much more. As ward councilor, Bill would:  

  • Support reforms to parking requirements to aid local businesses in our village centers, and increase safe walkability in those centers

  • Push to decrease car dependency and make transportation alternatives, such as bikes and public transportation viable for those who want those options

  • Promote cooperation with the state and surrounding municipalities such as Needham and Wellesley to better regionally integrate public transit options for short-distance trips