Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A vision for the future

It's time to turn back years of bad policy and realize the pedestrian potential of all of our city streets, including Boylston Street.

So said, Alderman Vicki Danberg last night in what was the highlight of an otherwise mixed meeting of the Zoning and Planning committee.

During discussions of a provision of the proposed Planned Multi-Use Business Development amendment that will discourage, if not prohibit, degradation of the pedestrian environment, some aldermen — generally and with regard to Boylston Street in particular — suggested that there are some roads in Newton that are not just not appropriate for pedestrian travel. Alderman Danberg (and others) flat rejected the notion that some roads are simply not pedestrian corridors.

Alderman Danberg said, in effect, that the only reason such roads are not pedestrian-friendly is decades of bad policy, that how roads such as Boylston Street get designed and used is completely up to us to decide, and that we should take every opportunity, no matter how small, to realize a vision of human scale and pedestrian connectivity. (I didn't get Alderman Danberg's words verbatim; I am not doing them justice by my summary.)

It was a deeply heartening moment. More importantly, it was yet another sign that the tide is turning.

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