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Andrea posed a good question in an e-mail: isn't there a shorter route from the Newton Highlands T station to Needham Street, Avalon Bay in particular?
Look at the map and the answer is not really. The route along Centre Street to Needham Street isn't exactly as-the-crow-flies, but it isn't that far from it. (Of course, the as-the-crow-flies route is along the Needham Street spur, which cries out for an extension of the D-Line.)
But, two things are really striking when you look hard at the map:
Avalon Bay is just 600 feet from the T tracks, and yet you have to walk over 3,000 feet to get to the Newton Highlands stop
The only thing between Avalon Bay and a direct walk to the Eliot Street is city-owned property — the Eliot Street Yard, a DPW facility
The Eliot Street Yard is a working facility with heavy equipment and supplies, but there must be a clever way to integrate a pedestrian cut-through. At the very least, it shouldn't be a problem to create a pedestrian path that skirts the yard and stays on city property.
Drawn as I've shown it, the Eliot station option only saves 500 feet or so to a like place in the front of the Avalon complex, but the advantages get much better the farther west you go down Needham Street. Plus, the walk would be much more pleasant.
I doubt there's sufficient right-of-way along the track to do the along-the-track option. But, what would it take to put another stop right behind Avalon Bay? The name writes itself: Easy Street Station. (Of course, Needham Street makes more sense.) It would benefit the east end of Needham Street as well as the Eliot Street/Boylston Street shopping center.