Comment by February 18 on Proposed Hammond Pond Parkway Improvements

Hammond Pond Parkway is a four-lane road that carries fast-moving traffic between Beacon Street and Route 9 in Chestnut Hill.  The Parkway runs through the middle of Newton’s Webster Conservation Area and the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Hammond Pond ReservationView the area on Google Maps.

At an online public meeting on January 21, 2021, DCR presented preliminary plans for a pedestrian- and bike-friendly redesign of the Parkway, and asked for public comments about the plans.

The proposal would reduce the number of vehicle lanes from four to two between Beacon Street and the traffic signal at the driveway leading to The Shoppes at Chestnut Hill Mall.  It would create a 12-foot-wide shared-use lane for bicycles and pedestrians on the west side of the roadway, separated by a landscaped median.  The shared-use lane would extend all the way from Beacon Street to Route 9.

The plan proposes to add a pedestrian crossing about 200 yards north of the driveway to the Boston College building.  The crosswalk would connect trailheads on either side of the road, marked as intersections S and Z on the Conservation Commission map.

At its January 27th meeting, the Newton Conservators Board of Directors voted to endorse the proposal, and to suggest several modifications designed to further improve pedestrian safety and public access to the conservation lands. 

Newton Conservators has coordinated with  Transportation Advisory Group, Newton Safe Routes to School Task Force, Bike Newton, Friends of Webster Woods, and Green Newton in a joint  letter of support which can be found at the following link:  Hammond Pond Parkway letter .  The letter covers pedestrian, biking, wayfinding, and parking improvements to the DCR plan.

DCR encourages the public to comment on the plan by the deadline of February 18, 2021. Comments may be submitted online at www.mass.gov/dcr/public-comments.

More information about the meeting:

Meeting presentation

Video recording

DCR has carried out similar redesigns on Nonantum Road in Newton and Boston and on Greenough Boulevard in Cambridge and Watertown.

 

Report and comments on Village 14: Putting the “Park” in Hammond Pond Parkway

1955 aerial photo

 

Image showing “typical view” of proposed design


Newton Conservators position on the DCR proposal

Newton Conservators has coordinated with other local groups shown below in a joint letter of support for the project to DCR.

  • Transportation Advisory Group
  • Newton Safe Routes to School Task Force
  • Bike Newton
  • Friends of Webster Woods
  • Green Newton
  • Newton Conservators 

The joint letter from these groups can be found at  Hammond Pond Parkway letter .

Here is more detail on some of the elements requested in the joint letter above:

The Board of Directors of the Newton Conservators strongly supports the DCR plan for improvements to Hammond Pond Parkway. The proposed plan will greatly enhance the safety of the road for bicyclists and pedestrians, and will improve public access to the Webster Conservation Area and the Hammond Pond Reservation. The Board requested DCR to include in the project the following new and modified elements:

1. The proposed pedestrian crossing of the Parkway should include pedestrian-activated signals that slow or stop automobile traffic on the Parkway.

2. DCR owns much of the northernmost parking lot used by the Shops at Chestnut Hill (Newton Assessor parcel 65008 0004). The 1971 deed (Book 11995, Page 259) that authorized the mall owner to build the parking lot on state land gave DCR the permanent right to allow users of Hammond Pond Reservation to park on this lot. To expand public use of this parking area, we propose the following:

  • Add signs reading “Webster Woods and Hammond Pond Reservation Parking” to each side of the existing signpost at the traffic light on the Parkway:

  • Add a similar sign at the edge of the mall parking lot nearest the trailhead that leads into the reservation.

3. Add several additional small parking areas on both sides of the Parkway to facilitate access to the former Deer Park and to the portions of Webster Conservation Area on the west side of the Parkway both north and south of the MBTA tracks.

4. Include bicycle racks at trailheads and crosswalks on both sides of the Parkway.