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 Reservation. View the area on Google Maps.
1955 aerial photo
At online public meetings in January and November, 2021, DCR presented plans for a pedestrian- and bike-friendly redesign of the Parkway, and asked for public comments about the plans.
The revised plan presented in November incorporated several changes in the preliminary plan that were requested in February by the Conservators and other Newton groups, including the addition of a crosswalk protected by pedestrian-activated flashing lights. The revised plan was included in this meeting presentation.
DCR has asked for public comments on the revised plan. Comments are due by December 1st, and may be submitted here.
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.
This image shows a cross-section, looking to the North, of the plan presented in January 2021.
The next image shows the revised plan presented in November 2021:
The revised plan made two important changes:
- The landscaped buffer between the travel lanes and the bike/pedestrian path (at left, above) is increased from 10′ to 15′ wide
- A four-foot-wide pedestrian path is added on the east side of the roadway.
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:
Image showing “typical view” of proposed design:
January meeting responses
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 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.
More information about the January 21st DCR meeting:
Other comments on January proposal
Village 14: Putting the “Park” in Hammond Pond Parkway
June 2021 Updates
DCR released a master plan for improvements to its entire parkway system:
Master Plan (278 pages; the plan is dated August 2020, but its release was delayed due to the COVID pandemic)
Hammond Pond Parkway section of master plan
November 2021 Updates
November 10, 2021, Meeting Presentation
Newton Conservators position on the DCR proposal
January 27, 2021
Newton Conservators has coordinated with other local groups in a joint letter of support for the project. Below is additional detail on some of the elements requested in the joint letter:
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.