Dear Sustainable Watertown,
We are delighted to report that the Town Council has had a first reading to include a $130,000 position for a Transportation Planner. We are hopeful that the position will be approved, funded, and filled with great urgency since the need is tremendous. The Planning Board has approved the Design Standards and the Council will vote on them. The Council and Planning Board are having a joint hearing of the Comprehensive Plan this week before a future vote. A Transportation Planner could be expected to view these plans with an eye to the public realm and consider traffic, parking, and all modes of transportation from pedestrians to TMAs, or Transportation Management Associations. A Transportation Planner would work with our Planning Department as has David Gamble, the Architect Planner previously hired to work on design guidelines and non- public realm issues. An overview of the city and its circulation, streets, paths, sidewalks, and parking is essential. Hundreds of petition signers for a Moratorium last year hoped to have a Transportation Planner look at the public realm infrastructure. We look forward to learning from and working with a creative and future-thinking Transportation Planner.
Place is more than just a location on a map. A sense of place is a unique collection of qualities and characteristics--visual, cultural, social, and environmental--that provide meaning to a location. A community's unique identity also adds economic and social value. To foster distinctiveness, cities must plan for built environments and settlement patterns that are both uplifting and memorable and that foster a sense of belonging and stewardship by residents.
...In the future, planners will have to help communities adapt to change while maintaining or enhancing the things that they value most. Lyman Orton...calls this "heart and soul planning." It is both a process and a philosophy.
The process seeks to engage as many people as possible in community decision making. The philosophy recognizes that special places, characteristics and customs have value.Given all this, I believe that one of the big questions for cities in the future will be:Do you want the character of your city to shape the new development, or do you want the new development to shape the character of the city?
Edward T. McMahon, Why Character is Key to an Economically Vibrant City, April 11, 2012, Urban Land.
Questions for discussion, Planning and Zoning process in Watertown:
Volunteers are needed to make this project successful. We would appreciate your help with this Planning and Zoning Public Discussion Series.
Look for the posters in store windows all over town from ReThink Plastic that say: Make a Difference with Reusable Shopping Bags. We look forward to a ban on single use plastic bags in Watertown being voted in this Spring.
Don't forget to Friend Sustainable Watertown's new Facebook page. We'll see how it works for facilitating discussions, finding new sources of information, and getting important information to you between Updates.
Thanks for all you do,
MAY 6, WEDNESDAY, 9:30-12, Senior Center. First time seniors can buy a Charlie Card.
MAY 6, WEDNESDAY, 6-9PM, Watertown Middle School. Comprehensive Plan hearing, combined Council and Planning Board.
MAY 7, THURSDAY, 7PM, Coolidge School Apartments,Developer meeting for 80 Elm Street hotel redesigns.Let's see if Design Guidelines and the values and goals of the Comprehensive Plan had any influence on the original "design."
MAY 9, SATURDAY, 10-2PM. Recycling event.
MAY 10, 8-10AM. MOTHER'S DAY WALK FOR PEACE. Contact minister@fpwatertown to see if there is room on a bus going from the First Parish Church at 7:15.
MAY 10, SUNDAY, 1;30-5PM, HEALTHY GARDEN TOUR, WATERTOWN.
MAY 11, MONDAY, 6;30 PM, LIBRARY FILM NIGHT,SELMA.
MAY 13, WEDNESDAY, 7PM, Town Hall. Joint Committee Safety, Rules, Economic Development. Bring Your Own Liquor Licenses.
WILL THE CHARACTER OF OUR TOWN SHAPE THE NEW DEVELOPMENT, OR THE NEW DEVELOPMENT SHAPE THE CHARACTER OF OUR TOWN?
MAY 13, WEDNESDAY, 7PM, Town Hall. PLANNING BOARD. Greystar/Elan (Irving and Arsenal Streets) and 80 Elm Street Hotel.
Check Documents on the Town Website, Planning->Cases.
MAY 14, THURSDAY, 7-9PM. Public Works presents aninformational meeting about the Mt Auburn Street and the Orchard/Church/Common Street intersection redesigns. Really. Tufts Health Plan, 705 Mt Auburn Street, Cafe. Please check the draft plans carefully on line and take your ideas for a Complete Streets design that includes safe passage for bikes, pedestrians, as well as cars.
MAY 18, MONDAY, 6-8PM. TOWN COUNCIL BUDGET OVERVIEW. Town Hall. Please check these important documents and look for meetings on particular areas of the budget: MAY 20, Wednesday, 6-8. MAY 26, Tuesday, 8-10. MAY 30, SATURDAY, 9-3PM. Council Chambers.
MAY 27, WEDNESDAY, 6;30-7. Economic Development and Planning Committeepreliminary interview withJason Cohen, applicant for ZBA alternate position. Please submit your questions for the applicant to the Subcommittee members, Mr Corbett, Chair, Ms Falkoff, and Mr Piccirilli.
See note re: Planning and Zoning Public Discussions.
MAY 27, WEDNESDAY, 7PM. ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS. 65 Grove Street. Others locations TBA.
JUNE 4, THURSDAY, 6:30, Library, TMA EDUCATIONAL FORUM to discuss Transit Management Associations which supplement the MBTA and could serve the public as well as the private sector. Watertown Public Transit Task Force (WPTTF) is sponsoring the Forum in collaboration with the Watertown Belmont Chamber of Commerce.