Metro, Business, Newton

Newton Plans Accessibility and Safety Upgrades in Pettee Square Using Investments Totaling $3 Million

Massachusetts granted over $2 million to Newton for the city to improve the function, accessibility, and safety of Pettee Square, Mayor Ruthanne Fuller wrote in an Oct. 20 newsletter update. The city will also use an additional $1.1 million in federal funding for the improvements.

Pettee Square is located at the intersection of Chestnut and Oak Streets in Newton Upper Falls. 

“This work will improve the safety of the intersection for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians,” Fuller wrote in the newsletter. “The area will be fresh and more beautiful and inviting.”

The proposed improvements will include a raised intersection and crosswalks, Americans with Disabilities Act–compliant curbs, new concrete sidewalks, and better lighting, Fuller wrote in the newsletter.

The mayor’s announcement comes at a time of increased private developments near Pettee Square. Northland, a development group, is investing almost $1 billion into residential, office, and retail space down the block, according to Fuller. 

Newton resident Behdad Shahossini said he hopes the city retains the square’s beauty through the changes. A cafe and several restaurants sit near the intersection marked by red brick sidewalks.

“It’s getting crowded, a little bit,” Shahossini said. “So, that is my concern, and there’s a new construction going on in here. And I’m worried [about] how it’s going to affect the traffic here.” 

Shahossini often comes to the square while walking his dog. He said he wants the city to retain the cleanliness of the square. 

Wanda Whitmore, a resident who lives four minutes from the square, said she visits it four times a week. She especially likes the square in the summertime, when benches and a piano liven up the intersection. 

She said she hopes the project replenishes the area’s trees.

“I know that we’ve been cutting down trees a little further down this street and by the new construction towards Needham Street,” Whitmore said. “The trees are beautiful, and we need as much greenery as possible.”

The city will also improve benches, trees, pavement markings, and draining systems in the square, according to Fuller. 

The state government will fund the improvements through its MassWorks Infrastructure Program, a competitive program that gives municipalities funds to spur private investment and accelerate housing development, according to the program’s website.

The improvements will create a better experience for all of the square’s visitors, Fuller said in the newsletter.

“For bocce ball players, for people walking on the Greenway, for visitors to the Depot Coffee Shop, the Biltmore Bar & Grille and the other stores, this will be a nicer environment,” she wrote in the newsletter. 

October 30, 2022