Green Newton’s Transportation Committee is working to reduce our carbon footprint, conserve natural resources, and create a more sustainable community by expanding Newton’s transportation options. We encourage walking, bicycling and transit use and want to reduce the number of Vehicle Trip Miles in Newton. We endorse “Complete Streets”, a policy to reverse decades of practices and policies that prioritize cars over all other types of transportation. We support programs and infrastructure designed to enhance safety while reducing traffic congestion and air pollution.
Transportation accounts for 1⁄3 of Newton’s carbon dioxide emissions, primarily from motor vehicles. The transportation sector is the fastest growing carbon dioxide source in the US, with emission rates rising 2% per year. More efficient fuels and “clean” vehicles won’t be enough to offset the 41% increase in emissions that will result from the projected 59% increase in driving by 2030.
Walking, bicycling and increased transit use also reap significant human health benefits, due to increased physical activity, while enhancing awareness of the natural world and promoting social interaction.
We support the creation of a Newton Transportation Department (now a division of DPW) to facilitate implementation of the Bicycle Network Plan (adopted in 2012) and the pending Pedestrian Plan, Transit Priority Plan and Parking Management Plan. We support the use of best practices and modern traffic calming approaches to enhance the safety of all road users. We are working to bring Hubway (Boston’s regional bicycle-sharing program) to Newton. We collaborate with Newton Safe Routes to School, and are working to expand safety education at all age levels, especially for children, with our partner organization Bike Newton. We support state legislation to lower the default speed limit and the city’s efforts to enforce better bike lane, path, and sidewalk snow removal.
Dedicating resources to active transportation creates a well-documented virtuous circle: better crosswalks and marked bike lanes make walking and biking safer, so that more people choose to walk and bike. As the numbers of bicyclists and pedestrians increase, crash rates are reduced significantly for all road users.