Newton Open Space and Recreation Plan – Comment on Draft

The City of Newton invites all residents to comment on the Draft 2020-2027 Open Space and Recreation Plan. Please send comments to:  [email protected] . Public comment will be accepted until May 18th, 2020

Full report here:…

If you have only a short time to review the document, our partners at Newton Safe Routes to School recommend reading Chapter 9, which presents goals and their related actions, is a good place to focus. The main item of note for Safe Routes to School is Goal 5, “Connectivity” (page 7).

  • Section 7, page 8, outlines need.
  • Section 8, page 2, defines goal.
  • Section 9, outlines implementation.

From Section 8:
Goal 5: CONNECTIVITY: Linked open space resources with accessible paths, bike lanes, and trails.

Connectivity was a theme that emerged as residents noted their desires for better bike and pedestrian access to Newton’s open space resources. It was oft noted that better bicycle and pedestrian access would serve all of Newton: underserved areas, disabled residents, older residents, families, able-bodied residents, school age children, and local businesses. Many of Newton’s open spaces are primarily accessed by cars. Improved, safe, “quiet” sidewalks, trails and paths that connect these resources and promote passive recreation would be a boon for Newton. Implementing wayfinding and navigation measures within these improved/expanded connections will be highly beneficial to the City. Newton will strive to continue to improve bike and pedestrian safety, bike and pedestrian linkages between open spaces and schools, and connectivity for populations with limited access to open space.

Connected natural areas also contribute to the area’s overall ecological health by providing corridors for safe wildlife passage. Wildlife corridors ensure greater biodiversity, enabling the survival of species that are threatened by human development.”

The OSRP is an important municipal planning document. It provides an inventory of all existing areas of recreational use and open space (City owned and privately owned) and a list of goals and priorities for municipal actions regarding land acquisitions, recreational facility and open space improvements, and accessibility improvements

Newton Safe Routes to School Walking Challenges

Follow Newton Safe Routes on Facebook for a fun challenge every week!

Week #1

Basic: Over the course of the week, find doors that are red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Remember their locations. Challenge: Now plan, and go on, a longer walk where you find them all in rainbow order. Extra Challenge: Now go on a walk where you find them all in REVERSE rainbow order.

Week #2

Find the same route to walk each day this week. It can be the length of your street or a loop from your house. How does it change from day to day? Watch the flowers grow, look for buds on trees. Which birds do you see?

More at:

Idle Free Newton

The Idle Free Newton website is live and offers lots of resources about why we need to turn of our engines to protect our children and clean our air. The initiative aims to reduce air pollution from vehicle exhaust in our city and especially around schools. Please visit to:

Thank you for not idling

Brought to you by: Newton Police Department, Newton Health and Human Services, Newton Public Schools, Newton School Committee, Newton Office of Sustainability, Newton Safe Routes to School, and Green Newton School Connections.


Transportation: How to request anti-idling signs for your school

Unnecessary idling of vehicles is a wasteful and costly practice that harms children’s health and the environment (in addition to the vehicle); in fact, it is against the law to idle for longer than 5 minutes in the state of Massachusetts.

To help support idling reduction efforts in Massachusetts schools, MassDEP offers free anti-idling signage and materials to schools.

In order to request anti-idling signs, please follow the steps suggested by the Newton Safe Routes to School Task Force: 

1. Have your school join The MassDEP Green Team

Register here:
In 2018-2019, the following Newton Schools were registered:  Zervas , Mason Rice, Underwood, Pierce and Newton North.  Please note that membership needs to be renewed annually.

2. Request Equipment

You may request equipment once you have registered.
Go to: and select anti-idling on the right side bar. (form here). It requires the signature of the principal and can be faxed or scanned and emailed. Two options available, and various materials for an anti-idling campaign.

3. Put the signs up

Once the signs come in, the principal can put in a request for the custodian to put them up. A drawing of suggestions for where they should go and specifics of which way they should face are helpful.


Please note that new Blue Zone signs that say “No Idling Per State Law” have been ordered by NPS and will go up in late Sept/Oct.  Newton DPW will install the new Blue Zone signs for all schools.

More on idling: