Newton developer pitches shuttle to help ease traffic
Northland Investment Corp. wants to offer a shuttle service that would connect its proposed mixed-use development in Newton to area transit stops, as well as locations in Cambridge and Boston.
The pitch for the shuttles comes as city officials continue to review Northland’s project, which would include 13 buildings and be built on about 22.6 acres at the corner of Needham and Oak streets.
The proposed development would include 822 residential units, with a mix of apartments and town-house-type units, plus about 193,000 square feet of office space and about 237,000 square feet of retail space, according to the city’s Planning and Development Department. The proposal also includes 4,000 square feet of community space.
The proposed development is expected to impact traffic at a number of intersections along the Needham Street corridor and surrounding area, according to a Jan. 15 Planning and Development Department memo.
The four proposed shuttle system’s routes, which are part of Northland’s efforts to address traffic issues, would connect the development to Newton, Needham, Cambridge, and Boston, according to the memo.
One route nicknamed “Newton Circulator” would connect the development with the MBTA Green Line at Newton Highlands and Newton Centre, plus the commuter rail’s Newtonville station.
The “Needham Commuter” route would tie with the Needham Heights commuter rail station; the “Cambridge Express” would connect with that city’s Kendall and Central squares; and the “Boston Express” would link the development with the Seaport District and South Station, according to the memo.
The development would require a zoning change and special permit from the Newton City Council to move forward.
The area is already home to traffic woes, and state transportation officials are expected to launch a $22 million effort later this year to reconstruct about 2 miles of Needham Street in Newton and Highland Avenue in Needham to help improve the flow of traffic.