Traffic Resulting From Northland’s Proposal

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) often reviews development proposals that have regional (not just local) impacts.  Due to MAPC’s charter, the review is aimed at the overall impacts of the project on the whole region (and not the local impacts that affect all of us).

Nevertheless, MAPC’s review of the proposed Northland development on Needham street (available here) found that the project “is expected to add 4,521 daily vehicle trips to the site for a total of 12,548 vehicle trips.”

Additionally, in a 2013 study of traffic on Needham street (available here), the MAPC found that:

  • Traffic on Needham Street has a regional character. License plates are registered in more than 100 Massachusetts communities.
  • Seventy percent of the traffic on Needham Street is pass-by/pass-through and it is
    captive in character. This traffic does not save time by switching routes and will use Needham Street regardless of transportation infrastructure improvements.
  • The likely source of future traffic surges on Needham Street is secular growth based on a gradual increase in population and economic activities and/or introducing new developments or redeveloping existing properties.

The MAPC concluded that “impact on future Needham Street traffic patterns because of transportation projects would be minor—unless new developments that increase trips to the Needham Street area are realized (i.e., constructed and occupied).”

Thus, according to the MAPC, Northland’s proposed development will add over 4,500 daily trips to Needham street, even with the proposed shuttle buses included in the proposal (more on this later).

In order for this project to be approved, the city council has to find that (among other things):

  • The proposed development as developed and operated will not adversely affect the neighborhood (§7.3.3.C.2);
  • There will be no nuisance or serious hazard to vehicles or pedestrians created by (§7.3.3.C.3);
  • Access to the site over streets is appropriate for the types and numbers of vehicles involved (§7.3.3.C.4);

If you agree that adding 4,500 daily trips to a road already overburdened by traffic (and which the MAPC does not think can be fixed, due to its regional nature) does not fit the above criteria, please take the time to let your city councilors know.

You can find their contact information by clicking on their names at this site:


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