Category Archives: Environment

Newburyport Rail Trail, Phase 2, Public Meeting and Maps

On Thursday June 28th, 2012 at 7:00 p.m., there will be a public informational meeting in the Firehouse Center for the Arts theatre for Phase 2 of the Clipper City Rail Trail and Harborwalk project.  This is the part of the Newburyport Rail Trail that will go through the South End of Newburyport.

Here are 3 maps courtesy of the Newburyport Planning Office.

Rail Trail map 1, press to enlarge

Rail Trail map 1, press to enlarge

Rail Trail map 2, press to enlarge

Rail Trail map 2, press to enlarge

Rail Trail map 3, press to enlarge

Rail Trail map 3, press to enlarge

For more information on this second phase of the rail trail and to see larger version of the maps go to the City of Newburyport’s website here.

And for more information or questions Geordie Vining, in the Newburyport Planning Office, is the project manager for Phase 2 of Newburyport’s Rail Trail.

They did it

Green Theatre Collective at Sylvester Manor, Shelter Island, NY, Season 2011, As You LIke It (press image to enlarge).

Green Theatre Collective at Sylvester Manor, Shelter Island, NY, As You LIke It (press image to enlarge).

They did it. Green Theatre Collective (GTC) raised $10,000 in 4 weeks.  Oh me of little faith.  And that means that this eco-theater company with its roots (pun intended) in Newburyport, can gather the just plain old lovely young men and women who made up the company last year, and go for it again this year, this time with Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, The Tempest.

And GTC had its maiden voyage right here in Newburyport, Massachusetts, sponsored by Theater in the Open, in a gorgeous setting for Shakespeare’s As You Like It at Maudslay State Park last summer.  With a big thank you for a plug by Tom Salemi  at Newburyport Posts and JC Lockwood at Newbuyrport Arts, along with the Newburyport Daily News and the Newburyport Current.

Ok, its personal. The GTC founder and Executive Producer is my son, Hal Fickett, who got his education right here in Newburyport, Massachusetts (yes, we do have great schools that are most worthy of our support).  And the first performance was dedicated to most beloved Newburyport High School theater teacher, Suzanne Bryan and all Newburyport educators (those graduates do appreciate you folks!).

Am I proud and excited for this young eco-theater company.  You betcha!

Green Theatre Collective at Maudslay State Park, Newburyport, MA, Season 2011 (press image to enlarge).

Green Theatre Collective at Maudslay State Park, Newburyport, MA, As You Like It (press image to enlarge).

Marsh Painting by Heade, Sudden Showers

Martin Johnson Heade Sudden Showers, Newbury Marshes, c 1865-1875

Martin Johnson Heade Sudden Showers, Newbury Marshes, c 1865-1875

Martin Johnson Heade, “Sudden Showers, Newbury Marshes,” c 1865-1875, Oil on Canvas, 13.25″ x  26.31,” Courtesy of the Yale University Art Gallery, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. (Press image to enlarge.)

Another amazing painting of the Newbury marshes by Martin Johnson Heade, thanks to Wikipedia (see previous post). The image is in the public domain.

I‘ve spent decades painting the marshes around Newburyport, and Heade is one of my all time favorites artists.  And this reminds me of the marshes along Rt 1A between Newburyport and Rowley.  A real treat for the Newburyport Blog.

A Martin Johnson Heade Painting of the Marshes

heademartinjohnsonsunlightandshadow

Sunlight and Shadow: The Newbury Marshes (c. 1871-1875), Martin Johnson Heade

Sunlight and Shadow: The Newbury Marshes (c. 1871-1875), Martin Johnson Heade, Oil on canvas, Size: 12″ x 26.5″ John Wilmerding Collection (The National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.)  Press image to enlarge.

How gorgeous is this painting by Martin Johnson Heade, who did a number of paintings of our local marshes.  This is via Wikipedia, so the image must be in the public domain, and I don’t think I was aware of this painting either (see earlier post).

People end up on the Newburyport Blog all the time looking for pictures and photographs of Newburyport.  And it is always so much fun to find another extraordinary image of this beautiful place.

Painting of the Newburyport Marshes by Alfred Bricher

"Hunter in the Meadows of Old Newburyport, Massachusetts" by Alfred Thompson Bircher

"Hunter in the Meadows of Old Newburyport, Massachusetts" by Alfred Thompson Bricher, click to enlarge

(If you click on the painting by Bricher, the image will enlarge)

I have never seen this gorgeous painting of a “Hunter in the Meadows of Old Newburyport, Massachusetts,” by Alfred Thompson Bricher c. 1873.  It’s oil on Canvas, 22″ x 44″ and the image is courtesy of  Wikipedia, and is now apparently in the public domain.  What a treat.

“The scene appears to be in the vicinity of the Little River. Route 1 offered the major overlook easily accessible to artists. In the far right can be seen the ridge of the right bank of the Merrimack over which High Street runs. Cattle have been turned into the marsh for pasture, a practice still allowed on some marsh farms of the area.”

The John Birch Society Comes to Newburyport City Hall

Newburyport City Councilor Ed Cameron has put up a blog post “Bringing Craziness to the Local Level,” where he quotes an article in the New York Times, February 4, 2012, “Activists Fight Green Projects, Seeing U.N. Plot,” the whole article can be read here.

“Across the country, activists with ties to the Tea Party are railing against all sorts of local and state efforts to control sprawl and conserve energy. They brand government action for things like expanding public transportation routes and preserving open space as part of a United Nations-led conspiracy to deny property rights and herd citizens toward cities.

They are showing up at planning meetings to denounce bike lanes on public streets and smart meters on home appliances — efforts they equate to a big-government blueprint against individual rights.”

Councilor Cameron points out that this has arrived at the local level.  Mr. Cameron points out that this was posted on Bill Hudak’s website:

“January 12, 2012 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Join Bill (Hudak) at the Newburyport RTC Meeting at Stripers in Salisbury for an important information meeting regarding Agenda 21.

Local Agenda 21: Coming to Your Neighborhood.
An information session on Agenda 21 by leading expert, Hal Shurtleff (a member of the John Birch Society).
Thursday , Jan. 12, 2012 at 7:30 PM
Stripers Grille Restaurant Function Room
175 Bridge Road, Salisbury. MA 01952

Agenda 21 has infiltrated Newburyport as well as hundreds of other towns. Elected Mayors and town officials are solicited and encouragement (often with taxpayer funded grants) to participate in the many Agenda 21 programs. These programs often come to a city with nice names like The Green Communities Act, Sustainable Development, and ICLEI. They result in mandates like stretch building codes and the mentality that accepts powerful local historic districts (LHD). These organizations appear locally driven, but they represent the coordination of local governments by global entities and the U.N. with social engineering as a true objective.”

The whole thing can be read here.

It was also posted on our local RNC site here.

The John Birch Society comes to Newburyport City Hall, press the link to YouTube here

The John Birch Society comes to Newburyport City Hall, YouTube link

And Hal Shurtleff, a member of the John Birch Society, has also visited Newburyport City Hall, which you can see on YouTube here.

Editor’s Note: It appears that “Stop Un Agenda 21! Stop ICLEI!”  has put a link to this post on their Facebook page.  Just to let you know, I agree with Newburyport City Councilor Ed Cameron, in his post “Bringing Craziness to the Local Level.”  For me trying to link things like historic preservation, a Local Historic District (LHD), Smart Growth and Green initiatives to a U.N plot with social engineering as its objective, is “crazy.”  And to quote a reader of the Newburyport Blog, ” ‘The John Birch Society Comes to Newburyport City Hall’ (yours and Ed’s blogs) has to be one of the scariest things I have read in a long time….what is going on out there?”

And another reader of the Newburyport Blog, “I’m sorry, the irony of you being mistaken for a Bircher is somewhat hilarious :)”

Wording In the Newburyport LHD Ordinance That Would Protect High Street

In 1999 MassHighway almost destroyed High Street (see earlier post here).

I am beyond thrilled.  The Newburyport Local Historic District (LHD) Study Committee has voted to include wording in the proposed draft ordinance to protect High Street, the actual roadway,  if a federal or state grant funding project, to take care of  High Street, ever triggers “major alterations,” the way it did in 1999. It took an exhausting  city wide effort, to stop MassHighway from destroying High Street back in 1999, which would have effected everyone’s property values, especially the houses on High Street. We as a city would never have to go through what we went through in 1999!!

Here is the draft wording that would go in the draft of the proposed LHD ordinance:

Draft language for section of Newburyport Historic District Ordinance

6 – COMMISSION POWERS AND DUTIES

6.7: If a “Major Alteration” is proposed for the public way of High Street, the Commission shall provide design review, consultation, and recommendations during the planning, preliminary design, final design, and construction stages.  While the Commission will not have the authority to grant or deny a permit for such a project, any municipal or state proponent of such a Major Alteration project is required to notify and work with the Commission from the earliest planning stages of the project.  “Major Alterations” are defined as changes to the curb-line, width, and alignment of High Street; the removal of ten or more street trees as part of a single project unless they are designated as hazard trees by the Tree Warden; the removal of a hundred or more linear feet of brick sidewalk and replacement with another material as part of a single project; and the installation of ten or more new signs as part of a single project, and other such alterations of similar magnitude and impact. Paving, striping, utility work within the existing road footprint, sidewalk repair, re-setting curbs in existing alignment, incremental signage alterations, street tree pruning, and other such maintenance and alterations are not defined as “Major Alterations” and will not require the level of consultation and review anticipated by this ordinance.  The purpose of such review, consultation, and monitoring by the Commission will be to broadly maintain and restore the distinctive historic character and alignment of High Street while balancing contemporary vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle transportation and safety needs as well as universal access requirements.

Moving an Old House

I remember when I saw the large new house go in on High Road in Newbury, (that joins 2 big parcels) at the corner of Little’s Lane and thinking to myself “Ut-oh.”  Thinking it’s too butt close to that old house near the Spencer-Pierce-LIttle Farm, and I bet, I thought to myself, someone, somewhere down the line is going to want to take it down, i.e. demolish that old house.

And it appears that the new owners of 1 Little’s Lane who now own both houses, bottom line, want it way far away from their property, whether it’s adios demolished it, or adios move it.

So I was curious what Historic New England’s policy was on moving old houses, since that’s who owns the Spencer-Pierce-Little Farm and who the owner says that they offered it to. I found this on their website.

“To those eager to redevelop the site of an old house, moving seems the fastest way to free up the parcel without appearing unreasonable or insensitive to the history and character of the existing building. But to preservationists, extracting a building from the site where it was built is troubling on many levels. Moving a house off site divorces it from the many material and cultural associations that are intrinsic to its history: its ownership sequence, topographic and historical setting, even the archaeological evidence buried in and around its site, all contribute to the authenticity, the “real-ness,” of the building. Moving can trivialize a building, turning it into an artifact, or souvenir. Normally, relocation also requires destroying elements that are too fragile, deteriorated, or bulky to move with the building.”

You can read the whole thing here.

For Newburyport’s LHD, Conspiracy Theories Just Don’t Fit

I totally agree with the P.Preservationist.  When it comes to advocating for Newburyport’s Local Historic District (LHD) one cannot have a rational back and forth discussion with folks who bring in an expert from the John Birch Society, to explain a conspiracy theory about the United Nations (UN) hatching a social engineering plot about lowering the standard of living for all Americans, and linking that to historic preservation and a proposed Local Historic District in Newburyport, Massachusetts.  (I am not making this up, see previous post.)

Newburyport, Creepy is Us

It would be hard to make this stuff up. It appears that this is being fairly aggressively advanced by our own Newburyport Republican Committee.

An information session on Agenda 21 by leading expert, Hal Shurtleff (who is a member of the John Birch Society).

“Join Bill (Hudak) at the Newburyport RTC (Republican Town Committee) Meeting at Stripers (January 12, 2012 7:00pm – 9:00pm)  in Salisbury for an important information meeting regarding Agenda 21.

Throughout our Country, in MA, and right now in Newburyport, the rights of homeowners are under attack with increased momentum. This is not a coincidence. Please read below to learn about the factors that result in fewer property rights for families across America.

Agenda 21 has infiltrated Newburyport as well as hundreds of other towns. Elected Mayors and town officials are solicited and encouragement (often with taxpayer funded grants) to participate in the many Agenda 21 programs. These programs often come to a city with nice names like The Green Communities Act, Sustainable Development, and ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability). They result in mandates like stretch building codes and the mentality that accepts powerful local historic districts (my emphasis). These organizations appear locally driven, but they represent the coordination of local governments by global entities and the U.N. with social engineering as a true objective.

Mayors and city legislatures may not comprehend what they are endorsing when committing a city to an Agenda 21 Program. Regardless of the specific Agenda 21 program, citizens soon realize their choices become limited, homeowner rights are restricted, and they lose economic progress in their city.” The quote can be read here.

It would be hard for me to believe that any Democrat in my city of Newburyport would feel this way. The Republican website (Bill Hudak for US Congress) points to a website written by Rosa Koire for more information. Rosa Koire has also written exactly the same thing on another website.

“In a nutshell, the plan calls for governments to take control of all land use and not leave any of the decision making in the hands of private property owners.  It is assumed that people are not good stewards of their land and the government will do a better job if they are in control.  Individual rights in general are to give way to the needs of communities as determined by the governing body.  Moreover, people should be rounded up off the land and packed into human settlements, or islands of human habitation, close to employment centers and transportation.  Another program, called the Wildlands Project spells out how most of the land is to be set aside for non-humans.

U.N. Agenda 21 cites the affluence of Americans as being a major problem which needs to be corrected.  It calls for lowering the standard of living for Americans so that the people in poorer countries will have more, a redistribution of wealth.”

And this is being used as a way to fight against the proposed Local Historic District in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

For me this is beyond a “good grief.”

Editor’s note:  New York Times article, February 4, 1012, ”Activists Fight Green Projects, Seeing U.N. Plot,” here.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/04/us/activists-fight-green-projects-seeing-un-plot.html

Service, Helping and Fixing

I looked back at my blog and I came across a post about “Service, Fixing and Helping.”

It was lessons from my father, who taught me about the gift of “service,” which is different than “fixing” and “helping.”  In “helping” and “fixing” one could often see individuals and institutions as being weaker than oneself, and people could feel diminished.

My father taught me that “service” honors life, and the wholeness and holiness of life.

The feeling that I get about Newburyport’s  proposed Local Historic District (LHD), is that some people seem to feel “diminished” by the prospect of “being told what to do” by some outside entity, i.e., a proposed Local Historic District Commission.

The way I see a Local Historic District for Newburyport, is that the LHD would be of “service” to our city.  The way a city or town looks from the outside reflects the internal spirit of the people who live there.  Historic homes and places remind one that we honor the people who have gone before us, and that what we do now lives on after us. That an historic place embodies a spirit of respect for the past, and responsibility for the present and for the future.

To embrace protecting the history of our city by enacting a Local Historic District, Newburyport would embrace ensuring that the spirit and soul of this place, that we all love so much, would endure to enrich and bless people’s lives now and in the future.

CVS and the Newburyport Blogosphere

I was massively confused about the zoning stuff and “proposed” CVS  at Low Street and Storey Avenue in Newburyport.  But my fellow bloggers and the Newburyport blogosphere to the rescue.

Newburyport City Councilor Ed Cameron with some clarification.  More clarification by Newburyport City Councilor Bob Cronin.  Further clarification by Newburyport City Councilor Ari Herzog.  Some very helpful maps by P.Preservationist.  And of course, Tom Salemi over at Newburyport Posts has been bloggging his heart out on this one all along.

Newburyport, High Street, Almost Destroyed in 1999

Readers of The Newburyport Blog have asked me what happened to High Street in 1999 that caused such alarm.

High Stree
What was once High Street between Summer Street and Winter Street
, 
Courtesy of the Newburyport Archival Center
 at the Newburyport Public Library

The City of Newburyport got a grant to fix up High Street. And in 1998 the Massachusetts Highway Department (MassHighway) came back with plans for High Street that met the “robotic” federal regulations for the roadway. It took a year to get people’s attention to the threat to the historic roadway. Finally in January 1999 people started to pay attention. “Citizens to Save High Street” was created (by yours truly), and on February 4, 1999 there was a huge meeting in Newburyport City Hall, standing room only, and the citizens of Newburyport demanded that the plan not take place.

These are the “Highlights” of the proposed plan in 1998 by MassHighway.

The Massachusetts Highway Department considered trees to be a “safety hazard” because they were too close to the road, consequently, the future of many of High Street’s trees were in question. (i.e. they were going to remove almost all of the trees.)

Close off of Ferry Road.

Completely reconfigure the “Three Road” area up at Atkinson Commons and put in a traffic light there.

Put a traffic light at Toppans Lane, by the Newburyport High School.

Remove 10 feet of land along the side of the Bartlett Mall facing High Street, that belonged to the City of Newburyport, to widen the roadway.

Remove land from private property owners, from the area between Fruit and State Streets along the “Ridge” side of the roadway, and put in retaining walls to make the street wider.

Make High Street as straight, narrow and uniform as possible from one end of the street to the other.

Remove plantings and all historical elements.

Remove the statue of George Washington by Pond Street and the Bartlett Mall. There was no plan to relocate the statue of George Washington. Pond Street was completely reconfigured to be one way.

A Local Historic District (LHD) would protect against destructive changes that could take place to our historic roadway.  We would never want to go through this experience again.

Newburyport Street Lights Could Stay ON and Save Energy

Bottom line–Newburyport’s street lights could stay ON and we could save mucho money and energy. One of those wonderful win-win situations in politics, that comes along every now and again, and is so amazingly wonderful.

Yup, this is from a blogger who has not been a fan of anything to do with messing around with street lights (vast understatement).

I was so skeptical of the new consultant being proposed by the Energy Advisory Committee (EAC), that I didn’t go to the meeting last week to see what he had to say. My loss, big time.

But I did talk to a whole lot of people that were there.

And, yup, this guy, Mr. George Woodbury, appears to be the real deal.

Newburyport City Councilor Bob Cronin, who appears to be dubious about consultants for Newburyport, had this to say about Mr. Woodbury on his blog.

“I don’t like consultants. I believe that in-house staff should be able to accomplish most tasks. I sat in on the Neighborhood and City Services and Public Utilities meeting. The proposed lighting consultant seems like the real deal, retired US Army Colonel (West Point grad), retired Lexington DPW Director and national expert on privatizing streetlights. The knowledge he imparted in the hour meeting was incredible. No one in-house could seemingly pick up the ball and run with it like he appears to be able to do. It would take years to learn what was in his head. He suggested he could reap a savings in the hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly while making us a greener community. He has locally worked or is working with Lowell, Lexington, Brockton, Acton, and Fitchburg to name a few, he travels nationally.”

As I understand it, the vote for hiring Mr. Woodbury would be on the City Council floor Monday February 28, 2011. And Katie Ives, the chair of the Public Utilities Committee, would explain in detail why this is such a good deal for the city of Newburyport, MA.

Newburyport Street Light Meeting

The Newburyport Council Public Safety Committee will be holding a street light meeting on this upcoming Wednesday:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010
City Hall Council Chambers
7PM

National Grid is invited. And the Energy Advisory Committee (EAC) has been invited to present their plan to shut off 501 street lights to the Newburyport City Council.

The chair of the Public Safety Committee, Bob Cronin, anticipates a presentation that includes maps as well as the criteria used in the EAC’s process.

There will be a general overview, without discussion of which particular lights would be shut off. That detailed discussion will happened at a later date, and will be scheduled by each of the 6 Newburyport Ward Councilors:

Ward 1 Allison Heartquist
Ward 2 Greg Earls
Ward 3 Bob Cronin
Ward 4 Ed Cameron
Ward 5 Brian Derrivan
Ward 6 Tom O’Brien

Newburyport City Councilors will be able to ask questions first, and then there will be a public input portion.

This is in effect a public hearing on shutting off Newburyport’s street lights.

Newburyport, Turning Off Street Lights–Constructive Alternatives

It appears to me that if the city does decide to turn off Newburyport Street lights, residents and citizens have choices.

One is a short term solution, and the second is a more longer term, creative and very exciting alternative.

The short term solution for residents and citizens would be, if they wanted to, to adopt or sponsor a street light. Initial information for adopting a street light can be read here.

A more long term solution would be to work with the Newburyport Planning Office, the Newburyport Historical Commission, architects, professional exterior urban lighting designers as well as environmental experts. The model for this solution would be Light Boston. The goal would to have a vibrantly and creatively lit night time downtown as well as creatively lit streetscapes that would also address environmental concerns.

Light Boston, the model for a long term solution, supports the passage of Dark Sky legislation, which among other things, addresses the issue of “light pollution.” Light Boston’s goal is to reduce energy consumption, eliminate high glare and spill light, promote energy conservation and enhance environmental quality of life. All of these things are also the goals of Newburyport’s Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC).

Light Boston has the enthusiastic backing of Mayor Thomas Menino. And their goals would address concerns of business, residents and citizens of Newburyport, making Newburyport an even better place to live work and play.

“Many architecturally and historically significant public and private buildings, numerous monuments and parks, and lively streetscapes help define the City of Boston. However, many downtown and neighborhood areas of the city lack urban legibility at night which diminishes residents’ and visitors’ enjoyment of the social and aesthetic quality of the city, creates safety concerns and inhibits economic vitality.

Light Boston is the leading organization in the city working to address this issue through imaginative, effective, and environmentally responsible exterior lighting. Exterior lighting can be used as an effective urban planning tool to:

  • Enhance social activity and economic growth by extending city life for residents and tourists into the evening and night
  • Improve the aesthetics and urban legibility of the city
  • Contribute to public safety
  • Highlight and complement Boston’s unique urban environment

By advocating for illumination as a vital component of urban design, Light Boston seeks to encourage interest, understanding, and appreciation of the city’s unique historic and cultural heritage.”

From Light Boston’s website.

Newburyport Turning Off Street Lights and Adopt a Light

I called Kim Schneider at National Grid and asked her about their policy of private citizens “sponsoring” street lights, if the city of Newburyport actually does come to the conclusion to turn off street lights.

(“Phase 1″ of the plan to turn off street lights would be to turn off 510 street lights, but if there is a “phase 1,” I am assuming that their would be a “phase 2.”

The Energy Advisory Committee (EAC) has an audit of proposed street lights to be turned off in Newburyport. The list is extensive.

The complete Excel data sheet from the EAC of the proposed lights to be turned off can be downloaded here.

A shorter version (shortened by me) of the Excel data sheet, that is easier to read and has basic information, can be downloaded here.)*

What I was told was that Newburyport’s street lights are owned and maintained by National Grid. The city is the client. And that any citizen can “adopt” a street light.

“My” street light is 50 watts and would cost $12 a month to “sponsor” or “adopt.”

If the city does decide to go through with shutting off street lights, I may not only adopt “my” street light, but many of the neighborhood street lights. The one neighbor that I have talked seemed to be relieved and liked the idea of going in on the initiative, if it actually comes to that.

I was told that we are in the New England North division. The number there is 978-725-1015. I would get a recording, but to ask for the “Street Lighting Specialist,” about adopting a light, and that they would call me back.

*(The criteria for keeping street lights on are 1) marked crosswalks (not places where streets intersect and people cross the street), actual painted lines, 2) Busy areas, 3) Speed limit over 30 mph, 4) Dangerous conditions. At the end of the data sheet you will see those 4 criteria and then a “Y” (yes, shut off) or a “N” (not shut off). The list of streets and some addresses are at the beginning of the data sheet.)

Newburyport, Extreme Green and Light Boston

Gillian Stewart in her recent blog post coined a phrase that I had never heard before, “Extreme Green.”

And that sort of sums it up for me. I find that I am unable to have a conversation with many of Newburyport’s Green community (not all), because I feel as if, if I don’t agree with them, I’m a bad person, uninformed, unaware, oblivious, uncaring. This does not work for me.

Newburyport’s Energy Advisory Committee (EAC) has come up with an audit of street lights that are proposed to be turned off. The list is extensive.

For more information and to download the list, which is on an Excel data sheet, press here.

And in my walks and talks with people about the issue of turning off street lights in Newburyport, someone told me about “Light Boston,” which I did not know about.

These are a few quotes from Light Boston’s website. All of these quotes could be applicable to Newburyport, another walkable, historic city, one that I also think of as “A city set on a hill.”

“By increasing lighting in Boston, we can extend our welcome to tourists and enhance the quality of life for all those who enjoy our walkable city. I hope you will support this important Light Boston, Inc. initiative to light up the city.” Thomas M. Menino, Mayor, City of Boston

“Many architecturally and historically significant public and private buildings, numerous monuments and parks, and lively streetscapes help define the City of Boston. However, many downtown and neighborhood areas of the city lack urban legibility at night which diminishes residents’ and visitors’ enjoyment of the social and aesthetic quality of the city, creates safety concerns and inhibits economic vitality.
Light Boston is the leading organization in the city working to address this issue through imaginative, effective, and environmentally responsible exterior lighting. Exterior lighting can be used as an effective urban planning tool to:

  • Enhance social activity and economic growth by extending city life for residents and tourists into the evening and night
  • Improve the aesthetics and urban legibility of the city
  • Contribute to public safety
  • Highlight and complement Boston’s unique urban environment

By advocating for illumination as a vital component of urban design, Light Boston seeks to encourage interest, understanding, and appreciation of the city’s unique historic and cultural heritage.”

“Improving nighttime environments benefits all of our residents and helps address safety concerns while increasing civic pride in local landmarks.”

Newburyport–List of Proposed Street Lights to be Turned Off

The Energy Advisory Committee (EAC) has a list of proposed street lights to be turned off in Newburyport, MA. The list is extensive.

Some of those street lights, I do not know which ones, are already in the proposed city budget. This I did not know.

The complete Excel data sheet from the EAC of the proposed lights to be turned off can be downloaded here

A shorter version (shortened by me) of the Excel data sheet, that is easier to read and has basic information, can be downloaded here

(The criteria for keeping street lights on are 1) marked crosswalks (not places where streets intersect and people cross the street), actual painted lines, 2) Busy areas, 3) Speed limit over 30 mph, 4) Dangerous conditions. At the end of the data sheet you will see those 4 criteria and then a “Y”; (yes, shut off) or a “N”; (not shut off). The list of streets and some addresses are at the beginning of the data sheet.)

On the audit, not only are neighborhoods dark, but large areas of High Street, Water Street, Liberty Street, State Street. I counted 10 decorative historic street lights on State Street that are recommended to be turned off. And there is a question about whether (13 decorative historic lights/lamps around the Green Street Parking Lot and 18 decorative historic lights/lamps a around the Playground) a total of 31 historic lights/lamps on Inn Street should be turned off, and about whether 14 historic lights/lamps on Market Square should be turned off. It’s on the list, I’m not making this up.

If you have a problem with this audit, and a recommendation that is already in the budget about street lights in Newburyport being turned off, please contact Mayor Donna Holaday, Newburyport City Councilors and write a Letter to the Editor at the Newburyport Daily News.

Mayor Donna Holaday’s contact information:
mayor@cityofnewburyport.com
Newbuyrport City Hall
60 Pleasant Street, Newburyport, MA 01950
978-465-4413

Contact information for the Newburyport City Council can be found here.

If you are unsure of what your Newburyport City Councilor looks like, press here.

If you wish to email a Letter to the Editor at the Newburyport Daily News contact:
Merrily Buchs
mbuchs@newburyportnews.com