Portion Of Goden Street To Close At 7 AM, Friday For Emergency Sewer Repair

Photo: The impacted area of Goden Street

An emergency repair to a faulty sewer line will require a portion of Goden Street to be closed to vehicle traffic starting at 7 a.m., Friday, March 24, according to Belmont Police.

The closure, from School Street to Concord Avenue, will impact travel to Belmont High School as Goden Street enters the intersection with Concord that leads to the school’s parking and entrance.

A Pair Of Speed Tables Set For Winter Street To Slow Down Cut-Through Commuters

Photo: A map of hte location of the two speed tables for Winter Street

The longstanding complaints from homeowners along lower Winter Street that vehicles are treating their street more like a drag strip than a neighborhood street has been answered.

On Tuesday, Sept. 21, the Select Board approved placing a pair of raised traffic tables on Winter between Marsh Street and Concord Avenue to slow down the increasing traffic load that includes a return of the commuter cut-through drivers.

Residents came before TAC on July 8 for “what was identified as a speeding problem,” said the Director of the Office of Community Development, Glenn Clancy, with cars and trucks racing to Route 2 and towards the dicey intersection with Concord Avenue that leads to Belmont Center.

A subsequent week-long speed data study by the Belmont Police Department confirmed the residents’ observations: nearly three of every five motorists were caught traveling above 30 mph, five mph faster than the posted speed limit in thickly settled neighborhoods.

Based on the findings, TAC held a meeting in early September where all but one of the households supported Clancy’s and the TAC’s recommendation of installing three-inch tall tables at either end of that stretch of Winter Street.

“[A raised table] is a technique that we’ve used in Belmont for the last several years, which has been effective,” said Clancy, pointing to its use on School Street adjacent to the Burbank School.

“They are designed to slow traffic down. They are not designed to jolt or jar traffic” but be a visual clue for drivers to reduce their speed, said Clancy.

When Board Chair Mark Paolillo worried that more residents would petition for tables so that the town would be swamped with them over time, Clancy said a recent data study of Belmont Street from Trapelo to Common found the average speed was 21 mph.

“It is surprising when you do the studies how often the data actually shows that the average speed is below 25 mph,” said Clancy.

The project’s total cost will be $4,600 and will be funded from the annual pavement management account. The installation will occur in the following months.

Concord Avenue’s New Traffic/Bike Lane Configuration Up And Running

Photo: Drivers parking their vehicles in the new parking lane in front of the Post Office on Concord Avenue.

If you were startled recently seeing cars and SUVs seemingly abandoned in the middle of Concord Avenue, no, it’s not evidence of the beginning of a zombie apocalypse or the Rapture. What you have come across is the new traffic and parking scheme for one of Belmont’s busiest thoroughfares to promote safe cycling for bike commuters and students traveling to the new Belmont High School.

As part of the Concord Avenue restriping project, the Transportation Advisory Committee, in conjunction with designer Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates and Belmont’s Office of Community Development and the Department of Public Works, has reorient the road lines so the bike lane is closest to the curb, separated by a three-foot buffer, then the parking lane and then the travel lane, according to the TAC.

“The Department of Public Works expects to finish the painting [Thursday, Aug. 18],” said Glenn Clancy, director of Community Development. ”There will be green colored crossings added at side streets but likely not until September given DPW workload and constraints.”

Belmont Police graphic on new traffic/parking pattern for Concord Avenue

This new configuration is eastbound from the Unitarian Church to the Cambridge border at Blanchard Road and westbound from Underwood Street to just past the US Post Office.

The project came about when in 2021 the High School Traffic Working Group expressed a desire to explore the possibility of reconfiguring the bike lane and parking lane on Concord Avenue.

A deep dive into the year-long TAC process and the decisions made by the designers can be found here: Concord Avenue Striping Plan Briefing

With the striping complete, Belmont Police’s Traffic Division will now step in to help with the transition.

“In regards to enforcement, we have started educating drivers about the new pattern,” said Sgt. Paul Garabedian, supervisor of the department’s Traffic Divison.

“We will be giving out warnings and talking with people when we see a violation in hopes of people getting a better understanding. We will have officers on foot and bicycles to be able to talk with drivers over the new few weeks while people adjust to the new design,” said Garabedian.

So far, town officials have not heard much from the public on the new striping design.

“Other than occasional complaints that ‘Belmont is trying to look like Somerville and Cambridge’, I have not received any complaints about the new configuration,” said Clancy. In regards to inquires about the design, Garabedian directed those questions to the TAC Chair David Coleman “as they worked with the design team hired by the town on this project.” 

Where the discussion has been lively is on-line with comments to Police updates or Facebook pages running about 50/50 whether they love the new setup or hate it. One resident made a short video outside the Concord Avenue Post Office reportedly showing the danger in exiting adjacent the travel lane. Some residents were annoyed no notice was provided by the town of the change while others believe the new standards are confusing and unworkable.

Supporters, on the other hand, welcome what they consider provides a safer way along Concord Avenue.

Select Board Place More Streets Off Limits To Student HS Parking, Adding Spots Along Concord, Pool

Photo: The Underwood Pool parking lot will be available for student parking this week.

Based on recommendations from the Middle and High School Traffic Working Group, the Belmont Select Board added three new streets to an expanding number of side streets in which High School students are banned from parking on school days while expending the time the existing “temporary” restricts will be in place by three weeks.

The new streets were added to the inventory of roadways at the board’s Jan. 24 meeting after residents complained their streets were impacted by students migrating from side streets placed under parking restrictions approved by the Select Board on Dec. 20.

“This announcement has generated quite a response,” said Roy Epstein, the Select Board’s vice chair who ran the meeting as Chair Adam Dash recused himself as he lives on one of the streets [Goden Street] under the regulations.

Epstein noted the Task Force recommendations are prompted by resident complaints of student drivers parking along side streets since the opening of the high school wing of the Belmont Middle and High School that is under construction.

“It has created a situation that we had to address. It made the streets dangerous for pedestrians and impassable for vehicles on numerous occasions and we felt we had to act,” said Epstein. The first set of restrictions – no parking from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. beginning on January 3 – were focused on Oak and Orchard streets off the southside of Concord Avenue.

The result of the initial action was students migrated over to nearby Stone and Louise roads. The reaction by those residents were as expected: move the kids.

The new streets with restricted parking bans include:

  • Stone Road,
  • Louise Road from Concord Avenue to the intersection with Emerson Street, and
  • Emerson Street from Concord Avenue to the intersection with Louise Road.

The ban takes effect Jan. 31.

The Board also extended the end date of the trial from Jan. 28 to Feb. 18 to allow the board to consider further recommendations from the Traffic Working Group to be presented on Valentines Day.

But Epstein wanted to make it clear: the committee’s aim is to disperse student parking and not to make it impossible for students to park. In recognition that parking options are being taken off the board on the three streets, the task force made three endorsements to make up for those lost spaces.

The first is to remove the reserved parking spaces on the north (or school) side of Concord Avenue from Underwood Street to the light pole across from Becket Road as “virtually no students have parked there since September,” said Epstein. The school administration provided 100 permits at the beginning of the school year to seniors with corresponding spaces. Yet only 50 to 55 of the spaces are filled on a daily basis, said Lawrence Link, one of the resident members of the working group.

While the committee did not speculate why the spaces were unused, there is some indication that many of the first time drivers find it unnerving to parallel park on a busy roadway such as Concord Avenue during the morning rush hour and feel safer sliding into a space on a quiet side street.

This action will allow more parking along Concord Avenue for students who did not receive permits and the public.

The second and third recommendations are to allow all-day parking in the Underwood Pool lot and on the Concord Avenue pool drop-off area stretching from Myrtle Street to the library exit, freeing up an additional 15 spaces.

While there has been some parents questioning the steps taken by the task force as targeting students, Link believes more parents will “now feel more comfortable because they know spots are available.”

Epstein said the committee’s expectation is to fill in the unused space on Concord Avenue and use new spots near the pool “to accommodate all of the students currently parking on the side streets.” If it becomes evident that more spaces are needed, there is a possibility the task force will recommend a limited number of student drivers via permits to park on side streets, said Epstein.

The adjustments will allow the Task Force ample time to conduct a complete evaluation before presenting final recommendations to the Select Board on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.

Restrictions On Side Streets To Control HS Student Parking Start Jan. 3

Photo: Concord Avenue adjacent to the new Belmont Middle and High School

The Belmont Select Board on Monday, Dec. 20, approved a four-week trial plan to force the majority of high school students who drive to the new Belmont Middle and High School off of side streets and back to parking on the main thoroughfare that runs by the facility.

The proposal will take place from Monday, Jan. 3 to Friday, Jan. 28 afterwards the plan will be reviewed and extended, ended or revamped.

Advanced by the Traffic Working Group – Middle and High School, it comes after town officials heard an earful from local residents concerning throngs of high school pupils who found the best parking spaces to the building was right off the main road.

“One of the purposes of the proposal is to restore the status quo of students not parking on side streets,” said Martin November, a task force member who led the effort.

The high school’s parking plan for seniors and juniors is a temporary one itself as there will be no student parking on site until the middle school wing is built. One hundred spaces along the north side of Concord Avenue was allocated to students by the school through a lottery. The spaces are in two sections along Concord Avenue from Underwood Road to the Belmont Public Library with another 90 off-street parking spaces linked to a new skating rink that would be built on the west side of Harris Field.

But soon after the September opening of the new high school wing complaints from homeowners started that their streets were teeming with cars during school hours; parking close to driveways and intersections, creating pinch points where traffic can travel and making deliveries and trash collection much more difficult. When they did call to complain, police response was slow due to current staffing levels.

An October survey conducted by residents on behalf of the working group found approximately 120 student cars coming daily to the school with 56 parking on Concord, six on Goden Street, 12 on Oak Street, approximately 20 in the Orchard/Orchard Circle/Stone Road loop and 20 occupying the jug handle site opposite the library.

November told the Select Board’s Mark Paolillo and Roy Epstein – Select Board Chair Adam Dash recused himself from the discussion and vote as he lives on Goden Street – that students, some who possess reserved passes for the coveted 100 lottery spaces, were parking along adjacent roadways such as lower Orchard Street for a simple reason: it’s less of a trek to the school than parking on Concord Avenue closer to Harris Field and the skating rink.

“We do want them back on Concord (Avenue),” said Paolillo.

The proposal will consist of four steps:

  • Identify the side streets to be targeted.
  • No parking from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on school days unless the vehicle has a town-approved placard.
  • Commercial vehicles and those on public business will be exempt.
  • Residents will receive a placard that exempts them from the parking ban.

And the targeted streets are:

  • Goden Street below School
  • Oak Street
  • Orchard Street below School
  • Trowbridge Street
  • Underwood Street
  • Baker Street
  • Concord Street east bound (the southside of the roadway) from Cottage Street to Louise Road.

No parking signs will be placed on cones and on existing posts on the targeted streets.

Temp HS Student Parking, Drop Off/Pick Up Locations Along Concord Get A Thumbs Up

Photo: The new stripping along Concord Avenue at Goden Street (Credit: Belmont Police Twitter account)

Concord Avenue will be just a tad busier starting Sept. 8 as the Belmont Select Board unanimously approved 100 temporary student parking spaces along the westbound (from Cambridge to Belmont Center) lane of Concord Avenue as the high school wing of the new Belmont Middle and High School opens its doors for the first time.

In addition, the board approved drop off areas for students to exit cars bringing them to the school, according to Glenn Clancy, Director of Community Develop who made the presentation at the board’s Monday, Aug. 31 meeting.

“The beautiful thing about this plan is nothing’s new,” said Clancy, noting that construction workers have been using the same spots for the past two years that students are coming to, so drivers are familiar with vehicles along the roadway.

Approved by the Transportation Advisory Committee on July 15 with guidance from the Planning Board, the parking spaces are located at three locations:

• Across from the Belmont Public Library between the two curb cuts of the familiar turn-in parking area.

• Running across from Cottage and Goden streets, and

• Along Clay Pit Pond from the school’s entrance to Underwood Street.

The spaces will be issued by a lottery system, said John Phelan, Belmont Superintendent.

The spaces will be available to students until the completion of the Middle School portion in August 2023 when on-site parking becomes accessible.

While the TAC has delayed making a recommendation for the location of drop off and pick up spots due to the view that having a travel lane, bike path and parking along the street was “too concentrated” creating safety issues especially for bikers, said David Coleman, a TAC member, Phelan told the board there was an immediate need to have those spaces identified as the school year was less than two weeks away.

The placement of the drop off/pick up spots would be:

Heading eastbound (to Cambridge): Between Oak and Orchard streets to allow students to use the newly-lined crosswalk which will be staffed by a crossing guard.

Westbound: Across from Orchard Street that allows students to get out of the right side of the vehicle onto the sidewalk.

Phelan said the school district did not want to use a new loop in front of the school’s entrance as it will be reserved for buses. “We always wanted to separate cars, buses, walkers and bikers,” he said while construction continues for the next two years. “All the cars pulling into the driveway would create a walking conflict for those … coming from Harris Field … to get on the campus.”

Phelan said an additional drop-off site could be at the turn-off area across from the library.

Once the middle school is open, “we’ll have plenty of room for a pickoff/drop off on the site,” he said.

“That does not mean that this is a perfect scenario. We all know we are in a two-year temporary phase where traffic will be extremely congested in this area,” said Phelan.

For the Select Board’s Mark Paolillo, the current plan has his “heart in my mouth” concerning the likelihood that parents will simply stop along the entire stretch of Concord as an impromptu drop-off spot when traffic is congested.

“We need to have police presence… to supervise this,” said Paolillo. Phelan said Belmont Police Chief James MacIsaac will be present for the first two weeks of school to “observe everything that’s happening.”

While saying there isn’t any way to know the demand for two drop-off locations, “I think we all just have to realize that with experience in the opening days of school we might have to make some adjustments,” said Select Board member Roy Epstein. “But I think this is the logical starting point.”

Beginning Monday, Concord Ave. Undergoing Street Construction At New High School

Photo: An image from the Belmont Police Department of the impacted location

With the high school wing of the new Belmont Middle and High School just weeks from opening in September, construction will get underway on Monday, June 28 on the new intersection and completing the road work connected to the high school on Concord Avenue, according to Belmont Police.

Police are advising motorists to avoid this area if possible.

The work will focus on the intersection of Goden Street and Concord Avenue where the entrance/exit for the new building will be located, including installing a new set of traffic lights at the intersection and modifying the center traffic Island in the location.

Indian Restaurant Opening At Former Golden Garden Location on Concord Ave

Photo: The location of the new Indian restaurant in Belmont.

His name is Sukhsimran Gill but you can call him Rusty. And if all goes to plan, you’ll be calling Rusty the owner of  Belmont’s latest restaurant to be called Spice Delight.

Gill is prepared to turn the location of a now-closed Chinese restaurant on Concord Avenue into a mid- to upscaled Indian eatery by mid-November after winning approval of a Special Permit for a change in ownership from the Belmont Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday, Oct. 1. 

“We’re hoping to bring some nice Indian food your community,” Gill told the board.

Gill is the owner of Gill Pizza of Londonderry, NH, a wholesale pizza company that services a large number of school districts (including Belmont … New Hampshire) and businesses in the Granite State and Massachusetts. But the New Hampshire resident has also had a hand in the retail end of the food industry for the past 15 years, owning both Indian and Italian restaurants. 

His last restaurant, Zaika Taste of India, was doing swimmingly at the Meadow Glen Mall in Medford. Then last year Wegmans Food Market arrived and took over 120,000 square feet of mall space, resulting in his business and all the other eateries being kicked out of the revamped development. Rusty had been seeking another site since.

And Gill and his partner who lives in Everett believed they found what they were looking for at the cubby corner locale that was home of the closed Golden Garden restaurant at 63 Concord Ave. They soon signed a lease until 2023 with two five year options. 

The menu will primarily be northern Indian cuisine – chaat, tandoor, and curries such as tikka masala and korma will be familiar to many – and will be prepared by a chef Gill has employed at numerous locations for 15 years.

“He is excellent,” said Gill.

The storefront, which has 44 seats, will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, and noon to 10 p.m. on weekends. He believes the business will be half takeout and the other half sitdown service. The restaurant does not have a liquor license but Gill said they will soon approach the town for a beer and wine restaurant licence 

Questions were asked about parking; Belmont’s zoning code requires one spot for every two seats. But the parking – all on- street – is grandfathered. 


Belmont Youth Hockey Scores On Proposed New Rink Along Concord Avenue

Photo: An overview of the proposed new Belmont Youth Hockey rink along Concord Avenue.

They patiently sat on the bench for the past two-and-a-half years since it last was action, but on Tuesday, April 24, Belmont Youth Hockey jumped over the boards to reintroduce itself to the community and the Belmont School Committee with its vision of a new skating rink for Belmont.

The structure will be a sleek single-story rink/recreation center located on Concord Avenue across from the Underwood Pools, creating with a new high school and public library a new community hub for Belmont, according to Belmont Youth Hockey representative Robert Mulroy who, along with Ara Krafian, CEO of Cambridge-based SMMA |Architects who created preliminary drawings of a new rink, who presented the plans to the School Committee.

If all goes to plan, the new rink/center could be up and running by 2020 before major construction begins on the new Belmont High School.

To make the whole thing work, the youth hockey organization is proposing a public/private partnership with the school committee and town which will allow the non-profit to take school property in a 30-year lease at zero cost with the stipulation Belmont High sports teams will have a set number of hours reserved for games and practices. That partnership agreement will need to pass muster from the school committee and Town Meeting.

A new rink that will not need significant public funding will be a small but significant capital expense removed from the town’s significant “wish list” of large projects that Belmont faces paying for which includes as new Police Headquarters, Department of Public Works facility and public library.

While reluctant to say how much the new center will cost as construction expenses have markedly increased, Mulroy quoted a price tag of $6.5 million in 2015. The construction of the new rink – which will require the demolition of both the White Field House and the Viglirolo rink, known as “The Skip”, which was built in the 1970s.

School committee members did raise questions on the impact of traffic along Concord Avenue with a brand new facility and high school just a few hundred feet from other., But Mulroy believes the nearly 180 new parking spaces and traffic pattern changes associated with a new High School project will alleviate the current demand of on-street parking on main and side streets created by the existing rink and vehicle congestion created by those seeking parking. 

Belmont Superintendent John Phelan said youth hockey was asked by the district and school committee to wait to present its proposal until the “footprint” of the new High School was determined, so not to create any interference with the design and location of the 7th to 12th-grade building.

The need for a new rink is evident once anyone enters “The Skip” which is the current home of Belmont Youth Hockey and the Belmont High teams. Built more than 40 years ago, the once open rink has one wall of corrugated steel open to the elements. (Once, a visitor from Calgary, Canada who attended a nephew’s game at “The Skip” on one bitter January night, said he had been in warmer outdoor arenas in his hometown than indoors in Belmont). The mechanical infrastructure is on “death’s door,” said Mulroy. 

“It’s not how long until there is a catastrophic failure. It’s that it will happen,” said Mulroy, whose league currently purchases three-quarters of all rental time at the rink. “But we have the capacity for a lot more,” he said.

A new rink comes as the youth hockey program has seen increased growth in participation and teams – eight developmental programs and 22 competitive traveling teams for boys and girls from 4 to 18 – in the program which started 47 years ago.

The rink/rec center would be located on school property facing Concord Avenue on the parking outcrop between the White Field House and the Mobil service station across from the Underwood Pool. It will be a short walk from Harris Field and will allow for a softball field and soccer/lacrosse pitch to be located in the rear.

The key points of a new Concord Avenue facility include:

  • A 6,500 square foot multi-use athletic/recreation center.
  • A year-round NHL-size rink with above the ice seating and a “half” rink, both can be used for ice hockey, public skating, figure skating, sled hockey and curling.
  • A field house for half the year (where the half-rink is located) for indoor tennis, concerts and a practice facility for baseball, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, and rock climbing.
  • A running/walking track above the field house.
  • 180 parking spaces that can be used by pool patrons and a drop-off area at the rink’s entrance.
  • Eight new locker rooms that can be utilized by teams playing on nearby Harris Field.
  • A team or community meeting room for public meetings or continued learning classes.
  • Exercise/health room for yoga and exercise.
  • Food concession stand.
  • A skate shop

The facility will be funded with a private 30-year loan which requires the school committee to lease the land at no cost to the non-profit, with an agreement that Belmont High’s Boys and Girls ice hockey teams will have a specific number of hours dedicated to practice and games. Phelan pointed out with a rink, the school department would need to allocate more than $100,000 a year on rental fees at other rinks and bus transportation.

Public-private arrangements are fairly common, said Mulroy, including for recreational facilities pointing to a pair of nearby examples: the Beede Pool and Gym in Concord and the Wellesley Sports Complex which will open later this year. 

The rink will be run by a professional management company. At the end of the 30 years, the town will have the opportunity to take possession of the facility or allow the existing management contract to continue under a new agreement. 

The Youth Hockey Association has been discussing an alternative location for the rink at the former incinerator on Concord Avenue at the Lexington/Belmont line. It would be an 80,000 sq.-ft. complex with two full ice surfaces and parking. While the association has been in discussions with officials and town counsel exploring the feasibility of the town-owned location, Mulroy said the clear first option for youth hockey is the high school site.

Mulroy said the next steps will be gathering feedback from the School committee and residents before seeking support from both the committee and Town Meeting to move forward. Once it gets the initial OK, Youth Hockey will release a Request for Proposal to build the facility and finalize the lease agreement. Afterward, the final designs will be done and the financing will be secured. The final step is to go back to the School Committee and Town Meeting for final approval of the lease deal. 

Upper Concord Avenue Closed Vacation Week, April 16 – 20

Photo: Can’t go here!

A major portion of one of the main roads to and from Lexington will be closed for most of the day this coming week.

Upper Concord Avenue from Pleasant to Mill streets will be shut down from Monday, April 16 to Friday, April 20 due to infrastructure construction related to the Belmont Day School. There will be a police detail at either end of the road to enforce the closure. 

The work schedule is:

  • Monday, April 16: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday to Friday, April 17-20: 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Through traffic from Lexington to Belmont will be detoured down Mill Street, onto Trapelo Road and onto South Pleasant Street where it will connect with Concord Avenue at the Belmont Police Station.

Those excluded from the ban will include Concord Avenue residents and members of the Belmont Hill Club.