First Drafts of Watertown Square Redesign, Changes to MBTA Discussed at Design Workshop

Some of the preliminary sketches for a redesigned Watertown Square prepared by the consultants. (Photo by Charlie Breitrose)

All day, Wednesday, hundreds of residents gave their opinions about what they want Watertown Square to look like when it is redesigned, and the City of Watertown’s consultants showed some first efforts at ways to improve traffic flow, as well as the pedestrian experience in the area. Urban Designer Jeff Speck showed a packed room several options for ways to change the design of roadways in Watertown Square. Some included roundabouts, some opened the roadway around the Delta to all traffic (not just buses as it is now), and many altered the roadways leading into the Square. By eliminating some of the spokes going into the main intersection would make traffic lights simpler, said Ralph DeNisco, a traffic engineer from VHB.

Watertown Square Design Team Discuss Results of Surveys, Some Options for Redesign of Area

Watertown’s three-day design charrette will tackle a big, tangled set of issues known as Watertown Square. The consultants hired by the City of Watertown have invited the public to come discuss what hey would like to see changed in the Square, and beyond, what they want to keep, and at the end of the three days will present some ideas for what the new square will look like. Hundreds of people showed up at the former Sasaki building, 64 Pleasant St., for the opening meeting Tuesday night. The Design Charrette continues there Nov. 29 and 30.

Council’s Budget Priorities Include Supporting Small Business, the Climate & Energy Plan, and Education

Watertown City Hall

The City Council finalized Watertown’s budget priorities for the next fiscal year which include focuses on small business, implementing the Comprehensive Plan and Watertown Square Area Plan, the City’s shuttle bus program, and more. Many of the same guidelines returned from the 2024 Budget Policy Guidelines, including street and sidewalk repair, a 3.5 percent increase in the education budget, rodent control, launching the 311 constituent services system, and reusing the former North Branch Library

Among the guidelines are the long-standing effort to seek economic development and this year it includes a new focus on “small business, retail corridors, and emerging industry clusters.” The guidelines also include a priority to implement the updates recommended in the Comprehensive Plan update, as well as the ongoing redesign in the Watertown Square Area Plan. That plan includes redesigning the intersection, increasing housing density, strategies for small business, and better use of City owned land. This would be done, in part, by enhancing “the capabilities of the Department of Community Development and Planning by adding resources and/or redeploying existing resources to achieve the goals of the Plans.”

Watertown’s Noah Kahan Will be Musical Guest on Saturday Night Live

Noah Kahan will perform on Saturday Night Live this week. His music is inspired by his home state of Vermont, but now resides in Watertown. (Photo courtesy of

Having just wrapped up his 2023 tour, singer Noah Kahan will have one more stop: New York to appear on Saturday Night Live. Kahan, who grew up in Vermont and now resides in Watertown, announced the appearance on social media. This year, Kahan has been nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy; was nominated for Best Rock Artist and Best Rock Album by Billboard; played major music festivals including Boston Calling, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza; and had a world tour (and another world tour planned for 2024 ending at Fenway Park).

Giving Tuesday: Some Watertown Organizations to Support

Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, is Giving Tuesday. Here are some ideas for places in Watertown to support. Watertown Boy’s & Girls Club serves hundreds of children across the community. It also provides swim lessons and hosts some of the Cops and Rec programs with the Watertown Police and the Watertown Recreation Department.

Charles River Food Co-op Marks Firsts, Looking for Locations for Store

Nick Quaranto, president of the Charles River Food Co-op board, updates members at the first annual meeting. (Photo by Charlie Breitrose)

The effort to open a food cooperative in the Watertown area reached some firsts recently, and progress toward opening a store is moving faster than other local co-ops. The Charles River Food Co-op was incorporated in April 2022, with a goal of opening a store primarily serving Watertown, Newton, and Waltham. On Nov. 14, the Charles River Food Co-op held its first annual meeting, and the organization recently held its first board election.

See What Will be Discussed During This Week’s Watertown Square Design Charrette

This week will be an important one for the shaping of the future of Watertown’s center, and many of the main business districts in town. The City of Watertown, working with a team of consultants, will conduct a three-day design charrette where they will seek input from the public about a variety of topics. All the events will take place from Nov. 28-30, 2023, at 64 Pleasant St., Watertown (the former Sasaki building). This is the same location as the kickoff presentation for the Watertown Square Area Plan in October where some examples of redesigns and the consultant’s philosophies were presented.