Kate Weinograd, Chair
My family moved to the Birds Hill neighborhood in 2019. We picked Needham as the place in which to put down our roots in part because of the proximity and convenience of the train. We also love Needham for its vibrant town center and because we are able to get around town easily by bike.
I became involved with Safer Quieter Needham because the train noise significantly disrupts our family’s ability to enjoy the town’s full potential - from concerns about what the noise does to our sons when it wakes them or keeps them from falling asleep, to its effect on our ability to enjoy conversation over dinner at home and in restaurants. As a parent I was also concerned when I learned that, despite the noise, there are safety risks around our train crossings. I know that there must be a better option than the status quo, and I believe Needham will be a more vibrant, enjoyable place to live and work if it takes the necessary steps to become a Quiet Town.
Keith LaFace, Chair
My family and I live on Chestnut Street. My wife, Jennifer, and I have two children, June, ten years old, and Bobby, 7. We have lived in Needham for ten years and love being members of Needham's community. I work at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where I have worked for 22 years as a Systems Administrator in the Department of Data Science. Being an active member of the community is something I enjoy. I am a Town Meeting Member for Precinct E, Needham Exchange Club Board Member, Newman PTC Chair of Fundraising, and a League of Women Voters supporting member.
My Needham neighbors of different years here, as new as >1 year to those here for 50+, raised concerns about the volume of the train horn to me frequently. Though the noise has not yet directly affected my family, I believe we should strive to support each other, and if a problem is troubling, we must look for a solution. It confused, disturbed, and surprised me when I learned about our crossings falling below the FRA National Average in a town as safe as Needham. Though some of these neighbors, myself, and so many others factored Needham's MBTA commuter rail into their decision to move here, this shouldn't prevent us from having our convenience, safety, and quiet. Not only would work towards a Quiet Zone increase safety for locals and visitors, increase property values, it would also provide an overall improvement in the quality of life for all. Our elected officials, volunteers, and town employees work incredibly hard to keep us safe. They have been doing their part to modernize our crossings, seize non-emergency train horns and make the Quiet Zone a reality. We owe it to each other to encourage the adaptation of our town into a safer, quieter Needham.
The people of SQN invest an incredible amount of time in research and outreach. I encourage you to ask questions, learn and activate your drive to join this effort.
Lars Unhjem, Chair
My family moved to Needham in 2017 to be a part of a great community for the long term and to be closer to our extended family. We live on Meadowbrook Road, west of Needham Center, because our neighborhood is walk/bike-able to the commuter train, town center, and much more.
I am involved in Safer Quieter Needham because I believe we can join the dozens of other Massachusetts communities already enjoying Quiet Zones and we can maintain the vital resource of full commuter train access throughout Needham while dramatically improving the railroad crossing safety, quality of life, and economic vitality of our community.