Public Input Sought on 2023 Moody Closure Plans

by Chris Wangler

March 26, 2023

Over the last three summers, COVID was used as a reason to shut down Moody Street from Pine to High 24-7.

The popular street closure allowed an outdoor dining scene to flourish while pedestrians enjoyed a car-free zone. 


But the pandemic is now over. 

As they assess a 2023 shutdown, Waltham traffic officials must weigh the benefits of continuing the closure while being fair to abutting residents and Moody small businesses that oppose it.

Two mayoral candidates presented their own proposals at last week’s traffic commission. 

With the public set to to weigh in Thursday [see below for details], it’s going to be tough to please both supporters and critics.

The Mayor’s Complicated Hybrid Plan

Now without COVID powers, Mayor Jeannette McCarthy proposed closing down the same section of Moody from Thursday to Sunday only—a so-called “hybrid plan.”

There would be a lower speed limit with her one-way street plan, and the closure would be in effect from Memorial Day to Labor Day, a shorter timeframe than previous years.


Her plan considers not just restaurants, but Moody business owners who don’t like losing coveted storefront parking and abutters who have complained about visitors using their side streets during the closure.


Gates at cross streets would have to be set up and taken down every week, but restaurants could leave their furniture on the street.

Her complicated plan got a cool response from Waltham’s traffic engineer.


“Vehicles will certainly end up driving in both directions along what is intended to be a one-way street,” said traffic engineer Mike Garvin. 

“And my concerns during the weekend are that on-street parking will need to be removed from Cushing and Chestnut Streets when parking is in high demand for the residents,” he added.


While well-intentioned, the mayor’s plan runs the risk of appealing to none by trying to appeal to all.

And in recent years, the commission has opted to just repeat the original shutdown plan over similar one-way alternatives that have proven unpopular.

Paz’s Repeat Plan

Meanwhile, the mayor’s presumptive mayoral opponent, Jonathan Paz, presented his own plan for a Summer Moody Market—basically a repeat of the same shutdown as the previous three years.


“I’ve had my concerns, and I still have concerns, but I think this is the best of all worlds,” the Ward 9 city councilor told the traffic commission.

He smartly asked for some measures (bollards, planters) that would reflect urban planning beyond simply closing streets and posting signs.


While traffic engineer Garvin shot down Paz’s idea for some free parking, he indicated that his plan is much easier to implement, having worked in the past.

The main drawback of Paz’s plan is that it appears to make few concessions to opponents, apart from a shorter shutdown window.

Will another 24-7 closure upset some of his own Ward 9 constituents, who he has advocated for in the past?

Moody Closure Public Hearing

Residents can weigh in at a public hearing on the matter this week. 

File photos