The biggest request from residents was for data on number of mistakes made on 911 calls to duplicate streets vs. non-duplicate streets. It was explained that the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Committee did not approach the question from this point of view but rather looked at the potential for even one fatality from a dispatch to the wrong street as one too many for public safety in this community. There have been three near misses in the last two years where an ambulance and/or fire truck were dispatched to the wrong street of the two. No fatalities luckily resulted but response times were significantly delayed.
Others questioned the information that technology does not have a fix for this problem on the horizon. Newton is part of a statewide 911 system so the City is not able to pay for or engineer a technological solution even if one were available. The EMS Committee is proposing to the Board of Aldermen (BOA) to change the names of the smaller of the two duplicate streets, which affect approximately 200 residences and no businesses. The BOA would vote to change the names. A separate Board Order for each affected street, containing notice of street name change and listing each affected lot on that street by both its old and new address, will then be recorded by the City law department, at the City's expense, in the Registry of Deeds.
The proposed mechanism for changing the name if the BOA approves is to have a list of approximately 60 names that are not duplicate streets. Residents of an affected street could join together and pick a name by consensus. Once notified that this would be the new name, that name would be removed from the list. If by a certain date (TBD) a new street name was not chosen, the City would select a name from the list.
Questions or comments may be directed to anyone on the EMS Committee. The list of members is one of the first slides in the PowerPoint.
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