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ProJo: URI rescinds parking fee after graduate assistants launch protest

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Photo from Graduate Assistants United Facebook Page.

About 25 graduate assistants at the University of Rhode Island rallied Tuesday afternoon to protest what their union leader says have been repeated attempts charge them for parking.

The students — some carrying a banner that read “Big Thinkers Deserve More” — stood outside a third-floor hallway in Roosevelt Hall where negotiators for the college and the union were scheduled to meet.

The protest followed a recent posting on URI’s website stating that graduate assistants who commuted to campus and were previously allowed to park for free would be charged $100 for a permit, said Danielle Dirocco, executive director of Graduate Assistants United, which represents over 500 of unionized teaching, research and departmental assistants. The union filed a grievance stating the fee violated their contract.

I’ve seen this news hailed by some as a great progressive victory over the man on social media. My view? Big thinkers don’t pave farm land for free parking.

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RIBike: Meetings with RIDOT

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We had two meetings last week with Deputy Director of RIDOT, Pete Garino. One was a roundtable with a number of other advocates for biking & transit, one was one-on-one. There are changes afoot at RIDOT, and we wanted to let you know what’s going on.

First of all, the basic idea the new RIDOT leadership is pushing in its 10-year RhodeWorks proposal is to raise extra money through truck tolls to aggressively repair the state’s structurally-deficient bridges and get us out of the “death spiral” of nothing but emergency repairs. With public infrastructure, it’s often the case that doing proactive maintenance & repairs saves boatloads of money in the longer run, and RIDOT wants to do that.

But what about bikes? In the administration’s proposed breakdown of funding in the RhodeWorks proposal, there is $128 million for bike/ped infrastructure over the next 10 years, which is about 3x more than we’re getting currently. In addition to keeping that funding in there, we’ve been clear with DOT that when they’re resurfacing roads and bridges, they should stripe bike lanes wherever appropriate. To focus that process, we are eager to work with Statewide Planning, DOT, DEM, and local governments to ensure that good bike plans are in place so that DOT knows where to put bike lanes.

Visit the link to read RIBike’s extensive notes on various transportation projects.

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WPRI: Young girl hit by truck in Taunton neighborhood

walkinpvd-iconA young girl is recovering at the hospital after she was hit by a pickup truck in a Taunton neighborhood Tuesday evening.

According to police, the 10-year-old was struck at about 5:30 p.m. on Fruit Street.

Eyewitnesses said it appeared the girl suffered serious injuries, but police said the injuries are not life-threatening. She was taken to Hasbro Children’s Hospital for treatment.

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Transport Providence: Beg Buttons Got to Go

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What button? – Image from GCPVD’s Instagram

Asked if he had any recommendations for the mayor, in an email Weis said:

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission recently sent a letter to Mayor Elorza advising that our city phase out use of pedestrian crossing push buttons (aka beg buttons) citywide, with a special focus on school zones, commercial districts, and the areas around recreation centers. We hope that the Mayor will accept this recommendation, which would override the recommendation made in the Olneyville Road Safety Assessment to continue their use.

Weis was unequivocal. “Beg buttons got to go.”

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