Archive | July, 2009


Roger Williams Park Zoo

I went to Roger Williams Park Zoo with some of my family from the Cape, including my nieces (1 and 2 years old, their first visit). We had a great day, only had to duck under a roof for about 10 minutes to avoid some rain. We saw lots of animals and the girls were wonderful, only two bouts of crying (once for a banged head, and once for a skinned knee, valid crying reasons). I haven’t been to the zoo in years, what a great resource for us to have though.

Roger Williams Park Zoo

Roger Williams Park Zoo

Roger Williams Park Zoo

Roger Williams Park Zoo

Photos by Jef Nickerson

The anteaters would not come out of their enclosure, boo! But we still got to see them through the glass.

The first Saturday of the month, which happens to be tomorrow, the zoo is FREE for Providence residents, so if you were looking for something to do tomorrow, there you go.


Site tour: Providence Career and Technical Academy

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Wednesday I had the opportunity to tour the new Providence Career and Technical Academy on Cranston Street. Some info about the new school:

The PCTA is a brand-new, state-of-the-art career and technical education center. PCTA will be the region’s finest physical plant, designed to provide integrated academic and technical instruction in the areas of general construction, HVAC, electrical, plumbing and pipefitting, carpentry, culinary, cosmetology, automotive, and graphic communications. PCTA boasts the following amenities:

  • Wireless academic classrooms, technical laboratories, and related theory classrooms, all equipped with ceiling-mounted LCD projector, smartboards, and wireless voice amplification;
  • Three computer labs, including a graphic communications lab equipped with professional-grade hardware and software;
  • Comprehensive technical labs, all fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment reflective of industry standards.

From its physical and conceptual roots, PCTA was designed to serve a broad educational clientele. The building includes co-located adult employment services and a health clinic. In addition, the physical layout has separate entrances and security features that allow for safe, simultaneous use by both adults and children.

Electrical lab with mock-ups of wood and metal-frame rooms for students to work in. Each lab has a leaning suite adjacent to it.

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Printing presses in the design studio. Design and print services will be available to the general public.

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Media center. Shelves will contain periodicals, students will be able to check out laptops to use in the Media Center. The school does not have a traditional library.

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Science Lab.

Providence Career and Technical Academy

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Bikes Ride Here


Photo from Bike New Haven

Design New Haven reports on the city of New Haven’s newly launched website, Bike New Haven, and boy is it great. Great starting from the above photo on the front page. Bikes Ride Here, on the street, amen!

As Design New Haven outlines, the site is full of great information about cycling in New Haven. Bike safety, route information, planning documents, bike-to-transit options, a system to request bike racks, and more. New Haven really seems to have it’s act together on ensuring that bikers are part of the transportation infrastructure in the city and not just an after thought. I encourage everyone to take a look at the site and think about what we’d like to see in Providence along similar lines.


Downcity Design Review Committee – August 3, 2009

Notice of Regular Meeting • Monday, August 3, 2009 • 4:45pm
Department of Planning and Development, 4th Floor Auditorium
400 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of Meeting Minutes: July 13, 2009

Project Review

View Larger Map

1. DRC Application No. 09.14, 111 Westminster Street/50 Kennedy Plaza (Industrial Trust Company Building, now Bank of America Tower) Request for approval of the replacement of exterior doors and revolving doors on the Westminster Street and Kennedy Plaza elevations with new doors. The work was completed without DRC approval.



Surreptitious look at Collier Point Park

A reader submitted this photo taken from the Iway Bridge of on-going work at Collier Point Park. Collier Point Park is where the Russian Sub used to be (well, still is, but not for long), off Allens Avenue just under the west side of the Iway Bridge.


Reader submitted photo

Collier Point Park has always been a nice little slice of public access to the waterfront amidst the industrial wasteland that is Allens Avenue. Many people head down there to fish, when I worked in Davol Square sometimes I would take my lunch and eat down there. However, since there is not much that is attractive in the area, the park has very few people visiting, especially now that the Russian Sub Museum is closed.

Our reader has this to say about Collier Point:

Just before they opened the I-Way lanes to southbound 95, I walked across the new blue bridge and took this shot of the park that’s being completed between the power plant and the defunct Russian sub. The picture was taken by aiming between a blue support girder of the eastbound overpass and the guardrail of the westbound lanes.

How do you get access to the park itself? Of course, you can’t get there from here. Work isn’t quite finished. What’s more, the whole park complex and its boat ramp are off limits because of the Russian Sub calamity. Why they can’t just rope off the Russian Sub dock and open the rest of the place up to the public is something one would have to ask RIDOT or National Grid.

Fishermen use the park now — they park behind Desire and clamber over the riprap of the Hurricane Barrier.

One of these days this will be a nice, slim addition to the city’s park system.

Here is a photo I took a couple weeks ago from under the east side of the Iway Bridge across the river to Collier Point Park, as you can see, the desiccated Russian Sub is still hanging around waiting to be scrapped.


Photo by Jef Nickerson

Putting aside the debate about the future of the Allens Avenue waterfront. There will continue to be not much in the area of this park to attract people to it. With the Russian Sub going away, there’s not an attraction here besides the park itself. What should this park be? Should it remain a passive recreation area for the few people who make their way there? Should the city try to make some sort of attraction at/in the park itself to draw people to it to use it? It is one of the few public access points to the water, what should it be?


Explore North Burial Ground – July 28, 2009


Photo from The North Main Street Project

Explore North Burial Ground

Enjoy an evening exploration of the historic and environmentally sensitive North Burial Ground with historian Robert O. Jones and ghost stories from writer, raconteur, and neighbor Mark Binder at a FREE public event hosted by the North Main Street Committee and the Summit Neighborhood Association on Tuesday, July 28 at 7pm.

This event will be enjoyed by families, neighbors and anyone with an interest in Providence history. The tour will meet on North Main Street at the cemetery entrance gate opposite the Providence Armory at 7 p.m. (This gate opens to marble steps into the cemetery. It is on the southbound side of North Main Street, just after the last office buildings, one long block after Walgreens as you head toward downtown.)

Robert O. Jones will lead a short walking tour from the gate. A local naturalist will provide an ecological context. At 8pm, we will return to the steps for snacks and ghost stories from Mark Binder.

Pre-registration is requested but not required. To register or to get more information, contact Greg Gerritt at 331-0529 or by email.