Pittsburgh Walk & Bike from Streetfilms on Vimeo.
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I’m a 22 year old young profesional who just moved to Providence from Pittsburgh and the thing I miss the most is the ability to take public transit and go on long walks without people pitying me and thinking how sad it is that I don’t have a car. I hate that for every new development in this city, there has to be a parking lot that is twice the size of the building. Why does Providence hate walking?
Oh, and can I also take a moment to complain about how every single business district in Providence is broken up by at least 2 large gas stations? It takes up space that could be much better used by businesses that serve the people that live in the community, not just those who are driving through it.
New developments with parking lots twice the size of buildings are more than just a cultural phenomenon|in large part it’s a zoning issue. Required parking ratios, maximum building lot coverage, and the lack of required streetwalls have all contributed to the degradation of the city’s streetscape, especially in commercial areas. Much of the auto-centric development has occurred since the 1970s. Diminishing budgets for RIPTA has created a public transit system that was considered to be, at least in the past, the “transportation of last resort” also contributes to an anti-pedestrian culture in Providence.
With a new Mayor and Governor, perhaps it’s time to challenge outdated auto-centric zoning regulations and press for a funding formula that truly supports public transit. The Mayor and Governor need to hear from as many voices as possible to support them in advocating for change.