Greater City Providence

The Providence Public un-Safety Complex

I saw this from one of my Facebook friends and headed by to see for myself on the way home from work today.

Snow plowed from the fire truck garage at the Public Safety Complex onto the sidewalks:

Providence Public Safety Complex

Providence Public Safety Complex

Snow piled on the sidewalk at the cruiser parking lot entrance at the Public Safety Complex, sidewalk beyond untouched covered with snow:

Providence Public Safety Complex

Other sidewalks along Dean and Washington Streets that are not city property but that one of the officers in the hundreds of cruisers that drive by here everyday should have noticed and reported as a safety issue:

Dean Street

Both sides of Dean Street, no sidewalk:

Dean Street

You can pay $5 to park for court, but you can’t actually get out of your car and walk to court:

Dean Street

Washington Street across from the Public Safety Complex:

Washington Street

Washington Street bridge over Route 95:

Washington Street

Washington Street

I was mostly impressed with the new administration’s response to this storm. The Mayor was out in the storm, Twittering away Cory Booker-style. And I absolutely am in love with Chafee after the photo opp. of him shoveling his sidewalk, good move Governor.

But the sidewalk situation is really same as it ever was. I’ve received reports that the Westminster and Point Street overpasses are not clear, and the sidewalks at the Cranston Street Armory (state property) are not cleared. There is no way that any tickets can be written for unshoveled sidewalks when the Public Safety Complex looks like this now is there? Seriously, if you get a ticket, feel free to bring one of these photos to court with you to fight it.

The Meteorologists seem to think that this will not be the last big storm we get this season so the new administration should have another chance to get it right. We’ll be watching.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • Great post. Same goes for the fire station on North Main and Meeting Street on the East Side.

  • We’ve given up on dignity.

    Sort of related: The effect that a city full of broken pedestrian signals has on society. Over time, people forget how to wait for the light to cross the street because that light will never change. From our cars, we often get angry at people walking out in the middle of the street whether its because of a snow bank or disfunctional public works crews.

  • I had to wait forever and ever to cross Fountain Street today at LaSalle Square because the pedestrian signal buttons don’t work, the light is just forever green. And the traffic could not see me waiting behind the snowbank (in normal conditions, usually someone stops to let pedestrians cross, there is some civility around here).

  • Jef – Thanks for this post (and the whole crusade). I am a driver who commutes to RI Hospital every morning and I am amazed and frankly embarrassed that the city hasn’t touched a majority of the sidewalks outside of Downcity. Every morning, in the blinding sun, I am forced to play ‘dodge’ with the walkers who’ve been forced into the street from Service Road and Atwells all the way to Point Street. It seems like the city is waiting for a pedestrian to get hurt before anything gets done!

  • The city has proven it takes a councilman getting hurt before they do anything. And even then, they do the minimum. I really hope the new administration reads this blog. This one post should be enough embarrassment for them to get their acts together.

  • Also, while I am a firm believer in ticketing people who don’t shovel their sidewalks, I do believe that those tickets should all be tossed out until the city can properly shovel their sidewalks.

  • “Play Dodge”??
    How about go slow, real slow. Give a wide berth and take care not to splash the people. Give them a lane. If traffic grinds to a halt, good! Then there would be a “real” problem and something might be done.

  • In the Summit neighborhood we have been starting to take this matter very seriously. The businesses are doing a lousy job. I wrote to the Projo, and have written to the mayor’s office. We are thinking about guerilla actions on businesses that plow driveways but do not shovel sidewalks and corners. I am thinking of starting a non profit focused on making things safe for pedestrians, including taking on the snow shoveling issue. Who can help? Contact me at gerritt at mindspring dot com if you want to help organize.

  • Sadly, in Summit it is the local businesses who tend to suck. IIRC CVS and Citizen’s Bank have their sidewalks cleared, at least on Hope. They should also do the sidestreets of the corners they are on, but I’m not sure if they do.

    OTOH, I complain to the manager at Seven Stars every storm. Especially when so much of their business is foot traffic you would think they would have better appreciation for not completely blocking the sidewalk with their plowed snow. It kills me that a little local business finds it so much more important to clear out its 7 parking spots than treat pedestrians with any respect – especially because when there is snow the entrance/egress from that lot becomes even more crowded and dangerous and traffic forming. Still, they haven’t really changed their behavior.

  • it has been a while since i was in town for a snowstorm, but the broadway location of 7 Stars has a nice clean corner and I suspect that has more to do with the fact that someone else owns their building (Armory Revival Company/Properties) and does the work. Perhaps there should be a “Site of Shame” for all those locations that don’t clean up after a snowstorm. Post it with reports of how crappy it is to walk there…Maybe enough negative chatter will actually change behavior…

  • it should be like a cheers and jeers type deal, with the good shoveling and walkways of businesses being on another list. I can’t think of a clever name though.

Providence, RI
Partly Cloudy
5:29 am8:14 pm EDT
Feels like: 73°F
Wind: 7mph SW
Humidity: 73%
Pressure: 30.02"Hg
UV index: 0
84°F / 70°F
79°F / 68°F
79°F / 68°F