Archive | July, 2011

Save RIPTA petition

The Sierra Club of Rhode Island has started a petition to urge the Governor and the General Assembly to properly fund RIPTA and avoid service cuts.

With demand for transit service at record levels, now is NOT the time to reduce bus service in Rhode Island. Public transportation is vital to the health of the state’s economy and environment, and it benefits riders and non-riders alike. RIPTA provides affordable convenient access to transportation that makes it possible for those who can’t drive to get where they need to go, lowers individual transportation costs, eases congestion, and reduces carbon emissions. Public transportation also makes important contributions towards alleviating the serious national challenge of energy security, and it encourages more active lifestyles that help combat the obesity epidemic.

Unfortunately, RIPTA has a structural deficit problem because its funding comes from the declining revenues of the gas tax, at the same time that its operating costs are increasing due to higher fuel prices. For the economic, environmental, and social well-being of Rhode Island, we call on the General Assembly and Governor to create a secure and stable funding mechanism to ensure that there will be no cuts to public transportation service.

Go to to view and add your name to the petition.


RIPTA Riders Rally, Aug 1

RIPTA Riders

Monday, August 1 • 1:30pm – 4:30pm
Kennedy Plaza in front of Providence City Hall

Join fellow Rhode Island citizens outraged by the service cuts that have been proposed for the state’s public transit system as we come together to protest the proposals outside Providence City Hall at 1:30. Hear RIPTA riders and transit advocates make the case for saving public transportation.

Afterward (2:00 at URI’s Providence Campus, 80 Washington Street), take the message to the public hearing that is being held to gather public input on the reductions.

If the cuts go forward as planned, 39 routes will suffer reductions in service, and 8 routes face elimination entirely. These are the most drastic cuts ever proposed to Rhode Island’s transit system. This loss of service will be a terrible burden to our economy and an even greater hardship for RI’s most vulnerable communities.

For the economy, for social justice, for the environment or public health, for whatever reason you value RIPTA come out and show your support. They need it.

There is also a Service Reduction Hearing at URI’s Providence Campus at 6pm, for those who cannot make a mid-day hearing.

Event on Facebook.


News & Notes

Hubway bike share system launched this morning in Boston. Photo from Government Center from Hubway’s Twitter feed:

Hubway bike share bikes at Government Center in Boston

A beginning agenda for making smart growth legal [Switchboard]

When then-governor Parris Glendening announced a key portion of what was to become Maryland’s path-breaking land use legislation in the 1990s, he stood in the historic district of Annapolis, where Maryland’s State House is located. He told the crowd that the best parts of downtown Annapolis – a picturesque, highly walkable and much-loved collection of 17th- and 18th-century homes, apartments, shops, civic and church buildings, restaurants and small offices just above the city’s harbor – could not have been built in the late 20th century.

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Beer Garden and Music at Burnside Park, Today

Beer Garden at Burnside Park

The Burnside Park Beer Garden Music Series takes place by the fountain in the park and runs every Thursday from July to August. Beer garden is open from 4:30-7pm with music from 5:30-6:30pm. Enjoy lawn games, Trinity Beer, De Las Olas Tacos, and Jake’s Sweet Meat BBQ!

FREE, all ages
Burnside Park

NOMO – post afro-beat dance explosion (featuring members of His Name Is Alive)!

“World music, jazz, electronica, Afrobeat…I hope that we don’t get marginalized by any of these terms. We are an American band, and in our hearts I think we’re more of a rock band than anything else, but we do love so many different types of music,” says band leader Elliot Bergman. “This is our music. It is full of life, full of emotion. It’s funky, danceable, weird, heavy, exuberant, angry, joyous and raucous,” he adds.

More info


We STILL can’t get overnight parking done

Parking Sign

I can’t believe I’m writing about this, still. Last month word on the street was that overnight parking was part of the Mayor’s budget and the whole Council was on board, now…

Well, allowing overnight parking is in the budget (in the budget because it is a revenue generator through permits), but there is a small ordinance amendment needed at the Council level. Now, all of a sudden, the Finance Committee isn’t so sure this is a good idea.

People, we’re the only major city that bans overnight parking, and by overnight, I mean 2am to 5am, THREE HOURS! What in Maude’s name does the Finance Committee think is going to happen if residents are allowed to park their cars on the streets for 3 hours in the middle of the night?

As with all the nonsense in our fair city, there is a Facebook Group that is rallying troops to lobby the Council on this issue and there is a Citizen Speak petition which you can sign.

If you need me I’ll be paving my yard just in case.


Like: Flower Grenades

Flower Grenades

We like SUCK UK‘s Flower Grenades. Route 195 land anybody?

Gardening’s gone guerilla – You’ve seen them, you may have looked away, but you’ve seen them. Those forgotten areas of the estate, left to fall apart and fall into disrepair. The municipal scrubland where nothing can grow… Or can it? Turn the concrete jungle into a wilderness with our compacted wild flower seed grenades.

Buttercups and Poppies will take at least 3 weeks to start growing Ryegrass will be the first thing to grow after about one week

Via: Life on Foot


Wooly Fair, July 30

Wooly Fair VII To the Moon!
July 30, 2011 • 2pm-1am
the Steel Yard • 27 Sims Ave, Providence, RI

For many weeks now, The Woolies have been building and planning, making sure that Wooly Fair VII, To the Moon! will be a wild spectacle of galactic proportions. On July 30th, we’ll be rocketing you into a lunar wilderness, full of games, live music, spontaneous theater, and, of course, the WOOLY SPACE STATION. The Space Station will be comprised of 21 pentagonal pods, which are being created for the sole purpose of entertaining and inspiring you via shimmering, interactive, artist-made installations.

Visit the website for more information.


RIPTA service reduction hearings began yesterday in Newport

The message, Brian Jones of Newport said, is “that you can’t depend, year to year, decade to decade, on RIPTA.”

ProJo reports today on the RIPTA service reduction hearings which took place in Newport yesterday.

Hearings continue today at the Burnside Building, 400 Hope Street in Bristol.

We have the full list of proposed service reductions and public hearing schedules, here.


News & Notes

Chicago’s New Protected Bike Lanes [The City Fix]

Along with a new mayor, Chicago got its first protected bike lanes this past month. Funded by a federal grant, the Chicago Department of Transportation is installing the half-mile bike lane as a pilot program. The protected bike lanes will have a three feet buffer to parked cars and will be separated by delineated posts.

Amid Budget Cuts, Nation’s Mayors Speak as One [Wall Street Journal]

LOS ANGELES-It may not seem like the Republican mayor of Mesa, Ariz., and the Democratic mayor of Hilo, Hawaii, would have much in common.

But these days, they have the same complaints.

Their cities’ once-vital construction industries have withered, and their unemployment rates are at 9%. Both have cut funding to schools and police, and both rely on federal dollars to help their struggling cities.

Mayors from 50 cities gathered here Thursday for a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors to collectively vent about the impact that a sour economy and years of budget cuts|as well as possible cuts to federal funding if the debt ceiling isn’t raised|is having on their cities.

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Ivy Leaf Performs at Lippitt House Garden Family Concert, July 31


Sunday, July 31st, 3:00 – 4:00 pm,

Celebrate traditional Irish folk tunes with this young, energetic group at a concert in the Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum garden. Let the fiddle, flute, guitar and other traditional Irish instruments carry you away as Ivy Leaf performs upbeat, lovely and humorous songs and folk tales. Come early with your blanket and bring a late afternoon picnic. Suggested donation $5 per family. All ages welcome. For rain date, call (401) 453-0688 after 1pm the day of the concert. Reservations are not required. The Lippitt House Museum Garden is located at 199 Hope Street on Providence’s East Side.


AIDS Care Ocean State seeks summer clothing donations

Photo (cc) Thing Three

AIDS Care Ocean State is seeking clothing donations, especially summer clothing. Their donation center at 603 Elmwood Avenue, Providence is open 8am to noon tomorrow, Saturday the 23rd.

Donate your summer or any clothing to the clients of AIDS Care Ocean State! Please Help!

AIDS Care Ocean State’s Donation Center is in need of SUMMER clothing! Donate any gently used shorts, t-shirts, dresses, and other summer items! Donations can either be dropped off at our center, or please call Keith Dube at (401) 781-5565 to arrange a pick-up of your items. Thank you for your help!

The donation center is located at 603 Elmwood Avenue, Providence. For more information, please call (401) 781-5565.

The donation center will be open this Saturday July 23rd from 8:00am to noon to accept donations!

We are always in need of:

  • Used Clothing any size and gender
  • Children’s clothing
  • Used household Items
  • Used furniture
  • New personal care items such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, and baby powder Diapers in all sizes

News & Notes

Fast 14 project an exciting demonstration of American innovation [USDOT Fast Lane Blog]

The challenge was tremendous; last summer gaping holes opened up in bridges along the crucial I-93 corridor near Boston. It was clear that the superstructure–the concrete decking and steel beams–of the aging bridges was failing and had to be replaced. Unfortunately, with conventional techniques, closing lanes to replace the 14 structurally deficient bridges on this primary commuter artery would likely tie Boston-area traffic in painful knots for four long years.

The Massachusetts DOT design-build team proposed to cut that four years down to 14 weeks by prefabricating the superstructure pieces off-site then quickly fitting them into position. Rather than close lanes for the weeks it would take to fabricate a bridge’s superstructure on-site, lane closures could be limited to weekends when the pre-fab superstructure could be lowered into place. Preparatory work, they suggested, could be done in advance without disrupting the flow of traffic.

Why isn’t everyone doing this?

Transit systems face across-the-board cuts, diminished funding stream under House bill [Transportation for America]

The House proposal contains scant information about public transportation, but by most indications, non-highway projects would have more difficulty receiving funding and prioritization compared to current law.
The outline did not explicitly call for maintaining the historic 20 percent share of Highway Trust Fund dollars for public transportation, though both Chairman Mica and Committee staff indicated verbally at a press conference that the 80/20 ratio would be preserved, albeit as part of a much smaller share of total dollars. Though even with the 20 percent share intact, the overall 35 percent cut would result in steep fare hikes, service cuts, job losses or some combination thereof.

See also: Federal transportation program slated for 35 percent spending cut in House bill [Transportation for America]

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Providence Downtown-Knowledge District Development Framework Study kick-off, Today

I keep forgetting to post about this, mainly because I’ve decided I’m not going because I’ve seen the basic presentation already, and I have 3 other things on my calendar; but you all should certainly go.

This is the Zoning/Development study committee that I was appointed to. I believe this will basically be the presentation that Perkins + Will gave to committee members several weeks ago. It is a good recap of the various studies that have been done over the years as well as some thinking about how the Jewelry and Hospital District are built, function, connect, and can grow.

The meeting is also a good opportunity to interact with the Planning Department and have your views heard.

The Providence Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is pleased to announce that the Kick-off Community Meeting for the Providence Downtown-Knowledge District Development Framework study will be held on Thursday, July 21, 2011. Please join us as we present the project background and existing conditions analysis, and solicit your input and ideas.

Kick-off Community Meeting:
Providence Downtown-Knowledge District Development Framework study
Thursday, July 21, 2011 • 5:30pm-7:00pm

Meeting Location:
444 Westminster Street*, first floor • Providence, RI 02903

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Crossing is safer without the light

The traffic lights have been removed at the intersection of Weybosset, Broad, Empire, and Chestnut Streets.
Traffic lights at the intersection of Weybosset, Broad, Empire, and Chestnut Streets on Weybosset Hill have been removed.

As part of the Downtown Circulator Project, the traffic light at the intersection of Weybosset, Broad, Empire, and Chestnut Streets (Weybosset Hill for short) have been removed. The roads will be rebuilt (with Weybosset and Empire both becoming two-way) and new lights will be installed, probably sometime this fall. Curiously, the intersection, which I walk through multiple times a day, has become much better without the lights.

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