The Press Release below details the Mayor’s trip to Charleston to attend the Mayors Institute on City Design. He will be focusing on the redevelopment of the 195 land especially east of the river.
The 195 land in the Jewelry District (west of the river) has been grabbing all the attention and headlines, there’s been little talk about what should or could happen on the east side.
The last conversation we had here about the east side of the river I think was exactly two years ago; when we discussed lot sizes.
Mayor Taveras Explores Options for I-195 Land Redevelopment East of the Providence River
Will share insights from Mayors Institute on City Design with 195 Commission
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Taveras traveled to Charleston, South Carolina today to attend the 51st national session of the Mayors Institute on City Design.
A joint effort of the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Architectural Foundation and the United States Conference of Mayors, the Mayors’ Institute helps transform communities through design by preparing mayors to be the chief urban designers of their cities.
While at the conference, Mayor Taveras will explore options for the redevelopment of the I-195 land with specific emphasis on the parcels on the other side of the Providence River from the Jewelry District. The Mayor plans to share new insights on design principles most appropriate for the redevelopment of the I-195 land on the east side of the river with the I-195 District Commission.
“I am looking forward to sharing the exciting opportunities we have in Providence as a result of the relocation of I-195. I hope to work with the other mayors and national experts to develop ideas for how the land should be developed in a way consistent with the historic fabric of Providence,” said Mayor Taveras.
All of the Mayor’s travel and hotel expenses are being paid for by Mayor’s Institute.
At the conference, Mayor Taveras will work with other mayors and leading design experts from across the country. Sessions are organized around case-study problems, with each mayor presenting a problem from his or her city for the other mayors and designers to discuss. Following each presentation, mayors and designers identify important issues, offer suggestions, and discuss potential solutions.
So what what should the development look like on the east side of the river? Uses? Scale?
Parking lots, obviously.
Does that joke ever get old?
This is one area that I feel should fit into the historic fabric of existing structures, streetscape and access points when considering development. I’d like to see grand entrance ways and sculpture welcoming visitors through a new East Side Gateway and Park along the river and Wickenden St.
Though transitional arch. design would feel appropriate along the southwest side of Wickenden St. opposite Benefit and So. Main. I have also been imagining multi-use recreation facilities in this parcel such as tennis and basketball courts and a skate park.
Gateway Park – Boston, MA http://maps.google.com/maps?q=boston+recreation+gateway+park&hl=en&ll=42.350021,-71.059149&spn=0.001508,0.001939&sll=42.34129,-71.06884&sspn=0.008454,0.015514&vpsrc=6&gl=us&t=h&z=19
I’d think it fits best to keep development at the same scale and types as already exists on Wickenden, South Main and South Water streets. Limit heights to 3 or 4 story buildings, 1st floor retail/office and upper tiers either residential or small office (both not really necessary right now, eh?) Mixed use, develop community, add to the vibrancy of Wickenden, and perhaps make a better/more continuous link between the South Main shops and the Wickenden street shops. As it stand now, walking between the two seems long because there isn’t much there, and it isn’t attractive. Extend the park off the river along point and connect it to IPP so that the city ends up with a continuous green space from downtown to the bay.
Or, build a complex so that my employer has somewhere to move 400 people to in 2014 that isn’t outside the city.
The city needs revenue, so taxable proerty would seem important.
I’d like to see planning for an orientation toward walking, biking, and transit rather than driving and parking. Providence can never compete with the suburbs on easy driving/parking, but it has the advantage for the alternatives, especially in this area where there should be a pedestrian bridge on the old I-195 piers, bike connections to India Pt Park and the East Bay, and on excellent transit lines such as the 60 PVD-Newport as well as being walking distance from downtown.
Let me second what mattm said. South Main and Wickenden both have neighborhood retail, but their intersection is a wasteland, and should be developable into something more. Since it’s the intersection of two major streets the intensity can be a little higher than that of the existing commercial development, but the context should still be similar to what’s already there.
Providence isn’t New York. It doesn’t have so huge a pent-up demand for land that anything that’s built will be sold almost immediately. An urban renewal megaproject can easily fail, and just make the surrounding neighborhood less desirable than just extending what currently exists.
The city should hold on to the property for as long as possible. I’m not sure if this is possible, since the land needs to be sold to pay back Federal loans. If it were possible for the city to NOT sell the land until it has a buyer who will actually BUILD…as opposed to a buyer who wants to build, but can’t secure financing, and turns the land into a parking lot instead. A few years as a connected series of wildflower meadows would be wonderful…