Author Archive | Jef Nickerson

Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – February 8, 2016

Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting
Monday, February 8, 2016 4:45 PM
Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

drc-roundOpening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of Meeting Minutes of January 11, 2016

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 15.30: 111 Fountain Street (Fogarty Building) – Continued review of the proposal by PRI XII LLC, to demolish the existing structure located at 111 Fountain Street, and to construct a new 9?story extended stay hotel on the site. The applicant was granted preliminary approval of the demolition, preliminary (conceptual) approval of the new construction, and waivers from the Design Standards for New Construction at the January 11, 2016 DRC meeting. The applicant is returning to the DRC for final design review.

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ProJo: 6-10 rapid transit plan would draw nearly 4,000 riders, report says

olneyville sq

Olneyville before the construction of the 6/10 Connector

In the report released Jan. 22, VHB estimated that between 7,000 and 9,000 people use mass transit to reach downtown Providence from an area south and west of the city and could utilize a 6-10 transit line. The higher end of the estimate, 9,193, came from adding the passengers of 13 current Rhode Island Public Transit Authority lines and the 7,014 figure came from extrapolated census figures.


The additional 3,500 to 4,000 riders VHB estimates would use a new transit line on Routes 6 and 10 was determined by taking these numbers and adding “several percentage points” of higher transit usage to the population within the catchment area.

That all sounds rather, take a guess from this column and take a guess from that column, but OK. It seems like RIPTA needs some input on this. Do existing lines from the south and west get re-routed? Does that allow for better time into the City? Does that attract more ridership? Is there a demand for riders from the south to reach Olneyville without making a transfer in Kennedy Plaza and vice-versa..?

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Wexford Science & Technology / CV Properties enter purchase agreement for 195 parcels


Wexford/CV proposal rendering. Eddy Street bottom, Ship Street left, Dorrance Street right. Click image to enlarge.

Baltimore-based Wexford Science and Technology and real estate developer CV Properties have signed a purchase and sale agreement for two parcels of land and plan to develop a three-phase project on the vacant former highway land with research and development space, offices, hotel and residential space and other attractions.

Phasing is not really allowed by the 195 regulations, one is not allowed to land-bank. Something like this can’t really be built any other way than in phases though, so I guess we’re just ignoring that for reality. Also, I better not see any ‘temporary’ surface lots anywhere between phases.

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Providence Mayor’s Center for City Service (401) 421-CITY, Emergencies dial 911
Providence Emergency Management Agency: @PEMA591
Report power outages to National Grid: (800) 465-1212
National Grid Power Outage Map
National Grid: @nationalgridus
Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency: @RhodeIslandEMA
Providence Parking Ban starts at 10pm

The City of Provience also has this CodeRed app they are pushing, but I couldn’t get it to work properly on my phone, YMMV.

Also, shovel your sidewalks!


ProJo: RIPTA turns focus to expansion near Rhode Island Hospital


Rhode Island Hospital area. Image from Bing Maps

Although RIPTA still expects to create a bus stop or stops at Garrahy, transit planners don’t envision a “hub” or terminal there and actually see more potential for expansion farther south, near Rhode Island Hospital.

“Rhode Island Hospital is a huge ridership area for us,” said Amy Pettine, RIPTA’s executive director of planning. “Garrahy emerged as an opportunity, but with the hospital as a key anchor, we will probably need something further south.”

RIPTA is working with the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority, which is building the Garrahy garage, on determining what kind of mass transit presence makes sense, from a regular stop, to a “super stop” with passenger amenities and a place for drivers to take a break.

We need to consider the 195 Land and the Jewelry District as part of downtown. Operationally, I think it could work out better to have hubs on the periphery of downtown (Train Station Hub and Hospital Hub) rather than one on the edge and one kind of in the middle (Garrahy Garage). Hubs on the edge with routes from north and south converging at them allows for through-routing buses on narrowly defined corridors through downtown, creating corridors with high-frequency service.

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Adisory Commission Meeting – January 20, 2016

Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Adisory Commission Meeting
Wednesday, January 20, 2016, 4:45 PM
Joseph Doorley Municipal Building, 1st Floor Meeting Room
444 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903


  1. Roll call
  2. Approval of 2016 meeting schedule – for action
  3. DPD staff update – for discussion
  4. 2016 BPAC work plan – for discussion
  5. Announcements – for discussion
  6. Adjournment
Full Disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.

City Plan Commission Meeting – January 19, 2016

Providence City Plan Commission Notice of Regular Meeting
TUESDAY, JANUARY 19, 2016, 4:45 PM
Joseph Doorley Municipal Building, 1st Floor Meeting Room
444 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903

cpc-roundOpening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from December15 regular meeting and December 1 special meeting – for action
  • Election of Officers – for action
  • Director’s Report

Institutional Master Plan

1. Brown University Institutional Master Plan Amendment – Presentation of amendment to Brown University’s Institutional Master Plan. The amendment includes creation of new parking space and improvements to certain athletic facilities. A special use permit will be required for the proposed parking – for action (College Hill)

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ProJo: Brown plans to knock down 7 College Hill buildings for new parking lot

Brown University intends to flatten half of a city block near Thayer Street in the College Hill neighborhood to create a commercial parking lot.

In an amendment to the school’s master plan filed with the Providence Planning Department, Brown officials wrote they want to raze seven multifamily houses that the school owns between Cushing Street, Meeting Street and Brook Street. The amendment document calls the two-unit buildings “unsightly.”

I’m just going to leave this collection of Google Streetview images Frank Mullin posted on Facebook right here.



WPRI: Elderly woman struck by car in critical condition


Mendon Road in Cumberland from Google Streetview

walkinpvd-iconAn elderly woman is in critical condition after she was struck by a car Tuesday morning while trying to cross a busy road in Cumberland.

According to Deputy Chief Douglas Ciullo, police responded to Mendon Road at about 8 a.m. to find the woman lying down in the roadway. She was rushed to the hospital with injuries to her head and knees.


Rhode Island Rep. Jim McLaughlin also stopped by the scene, saying he wants the Department of Transporation to change the speed limit and the lights in the area, as well as add cameras.

Sorry, arbitrarily reducing the speed limit on a roadway designed for high-speed traffic and installing cameras so we can see cars running red-lights and slamming into old ladies will not prevent any crashes. Physical interventions such as narrowing the road and raising the crosswalk could help mitigate the poor design of this area.

We also should not be stuffing our old folks into towers in the suburbs where they have to play Frogger with high-speed traffic to get to the grocery store, McDonald’s, and the Dollar Tree across the street. As our population ages, and elderly people are less able to drive, our built environment in the suburbs is going to result in more and more elderly people being victims of automobile violence.


ProJo: Providence Design Review Committee OK’s demolition of Fogarty building

Fogarty Building

The Downtown Design Review Committee unanimously approved a series of requests Monday that officially cleared the way for the Procaccianti Group Inc. to start tearing down the old John E. Fogarty Building on Fountain Street, possibly within three months.

Procaccianti Group Vice President Michael A. Voccola told the committee that the company expects to need between 45 and 60 days to knock down the concrete behemoth. If no unexpected delays occur, construction on an eight-story extended-stay hotel on the site could begin in early fall, the company said.

Emphasis mine.


Capital Center Commission Meeting – January 13, 2016


Capital Center Commission Meeting Notice
Wednesday, January 13, 2016 – 12:00 noon
Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903


  1. Roll Call
  2. Minutes
    2.1 Approval of Commission Meeting Minutes of September 9, 2015
    2.2 Acceptance of DRC Meeting Minutes of June 16, 2015, August 4, 2015, October 6, 2015, and November 3, 2015
  3. Acceptance of 2016 CCC Meeting Schedule
  4. Election of Officers
  5. Parcel 12: Public Hearing
    Application for Development and Deviations from the Development Review Regulations related to the construction of a new hotel building. The applicant will also be seeking variances from Section 604 of the Zoning Ordinance from the Zoning Board of Review.
  6. Parcel 12: Action
    Action on the Application for Development and Deviations from the Development Review Regulations related to the construction of a new hotel building, and on the request for variances from Section 604 of the Zoning Ordinance.
  7. Adjournment

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Projo: Providence abandons streetcar plan for new bus line


Dogged by cost and ridership concerns since it was first proposed nearly 10 years ago by then-Mayor David Cicilline, the proposed streetcar has been abandoned in favor of an “enhanced bus” line along the same route, Providence Planning Director Bonnie Nickerson confirmed Wednesday.


In a list of future projects the city wants added to the state’s upcoming 10-year transportation plan, the Providence Enhanced Bus Circulator is estimated to cost $20 million.

The proposal asks for $7 million from the state to build the new bus line and uses a $13-million federal grant awarded for the streetcar in 2014 to cover the rest.


The enhanced bus plan would keep the streetcar’s most recent route: from the Providence train station through downtown and the Jewelry District to Rhode Island Hospital.

I’m sure I have a lot of thoughts and opinions about this which I have neither the time nor the energy to think about right now. However, I wanted to provide a place for others to discuss, one thing to consider when assessing this change in planning is what Providence is asking for in the TIP.

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WPRI: Providence firefighters to offer free rides to residents on New Year’s Eve

Happy New Year’s! Don’t drive drunk!

For the second year in a row, the Providence Fire Fighters IAFF Local 799 will be offering free rides home to anyone in the city on New Year’s Eve.

According to Paul Doughty, the president of the firefighters’ union, the Safe Night service will be offered from 5 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 31, until 7 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 1.


For a ride, residents should call (401) 272-7999.

Also, if you’re heading to Boston, check out the T schedules, FREE after 8pm!


WPRI: Teen cyclist struck by vehicle in Portsmouth

walkinpvd-icon Officials said the man suffered “traumatic injuries” that appeared to be significant. At last check, police said he was in stable condition at the hospital.

According to fire officials, the ambulance had a hard time getting to the hospital due to low visibility from the heavy fog, and it’s possible the driver never saw the cyclist.

While on scene, police said they noticed the smell of marijuana on the driver of the vehicle. Officers performed a field sobriety test, which the driver passed, and later found less than an ounce of marijuana inside the vehicle. The 20-year-old was cited for possession of marijuana and due car by drivers, police said.

The driver was high, but it is still probably the victim’s fault and most certainly not the fault of the person who designed the road.


Very 21st Century

The Proposed 6/10 Interchange Reconstruction will address the deterioration of existing bridges and aims to reduce congestion and improve travel flow from north to west on the roads spanning from Route 6 to Route 10. The proposed project will include work to Route 6 from the Hartford Avenue interchange to north of the Tobey Street overpass, in addition to Route 10 from the Cranston Viaduct to Route 6. The proposed reconstruction will assess nine of 11 deteriorating bridges that are over 50 years old.

And the BRT gets value engineered out in 3… 2…


WJAR: Pedestrian accidents on the rise

walkinpvd-icon“They had dark clothing on, it was night time, it was rainy, (and) it was foggy,” said Deputy Police Chief Daniel Parrillo.


“What’s the cause? There could be a number of different causes,” he said.

Distracted driving is often cited as a cause for accidents, but drivers aren’t the only ones who need to pay attention. Warwick police remind pedestrians that sometimes they’re at fault for some of these accidents, especially when they decide to cross a busy street where there’s not a crosswalk, which is a citable offence.

Pedestrians should walk to another town where there’s a crosswalk, so they at least won’t get a citation after they are mowed down.


Two 195 District projects advance


Two renderings of Parcel 8 by Kite Architects

The 195 Commission made approvals on two projects at their meeting earlier this week. Providence Business News reports on Parcel 8:

The I-195 Redevelopment District Commission has approved the design plan for a mixed-use development that will occupy a one-third acre parcel in the Fox Point neighborhood.

The project, pursued by Royal Oaks Realty LLC, will occupy Parcel 8 in the former I-195 lands. The development will include the renovation of a historic building, part of the former Fuller Iron Works, as well as new construction of a seven-story building that will include apartments, office space and retail space.

The 195 Commission (in Executive Session) decided to enter a purchase and sale agreement with the much larger Wexford proposal on parcels 22 and 25, also reported by PBN:

The I-195 Redevelopment District Commission moved closer Monday to securing the sale of five acres of land for a biological sciences and mixed-use development.

In a vote taken in executive session, the commission agreed to authorize its executive director and chairman to execute a purchase and sale agreement for parcels 22 and 25, according to chairman Joseph F. Azrack.


ProJo: Providence City Council OKs tax deal for hotel on Fountain Street


Rendering of proposed extended stay hotel which would replace the Fogarty Building on Fountain Street.

On an 10-1 vote Thursday night, the City Council gave final approval for a tax-reduction agreement that will clear the way for the demolition of the vacant Fogarty Building on Fountain Street and its replacement with a $40-million high-rise hotel.

Once the mayor’s office signs off on the agreement with the hotel developer, Cranston-based Procaccianti Group, the company plans to apply for the needed permits to demolish the building, company spokesman Ralph V. Izzi Jr. said.

The company expects to begin tearing down the old social services office building within six to nine months of getting the permits, Izzi said, with hotel construction taking 12 to 18 months after that, he said.

I much prefered the ‘general hospital from the eighties‘ design they were proposing back in May of last year.

Also, how lame are we that we’re giving permission to someone who owns two surface parking lots a block away to tear down yet another building in our city?