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Author Archive | Jef Nickerson

Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – May 18, 2016

Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 4:45 PM
Joseph Doorley Municipal Building, 1st Floor Meeting Room
444 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903

bpac-roundAgenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of April Meeting Minutes (For Action)
  3. Waterman Street Modifications – Wayland (For Action) – The City of Providence intends to restripe Waterman Street between Butler Avenue and the Henderson Bridge. This restriping will include the relocation of on street parking from the south side to the north side of Waterman and installation a crosswalk near the ramp to the Henderson Bridge. DPW seeks comment from the BPAC regarding the preliminary plans.
  4. Eddy Street Restriping – Upper South Providence (For Action) – The Rhode Island Department of Transportation intends to restripe Eddy Street from Willard Avenue north to the I-95 Eddy Street underpass. RIDOT’s restriping plan includes bike lanes along portions of Eddy Street in both directions. DPW seeks comment from the BPAC regarding RIDOT’s preliminary striping plans.
  5. Bicycle Infrastructure Improvements to Connect to New Waterfront Parks and Pedestrian Bridge – Downtown and Fox Point (For Action) – The Rhode Island Department of Transportation will soon begin construction on the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge and two new waterfront parks to be placed on the former I-195 land on either side of the Providence River. DPD seeks ideas from the BPAC regarding new bicycle infrastructure to improve access from Downtown and Fox Point to the new parks and bridge.
  6. DPW Report on Status and Outcomes of Autotmatic Pedestrian Signal Pilot Project (For Discussion)
  7. Announcements and Staff Updates (For Discussion)
  8. Adjournment
Full Disclosure: I am a member of this commission.
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Bike Month!

bikemonth

I posted this late and some of these events may have already happened, sorry.


May is National Bike Month and it is being celebrated here in Rhode Island. While any month is fine for enjoying this healthy, money-saving, enjoyable and environmentally superior way to travel, with the arrival of spring, its time for many of us to savor the season, often best at the speed of a bicycle. Though it is a work in progress, the Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition announces the following calendar of events, note Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 20. Please join us for rides and events when you can. Check for updates at ribike.org.

Pre-Ride Roadside Bike Class (Bike Newport)
May 3, 10, 17, & 24 • 5:00-7:00pm • 29 Spring St, Newport
Free this month!

Bike making noises? Chain need some TLC? Brakes just not what they used to be? Ready to repair your own flat? You can give your bike the love it wants, and it’ll love you back – we promise! Join us for a basic roadside maintenance class. Topics will include pre-ride checks, fixing flats, caring for chains, and more. Classes are free for the month of May. Ladies Nights are geared toward women, girls, and female-identified. No boys allowed on those nights!

Bike to Breakfast (Women Bike RI)
May 6, 13, 14, & 27 • 7:30am • Various locations
Free (but bring money for your meal)

In celebration of Bike Month, Women Bike RI is organizing an informal bike to breakfast meetup series. Join us at any of the below locations on Friday mornings throughout the month of May. We’ll fill up bike racks, support local businesses and help demonstrate that bicycle commuting can be fun! All Women Bike RI events are free.

Weekday breakfast rides will take place 7:30 – 8:30 am. Please email womenbikeri@gmail.com to learn more and join the group on Facebook.

Jane’s Bike of Historical Providence
May 7: • 9:00am • 24 Meeting St, Providence
$10 per person • Eventbrite

Participate in a whirlwind tour of the Providence Preservation Society’s Most Endangered Properties (MEP), hosted by RIHPHC’s Sarah Zurier and RIBike’s Executive Director, Alex Krogh-Grabbe. See some great successes, like The Whitmarsh Apartments (1913) in Elmwood, one of the first properties ever listed as a MEP. We will also visit some losses, including the Grove Street Elementary School (1901) in Federal Hill which was partially demolished in 2007 without a permit, and eventually completely leveled in 2011.

Most of our stops will be sites still in danger, like the Kendrick-Prentice-Tirocchi House (1867) and Rhode Island Hospital’s Southwest Pavilion.

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – April 20, 2016

Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
April 20, 2016, 4:45 PM
Doorley Municipal Building, 444 Westminster Street, First Floor, Providence, RI 02903

bpac-roundAgenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Impact of Executive Order on BPAC membership and BPAC Project Review Process (For Discussion)
  3. Approval of March Meeting Minutes (For Action)
  4. City of Providence Vulnerable Road User Safety Action Plan – Overview and Status Update (For Discussion)
  5. Bike Plan Update – Status Update (For Discussion)
  6. Fountain Street Repaving and Restriping – Downtown (For Action)
    The City of Providence intends to repave and restripe Fountain Street between Empire and Dorrance streets in Spring 2016. As part of the restriping, the City has proposed for the road to be restriped in a new configuration to include two travel lanes, a buffered bike lane, and on street parking. Existing crosswalk locations will also be restriped. The bike lane will connect existing bike lanes on Broadway to Emmett Square and Kennedy Plaza. DPW and DPD seek comment from the BPAC regarding the preliminary plans.
  7. Douglas Avenue Restriping Project – Smith Hill, Elmhurst, Wanskuck (For Action)
    In Summer 2016, the City of Providence intends to restripe Douglas Avenue from Orms Street to the City Line. As part of that restriping, the City of Providence Department of Public Works has proposed bike lanes to be striped from Chad Brown Street to Chalkstone Avenue. DPW seeks comment from the BPAC regarding their preliminary striping plans.
  8. Road restriping list from DPW (For Action)
    In Summer 2016, the City of Providence intends to restripe several streets throughout the City. DPW seeks comment from the BPAC regarding the following projects: See offical agenda for full list.
  9. Announcements (For Discussion)
  10. Adjournment
Full Disclosure: I am a member of this commission (although unfortunately I will be missing this meeting).
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ProJo: $800M Route 6-10 Connector plan gains fans at 1st public hearing

The initial estimate for the “hybrid” design assumed a $500-$550 million price for the highway portion of the project and $300 million for the bus line and stations. However in a March 25 letter to federal officials expressing interest in a $150-million grant for the project, DOT listed the highway portion of the project at $650 million.

DOT spokesman Charles St. Martin said the $650-million estimate included the possibility that the project could be expanded to include repair of additional structurally deficient bridges, such as one at Plainfield Street. He could not immediately say whether the total price tag, including the transit component, would then grow to $950 million, or whether the state’s share of the project would still be $400 million.


Do we think we’ll be told the project is going to cost a billion dollars before or after they start construction?

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WPRI: Pedestrian struck on South County Trail

walkinpvd-iconRhode Island State Police said the victim – a South Kingstown woman in her 60s – and her friend were walking with the flow of traffic on the side of the road when she was struck.

Police said the driver – a 20-year-old man from East Greenwich – was also driving south when the vehicle in front of him came to a stop in order to make a left-hand turn. In an attempt to avoid hitting the vehicle, police said the driver swerved right into the breakdown lane and struck the victim.

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New Hosting, Finally

flickr-network

Photo (cc) Grant Hutchinson

After much down time and annoyance from our prior webhosting provider over the last weeks, I’ve moved the site to a new host. I’ve already noticed it is more speedy, and not crashing all the times (knock-on-wood), I hope you’re all finding it the same.

There might be a few little things for me to fix after the transfer, but most things seem to have moved as desired.

I’m also fixing to move all my domains to a new provider, which might result in a bit of downtime this week, but hopefully it will be relatively painless.

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All I know is somone wants to tear down buildings on Broadway and build a drive-thru CVS

broadway-dean

Former home of Empire Beauty School at Broadway and Dean on Federal Hill

I don’t actually know a whole lot about this, so it is hard to have too many opinions about it.

What I do know, is someone (presumably the property owner(s)) wants to tear down the 3-story office building at the corner of Broadway and Dean Streets along with the one-story building along Broadway next to it (currently the home of Hall’s on Broadway vintage store).

Then, someone wants to replace those buildings with a new multi-story mixed-use building with a CVS with a drive-thru on the ground floor.

Continue Reading →

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Mayor Elorza signs executive order giving more planning input to Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission

bpac

From the Mayor’s Office:


Providence to Give Commission Greater Input into Planning for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure

PROVIDENCE, RI – Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza today announced an effort to revamp the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission (BPAC) by signing an executive order granting the commission more say over where bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure investments, such as crosswalks and bike lanes, are implemented and how they are designed.

“Having safe areas for pedestrians and bicyclists are one of the keys to having the fittest city in the country,” said Mayor Elorza. “I am looking forward to hearing input from the commission to ensure safety for all that walk and ride.”

Under the executive order, most major street and sidewalk repair or construction projects within Providence will come before the Providence BPAC for review at two points during their conception and design phases.

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – March 16, 2016

Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
Wednesday, March 16, 2016 4:45 PM
Doorley Municipal Building 444 Westminster Street, First Floor Providence, RI 02903

bpac-roundAgenda

  1. Roll call
  2. Approval of January meeting minutes
  3. Welcome from Mayor Jorge Elorza
  4. Presentation on Bike Plan Update from DPD staff
  5. Public comment on needed improvements to bicycle lanes and other bicycle infrastructure throughout Providence
  6. Adjournment
Full disclosure: I am a member of this commission.
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Citizens plans campus in the middle of nowhere

johnston-citizens-sprawl-edit

Rendering of Citizens planned campus in Johnston

On Wednesday, Citizens Financial Group announced their plans to build a corporate campus on a greenfield site in Johnson outside Route 295, while maintaining their current corporate headquarters in Providence.

As reported by WPRI, the 420,000 square foot campus will house 3,200 employees. Construction will start this year with occupancy in 2018.

Rhode Island Public Radio reports the campus will feature an on-site cafeteria, fitness center, and walking paths.

The Providence Journal reports on some financial help Citizens received for the project, notably:

Citizens and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation have agreed to split the $6-million cost to build new exit and entrance ramps onto Route 295, between current exits 6 and 7, where the highway crosses Greenville Avenue. The DOT will pay $3 million, and construction is expected to start in the spring of 2017, DOT spokesman Charles St. Martin said;

Didn’t we just pass a super-controversial bill to toll trucks because RIDOT can’t afford to maintain what it has now? Now RIDOT is building infrastructure for private development?

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ProJo: Driver, victim identified in fatal Warwick pedestrian accident

Greenwich Avenue at Main Avenue in Warwick

walkinpvd-iconPolice have identified the 83-year-old man killed in a pedestrian accident Wednesday as Jose S. Dionisio, and the driver as Carmella Visinho, 92, both of Warwick.

Dionisio was crossing Main Avenue around 9:30 a.m., near the intersection with Greenwich Avenue, when he was struck by Visinho, who was driving in the right lane, eastbound. Dionisio was not in a crosswalk, according to the initial investigation.


Crosswalk or no crosswalk, how do we expect an elderly person to ever cross that street? How do we expect anyone to ever be able to cross that street? A traffic engineer designed that.

As our population continues to age, and more elderly people are no longer able to drive, we’re going to have a lot more elderly people in suburbs trying to cross the streets we engineered for cars.

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Proposed building at 169 Canal Street

Developer Charles Tapalian is presenting plans for a new 10-story residential building at 169 Canal Street at the Downtown Design Review Committee meeting on March 14th.

The 10-story building would contain 144 studio and one-bedroom apartments with ground floor retail. It appears to be targeting the student market. As far as I can tell, the plan is for no on-site parking with ample bike parking provided within the building.

This is an informational meeting only, the DRC will be offering opinions on the proposal, but no approvals will be given. The developer is presenting two options for the new building. The architect is Jo Ann Bentley Architects of Fall River.

Option 1

169-Canal-1-canalelevation

Elevation along Canal Street

Continue Reading →

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ProJo: R.I. begins moving on RIPTA bus hub project at Providence Amtrak Station

Rhode Island officials have taken the first small step toward building a multimillion-dollar bus hub at the Providence Amtrak Station, potentially as part of a larger real estate project with a private developer.

On Monday, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation Board approved hiring Chicago-based real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle to talk to developers, promote the project and help put together bid documents to seek private investment.

[…]

A memo from Commerce Corporation Senior Project Manager Michael Walker given to the Commerce board described Jones Lang Lasalle’s task as: “…to assist with the outreach to the developer community to identify and promote the development opportunity, structure the data requirements that a successful solicitation will require in order to be favorably received by developers, and to draft the Request for Proposals that [the Department of Transportation] will issue to solicit the private investment in this first-of-a kind transit project in Rhode Island.”

I’m all about public/private partnerships, the land around the station is far too valuable to be just a bus station. And bringing in a private developer to team up on this project is the definition of Transit Oriented Development. But boy do I fear concessions to the developer whittling away at the benefits to transit riders that this project could realize.

Please oh please Rhode Island, don’t f*ck it up!

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News & Notes

ljubljana- flickr

Ljubljana – Photo (cc) Gilad Rom

BuzzFeed News It Will Soon Be More Expensive To Jaywalk Than To Drink And Drive In Nova Scotia

This year the province is upping its fines for jaywalking to $700 for a first offence. It’s $1,272 for a second offence and a whopping $2,422 for a third offence.

[…]

Ultimately, said [Ben] Wedge [chair of the Halifax Cycling Coalition], pedestrians are already careful because they know that they’re the ones who are going to be injured in a collision, not the driver.

“The punishment has to be proportional to the crime committed,” he said.


Continue Reading →

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WPRI: Here are the 32 construction projects Mayor Elorza is touting for 2016

waterplace-cranes-2006

Cranes used to construct the Waterplace towers in 2006

Dan McGowan put together a comprehensive list of developments planned for the city in the next year or so. As the past has shown though, we should be careful not to count our Vaporscapers before they’ve hatched.

From the massive life-sciences complex on the former I-195 land to a small expansion of a metal company near the port of Providence, Mayor Jorge Elorza says Rhode Island’s capital city will see between $500 million and $700 million in new construction in 2016.

In his State of the City address last week, Elorza said the city expects more than 30 “major construction projects” to break ground this year, part of a once-in-a-generation boom that could provide a significant boost to the city’s coffers through new tax and permitting revenue.

So where are these new projects located?

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111 Fountain Street hotel proposal

111 Fountain - Sabin Street

Rendering looking west on Sabin Street

The Procaccianti Group is planning to raze the Fogarty Building at 111 Fountain Street to build a new extended stay hotel. Information below is from their submission to the Downtown Design Review Committee (DRC). This was scheduled to be presented to the DRC today, that meeting has been canceled due to the snow storm.


Project Information

Project Address: 111 Fountain Street
Project Description: 176 room Residence Inn hotel
Lot Size: 24,888 S.F. 0.571+/- Acres
Project Size: 127,500 GSF (includes tenant space)
Project Height: 101’-5 5/8” Top of roof structure – 9 Stories
Project F.A.R.: 5.12 (based on GSF)
Parking Spaces: 150 Parking spaces (at 1 Empire Site)
Architect: Group One Partners

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RESCHEDULED: Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – February 8, 2016

Today’s meeting has been rescheduled due to the snowstorm, it will take place Tuesday, February 16th at 4:45pm.
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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