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Author Archive | Jef Nickerson

Pedestrians struck in Providence and Pawtucket over the weekend

WJAR reports that two people were struck by a driver who stopped on the Point Street Bridge on Saturday afternoon:

In Providence, police tell NBC 10 two pedestrians were struck on Saturday shortly after 5:00 p.m. on the Point Street Bridge with their backs facing traffic. The operator of the vehicle stopped and told police that he was unable to see the two walking in the road because of heavy sun glare.

The pair were transported to Rhode Island Hospital with minor injuries and the driver is not facing any charges. Police noted that the sidewalks were passable and are not sure why the two were walking in the road.

I have not been on the Point Street Bridge lately; does anyone know if it is true that the sidewalks there are “passable?”

Update: A reader challenges the Police Department’s claim that the Point Street Bridge sidewalks are passable, more photos.

point-street-bridge-002

ProJo reports that a man was struck by a hit and run driver on Newport Avenue in Pawtucket early Saturday morning:

The victim, who is being identified only as a 35-year-old Pawtucket man, was walking south near 1114 Newport Avenue sometime between 1 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. when he was hit by a vehicle also travelling south, according to an email from Pawtucket Police Detective Maj. Arthur Martins.

WJAR says there was another hit and run on Newport Avenue in Pawtucket later Saturday afternoon.

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Providence Planning Department seeks input on community development priorities

From the City of Providence Department of Planning and Development:


You Are Invited to Discuss Your Priorities For Our Communities and Neighborhoods

square-p-01The City of Providence, Department of Planning and Development invites you to a series of conversations about your priorities for housing and community development needs throughout the city.

The Community Development Division will be gathering the input from these meetings and using it to shape future spending and project priorities and to update the City’s Consolidated Plan – which guides the city’s spending on housing and community development.

Some of the topics covered will be: affordable housing; homelessness; senior services; parks and recreation; services for families, adults, and children; accessibility and mobility; persons with HIV/AIDS; lead paint and other unhealthy or unsafe housing issues; economic development; and public safety.

Plan to participate and make your voice hear!

Tues. March 3 – 6:30pm Webster Avenue School 191 Webster Avenue
Wed. March 4 – 6:30pm Fox Point Boys & Girls Club, 90 Ives Street
Tues. March 10 – 6:30pm West Broadway Neighborhood Association, 1560 Westminster Street
Wed. March 18 – 6:30pm SWAP, 500 Broad Street
Tues. March 24 – 6:30pm Washington Park Community Center, 42 Jillson Street
Mon. April 6 – 6:30pm DaVinci Center, 470 Charles Street
Thurs. April 9 – 6:30pm Dr. Martin Luther King School, 35 Camp Street

To RSVP, please contact Donna Miele at dmiele@providenceri.com.

Please complete our Community Needs Survey: http://tinyurl.com/ProvidenceCDBGSurvey

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ProJo: Raimondo looking at tolls to finance roadwork

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Open-road toll installation in Illinois. Photo (cc) Tony Webster.

After more than a year of wrangling over the much-criticized Sakonnet River Bridge toll, Rhode Island lawmakers announced last June that they had created a long-term solution for financing Rhode Island’s roads and bridges that would avert the need for the toll.

Raimondo put the potential for tolls back on the bargaining table in a weekend Associated Press story about the poor condition of many of Rhode Island’s roads and bridges — and the uncertainty about future federal highway funding.

“We need to take a comprehensive look at solutions, everything from public-private partnerships to tolling,” Raimondo said.

See also: Rhode Island’s Future: Raimondo toll plan deserves progressive support
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WPRI: Sources: New PawSox owners want to move to Providence

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McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket. Photo (cc) Drew Bennett.

The new owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox want to move the team to a privately-financed stadium in Providence, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

The stadium would be paid for by the new owners, but they would require the state to give them land at no cost, according to sources. The owners are eying the vacant former I-195 land downtown, which the state borrowed $38.4 million to buy back in 2013. The money, plus interest, is supposed to be repaid with the proceeds from selling the land.

On Twitter there was speculation of them wanting to use the West Side 195 park, I would say absolutely not to that, we were promised parks, not ballparks.

“We were briefed last night,” [Pawtucket Mayor Don] Grebien said Monday. “It knocked the wind out of us.” The new owners told Grebien they want the team to play in an “urban district with transportation,” he said.

They said ‘urban’ and ‘transportation,’ :swoon: But wait, this needs lots of vetting, don’t try to trick me!

Continue Reading →

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ProJo: R.I. DOT chief Michael Lewis resigns; Raimondo appoints former Cranston DPW director Alviti to take his place

micheal-lewis-square1Rhode Island’s Department of Transportation Director Michael Lewis has resigned, and Governor Raimondo has chosen a former Cranston public works director with ties to the Laborers International Union of North America to take his place.

Late Tuesday afternon, Raimondo announced her choice of Peter Alviti as Rhode Island’s new DOT director. If he wins Senate confirmation, he will replace Lewis in the top spot in the state road and bridge building agency.

Raimondo chose Peter Garino as his top deputy. Garino has been “chief, capital programming and administration” for New Jersey Transit.

I don’t know anything about Alviti, but I was hoping the Governor would look for someone forward thinking from out-of-state. Color me unimpressed by having a former DPW director from Cranston running the state transportation agency.

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The economic argument for clearing snow from sidewalks

There’s been a lot of lip-service to forcing people to clear sidewalks through fines, but not too much seems to be coming of it. I’ve argued a lot about the safety issues involved in not clearing the sidewalks, especially for young children forced to walk in the road on the way to school; but few results have been seen.

So, what about the economic impact? Should a city and state that claims to want to attract millennials who seek walkable transit-oriented small cities look like this?

Continue Reading →

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News & Notes

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President Obama announced his budget on Monday including a $478-billion six-year plan for transportation spending.

Streetsblog USA: Obama’s New Transportation Budget: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Today President Obama unveiled his opening bid in this process. The $478-billion, six-year plan from the White House includes many of the proposals the administration unveiled last year. Congress didn’t advance those ideas then, and with the GOP now controlling both houses, chances remain slim for reforming highway-centric federal transportation policy.

But the White House budget document remains the best summary of the Obama team’s transportation policy agenda. The ideas are intriguing even if they’re politically improbable.

Also on Streetsblog, they picked up our story about the death of Karen McHugh.

Scientific American: U.S. Cities Lag in Race against Rising Seas

In just a few decades, most U.S. coastal regions are likely to experience at least 30 days of nuisance flooding every year.

Washington, D.C.; Annapolis, Md.; and Wilmington, N.C., are already in trouble. By 2020, seven more cities, including Baltimore and Atlantic City, N.J., can add themselves to the list. And within the next 35 years, most cities along all coasts will be dealing with routine flooding.

Some cities, such as New York, are bolstering their shorelines in response to extreme events, such as Superstorm Sandy. But with more than half the U.S. population living within 50 miles of the coast, many areas are just at the beginning stages of preparing to deal with rising sea levels and the increased flooding they bring.

Where will we build the next hurricane barrier?


Continue Reading →

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ProJo: Providence officials: Shovel, or pay a fine

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Mayor Elorza and State Senator Pichardo shoveling snow last week. Photo from Twitter.

Introduced by Ward 13 Council member Bryan Principe, the ordinance change would allow the Department of Public Works to clear un-passable sidewalks and then bill the abutting land owners for the cost of the work. It would also allow the city to levy a fine for each day a sidewalk remains unshoveled, instead of only a one-time charge.

This is what a lot of people have been calling for, the City shoveling, or paying someone to shovel, then billing the property owner. Of course, it will still be awkward when the City has to bill itself.

Update: Hearing canceled

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Providence Preservation Society 2015 Most Endangered Properties List

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Atlantic Mills in Olneyville in 2005. Photo by Jef Nickerson

The Providence Preservation Society has released their list for 2015 of the most endangered properties in Providence:


Providence Preservation Society Releases 2015 Most Endangered Properties List

Providence, R.I. (January 30, 2015): The Providence Preservation Society (PPS) announced the 2015 Most Endangered Properties (MEP) List at the organization’s Annual Meeting last night, featuring historically significant properties deemed in threat of deterioration, neglect and demolition.

In a city known for its extraordinary architecture, many historic buildings are threatened by factors such as neglect, insufficient funds, adverse public policy, and inappropriate development. For 20 years, PPS has been working with concerned neighbors, preservationists, and activists to put together this annual list. In recent years, properties noted on the MEP list have reflected additional threats of the continuing recession: foreclosure, low occupancy, and a lagging market. To raise awareness of these issues, PPS has made its annual MEP list an integral part of the organization’s advocacy efforts.

The MEP’s purpose is to generate interest in, and support for, the preservation of these significant structures; to educate the public about the benefits of historic preservation and the unique architectural resources in our city; and to foster creative collaboration among property owners, developers and other interested parties to bring about positive changes in each property. Most buildings on the annual Lists represent notable aspects of local community life and character.

2015 PPS Most Endangered Properties List (in alphabetical order):

  1. Atlantic Mills (1863)
  2. Broad Street Synagogue (1910)
  3. Cranston Street Armory (1907)
  4. Grace Church Cemetery & Cottage (1834)
  5. Esek Hopkins House (1756)
  6. Former RIDOT Headquarters and Garage (1927)
  7. Sheffield Smith House (1855)
  8. St. Teresa of Avila Church (1883)
  9. Kendrick-Prentice-Tirocchi House (1867)
  10. Westminster Congregational Church (1901)

Many properties featured on past Most Endangered Properties Lists have successfully been saved. Formerly listed properties include the Masonic Temple, the Foundry, the Shepard’s Building, and most recently, the Teste Block and Arcade. PPS is also celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the list, and will begin a program series this spring highlighting significant progress over the past two decades.

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Seekonk woman struck killed by hit & run driver, unshoveled sidewalks partly to blame

As reported by local media, Karen McHugh, a 51-year-old Seekonk resident was struck and killed by a hit & run driver on Friday night as she was walking along the road near her home. At the time of the incident that took her life, the sidewalks on Arcade Avenue were not shoveled, forcing McHugh to walk along the edge of the roadway.

This is exactly what we feared would happen when we started documenting uncleared sidewalks through the #PVDsidewalks hashtag on Twitter.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident, in 2011 George Adams, IV was struck and killed by a driver who also fled the scene. Haley Mckee who killed Adams was eventually arrested by police. In 2013 a reader documented poor conditions on North Main Street and of course North Main Street features heavily in the #PVDsidewalks photos this year. And in 2009 we wrote about people dying.

Every year we deal with these sidewalk conditions, and every year, people die while people who drive their cars seem to become more and more entitled and unable to deal with the fact that we live in New England and it snows. Someone started a Twitter fight with me insisting that the real problem was that streets were not returned to dry pavement yet and how dare I waste time worrying about sidewalks. The road in Seekonk was returned to dry pavement, and motorist were moving 35-40 mph on it, and Karen McHugh is dead.


Seekonk police seek any information anyone might have about Ms. McHugh’s death:

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WPRI: Colin Kane resigns as chairman of 195 Commission

The chairman of the commission tasked with overseeing the development of roughly 40 acres of land in downtown Providence left vacant by the relocation of I-195 has resigned.

“Colin offered his resignation, and the governor accepted,” Raimondo spokeswoman Marie Aberger told WPRI.com. “We asked for his continued advice and counsel, and he has agreed to stay on through the transition process. The governor is grateful for Colin’s dedicated service to the people of Rhode Island, which helped lay the groundwork for this project. We will have more details on what’s next for the commission in the coming days.”

Speculation has been since election-day that Raimondo wants to refresh the 195 Commission. The Governor campaigned on a manufacturing innovation hub being established on the 195 land. This contrasts with the current plans to sell off the land and allow the market to determine what gets built there.

Such a hub would not occupy all the land and there would be room for much of it to be sold off and developed independent of a state imposed framework for it.

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – February 18, 2015

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
February 18, 2015 – 5PM
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

bpac-public-forum

Agenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Presentation of ground rules for open public forum to follow
  3. Open public discussion of ways in which the City of Providence can improve pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, culture, and safety
  4. Motion to adjourn
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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Share your sidewalk photos #PVDsidewalks

The Mayor is saying that he is going to enforce sidewalk snow removal regulations, including fining property owners who are out of compliance. We’ve created a hashtag on Twitter for people to share their photos: #PVDsidewalks.

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Déjà vu

I’m pretty sure RIDOT sent this same exact Tweet last time we had a giant storm and I sent the exact same reply.

Also, the Mayor wants all the sidewalks clear by tomorrow afternoon, but don’t ever put any snow on the street!

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STORM OF THE DECAMILLENNIUM!

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February 2013 blizzard.

Helpful Links:

Tues., Jan. 27 – 5:20pm

  • MBTA to resume service Wednesday morning, expect delays.
  • RIPTA buses will start operating Wednesday at 8am as road conditions allow. Expect delays and diversions, check their website for updates.
  • Providence Parking Ban ends at 6am Wednesday.
  • Providence Schools closed Wednesday.
  • No trash/recycling collection in Providence Wednesday, regular service resumes Thursday.

Mon., Jan. 26 – 10pm: Update from the City of Providence:


Providence City Offices Closed Tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015

Garbage and recycling collection canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday – Mayor Elorza activates Corporate Emergency Access System

PROVIDENCE, RI – Due to the severe winter storm, Providence City offices will be closed during regular business hours on Tuesday, January 27, 2015. Non-essential employees should not report for work.

City Hall and all City offices are expected to reopen during regular business hours on Wednesday, January 28, 2015.

Garbage and recycling pickup in Providence is canceled for tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 27, and Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. The collection schedule is not being changed. Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s trash and recycling will be collected next Tuesday and Wednesday. Residents with Tuesday and Wednesday pick-ups are advised not to put their garbage and recycling cans out until next week on their usual pickup day.

A citywide parking ban remains in effect until further notice. Residents with overnight parking passes are advised that they cannot park on the street during the duration of the citywide parking ban. All vehicles parked on the street in violation of the citywide parking ban will be ticketed and towed to ensure that roadways can be plowed.

In the event of an emergency, always dial 911. Residents are advised that 911 emergency responders may be delayed during the storm. Residents experiencing power outages should contact National Grid at 800-322-3223. Individuals are warned never to touch downed power lines and report downed lines to National Grid or PEMA.

For non-emergencies, a snow hotline is available to Providence residents at 401-680-8080.

All afterschool and evening activities for Providence Public Schools are canceled Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. City Recreation Centers will be closed Tuesday.

“This is going to be a long and intense storm with frigid temperatures and high winds through the night,” Mayor Elorza said. “We urge residents to stay safe. If you see a person or a family in need, please do what you can to either lend a helping hand or notify the City. When we all pull together, we are capable of overcoming any challenge.”

No RIPTA service on Tuesday, also:

SERVICE ALERT::Route 11 & 60:: In an effort to comply with the midnight travel ban instituted tonight by Governor Raimondo, the following trips will not run tonight:
#11 – Broad City Line N/B Trip at 12:30 AM (the last North Bound trip on the #11 line will be at 12:10 AM)
#60 – Providence/Newport O/B Trip at 12:05 AM (the last Out Bound trip on the #60 line will be at 11:05 PM)

SRTA (Fall River/New Bedford) buses shutting down starting at 5:10, see list of last buses. No service Tuesday morning, tentative re-opening at noon Tuesday.
MBTA closing at midnight Monday, no service all day Tuesday.
Governor Raimondo urges everyone to get off the roads by 8pm. A travel ban is in effect starting at midnight Monday. Anyone who is found driving on the roads then could be subject to arrest.ProJo
ServeRI seeks volunteers to help remove snow for those who are unable to remove snow themselves.

Continue Reading →

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I propose 1-3 years in prison for parking on the sidewalk

sidewalk-parking-images

State Senator Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) has proposed legislation to ban “unlawful interference with traffic.” The Senator says he is introducing this legislation in light “recent demonstrations that have shut down highways in some U.S. communities” that “have the potential to threaten the public welfare.”

Fare enough, there are concerns that recent protests in Boston may have delayed care for a patient travelling in an ambulance to Boston.

Under the Raptakis legislation, a person will be found to have committed the crime of unlawful interference with traffic if he or she “stands, sits, kneels or otherwise loiters on any highway or roadway under such circumstances that the conduct could reasonably be construed as interfering with the lawful movement of traffic” or if that action causes “the interruption, obstruction, distraction or delay of any motorist operating a motor vehicle” on the roadway or highway.

Criminalizing being in the roadway as “reasonably construed” by law-enforcement seems a dangerous precedent to me.

Continue Reading →

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