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Author Archive | Jef Nickerson

WPRI: Pedestrian killed, another survives, after being hit by Jeep in West Greenwich

walkinpvd-iconPolice are investigating a pedestrian crash that left one man dead and another hurt.

Police said it happened last Tuesday as the men tried to cross Victory Highway (Route 102) about 4:40 p.m. Officers said the weather was rainy, it was dark outside, and the victims were wearing dark clothing.

Also, Victory Highway has no sidewalks or crosswalks, so it is kind of designed to kill pedestrians. But yes, let’s blame dark clothing.

Daniel Cornell, 25, of Coventry, died from his injuries.

The other man, David Pulaski, 41, of Pawtucket, told police he survived because Cornell saved his life.

“Daniel yelled, ‘watch out!’ and pushed him out of harm’s way,” his mother, Janet Cornell, said Monday.

“It says who he actually was in his heart,” said Cornell’s older sister, Austin Matteson. “He was a good person and his final act on this Earth showed who he really was.”

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CommonWealth: Dear Gov. Raimondo: Express trains wrong ask

Providence Station Adam Moss

Ari Ofsevit and James Aloisi write an open letter to Gov. Raimondo in CommonWealth Magazine in response to her call for express commuter rail service between Providence and Boston.

But rather than single express trains serving a few commuters, we respectfully suggest low-cost, common-sense improvements that would benefit everyone.

At our non-profit TransitMatters, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how to improve intercity rail in Massachusetts (we will be rolling out a regional rail white paper before the end of the year). We believe that better service is a combination of improved speed and frequency, providing a wider range of benefits in many corridors. The good news is that in the Boston-to-Providence corridor, there are two relatively low-cost steps — high-level platforms and electrification — that the MBTA can take (perhaps with Rhode Island’s help) that would significantly improve service between these two dynamic cities.

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Providence Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – November 15, 2017

Two important items on the BPAC Agenda this week, Pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements to the Dean Street corridor and indentifying the best cycling corridors through downtown for future upgrades. If you can make it to the meeting please do!
Providence Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 – 4:45pm
Doorley Municipal Building, 444 Westminster Street, First Floor, Providence, RI 02903

bpac-roundAgenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of October 2017 Meeting Minutes (For Action)
  3. “Dean Street/Pleasant Valley Parkway/Oakland Street Corridor Discussion” – Federal Hill, Smith Hill, Valley, Elmhurst – Wards 12 and 13 (For Discussion) — The City seeks comments from the BPAC regarding possible bicycle and pedestrian improvements to the corridor between Atwells Avenue and Eaton Street known as Dean Street, Pleasant Valley Parkway, Raymond Street, and Oakland Ave. Such improvements would come back before the BPAC at least twice before construction.
  4. Downtown Bicycle Connections – Downtown – Wards 1 and 12 (For Discussion) — The City seeks comments from the BPAC regarding possible bicycle network connections throughout Downtown. Such improvements would come back before the BPAC at least twice before construction.
  5. Announcements and Staff Updates (For Discussion)
  6. Adjournment
Full Disclosure: I am a member of this commission.
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ProJo: Bustling recreational destination planned for vacant Shooters site in Providence

Former “Shooters” Building in 2010

Seven years after Rhode Island voters approved buying the former Shooters nightclub site on the Providence waterfront to turn it into a recreational destination, plans to redevelop the vacant lot may finally be inching forward.

The state Department of Environmental Management wants to build a fishing pier, transient boating marina and ferry dock at the site, which the agency purchased for $3.2 million with the proceeds of a 2010 state bond.

The details and budget for these shoreline projects are still being worked out, but DEM Director Janet Coit said Thursday that preliminary plans show a 200-plus-foot, L-shaped fishing pier that could accommodate the Providence-Newport ferry, boat slips and dinghy storage.

Advocates for developing the site hope that finishing plans for the marina will allow action to kick into gear on the long-languishing 1.4-acre land side of the property.

David Dadekian, founder of Eat Drink Rhode Island, hopes to build a public food market on the site, but has so far made only minimal progress and said he needs the state to finish its plans for the entire property before he can seek financing.

This has great potential to be a wonderful attraction for residents and visitors alike. Our options to enjoy the waterfront are sadly limited, and active uses of the waterfront are needed. As lovely as India Point Park is, people want things to do, like eating and drinking.

To truly succeed, the City and State have to commit to maintaing the waterfront. The walk under the highway is a trash strewn and weed overgrown shamehole that no one wants to visit, that needs to change. Also, the Wickenden/Point, South Main, South Water interchange was poorly designed and throws up another barrier to pedestrians and cyclists who want to reach the waterfront. The completion of the Providence River Pedestrian bridge will provide a much needed connection between downtown and the Fox Point waterfront, it needs to be maintained and be safe and attractive.

The maintenance part is where we so often lose the plot around here.

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – October 18, 2017

Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission
October 18, 2017, 4:45 PM
Doorley Municipal Building, 444 Westminster Street, First Floor, Providence, RI 02903

bpac-roundAgenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of September 2017 Meeting Minutes (For Action)
  3. Canal Street Improvements – College Hill, Downtown – Ward 12 (For Action) — The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has presented plans to the City for improvements to Canal Street between Smith Street and Washington Street. These plans resulted from the Canal Street Road Safety Assessment previously reviewed by the BPAC at its February 2017 meeting. The City seeks comments from the BPAC regarding these changes. This is the second time this project comes before the BPAC, and if approved, the improvements would be implemented in 2018.
  4. Downtown Transit Connector Public Hearing – Downtown, Upper South Providence – Wards 1, 11, and 12 (For Action) — The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority will present 30% designs for the Downtown Transit Connector project along Exchange Street, Washington Street, Dorrance Street, Dyer Street, and Eddy Street. Improvements include the conversion of some on-street parking to bus-only lanes. In addition to normal BPAC discussion, this will serve as a public hearing regarding the potential removal of parking from portions of the street. This is the second time this project comes before the BPAC, and if approved, the improvements would be implemented in 2018.
  5. Announcements and Staff Updates (For Discussion)
  6. Adjournment
Full Disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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Mayor Elorza vetos City Council Resolution regarding bike lanes

Mayor Elorza speaking at ribbon-cutting of Fountain Street bike lane in November 2016

Last week the Providence City Council passed a Resolution calling for, “full traffic impact and economic impact studies prior to deciding whether to construct new bicycle lanes.”

Bicycle and transportation advocates, along with the Mayor and at least 5 members of the Council hold that these studies would out unnecessary expense in the way of expanding bicycle infrastructure within the city. The Mayor vetoed the Resolution.

From the Mayor:

I vetoed the Providence City Council’s resolution regarding bike lane planning because it sends the wrong message about bicycle and pedestrian safety here in Providence. We support Complete Streets here in our city, meaning that our infrastructure is designed and operated for safe access for all users, of all abilities. We will continue to engage the community in these decisions and we remain committed to working with the Councilmembers to address any concerns they have heard from constituents.

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Providence Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – September 20, 2017

Providence Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
September 20, 2017, 4:45 PM
Doorley Municipal Building, 444 Westminster Street, First Floor, Providence, RI 02903

bpac-roundAgenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Introduction of New Commission Members (For Discussion)
  3. Approval of July 2017 Meeting Minutes (For Action)
  4. Election of Commission Chair and Vice Chair (For Action)
  5. Recommendations for improving Allens Avenue – Upper South Providence, Lower South Providence, Washington Park – Wards 10 and 11 (For Action) — The Rhode Island Department of Transportation, in coordination with the City of Providence, has conducted a Road Safety Assessment (RSA) for Allens Avenue. The final recommendations of the RSA have been submitted to the City. This review will allow the Commission to provide comment on these RSA recommendations. If advanced in the future, this project will come back to the Commission for preliminary plan review.
  6. “Elmwood Avenue Road Safety Assessment” – South Elmwood – Ward 9 (For Action) — The Rhode Island Department of Transportation, in coordination with the City of Providence, has conducted a Road Safety Assessment (RSA) for Elmwood Avenue south of Rose Avenue. The final recommendations of the RSA have been submitted to the City. This review will allow the Commission to provide comment on these RSA recommendations. If advanced in the future, this project will come back to the Commission for preliminary plan review.
  7. “Dean Street/Pleasant Valley Parkway/Oakland Street Corridor Discussion” – Federal Hill, Smith Hill, Valley, Elmhurst – Wards 12 and 13 (For Discussion) — The City seeks comments from the BPAC regarding possible bicycle and pedestrian improvements to the corridor between Atwells Avenue and Eaton Street known as Dean Street, Pleasant Valley Parkway, Raymond Street, and Oakland Ave. Such improvements would come back before the BPAC at least twice before construction.
  8. Announcements and Staff Updates (For Discussion)
  9. Adjournment
Full Disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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PBN: The state’s 2012 bet on commuter-rail service has yet to pay off. Is it time to privatize?

Wickford Junction Station, image from RIDOT.

“We started a few months ago, doing a deep dive looking into what the MBTA can do, what it can’t do and why,” [RIDOT Director Peter] Alviti said. “Peak periods [are] quite a challenge for them to be able to give us more frequency during rush hours.”

The constriction relates to the design of the MBTA hub at South Station in Boston, according to Devine. It becomes a choke point during rush hours. “Without an expansion in additional capacity and trackage there, it really limits increasing the trains [to Rhode Island], particularly in the peak period,” he said.

Taking over the services themselves, however, would allow RIDOT to contract out the operations to a company that only has to cycle between Wickford Junction and Providence, and which might allow for future expansion.

The article goes on to discuss the need to add housing to the stop at Wickford Junction to provide a built-in client base for the service (true TOD, not a Home Depot and a Walmart) and also the potential for service to Quonset, which is an expanding jobs center.

We’re not going to tear down the $40 million station at Wickford Junction, so how do we make it work?

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ProJo: 195 redevelopment commission OKs temporary parking plan

Parcels 27 and 28 are on either side of Clifford Street south of Richmond Street. Image from Google Maps

Parking issues that have arisen as perhaps the final stumbling block before a development team starts building its planned innovation center and hotel on former highway land were addressed Monday night when the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission agreed to allow temporary surface parking on some of its land, if necessary.

[…]

After a brief public hearing with few speakers, the I-195 Commission voted to allow nearly 2 acres of the former highway land — Parcels 27 and 28 — to be used for surface parking if the innovation center is ready to occupy before a nearby parking garage is ready to accommodate judges, lawyers and court officials from the J. Joseph Garrahy Judicial Complex. But that 1,200-space parking garage is also intended to accommodate 400 anticipated workers in the planned innovation center and adjacent hotel.

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RI Future: La Salle very interested in replacing Providence Water Supply Board building with parking lot

Providence Water Supply Board building, image from Google Street View

As the Providence Water Supply Board moves its administration and customer service offices to its new home at an industrial park off Huntington Ave, questions are being asked about the fate of the iconic building that will soon be empty at 552 Academy Avenue. Rumors were flying that La Salle Academy wants to purchase the property and turn it into a parking lot, and those rumors, it turns out, are true.

[…]

“Let me tell what’s not going to be there if La Salle is fortunate enough to acquire the property,” said [Thomas Glavin, Vice President of Institutional Advancement at La Salle Academy]. “There’s not going to be a middle school there. There’s not going to be a hockey rink there. There’s not going to be a swimming pool there. There’s probably not going to be anything there in the short run. One of the things we’re very concerned about is parking…”

Sigh.

The City has not made any decisions about what to do with the building. There would be an RFP process which LaSalle would have to respond to. Then the matter would go before the Historic District Commission.

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Fane Organization Hope Point Tower on 195 Redevelopment District Commission Agenda Today – July 25, 2017

I-195 Redevelopment District Commission – Public Meeting Notice
A regular meeting of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission will be held at Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, 315 Iron Horse Way, Suite 101, Providence, Rhode Island, on Tuesday July 25, 2017, beginning at 5:00 P.M., for the following purposes:

Rendering of proposed 45-story tower on Parcel 42 by the Fane Organization

195-roundI. Public Session

  1. Welcoming Remarks by Chairperson Azrack.
  2. Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meetings Held on June 19, 2017 and July 10, 2017.
  3. Executive Director’s Report.
  4. Presentation on the proposed development on Parcel 42 by Jason Fane of The Fane Organization.
  5. Presentation by Patricia Adell of Real Estate Solutions Group, LLC regarding the proposed development on Parcel 42 by The Fane Organization.
  6. Public Comment on the proposed development on Parcel 42 by The Fane Organization.
  7. Vote to consider the Level 2 application as submitted by The Fane Organization.
  8. Informational presentation by Christopher Wangro of Zaragunda, Inc. regarding District interim use and programming.
  9. Chairperson’s Report/Agenda for next meeting on Monday, August 21, 2017 at 5:00P.M.
  10. Vote to Adjourn.

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – July 19, 2017

Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 4:45 PM
Doorley Municipal Building, 444 Westminster Street, First Floor, Providence, RI 02903

bpac-roundAgenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of June 2017 Meeting Minutes (For Action)
  3. “Olney Street Improvements” – College Hill, Mount Hope – Wards 2 and 3 (For Action) — The City seeks comments from the BPAC regarding preliminary design plans to restripe Olney Street to include bike lanes. In addition to normal BPAC discussion, this will serve as a public hearing regarding the potential removal of parking from portions of the street.
  4. “Harris Avenue Improvements” – Olneyville – Ward 15 (For Action) — The City seeks comments from the BPAC regarding preliminary design plans to restripe Harris Avenue to include a separated two-way bike lane. In addition to normal BPAC discussion, this will serve as a public hearing regarding the potential removal of parking from portions of the street.
  5. Announcements and Staff Updates (For Discussion)
  6. Adjournment
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – July 10, 2017

Downtown Design Review Committee
Notice of Regular Meeting

Monday, July 10, 2017
Doorley Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

drc-roundAgenda

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Meeting Minutes of June 12, 2017

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 17.12: 350 Eddy Street (South Street Landing) – Public Hearing – The subject of the hearing will be an application by the CV Properties LLC, requesting a waiver from Providence Zoning Ordinance Section 1607(E), Freestanding Signs, which prohibits freestanding signs in the D?1 Zone. As per Section 1601(D), the DDRC is authorized to grant a waiver to sign regulations as part of their review and approval (continued from the April 10, 2017 DDRC meeting). The applicant has requested to continue the public hearing to the next DDRC meeting scheduled for August 7, 2017 at 4:45 PM.

2. DRC Application No. 17.33: 51 Washington Street (Biltmore Garage) – Proposal by Cornish Associates to infill two garage bays on Eddy Street, as part of the installation of an electrical vault in the garage.

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Providence Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – June 21, 2017

Providence Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
June 21, 2017, 4:45 PM
Doorley Municipal Building, 444 Westminster Street, First Floor, Providence, RI 02903

Agendabpac-round

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of February 2017 Meeting Minutes (For Action)
  3. Approval of May 2017 Meeting Minutes (For Action)
  4. Nomination of Commission Chair (For Action)
  5. “Fountain Street Bike Lane Improvements” – Downtown – Ward 1 (For Action) — The City seeks comments from the BPAC regarding potential improvements to the separated bike lane on Fountain Street. Staff will present recommendations to address issues of connectivity, collision mitigation, and clarity about parking location. When advanced in the future, this project will come back to the BPAC for preliminary plan review.
  6. “Broad Street Pedestrian Improvements” – Upper South Providence, Elmwood, Lower South Providence – Wards 9, 10, and 11 (For Action) – The City of Providence seeks comments from the BPAC regarding proposed pedestrian improvements to Broad Street submitted by the Department of Public Works. These improvements would be funded from the State Highway Safety Improvement Program. When advanced in the future, this project will come back to the BPAC for preliminary plan review.
  7. “Service Road RSA” – Upper South Providence, Federal Hill – Wards 11 and 13 (For Action) – The City seeks comments from the BPAC regarding the draft Road Safety Assessment for the I-95 Service Road between Atwells Avenue and Point Street completed by VHB. The RSA includes an analysis of crashes that have occurred on the Service Road from 2009-2015 as well as proposed solutions to improve safety along the corridor. When advanced in the future, this project will come back to the BPAC for preliminary plan review.
  8. Announcements and Staff Updates (For Discussion)
  9. Adjournment
Full Disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – June 12, 2017

Downtown Design Review Committee – Notice of Regular Meeting
Monday, June 12, 2017 – 4:45pm
Doorley Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

drc-roundAgenda

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Meeting Minutes of March 13, 2017, April 10, 2017, May 1, 2017 (Special Meeting), and May 8, 2017

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 16.30: 91 Chestnut Street (I-195 Redevelopment District Parcel 30) – Request by Waldorf Capital Management, LLC for modifications to the approved design of a new 6-story mixed-use apartment building to be constructed on the site. The applicant was granted final approval at the December 5, 2016 DDRC meeting.

2. DRC Application No. 17.08: 150 Empire Street (Providence Public Library) – Proposal by the Providence Public Library to conduct exterior alterations to the Empire Street building.

See also: Greater City Providence – Providence Public Library Planning Renovations

3. DRC Application No. 17.12: 350 Eddy Street (South Street Landing) – Public Hearing – The subject of the hearing will be an application by the CV Properties LLC, requesting a waiver from Providence Zoning Ordinance Section 1607(E), Freestanding Signs, which prohibits freestanding signs in the D-1 Zone. As per Section 1601(D), the DDRC is authorized to grant a waiver to sign regulations as part of their review and approval. Continued from the April 10, 2017 DRC meeting. The applicant is also requesting a waiver from Providence Zoning Ordinance Section 604(C)(4), Fences and Walls, which limits the height of fences to six (6) feet in height. As per Section 604(C)(4) the DDRC is authorized to grant a waiver to the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance relating to fences and walls. The applicant is proposing to install an approximately nine (9) foot high fence, and an approximately 30’ tall, double-faced, internally illuminated freestanding sign at 350 Eddy Street. The DRC will be reviewing the sign and fence design at this meeting.

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PBN: Providence office building on Weybosset under conversion to apartments

259 Weybosset Street, image from Google Street View

A four-story downtown office building near Johnson & Wales University is being converted to apartments and retail space.

The project at 259 Weybosset St. will include large apartments of four to five bedrooms per unit, and appears to be marketed to college students. An online ad indicates the apartments will be available in September, at rental rates of $1,100 per bedroom, or $5,500 per unit.

I like that the contractors working on this project have been able to keep the sidewalk open by providing a passageway through the scaffolding.

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