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Author Archive | Jef Nickerson

Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – February 21, 2018

Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission
February 21, 2018, 4:45 PM
Doorley Municipal Building, 444 Westminster Street, First Floor, Providence, RI 02903

bpac-roundAgenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of January 2018 Meeting Minutes (For Action)
  3. City Walk Phase 1 Conceptual Review – Downtown, Upper South Providence – Wards 1, 11 (For Action) — The City of Providence Department of Planning and Development seeks comments from the BPAC regarding the conceptual plans for Phase 1 of City Walk. The plans involve striping, signage, and public art improvements between Richmond Street and Broad Street. This will be a concept level review of the project. When advanced in the future, this project will come back to the BPAC for preliminary plan review.
  4. King Street Conceptual Review – Olneyville – Ward 15 (For Action) — The City of Providence Department of Planning and Development seeks comments from the BPAC regarding green infrastructure and neighborhood bikeway improvements to King Street. This will be a concept level review of the project. When advanced in the future, this project will come back to the BPAC for preliminary plan review.
  5. Plainfield Street & Pocasset Avenue Intersection Conceptual Review – Silver Lake – Ward 15 (For Action) — The City of Providence Department of Planning and Development seeks comments from the BPAC regarding improvements to the intersection of Plainfield St and Pocasset Ave including curb extension, enhanced crosswalks, and bus stop relocation. This will be a concept level review of the project. If advanced in the future, this project will come back to the BPAC for preliminary plan review.
  6. Announcements and Staff Updates (For Discussion)
  7. Adjournment
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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Edge College Hill 2, Take II

Rendering of proposed Edge College Hill 2 by DBVW Architects

Edge College Hill 2 made a presentation to the Downtown Design Review Committee (DRC) on January 8th for a 15-story building at 131 Canal Street. They returned to DRC on February 12th with an 11-story design.

This was not a formal presentation to DRC, simply a presentation for discussion. They will likely be back to DRC at a later date with a formal proposal for this site.

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2018 Providence State of the City Address

Photo from Mayor Elorza’s Chief of Staff, Nicole Pollock’s Twitter Feed

This of course happened a few days ago, but I like to post the State of the City addresses on the site for discussion and future reference.


2018 State of the City Mayor Jorge O. Elorza As prepared for delivery

February 6, 2018

President Salvatore, Members of the City Council, Members of the General Assembly and members of the Providence community—good evening.

It’s been the honor of a lifetime to serve as your Mayor. Three years ago, you voted for a city that listened and a city that worked. You voted for a better tomorrow and a safer today. But most of all, you voted for the promise of One Providence, a city with 25 distinct and different neighborhoods that come together as one community.

In the past few days, we’ve seen an extraordinary example of the strength and unity of our city and we’ve seen yet again that out of the darkness comes light. A disturbing and hate-filled flyer was distributed by folks who have been emboldened and encouraged to come out of the shadows. They think that if they can cause enough fear and anxiety, and convince us that someone is coming to take away our security and our dreams, that then, we’ll turn against each other. But instead what this incident provoked, was a resounding show of unity, where our city came together to say that we will not be divided; because our love trumps your hate.

And so it is in that spirit – of coming together – that I deliver today’s State of the City. Over the past three years, we’ve been continually reminded of the power of the people and of what we can accomplish when we’re united. Here in Providence, we’ll continue to add our voice to the chorus and lend our hand to the cause whenever someone tries to divide us. And, we will stand up for our values whenever they are threatened. As a city:

We’ve stood with Standing Rock, and we’re divesting our pension fund from the filthy fifteen; We’ve stood with Paris, and opposed an LNG facility here in our port;
We’ve stood with Dreamers, and announced our own city ID program;
We’ve stood with Black Lives Matter, and invested in cradle to career programs;
We’ve stood with the Women’s March, and instituted Paid Parental Leave; and We’ve stood with Orlando, and offered gender-affirming health care.

Cities have always been places that bring people from all and different walks of life to coexist and thrive together. This is what cities do, in spite of all the forces that are working to divide us. And that’s what our city will continue to do because that’s what makes us so strong.

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Providence Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – February 12, 2018

Downtown Design Review Committee Notice of Regular Meeting
Monday, Febraury 12, 2018 – 4:45pm
Doorley Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

drc-roundOpening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Special Meeting Minutes of January 22, 2018

Old Business

1. DRC Application No. 17.24: 276 and 290 Westminster Street (Wit and Lapham Buildings) – Proposal by Cornish Associates to conduct exterior alterations to the Wit and Lapham Buildings, as part of their conversion to mixed-use buildings. The project received conceptual approval at the June 12, 2017 DDRC Meeting.

2. DRC Application No. 17.25: 270 Westminster (Trayne Building) – Proposal by Cornish Associates to conduct exterior alterations to the Trayne Building, and to construct a new 4-story addition on the east elevation, as part of its conversion to a mixed-use building. The project received conceptual approval at the June 12, 2017 DDRC Meeting.

3. DRC Application No. 17.18: Garrahy Courthouse Parking Structure: Intersection of Richmond, Friendship & Clifford Streets – Proposal by the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority to construct a 1,250-car open parking structure with ground floor commercial, to be located on a vacant site at the intersection of Richmond, Friendship and Clifford Streets. The project site is currently used for surface parking. The project received conceptual approval at the May 8, 2017 DDRC Meeting.

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PBN: I-195 commission sets purchase price for Parcel 42 at $3.2M, Hope Point Tower project to move ahead

Site plan as presented in July 2017 by the Fane Organization

The I-195 Redevelopment District Commission on Wednesday approved a non-binding agreement that sets the parameters for Jason Fane to purchase Parcel 42, a site near the Providence River that he wants to develop into a luxury residential tower.

The project, called Hope Point Tower, would include a building of up to 46 stories, divided into condos and apartments.

The design is being reworked, and will not resemble the images released earlier in 2017. What Fane wants to build, he told reporters following the meeting, is an iconic building that will redefine Providence. He did not release a rendering. The project is expected to be valued at $250 million, he said.

In order to purchase the land and build his tower, Fane, president of the New York-based Fane Organization, will have to obtain a series of approvals from city authorities, including the design of the structure and a zoning change that would authorize its height.

The site is in a zone that caps building heights at 130 feet.

This action moves this project further along, but it is far from a done deal. The zoning approvals need to be made to reconfigure the lot and allow the height to go way beyond what is allowed by zoning. As far as the zoning is concerned, the 195 Commission is supposed to consider the City’s zoning, but can override it…

It is good that the tower is going into redesign, I hope they remove all the damn brick. 46-story buidlings are not made of brick, it is silly and fake to do that. If the project moves forward, the design will eventually be reviewed by the Downtown Design Review Committee.

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WPRI: Family of pedestrians struck by hit-and-run driver in Pawtucket

walkinpvd-iconRescue crews were called to the 400 block of Weeden Street to find two adults, both 33, and two children, aged 4 and 3, who had been struck by a vehicle traveling eastbound, according to Det. Sgt. Timothy Graham. The victims said a white Dodge Caravan with Rhode Island plates hit them and knocked off the vehicle’s passenger side mirror in the process.

The victims said the driver, a Hispanic male standing about six feet tall, got out of the vehicle and picked up the mirror. One of the victims yelled at him to call 911, but he said something in Spanish in response, then got back into the van and drove off, Graham said.

What an ass!

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ProJo: Cowesett Hills developer seeks parking waiver for Warwick expansion plan

Cowesett Hills Apartments, image from Google Maps

The plan by Picerne Real Estate Group’s Cowesett Hills Apartment LLC calls for two new buildings in the northwest corner of the 67-acre property. Each of the new structures would have 12 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom units. Picene also wants to build small garage buildings in the parking lot that could be rented to tenants

New city zoning rules now in effect mandate 2.5 parking spaces per unit in developments like Cowesett Hills, a complex off Post Road south of the intersection with Centerville Road.

[…]

Picerne wants permission to have 2 spaces per unit, the rule that was in effect when the project was first designed, approved and built. Company officials have argued that the two spaces per unit standard has been adequate for the complex.

Warwick, stop what you’re doing and look at me, LOOK AT ME! Listen. A 2.5 parking space mandate for a 1-bedroom apartment is lunacy. Please, get yourself some help.

Happily, the Planning Board approved the waiver.

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15-story ‘Edge College Hill Two’ proposed for Canal Street site

Massing model of proposed Edge College Hill Two. The first Edge College Hill building under construciton now is rendered to the left. DBVW Architects

While the 15-story Edge College Hill building is currently under construction on Canal Street, a proposal for a second 15-story building (Edge College Hill Two), will be heard by the Downtown Design Review Committee on Monday, January 8th.

Providence Business News reports on the proposal:

The application by Steeple Street RI LLC would place the Edge College Hill Two building at 131 Canal St., with frontage on Canal, Elizabeth and North Main streets, and wrapping around the historic Congdon & Carpenter building.

The development pursued by Vision Properties, of Conshohocken, Pa., would require development rights transferred from the adjoining historical building to reach the proposed height of 15 stories.

[…]

Michael Viveiros, a principal at the firm, said the building would feature one-bedroom and efficiency apartments, but with larger footprints than the micro-units to be offered in the first building.

The two new buildings would not be mirror images in design. “We’re making a design very specific to the neighborhood and addressing what is a changing scale [in Providence],” he said.

The first thing to note, the image at the top of the post is a massing model, not a rendering as PBN identified it in their story. There is an important difference.

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Providence Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – January 17, 2018

Providence Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
January 17, 2018, 4:45 PM
Doorley Municipal Building, 444 Westminster Street, First Floor, Providence, RI 02903

bpac-roundAgenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of December 2017 Meeting Minutes (For Action)
  3. Approval of 2018 Meeting Schedule (For Action)
  4. Update from Public Works staff on the Capital Improvement Program (For Discussion) — As part of the City’s Capital Improvement Program, the City of Providence Department of Public Works is in the process of quantitatively evaluating all streets and sidewalks throughout the city. This evaluation will serve as the basis of work planned for the 2018 construction season. Staff will update the Commission on the status of the evaluation and the outlook for work in the coming year.
  5. San Souci Drive Conceptual Review – Olneyville – Ward 15 (For Action) — The City of Providence Department of Planning and Development seeks comments from the BPAC regarding the Green Economy Bond funded project on San Souci Drive to create a bicycle and pedestrian path alongside the vehicular travel lane as part of the Woonasquatucket River Greenway. This will be a concept level review of the project. When advanced in the future, this project will come back to the BPAC for preliminary plan review.
  6. Huntington Avenue and Salvati Way Conceptual Review – West End – Ward 8 (For Action) — The City of Providence Department of Planning and Development seeks comments from the BPAC regarding a project on Huntington Avenue to create a bicycle and pedestrian path alongside the vehicular travel lanes. This will be a concept level review of the project. If advanced in the future, this project will come back to the BPAC for preliminary plan review.
  7. Announcements and Staff Updates (For Discussion)
  8. Adjournment
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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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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