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Author Archive | Jef Nickerson

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!

feb-2013-blizzard

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.

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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.

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The Valley Breeze: Woonsocket looks to change zoning to allow train stop on Fairmount Street

fairmont-woonsocket

Image from Google Maps

Boston Surface Rail Company has proposed establishing commuter rail service between Worcester and Providence, but still needs to conquer a few regulatory hurdles and negotiations with some involved parties.

This week, the City Council took a first step toward preparing Woonsocket for the possibility, receiving an ordinance that would adjust zoning laws to allow passenger terminals to be operated in non-residential zones.

While the change authorizes terminals throughout the city, Bouley said it is prompted by BSRC’s hope to create a stop at 85 Fairmount St., the property that held the Alice Mill building before it was obliterated by a massive fire in 2011.

Well this is all well and good, but doesn’t Woonsocket have a handsome station downtown already? This burned out mill site probably provides the opportunity for a lot of parking…

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Capital Center Commission Design Review Committee Meeting – January 20, 2015

Francis Street Presentation.pdf

featured-capital-center Design Review Committee of the Capital Center Commission Meeting
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 • 8:00 am
Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

Agenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Minutes
    Meetings of September 16, 2014, November 18, 2014 and December 2, 2014
  3. Acceptance of 2015 CCDRC Meeting Schedule
  4. Parcel 15: Francis Street Parcels
    Presentation of a proposed parking facility on the site.
  5. Adjournment

My understanding is that the State is still insisting they are not beholden to the Capital Center Commission and can do whatever-the-fuck they want (State of Rhode Island to Providence: “Drop dead”) and this meeting is just a courtesy to show the Commission what they are doing.

I also enjoy that the meeting is at 8am on a day after a holiday so no members of the public will be inclined to show up.

This is basically a done deal as far as the State is concerned, the Commission could I suppose rule that this is unacceptable and deny it, but the State says the Commission has no power over them. The Commission, through the City, would have to sue to prove they do have the power. The previous City administration was unwilling to do that.

If one wanted to express one’s displeasure about this, one should probably contact the new State administration. The new Director of the Department of Administration is Michael DiBiase, the phone number there is: (401) 222-2000. Governor Raimondo’s office can be reached through an online contact form or (401) 222-2080. Your comments would be in reference to Capital Center Parcel 15.

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PPS Annual Meeting featuring former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy – January 29, 2015

tom-murphy

Tom Murphy. Photo from ULI.

From the Providence Preservation Society:


PPS Announces January 29 Annual Meeting

Featuring Former Mayor of Pittsburgh TOM MURPHY – Meeting Will Also Highlight Providence Revolving Fund’s 35th Anniversary

Providence, RI (January 9, 2015) – The Providence Preservation Society welcomes Tom Murphy, former Mayor of Pittsburgh and senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute, to their 2015 Annual Meeting on Thursday, January 29, 2015, 5:30 pm, at the Providence Public Library. Having leveraged billions of dollars in economic development in Pittsburgh, Mayor Murphy will speak about his experience in urban revitalization. The event will also celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the Providence Revolving Fund, which was formed by the Society’s Board of Trustees in 1980.

“When Mayor Murphy took office in 1994, he built upon Pittsburgh’s existing assets to create a dynamic urban experience,” stated Brent Runyon, Executive Director of the Providence Preservation Society. “With new political leadership, and development beginning within the I-195 District, Providence is well-positioned for the same type of renewal.” After three terms as mayor of Pittsburgh, Mayor Murphy joined the Urban Land Institute in 2006, focusing on the economic impact large institutions and public-private partnerships have on local economies. The Providence Preservation Society has long contributed to the economic vitality of Rhode Island through its work in the capital city, preserving our important past, while being a partner in the city’s growth.

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Your ‘Charlie Card’ could soon take you further

fares-charlieThe Rhode Island General Assembly is considering a bill to allow the MBTA’s farecard, the Charlie Card, to work on RIPTA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 39-18 of the General Laws entitled “Rhode Island Public Transit Authority” is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

39-18-25. Create parity with MBTA commuter passes. – The authority shall consult with the Massachusetts Bay transit authority on the feasibility of allowing commuter rail passes to be used on all Rhode Island public transit authority buses. Such rail passes shall serve as dual Rhode Island public transit authority passes and Massachusetts Bay transit authority passes, if possible. Such consultation shall also include proposed methods to apportion and share the costs of such passes between the two (2) authorities.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.

I know RIPTA has wanted to crack this nut for some time, with the official blessing of the Assembly, let’s hope they find a way to figure it out. Anything to make utilizing transit easier is a good thing.

h/t to ecoRI News’s Tim Faulkner
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The Boston Globe: Boston picked to bid for Olympics

olympic_flag

Photo (cc) Sam from Wikimedia Commons

The United States Olympic Committee has chosen Boston to be its entry in a global competition to host the 2024 Olympic Games, putting its faith in an old city that is brand new to the Olympic movement.

The USOC announced Thursday after a meeting at Denver International Airport that it will back Boston’s Olympic bid over those from San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and two-time Olympic host Los Angeles.

With the vote, Boston vaults into an unfamiliar, high-profile position on the international sports stage. During the next two-and-a-half years, it will be part of a competition that could include some of the most significant cities in the world: Paris, Rome, Hamburg or Berlin, Budapest, and Istanbul. There could be competition from South Africa, from Doha in Qatar, from Baku in Azerbaijan, and from other cities or regions attracted by new rules intended to make it easier to host the Games. A winner will be chosen in 2017.

So of course the big question for us is, what could this mean for Providence? Governor Raimondo tweeted last night that this is a, “tremendous opportunity to showcase state, region to the world.”

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PBN: J.C. Penney store closing at Providence Place Mall

providence-place

The J.C. Penney store at the Providence Place Mall is among a number of underperforming stores that the company is closing across the country, according to media reports.

The Providence Place mall store is the only Rhode Island J.C. Penney store affected; the store at the Warwick Mall will remain open, as will the store at the Franklin Shopping Plaza in Westerly.

Other reports have said that while no other Rhode Island stores are closing, several on the Massachusetts side of our metro area are.

I find this to be bad news as it is really convenient for me to walk or RIPTA to the mall and purchase affordable items that I need at J.C. Penney, things that are generally more affordable, and about the same quality as at Macy’s. I’d have a much longer bus ride or have to pay for a Zipcar to get to another such retailer in the area.

I really hope that Providence Place can find a similar tenant for the space. People seem to really want a Target, but I’d be happy with a Marshall’s or TJMaxx.

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – January 21, 2015

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
January 21, 2015, 4:30 PM
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Agenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Discussion of staff changes as they relate to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission
  3. Presentation by Emily Kish from Department of Planning and Development on Pop Up Providence program
  4. Discussion of goals and ideas for future 2015 BPAC meetings
  5. Motion to adjourn

Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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Video: Gabe Klein speaking at the PPS Symposium

This video shows transportation advocate Gabe Klein speaking at last November’s Providence Preservation Society Symposium.

Transportation guru Gabe Klein gives an insightful look at how cities can make simple and effective changes to transportation policy and infrastructure to effect safety, livability and economic transformation. He spoke as a featured speaker at the 2014 Providence Symposium, produced by the Providence Preservation Society.

See videos of all the speakers and panels from the PPS Symposium on YouTube.

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Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – January 12, 2015

featured-drc Downtown Design Review Committee
Monday, January 12, 2015 – 4:45pm
Department of Planning and Development, 1st Floor Conference Room 444 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of Meeting Minutes of December 12, 2014
  • Annual Election of Vice Chair

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 14.25: 342 Eddy Street (Public Hearing) – The subject of the hearing will be an application by CV SSL Garage, LLC requesting waivers from D-1 Design Regulations for non-conforming new construction. The applicant is proposing to construct a new parking garage at 342 Eddy Street, Providence, RI. The applicant is seeking waivers from the requirements for transparency and multiple entrances at the ground floor level on the Eddy Street elevation, and for the recess line requirement for buildings over 6 stories.

This is the parking garage being built as part of the South Street Landing project.

south-street-landing-housing

Rendering of student housing building along Point Street

2. DRC Application No. 14.26: 11-15 Point Street (Public Hearing) – The subject of the hearing will be an application by CV SSL River House, LLC requesting a waiver from D-1 Design Regulations for non-conforming new construction. The applicant is proposing to construct a new mixed-use residential development at 11-15 Point Street, Providence, RI. The applicant is seeking a waiver from the recess line requirement for buildings over 6 stories.

This is the residential new construction at the South Street Landing project.

3. DRC Application No. 14.27: 10 Dorrance Street (Howard Building) – Proposal to install new signage for VP Fitness on the exterior of the building.

Adjournment


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We officially have a new Mayor!

I’m not sure I ever realized this was a thing before, but apparently new Mayors are traditionally officially sworn in at midnight on inauguration morning. And sticking with tradition, Providence’s 38th Mayor, Jorge Elorza was officially sworn-in very early this morning (or late last night) at his home.

Press release from the City with details on the official swearing-in earlier today and the ceremonial swearing-in today at 2pm and other inaugural events today:


Jorge O. Elorza Sworn in as 38th Mayor of Providence

JOE_Interfaith breakfast.inddPROVIDENCE, RI – Jorge O. Elorza was sworn in at 12 a.m. today as Providence’s 38th Mayor. The private ceremony, which marked the official transition of power in the City of Providence, was held at Mayor Elorza’s home with family and friends. Probate Court Judge John E. Martinelli administered the oath of office.

Elorza, 38, a former Housing Court Judge and professor at the Roger Williams University School of Law, is the son of Guatemalan immigrants who worked in factories and was raised in the city’s West End. He graduated from Classical High School before going on to the University of Rhode Island and Harvard Law School.

As a law professor at Roger Williams University, Mayor Elorza co-founded the Latino Policy Institute, a think-tank dedicated to research on Latino and minority communities in Rhode Island. While serving on Providence’s Housing Court, Mayor Elorza created a process to hold large banks accountable for abandoned properties in the city.

Mayor Elorza began his first morning as Mayor by joining with local faith leaders at an Interfaith Breakfast held at the Providence Career and Technical Academy.

Mayor Elorza’s public inauguration will take place today at 2 p.m. on the steps of City Hall, in front of an anticipated crowd of several hundred residents and dignitaries. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

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PBN: Elizabeth Mill in Warwick to be razed, redeveloped

integlia-warwick-002

Renderings from McGeorge Arcitecture Interiors.

The historic Elizabeth Mill will be razed and some of its architectural elements incorporated into a new building, under a plan that Warwick officials hope will serve as a development catalyst for the City Centre Warwick district.

The plan would create a four-story, 300,000-square-foot building with modern efficiencies, suitable for retail, office and residential space, according to Mayor Scott Avedisian. The mill’s cast iron stairs, doors and bricks will be incorporated into a new structure.

Michael Integlia & Company, an engineering and construction management firm, will market the conceptual plan.

You can see a skelton of white beams that create a ghost of the tower of the mill being demolished, which is sad and creepy.

Though our historic buildings are an extremely important part of what makes our region unique and special, I’m not afraid to admit that not all can always be saved. Could someone have tried harder to save this building? Maybe, but it seems that will not happen. Keeping some little remenants and building a literal skeleton to remember the building is just dumb though. If the building has to go, get rid of it and move on.

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New bike corral on Eddy Street, a first for Providence?

bike-corral

Image from Downtown Improvement District Twitter.

The Downtown Improvement District installed a new bike corral today on Eddy Street, like literally, on the street. Is this the first time an on-street bike corral has been installed in Providence?

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School vacation activities at the Providence Children’s Museum

chldrens-museum-water-ways

Get the kids out of the house, here’s what’s happening at the Providence Children’s Museum:


School Vacation FUN! at Providence Children’s Museum

December 26 – 31

Providence Children’s Museum is the BEST place for school vacation fun! The Museum is open during vacation, Friday, December 26 – Friday, January 2, from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Families explore Water Ways, an imaginative new water play environment, and join special activities all week long:

Imagination Playground

Friday, December 26 • 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Kids invent their own ways to play as they stack and build with huge blue foam blocks of all shapes and sizes. Using blocks, wheels, spools, tubes and a variety of loose parts, construct castles and forts, invent interesting sculptures and more!

Sparky’s Puppets

Saturday, December 27 • 1:00 & 2:00 PM
Sparky’s Puppets dramatize favorite children’s stories with colorful hand puppets, playful humor and plenty of audience participation. See a snowman come to life and meet a shoemaker and an ice fishing bear in the puppets’ playful winter tales. Shows at 1:00 & 2:00 PM; recommended for ages 4 and up.

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