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Author Archive | Jef Nickerson

Providence Capital Improvement Plan

Dean Street sidewalk work in 2009

You may remember the Mayor and City Council could not come to an agreement on a bond issue for this last year. So here’s this.

Press Release from the Mayor’s Office:


Mayor Elorza Announces Comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)

CIP submitted as part of the agenda for the next City Planning Commission Meeting

PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Elorza today announced a comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan to be submitted and vetted as part of the budget process in Providence.

“The presentation of this Capital Improvement Plan is part of my continuing commitment to long-term planning throughout the city,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “By outlining a 5-year plan, we can be proactive about repairs and maintenance, instead of waiting until things break to fix them. This plan achieves that goal and outlines the projects we need to invest in to keep our city strong from the ground up.”

The City’s proposed Capital Improvement Plan is a five-year program of planned improvements to Providence’s public infrastructure. The goal of the CIP is to facilitate and coordinate future capital improvements within the City’s current and future financial framework while creating a predictable and appropriate list of planned investments.

“We commend Mayor Elorza and his administration for taking an important step in planning for the city’s capital improvement needs,” said Council President Luis Aponte. “Our hope is for a plan that understands and addresses the infrastructure needs of each neighborhood equitably, and we look forward to reviewing this plan at length in once it’s presented to the City Council.”

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

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

bpac-roundAgenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of November Meeting Minutes (For Action)
  3. Approval of 2017 Meeting Calendar (For Action)
  4. Recommendations for improving the intersection of Elmwood Avenue and Atlantic Avenue – Elmwood – Wards 8 and 9 (For Action) – The Rhode Island Department of Transportation, in coordination with the City of Providence, has conducted a Road Safety Assessment (RSA) for the intersection of Elmwood and Atlantic avenues. The draft recommendations of the RSA are being presented to the Commission for initial review. If advanced in the future, this project will come back to the Commission for preliminary plan review.
  5. Discussion of bicycle and pedestrian safety issues on southern section of Elmwood Avenue – Lower South Elmwood – Wards 8 and 9 (For Discussion) – The Lower South Elmwood Neighborhood Association has requested to discuss issues regarding the safety of road users including bicyclists and pedestrians on Elmwood Avenue.
  6. Discussion of timeframe and next steps for automatic pedestrian signals – Citywide (For Discussion)
  7. Announcements and Staff Updates (For Discussion)
  8. Adjournment
Full disclosure, I am a member of this Commission.
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Downtown Design Review Committee Special Meeting – New Building at 169 Canal – January 9, 2017

Downtown Design Review Committee
Notice of Special Meeting
Monday, January 9, 2017 – 4:45pm
Doorley Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

Renderings of 169 Canal Street by DBVW Architects

drc-roundOpening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Meeting Minutes of 11/7/16 and 12/5/16
  • Annual Election of Vice Chair

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 16.34: 169 Canal Street (parking lot) – Public Hearing – The subject of the hearing will be an application by Vision Properties, requesting a development incentive in the form of a height bonus, and waivers from Providence Zoning Ordinance Section 606, Design Standards for New Construction, for a new 13-story mixed-use building to be constructed at 169 Canal Street, Providence, RI. The applicant is seeking a 30% height bonus and waivers from Sections 606.A.4 (Recess Line Requirement), 606.E.1 (Building Facades/Ground Floor Transparency), and 606.E.3 (Building Facades/Upper Level Transparency). At the conclusion of the hearing, the DDRC will take action with respect to these items and then continue review of the building design. The applicant was granted conceptual approval of the new construction at the December 15, 2016 meeting.

Adjournment

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City Plan Commission Meeting – December 20, 2016

Providence City Plan Commission Notice of Regular Meeting
Tuesday, December 20, 2016, 4:45pm
Joseph Doorley Municipal Building, 1st Floor Meeting Room
444 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903

cpc-roundOpening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from the November 15, 2016, meeting – for action
  • Adoption of 2017 meeting calendar
  • Director’s Report

City Council Referral

1. Referral 3409 – 12 Lenox Avenue – The petitioner is requesting to rezone 12 Lenox Ave from R-2 to C-2. The lot measures approximately 12,000 SF – for action (AP 53 Lot 386, Blackstone)

Minor Subdivision

2. 16-055MI – 210 Windmill Street – The applicant is requesting to subdivide a lot measuring 28,932 SF in the R-1 zone into two lots measuring 12,382 SF and 16,550 SF – for action (AP 97 Lot 409, Charles)

3. 16-057MI – 246 Gallatin Street – The applicant is requesting to subdivide a lot measuring 14,996 SF in the R-1 zone into three lots; two measuring 5,000 SF and one measuring 4,996 SF. The minimum lot size in the R-1 zone is 5,000 SF. The applicant will apply for an administrative modification for the undersized lot – for action (AP 52 Lot 572, Elmwood)

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One Hundred Harris, Proposed Parking with Residences at Old Fruit & Produce Warehouse Site

A proposal by the Carpionato Group for 776 parking spaces and 459 residential units at 100 Harris Avenue (aka the Old Fruit and Produce Warehouse) is on the City Plan Commission Agenda for their meeting on December 20th.

From the CPC Agenda:

MAJOR LAND DEVELOPMENT PROJECT – PUBLIC INFORMATIONAL MEETING
6. Case No. 16-054 MA – 100 Harris Avenue (Master Plan) – The applicant is proposing to construct two buildings and a parking structure on three lots measuring a total of approximately 6.06 acres. The development will provide 459 residential units and 776 parking spaces in addition to residential amenities. The site is zoned M-MU 90 – for action (AP 26 Lot 368 and 370, AP 19 Lot 38, Olneyville)

So this is weird and ugly, and holy parking! But it is also in that tragic no-mans land behind the mall, so…

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WPRI: RIPTA hopes new technology will increase pedestrian safety

walkinpvd-icon“Caution – bus is turning.”

That’s what pedestrians will soon hear whenever a nearby RIPTA bus begins to make a turn of more than 45 degrees. A series of strobe lights will also light up along the side of the bus.

The new technology is part of an effort by the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority to increase passenger and pedestrian safety.

I’m all for pedestrian safety, but I hope this system does not result in bus drivers feeling they can usurp the pedestrians’ (or cyclists’) right-of-way. When a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, the bus literally yelling at said pedestrian does not override their right to be there.

“We think this is going to be particularly useful in congested areas where people may be distracted by mobile devices or just the activity around them,” she said.

I do not like this victim-blaming coming from RIPTA at all. I don’t think there is any indication that distraction on the part of pedestrians has been responsible for any recent crashes (injuries, deaths) involving buses. Quite the opposite in some cases in fact.

I also continue to see Peter Pan buses using East Approach at Kennedy Plaza, which is where Michelle Cagnon was killed this past summer. Peter Pan is not supposed to be using East Approach.

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RIPTA Downtown Transit Corridor Public Meeting – December 6, 2016

ripta-kp

From RIPTA:


RIPTA and the City of Providence to Hold Community Meeting on Downtown Transit Connector (DTC)

Meeting Scheduled for Tuesday, December 6th at 5:00 pm at the Joseph Doorley Municipal Building in Providence

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) and the City of Providence are hosting a community meeting to provide an initial overview of plans for a high-frequency transit corridor in downtown Providence. The meeting is also intended to solicit ideas and public input on the project. The transit corridor will connect the Providence Amtrak/MBTA Station and the Hospital District with high-frequency bus service.

The meeting will be held from 5:00pm to 6:30pm on Tuesday, December 6, 2016, at the Joseph Doorley Municipal Building (1st Floor), located at 444 Westminster Street in Providence.

The corridor, which has the working name of the Downtown Transit Connector (DTC), will create six “station-like” stops between Providence Station and the Hospital District. These stops will be designed with a unique and highly-visible identity and will include bus shelters, real time information bus arrival signage, bike share stations and other passenger amenities. The project will strive to create attractive public spaces around each stop.

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

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

bpac-roundAgenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of October Meeting Minutes (For Action)
  3. Recommendations for improving Tobey, Ridge, Swiss, and Knight streets north of Broadway– Federal Hill – Ward 13 (For Action) – The BPAC will review their previous recommendations made as part of the discussion of this project at the October 2016 BPAC meeting and issue a set of formal recommendations to DPD and DPW.
  4. Discussion of the Transportation Section of Brown University’s Institutional Master Plan – College Hill – Wards 1 and 2 (For Discussion) – Brown University seeks the BPAC’s input on the Transportation Section of their Institutional Master Plan, which is currently in development.
  5. Discussion of responses from DPW regarding previous BPAC recommendations for the following projects: (For Discussion)
    • Waterman Street (Wayland – Ward 2)
    • Olney Street (College Hill, Mount Hope – Wards 1 and 3)
    • Harris Avenue (Smith Hill, Valley, Olneyville – Wards 12 and 15)
    • Bicycle infrastructure between Downtown and Classical High School (Downtown – Ward 1)
    • Providence Place Mall Improvements on Francis Street (Downtown – Ward 1)
    • Francis Street Mid-block Crossing (Downtown – Ward 1)
    • Eddy Street (Upper South Providence – Ward 11)
    • Allens Avenue (Washington Park, Upper South Providence, Lower South Providence – Wards 10 and 11)
  6. Announcements and Staff Updates (For Discussion)
  7. Adjournment
Full disclosure: I am a member of this commission.
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Atwells at Knight – Proposed Mixed-Use Building on Federal Hill

434-atwells-001

Rendering of Atwells at Knight by Northeast Collaborative Architects

At their November 15th meeting, the City Plan Commission will be reviewing a proposal to construct a 5-story building with ground floor commercial with apartments on the upper-floors at 434 Atwells Avenue on Federal Hill. The proposed project contains 40 parking spaces partially enclosed and partially in an open surface lot.

The CPC’s agenda item:

The applicant is requesting master plan approval to construct a mixed use development in the C-1 zone that will provide forty residential units, forty internal parking spaces and retail space on the ground floor. A height of 50 feet and five stories is proposed. The applicant is seeking a dimensional adjustment from the 45 feet, 4 story height limit of the zone and an adjustment for two parking spaces – for action (AP 28 Lot 150 – 9,993 SF, AP 33 Lot 508 – 10,353 SF, Federal Hill)

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Downtown Design Review Committee Special Meeting – November 7, 2016

Downtown Design Review Committee
Notice of Special Meeting
Monday, November 7, 2016 – 4:45pm
Doorley Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

drc-roundAgenda

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call

New Business

chestnut-commons-001

chestnut-commons-002

Renderings of proposal for 91 Chestnut Street

1. DRC Application No. 16.30: I-195 Redevelopment District Parcel 30/91 Chestnut Street – Proposal by Waldorf Capital Management, LLC to construct a new mixed-use building on the property. The DRC will conceptually review the project and make a recommendation to the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission.

Pre-Application Review

2. 217 Washington Street (Providence Public Library) – Proposed exterior renovations to the Empire Street building (1954 addition). This item is for discussion only. No action will be taken by the DRC at this meeting.

Adjournment

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WPRI: Construction underway to new commuter rail station

pawtucket-station

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation kicked off construction Monday morning for the Pawtucket Central Falls Commuter Rail Station.

[…]

It’s slated to open in 2020, and will serve as a stop on the MBTA commuter rail between Rhode Island and Boston,

State officials say it will also function as a busing hub.


I obviously have not been paying enough attention. I knew this was closer to reality than it has been in decades, but I still thought we were going to be talking it to death for another year or two at least. Wow, great news!

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – October 19, 2016

Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
October 19, 2016, 4:45pm
Doorley Municipal Building, 444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor
Providence, RI 02903

bpac-roundAgenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of September Meeting Minutes (For Action)
  3. Ideas for Improving the Tobey and Ridge streets north of Broadway– Federal Hill – Ward 13 (For Action) – The Department of Planning and Development seeks the BPAC’s ideas for traffic calming and other improvements to Tobey and Ridge streets north of Broadway.
  4. Ideas for Improving Pedestrian and Bicycle Connections in and around the LINK (I-195) District in Downtown – Downtown – Ward 1 (For Action) – The Department of Planning and Development seeks the BPAC’s input on ways to improve bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure within and surrounding the LINK (I-195 Redevelopment) District.
  5. Recommendation Regarding Replacement of Pavement Markings Removed by Contractors and Utility Companies (For Action)
  6. Announcements and Staff Updates (For Discussion)
  7. Adjournment
Full disclosure, I am a member of this Commission.
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Proposed Holiday Inn Express on Pine Street

holiday-inn-express-002

Rendering of proposed Holiday Inn Express along the west side Service Road

At the October 18th City Plan Commission meeting a proposal for a Holiday Inn Express on Pine Street at the west side Service Road adjacent to Crossroads RI will be presented.

Below are renderings and plans, and a few thoughts on the proposal. The drawings and plans are by ZDS of Providence.

holiday-inn-express-001

Proposed site plan

Continue Reading →

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WPRI: 6/10 inspection reports reveal close-ups of potentially dangerous dilapidation

ridot-6-10-huntington-bridge

Huntington Bridge photo from RIDOT’s Facebook page

Among the new issues revealed, a horribly rusted temporary support beam.

“This was decaying to the point of possibly falling over onto the high speed rail that’s next to it,” [RIDOT Director Peter] Alviti explained.

OK, should I not ride the train through this area then?

Alviti, who admitted the condition of the various structures keep him awake at night, said the fact that the reports are available is one of RIDOT’s most important, recent changes.

If the Director literally cannot sleep at night about it, shouldn’t the roadway be closed? What exactly is keeping him from sleeping if not the fear of an imminent collapse?

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Providence Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – September 21, 2016

Providence Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
September 21, 2016, 4:45 PM
Doorley Municipal Building, 444 Westminster Street, First Floor
Providence, RI 02903

bpac-roundAgenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of June Meeting Minutes (For Action)
  3. Approval of July Meeting Minutes (For Action)
  4. Olney Street Restriping – College Hill, Mount Hope – Wards 1 and 2 (For Action) – The Department of Public Works intends to restripe Olney Street from Camp to Hope streets. DPW seeks comment from the BPAC regarding the preliminary plans, which include bike lanes along this 0.4-mile stretch and the removal of a limited amount of underutilized on street parking on the northbound side of Olney Street between Camp and North Main streets, adjacent to the University Heights Apartment Complex.
  5. Olneyville Square Pedestrian Safety Improvements – Olneyville – Ward 15 (For Action) – ONE Neighborhood Builders is exploring the potential installation of curb extensions at the two existing RIPTA bus stops on Westminster Street in Olneyville Square and a raised pedestrian refuge at the intersection of Plainfield Street at Hartford Avenue. The City of Providence DPD seeks comment from the BPAC at this initial scoping phase of the project.
  6. Smith Street Repaving, Restriping, and Sidewalk Replacement – Smith Hill, Elmhurst – Wards 5 and 12 (For Action) – The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has prepared preliminary plans for Smith Street from Lyndhurst Avenue to Holden Street. Planned improvements include pavement resurfacing, replacement of existing sidewalk and curb, ADA improvements, minor improvements to the existing drainage system, modifications to the existing signals, upgrades to the existing pedestrian facilities, and the installation of new roadway signs and pavement markings. RIDOT also intends to remove existing street trees within the project limits that have caused severe sidewalk damage making sidewalks inaccessible to those who are in wheelchairs or disabled. DPW seeks comment from the BPAC regarding the preliminary plans.
  7. Fountain Street Restriping Project Update – Downtown – Ward 1 (For Discussion)
  8. Announcements and Staff Updates (For Discussion)
  9. Adjournment
Full Disclosure: I am a member of this commission.
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ProJo: State to fast-track Route 6-10 connector project, abandon surface boulevard

ridot-6-10-original-design

RIDOT’s Original Design for the 6/10 interchange

Governor Raimondo has ordered a fast-track reconstruction of the Route 6 and 10 interchange and the abandonment of plans to rebuild the highway under an earthen cap, state officials said Wednesday.

The decision to rebuild the highways in their current footprint — and scrap a design favored by Department of Transportation leaders just this spring — was prompted by safety concerns and the deteriorating condition of the overpasses, said DOT Director Peter Alviti Jr.

I.E. the public hates how we’re spending thier money, so let’s spend it faster.

Along with abandoning the capped highway plan, Raimondo’s move all but dismisses the possibility of replacing the highway with a surface boulevard, a design that drew overwhelming support from attendees of a public forum on the 6-10 held last week by the city of Providence.

[…]

Alviti said the disruption to commuters that a boulevard would create was unacceptable.

Translation, people in the suburbs are more important than people who live in the city next to the suburban infrastructure.

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ProJo: Cumberland woman, 30, struck and killed by bus in Providence’s Kennedy Plaza

walkinpvd-iconA 30-year-old Cumberland woman on her way to work Wednesday morning was killed when a bus struck her in a crosswalk in Kennedy Plaza and dragged her 50 to 60 feet.

Providence police identified the victim as Michelle Cagnon. She worked for Bank of America, according to company spokesman Trevor Koenig.

She was walking east on Washington Street, in front of the Alex and Ani City Center ice skating rink, when she stepped into the crosswalk to cross East Approach a little after 8 a.m., according to Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Paré.

“Lady was in the crosswalk,” said witness Charles Parker, “looked up, screamed as she got run over.”

“The minute she got into the middle of the crosswalk, Peter Pan came around and just hit her,” said another witness, Michael “Casey” Lee, of Dartmouth, Mass. “All you heard was the smack, and that was it.”


This is so awful.

The Peter Pan buses often move too fast and too recklessly through the plaza, I don’t understand why. One almost hit me the other day as it swung out of the berth at the Transit Center, across the 3 lanes of traffic on Washington Street, and up onto the East Approach. I was crossing East Approach on foot and had to step back onto the curb to avoid it.

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