Author Archive | Jef Nickerson

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

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
November 18, 2015 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor
  1. Roll call
  2. Approval of meeting minutes from October Commission meeting
  3. Reading of a response regarding BPAC recommendations to Mayor Elorza – update on advancement of several key recommendations
  4. Discussion and identification of intersections where the timing of pedestrian crossing signals needs to be improved
  5. Discussion and identification of intersections where crosswalks need to be improved
  6. Discussion and identification of priority areas for snow removal
  7. Adjournment

Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.

Vive La France

There’s so many socio-political things to consider*, but I’ll just leave this video and a couple things here.

One, when I read “Bataclan,” this song by Jeff Buckley is what I thought of, please enjoy.

Two, I’m ever so sad that I had a logo amendment for the site ready to go from the last time Paris was attacked (see the header).

*Three, why was I not compelled to post when Beirut was attacked earlier this week? I’m not wanting the terrorist to win, but if anything good can come out of this all, let us (the West) consider what is happening in the Middle East, and let us pause for a minute to consider how we can address it.

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City Plan Commission Meeting – November 17, 2015 – RI Hospital proposal to raze South West Pavilion building

CPC City Plan Commission Meeting
Tuesday, November 17, 2015 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from October 20 meeting – for action
  • Director’s Report

City Council Referral

1. Referral 3398 – 04-316 Branch Ave (Zone Change) – The petitioner is requesting that the properties at 304-316 Branch Ave and 19 Metcalf Street be rezoned from from C-1 to C-2. Continued from October 20 meeting – for action (Charles, AP 71 Lot 563 and AP 74 Lots 1, 3, 8, and 9)

Institutional Master Plan


Image from Providence Preservation Society

2. Rhode Island Hospital Institutional Master Plan Amendment – Presentation of amendment to Rhode Island Hospital’s Institutional Master Plan – for action (Upper South Providence)

From the Masterplan Amendment:

In our 2006 and 2011 Institutional Master Plans, we identified our South West Pavilion building as having effectively outlived its useful life as part of our camp us. After extensive study, and after holdin g a neighborhood meeting to discuss it, we have conclud ed we need to raze the building. We are the refore seeking to amend our approved 2011 IMP to allow for the removal of the South West Pavilion.

The South West Pavilion was constructed in 1900 and is one of the oldest remaining portions of the hospital complex.



PBN: JWU purchases former Club Karma for $1.6M


Image from Google Streetview

Johnson & Wales University has purchased the former Club Karma at 101 Richmond St. for $1.6 million.

The actual use of the building is not yet clear but will be either to accommodate JWU’s expanding academic programming or for student life services, the university said.

The developers of proposed student housing on the 195 Land Parcel 28 had proposed tearing down this building. Those developers have backed out of the deal to purchase that property however. Hopefully, Johnson & Wales will keep the building standing and find a good ground-floor use for it.


ProJo: Pedestrian struck by parked car in East Providence

Actually, no. Someone drove their car into another car which was then pushed into the pedestrian. The parked car did not achieve sentience and lash out at the pedestrian.

walkinpvd-iconDaniel Major, 26, was driving south on Willett Avenue, when he lost control of the car, according to East Providence Police Lt. Christopher Francesconi.

Francesconi said the car spun out of control, rolled over, and crashed into a parked Toyota Corolla. That vehicle then rolled into the 27-year-old woman, who had been walking down that street.


Local News & Notes


Proposed South Street Landing parking garage. Rendering by Spagnolo Gisness & Associates, Inc.

I’ve been quite busy offline the last few weeks. Here’s a selection of local stories I’ve been trying to catch myself up on: New MBTA ‘bullet trains’ will get riders from Worcester to Boston in less than an hour

Riding the rails from Worcester to Boston should take less time come May. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito on Wednesday announced the addition of a non-stop bullet train and two additional express trains on the Worcester/Framingham line.

“This is a game changer,” Polito said, referring to it as a quality of life issue. “For the first time ever, a non-stop train leaves Worcester and arrives in Boston in less than an hour.

Can the Providence line haz ‘bullet trains’ too pleaz?

The Providence Journal Fed-ordered drainage work will cost RIDOT $112 million

Faced with a consent decree requiring it to comply with federal clean water rules, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation has budgeted $112 million over the next decade to clean and repair its ailing network of drainage systems around the state.

DOT director Peter Alviti said the state agency plans to annually spend between $6.6 million and $16.8 million on drainage improvements as part of its 10-year strategic plan in a bid to correct years of inaction and reduce the amount of polluted stormwater that flows into Narragansett Bay and other local water bodies from state roads.

Look back to 2013 when Save The Bay highlighted the issue that surface run-off, not sewer overflow was what was most contributing to beach closures that year. RIDOT didn’t even know where it’s run-off was coming from, while we, the Narragansett Bay Commission rate-payers, are paying crazy sewer bills for a giant pipe to hold our poo.

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ecoRI News: R.I.’s Bike Infrastructure a Disjointed Maze


Bike Lane on Allens Avenue

In June 2012 complete-streets legislation was passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by then-Gov. Lincoln Chafee. The law requires federal- and state-funded road-construction projects to consider bicyclists, public-transit users and pedestrians during the design process. The goal is to increase road safety for non-automobile users and, thereby, encourage people to use alternative forms of transportation, which promote public and environmental health while reducing traffic congestion.

While Rhode Island’s complete-streets legislation has resulted in safer road design in some places, many bicycle advocates are generally disappointed by the results. The legislation requires the state Department of Transportation (DOT) to consider incorporating complete-streets features, but allows exceptions on projects if the agency determines space is limited or costs are deemed disproportionate to the use those features would likely garner.

When I imagine RIDOT considering complete street infrastructure on construction projects, I imagine it a lot like my non-religious family says grace at Thanksgiving; “Someone should say grace,” “Grace,” eat. “Someone should consider complete streets,” “considered,” make street geometry so cars can move as fast as possible.

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – October 20, 2015

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
October 20, 2015, 2015 – 4:45pm
30 Exchange Terrace, 1st Floor Conference Room
Note: This meeting is at a different location than regularly scheduled meetings


  1. Roll call
  2. Approval of meeting minutes from September Commission meeting
  3. Introduction of Peter Garino, RIDOT Deputy Director (Martina Haggerty)
  4. Discussion with Peter Garino, RIDOT Deputy Director, regarding ways to improve coordination between RIDOT and BPAC and status updates on several RIDOT projects within the City of Providence
  5. Update on bike share program (Leah Bamberger)
  6. Adjournment
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.

WPRI: Study: Providence worst city for the disabled

A study released Wednesday suggests that Providence is the worst city in the U.S. for people with disabilities.


Overall, Providence finished dead last. Rhode Island’s capital was also ranked last in economic environment for the disabled, 146th in health care, and 101st for quality of life.

Could scenes like this have anything to do with the poor quality of life for the disabled in Providence?


ProJo: Raimondo pushes out managers, dismisses employees at ‘dysfunctional’ DOT


Image from RIDOT

Having diagnosed Rhode Island’s transportation bureaucracy as “dysfunctional,” Governor Raimondo Wednesday outlined the steps she’s taking to fix it — with or without revenue from proposed truck tolls.

In an overhaul of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation that started earlier this year, Raimondo said she has pushed out several managers, adopted private-sector planning processes and begun hiring workers to reduce the agency’s reliance on outside contractors.

RIDOT has also either dismissed or accepted the resignation of “four or five” unidentified employees for “dishonesty,” including false record keeping and not being where they said they were, according to Director Peter Alviti.

I don’t have anything nice to say about RIDOT so I won’t say anything at all.


RIPTA Fare Restructuring Proposals


News from PBN and EcoRI about RIPTA’s proposed fare changes:

Providence Business News: RIPTA eyes expanded service, but who will pay?

A U.S. census survey, called the American Community Survey, in 2013 reported that 2.9 percent of Rhode Islanders used public transportation at least once a week.

Largely because of its small size, Rhode Island has a density that rivals New Jersey — with 1,018 people per square mile. For comparison purposes, 10.8 percent of the New Jersey population used public transportation, while 27 percent of the state of New York did so, according to the census survey.

Rhode Island’s density is what officials at state transportation agencies point to when arguing that increased investment in public transit is a smart move.

[…] Continue Reading →


Downtown Design Review Committee Meeting – September 21, 2015

featured-drc Downtown Design Review Committee
Monday, September 21, 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 June 15, 2015 and August 17, 2015

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 15.18: 342 Eddy Street (Public Hearing) – The subject of the hearing will be an application by The Narragansett Electric Company requesting waivers from D-1 Design Regulations for non-conforming new construction. The applicant is proposing to construct a new Substation Switchgear & Control Building at 342 Eddy Street, Providence, RI. The applicant is seeking waivers from the requirements for building height and fenestration.


Proposed building for Parcel 8, image from Kite Architects.

2. DRC Application No. 15.19: 566 South Water Street and Parcel 8 (Eastside I-195 Overlay District) – Proposal by Royal Oaks Realty, LLC to construct a new mixed-use building on the property. The DRC will review the project and make a recommendation to the I-195 District Commission.

See also:

ProJo: On former 195 land, a proposed ‘sculptural light display’



Automobile induced isolation and loneliness in small cities


Photo (cc) Matt Cloutier

The Bicylce Lobby posted the following Tweet this evening which I retweeted:

Typical Bicycle Lobby of course, but one of the responses to my retweet was:

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – September 16, 2015

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
September 16, 2015, 2015 – 4:45pm
30 Exchange Terrace, 1st floor conference room
Note, this meeting will be at a different location, 30 Exchange Terrace.
  1. Roll call
  2. Approval of meeting minutes from July Commission meeting
  3. Update on the City’s participation in the USDOT Mayor’s Challenge (Martina Haggerty)
  4. Update on response from administration regarding letter of BPAC recommendations (Martina Haggerty)
  5. Update on status of Pleasant Valley Parkway Bridge 777 plans and bike detour (Martina Haggerty)
  6. Discussion of planned update to the City’s Bike Plan and possible public engagement strategies (Martina Haggerty)
  7. Update on improvements to reporting of pot holes and patching (Leah Bamberger)
  8. Discussion of Point Street traffic volume data collected by DPW in relation to possible bike lanes on Point Street (Bill Bombard)
  9. Adjournment
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.

ProJo: Police: Driver headed for body shop after hitting pedestrian with stolen car

walkinpvd-iconAfter hitting a pedestrian with a stolen car Wednesday afternoon, a Providence man drove to an auto body shop less than a block away from the crash site, according to police.

A 21-year-old man was struck by a vehicle while trying to cross the intersection of Valley Street and Eagle Street at 2:40 p.m., according to a police report provided by Maj. Thomas Verdi.

The vehicle, which had been turning from Valley Street onto Eagle Street, drove off after the crash.

I better get my stolen car to the auto body shop stat! Damn pedestrians!


News & Notes


Image (cc) by Barbara Gossett

CityLab: The Real Downtown ‘Parking Problem’: There’s Too Much of It

It’s not unusual for people to worry about parking in places where they totally don’t need to worry about parking. The consultancy Nelson\Nygaard recently surveyed parking availability in 27 mixed-use districts across the U.S. and found that parking supply exceeded demand by an average of 65 percent. In nine areas where parking was thought to be scarce, the oversupply ranged from 6 to 82 percent.

Vox: Houston just dramatically improved its mass transit system without spending a dime

How is Houston able to pull that off with no additional funding?

Well, as Jarrett Walker, one of the plan’s lead designers, explains, it’s all about prioritizing routes that will plausibly attract riders. The old system, like many bus routes in the United States, expended a lot of resources on very low-ridership routes for the sake of saying there’s “a bus that goes there.” The new plan says the focus should be to provide reasonably frequent service on routes where reasonably frequent service will attract riders. That does mean that some people are further than ever from a transit stop. But it means that many more Houstonians will find themselves near a useful transit stop.

Focusing transit planning on the goal of promoting transit services that are actually used strikes me as common sense. But it’s also the best way to create a virtuous circle of sound urban planning and transportation management. A system with a lot of riders is a system with a lot of advocates for expansion and improvement.

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