Categories

Author Archive | Jef Nickerson

April School Vacation at Providence Children’s Museum

childrens-museum-farmfriends

April 20 – 24

Providence Children’s Museum is the BEST place for school vacation fun! The Museum is open during vacation, Monday, April 20 – Friday, February 24, from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Families explore Water Ways, an imaginative new water play environment, and join special activities all week long:

Mad Science: Marvels of Motion

Monday, April 20 • 1:00 & 2:00 PM
Witness mesmerizing experiments exploring the laws of motion in this mind-bending interactive show. Discover the science of gravity and balance, see mad scientists experiment with kinetic beads, and watch as a tablecloth is removed without clearing the table! Shows at 1:00 & 2:00 PM; recommended for ages 4 and up.

Continue Reading →

0

PawSox Providence Stadium Proposal

Updating…

b-pawsox-stadium-004

Continue Reading →

62

ProJo: Developer considers mixed-use plan for Louttit site in S. Providence

loutit

Site of former Loutit / What Cheer Steam Laundry

A Rhode Island development firm has plans for a $10-million mixed-use project on a vacant South Providence industrial site.

Bourne Avenue Capital Partners, an offshoot of New England Construction Co. Inc., of East Providence, wants to undertake the project on land that for decades was home to the Louttit Laundry operation. The last portion of the long, two-story Louttit building was demolished in 2008.

[…]

Sluter envisions a multi-story building ranging from 35,000 to 50,000 square feet with ground-floor commercial space and 30 to 45 apartments on the upper floors. He has a tentative agreement with a food cooperative to be the first-floor anchor tenant.

After a 2001 fire, the Loutit / What Cheer Steam Laundry building was demolished 2008. Plans for redevelopment of the site were proposed by SWAP and WBNA and probably others, but the recession laid waste to all plans.

See also: ArtInRuins: Loutit / What Cheer Steam Laundry
0

Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – April 15, 2015

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
April 15, 2015 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Agenda

  1. Roll call
  2. Approval of meeting minutes from March Commission meeting
  3. Discussion of possible Roger Williams loop road closure
  4. Discussion of ideas for improving pedestrian and bicycle conditions generated from February Commission meeting
  5. Discussion and review of DPW plans for Pleasant Valley Parkway, Smith Street, Charles Street, Elmwood Avenue, Valley Street, River Road, Smithfield Avenue, and Washington Street
  6. Adjournment
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
0

PawSox Baseball Stadium News

pawsox-site

Proposed site of PawSox stadium. Image from Google Maps

PBN reports on PawSox President James J. Skeffington’s tour of the riverfront land in the Jewelry District he proposes to build a new home for the PawSox on:

In a tour of the site, overlooking College Hill and the Providence skyline, attorney James J. Skeffington said consultants had determined the seven-acre proposed site will support the baseball park that team owners want to build.

In addition, he said, team owners have reached an agreement to use the parking garage planned for the South Street Landing project, now under construction on an adjacent site. Under the plan, the parking garage will be enlarged to 750 spaces, to accommodate the baseball traffic, he said, and the PawSox owners will contribute financially to its construction.

The parking garage at South Street Landing has sought relief from City Zoning requiring ground floor retail uses in parking structures. With the increased size of the structure and the increased diversity of visitors (they won’t mostly be Nursing School students presumably) there should be no reason for the garage developers not to conform to City zoning regulations.

ProJo also has a report:

Continue Reading →

15

ProJo: Developers say lack of state support stalled project for I-195 land

195-parcel-27

A lawyer and a doctor who hoped to build life-sciences laboratories on former highway land in the capital city have given up on their efforts because they say they haven’t received necessary state support.

Timothy H. Ehrlich, a Boston lawyer who represents biotechnology companies, and Dr. Johannes Fruehauf, president of the Cambridge Biolabs project in Massachusetts, pitched a Providence Biolabs project last June to the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission. They hoped to encourage start-up companies to develop into viable entities whose scientific research might lead to new treatments for diseases and might otherwise improve people’s health.

“We had to suspend our Providence Biolabs initiative when it became clear that there was not sufficient state support available to bring a shared laboratory to Providence,” Fruehauf told The Providence Journal.

This article does not have any comment from the Governor’s office and only a non-specific comment from the 195 Commission’s spokesperson, so take that as you will. It however does not sound very good.

2

ProJo: State seeks contractor to evaluate possible consolidation of R.I. transportation agencies

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

RIDOT work on the Providence Viaduct, March 2014

Is there a new transportation super-agency in Rhode Island’s future? Perhaps.

On March 25, the new Raimondo administration quietly opened bids for a contract to provide “Transportation Management Assessment and Review Services.”

Among the stated “goals of this investigation”: to take a step-back look at the effectiveness of having multiple state agencies operate different pieces of Rhode Island’s transportation network, from the ports and airports, to the RIPTA bus routes and road-builders.

It would be very helpful if RIDOT and RIPTA were more integrated on projects; if there was always a mass transit person at the table when RIDOT work was being planned. It is a little worrying that RIPTA could be merged with an agency that still has not proven that it can move beyond car-first thinking when it comes to transportation.

It is not just RIPTA and RIDOT though, airport manangement, port management, and Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (which controls our bridges and tolls) could all be merged into a larger transportation agency.

It all comes down to how it is structured of course. It will be interesting to see what the conclusions of the review are.

4

RIPTA Comprehensive Fare Study

ripta-riptiks

RIPTA is launching a comprehensive fare study to evaluate the types of fare products the agency offers (online re-chargable debit style card please). They will be having public meetings to gather input.

From RIPTA:


RIPTA Launches Comprehensive Fare Study

First Round of Community Meetings Scheduled for April 14th

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) is embarking on a transit fare study that will review all fare products it offers as well as the rates that are charged. One of the main goals of the study – which is expected to take about four months ­– is to determine if RIPTA is offering the types of fare products (such as all-day passes, or 15-ride passes) that best meet passengers’ needs.

The RIPTA Board of Directors awarded the contract for the study to LTK Engineering Services of Ambler, Pennsylvania in the amount of approximately $170,500 at its February Board Meeting. “This really will be an in-depth look into how passengers use fares in our system today,” said Amy Pettine, Executive Director of Planning at RIPTA. “We’re going to be looking at what types of fare products and sales locations might make it easier for people to use RIPTA. And we’re also going to be looking at overall issues such as whether we should continue to be ‘one state, one rate’ as well as how we can use fares to create easier connections to commuter rail.”

“This study is also going to give us chance to look at what we may want to offer in the future to take advantage of the latest fare technology like mobile payments and hopefully attract some new riders to our system,” she said.

Continue Reading →

1

Spring Street Sweeping and Yard Waste Collection Dates Announced

street-sweeping-flickr

Photo (cc) Kim Brookes

Thank goodness! From the City of Providence:


Mayor Elorza Announces Citywide Street Sweeping Plan

Street Sweeping to Begin April 5, Yard Waste Collection Begins April 13

PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today announced an aggressive citywide street sweeping program that will begin on Sunday, April 5.

“After a historic winter, Providence is ready to welcome spring with street sweeping and yard waste collection throughout the City,” said Mayor Elorza. “Providence has to be the City that works and that means making sure city services are working for our residents and our businesses. We will focus on our main thoroughfares and business districts first, and will then branch off into the neighborhoods.”

Crews will work to clean streets throughout the City nightly from 10:30PM-7AM, prioritizing main streets and business districts followed by neighborhoods.

Yard waste collection will begin on Monday, April 13. Residents are encouraged to recycle and compost all yard debris. Yard waste should be left curbside on regular recycling and trash collection days. Sticks and trimmings should be cut shorter than 4 feet and tied together. Yard waste may not be placed in plastic bags.

5

Providence International Arts Festival June 11-14, 2015

first-works-oct-2012

October 2012 FirstWorks Festival in Kennedy Plaza, Photo: Providence Department of Arts, Culture, + Tourism.

From the City of Providence:


Providence International Arts Festival To Bring World-Class Experience To Residents & Visitors June 11th – 14th, 2015

Providence, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and FirstWorks are pleased to announce the Providence International Arts Festival taking place June 11th – 14th, 2015. Building off of Providence’s international recognition as a creative city, this first-ever signature event will be a jaw-dropping celebration featuring world-class arts, sculpture, music, food and spectacle in the heart of the city’s downtown. The centerpiece of Festival activities is Saturday, June 13, 2015 with events beginning on Kennedy Plaza at 4pm.

“This festival will be a way to connect the world-class talent we have here in Providence with artists and performers from around the world,” said Mayor of Providence Jorge Elorza, “We are excited to welcome visitors to the City to explore all that we have to offer and look forward to partnering with so many great organizations and artists.”

The Providence International Arts Festival will literally transform the city with international artists in visual art, sculpture, music, public art, civic dialogue, educational workshops, community play, spectacle and parade. The Festival will be centralized around program hubs that unify the downtown into an arts corridor – PVD City Hall, FirstWorks on the Plaza, Public Art Transformations, Empire Street Gateway, and the Washington Street Corridor. Opening ceremonies will feature a specially commissioned first work, One Voice by Dr. Clarice LaVerne Thompson with RPM Voices of Rhode Island and a stunning 800 voices in a procession to City Hall from all points of the compass to kick-off the festivities at 6pm on Saturday, June 13, 2015.

Continue Reading →

0

Because Pawtucket doesn’t have enough parking

adams-furniture-pawtucket

From The Valley Breeze, prepare for brain explosion:

Two old buildings that are part of the Downtown Pawtucket Historic District will be leveled to make way for parking.

The 1921 Adams Furniture building, at 65 East Ave., and the 1902 former Pawtucket Boys Club, at 53 East Ave., are both expected to be demolished to make room for a new parking lot for the Blackstone Valley Community Health Care.

Because you know what makes for a healthy community? Lots and lots of surface parking.

I can’t even.

10

Providence Station Plaza improvement work commences

IMG_4581.JPG

RIDOT has begun work at Providence Station. This is improvements to the existing station area, the bus proposed bus terminal that had bond money approved for by voters last November is still in planning and development.

From RIDOT:


RIDOT Begins Work on Providence Station Improvement Project

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) started work this week to upgrade the southern entrance plaza (downtown side) of Providence Station. Through a $6.9 million contract with J.H. Lynch & Sons, planned improvements will enhance circulation for all users of the station as well as create an inviting civic space. Pedestrian enhancements will also be made along Gaspee Street, and damaged concrete and limestone areas on the building’s plaza will be repaired. Other planned improvements include adding amenities for bicyclists, updating signage, and landscaping.

This work, which will be broken out into two phases, will require temporary restrictions, including a closure of the top level of the parking garage, a relocation of the taxi stands, and a closure of portions of Railroad Street and Park Row West. Project completion is scheduled for spring 2016.

Continue Reading →

3

ProJo: Raimondo administration steps up role on I-195 land

ridot-195

State officials are looking at the wisdom of adding to the land that falls under control of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission and the feasibility of allowing a stadium on the vacant state property in downtown Providence.

[…]

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, which Pryor leads as commerce secretary, last Friday began the search for a consultant to help devise a real-estate development strategy for the land opened by the highway relocation project.

The agency released a request for proposal that contemplates the highway commission controlling development of property adjacent to the highway corridor in downtown Providence, as well as evaluating “special purpose uses” for the land, including “athletic/stadium/entertainment facilities, structured parking, etc.” The request was made in conjunction with the commission and the City of Providence.

It is good that this Governor is actively working to develop this land. I do however worry about the State’s involvement in developing downtown. I don’t have too much faith in the understanding of urbanism and what makes a good city at the State level (Exhibit 1: State House surface parking).

Continue Reading →

3

House and Senate Committees to consider bills mandating bridge sidewalk snow removal

broadway-route-95

Route 95 clear after Blizzard of 2015, Broadway Bridge sidewalks, not so much.

Committees of the Rhode Island General Assembly House and Senate will consider bills this Wednesday, March 25th, to mandate that RIDOT remove snow from roads and sidewalk under their control, including overpasses in Providence:


House Finance Committee:

House Bill No. 5349
BY Blazejewski
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO HIGHWAYS – SIDEWALKS {LC1086/1} (Requires the DOT to complete snow removal on all sidewalks located on state highway overpasses, and on all pedestrian overhead walkways under the control of the state within (24) hours after the end of a snowstorm.)


Senate:

Senate Housing and Municipal Government Committee to hear bill on sidewalk snow removal

STATE HOUSE – The Senate Housing and Municipal Government Committee will meet Wednesday to hear proposed legislation addressing the removal of snow from sidewalks on highway overpasses.

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, March 25, at the rise of the Senate (about 4:30 p.m.) in Room 310 on the third floor of the State House.

The bill (2015-S 0195 ), sponsored by Sen. Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence), would require the Department of Transportation to complete snow removal on all sidewalks located on state highway overpasses, and on all pedestrian overhead walkways under the control of the state within 24 hours after the end of a snowstorm.


The public is welcome to attend and testify at these meetings, you can also contact your Represenative or Senator directly to express support.

3

PBN: Why is it so hard to build in Providence?

waterplace-cranes-2006

Cranes constructing the Waterplace Towers in 2006.

Development is not predictable, to the point of being difficult. Companies that have built projects in the city, or who want to, describe a market beset by financial obstacles, administrative hurdles and, as a result, a yearslong paucity of new construction – even as cranes have seemingly dominated the skyline in Boston.

Despite the poor general economy and loss of jobs, however, Providence has construction costs that remain as high as in Boston, according to development professionals. But the rents that can be collected from buildings in Providence, whether from business tenants or apartment residents, don’t approach those of Boston.

And the property taxes are higher here – particularly for residential buildings. In Boston, an apartment building falls under the residential tax rate, currently $12.11 for each $1,000 of assessed value. In Providence, the same building pays the commercial rate of $36.75.

All of this amounts to what developers call a “feasibility gap” for Providence, the void between rents and costs of construction.

What do you think needs to be done (if anything) to jump start development in Providence?

12

The Valley Breeze: Officials: Luxury apartment project could be game-changer

pawtucket-division-street-parcel

City officials say a plan to bring 200 luxury apartments and 30,000 square feet of commercial space to vacant land at 45 Division St. is the big score the downtown has been waiting for.

[…]

Colin Kane, partner with the Peregrine Group, told GoLocalProv last week that his company was planning an “exciting” project of 200 apartments and extensive commercial space for this area on the riverfront. Kane did not respond to calls for comment.

Zelazo said city officials love the idea of luxury apartments with desirable waterfront views and “beautiful” look at the Pawtucket River Bridge.

Can we all just stop using the term “game-changer” right now thank you?

13

Capital Center Commission Design Review Committee Meeting – March 17, 2015

Francis Street Presentation.pdf

featured-capital-center Design Review Committee of the Capital Center Commission Meeting
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 • 8:00am
Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

Agenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Minutes
    Meetings of November 18, 2014, December 2, 2014 and January 20, 2015
  3. Parcel 15: Francis Street Parcels
    Presentation of revised plans for a temporary parking lot on the site.
  4. Adjournment

Note the ridiculous 8am start time for this meeting, which is actually before this building is officially open.

6

Providence Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – March 18, 2015

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
March 18, 2015 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Agenda

  1. Roll call
  2. Vote to approve meeting minutes from February 18 Commission meeting
  3. Discussion of and vote to adopt 2015 meeting schedule
  4. Presentation by Robert Azar, Deputy Director of Planning and Development, regarding Fountain Street improvements
  5. Discussion of request to DPW for list of upcoming road repair and striping projects
  6. Discussion of agenda for Bicycle Friendly Community visit by League of American Bicyclists planned for April 16
  7. Discussion of the City’s participation in the USDOT Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets and next steps to be taken by the Commission in order fulfill their role as Mayor Elorza’s “local action team”
  8. Discussion of ideas for improving pedestrian and bicycle conditions generated from February 18 Commission meeting
  9. Adjournment

The location for this meeting is handicap accessible and translation or hearing impaired services are available upon request. Please contact Martina Haggerty at 401-680-8400 at least 48 hours in advance to request such services.

Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
0