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City of Providence Seeks Public Comment on Sustainabilty Plan

providence-green

Over the past year, the City of Providence has been working on its Sustainability Plan. The City has released a draft of that plan and is seeking comment from the public. From the City:


From Mayor Taveras: Draft Sustainable Providence Plan Released for Public Comment

I am pleased to release for public comment a draft of the city’s first-ever sustainability action plan, Sustainable Providence.

In 2013, I released sustainability goals to move Providence forward in six key areas: waste, food, transportation, water, energy, and land use & development. Since then, more than 100 community leaders have worked with my staff to develop and provide feedback on this draft plan to achieve our goals.

Implementing this plan will help build a resilient and sustainable future for Providence as we protect our environment, rebuild our economy and strengthen our community. Thank you for working together with us to create a cleaner, greener city.

Please submit your comments by Friday, August 22, 2014 to Sheila Dormody, Director of Sustainability, sdormody@providenceri.com

Full disclosure: I participated on the Transportation Subcommittee
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Providence street sweeping and yard waste collection start this month

yard-waste-bags-flickr

Image (cc) regan76

From the City:


Mayor Taveras Kicks Off Citywide Springtime Street Sweeping Program

Temporary ‘alternate side of the street’ parking rules will be in effect to accommodate aggressive street sweeping schedule

PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Angel Taveras kicked off a citywide street sweeping program after a snowy winter that left sand and debris on roads throughout Providence. Ward 7 City Councilman John Igliozzi joined Mayor Taveras to kick off the street sweeping initiative in the city’s Silver Lake neighborhood.

“I am pleased to begin the process of cleaning Providence’s streets after a long winter,” said Mayor Taveras. “Crews will be working on an aggressive schedule to give our Capital City the spring cleaning it needs and deserves.”

Cleaning crews will work first shift and third shift for six weeks to sweep all streets in Providence, making roads more passable for bicyclists and pedestrians. Crews will simultaneously begin work to sweep main streets and clean neighborhood roads throughout the city. The Department of Public Works has hired an outside vendor to supplement the city’s street sweeping resources.

“Sweeping all city streets will not only enhance the appearance of our neighborhoods, but will make it easier for residents to walk and bike on our roads,” Councilman Igliozzi said.

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Repost: Seeking a solution (to flooding and beach closures)

After the 2010 floods, I wrote about the public desire for some sort of solution to prevent future flooding. Spoiler, we can’t prevent future floods, but we can change what we’re doing to mitigate the impact of flooding.

We haven’t had a giant flood since, but related to the flooding problem is stormwater runoff polluting the bay. Bob Plain writes today on RIFuture about how Warwick has been heavily impacted by beach closures related to pollution caused by runoff.

Also today, Save The Bay is holding a press conference about the high number of beach closings this year. The AP’s Erika Niedowski tweets from the press conference:


That is to say, I believe, that the Providence Combined Sewer Overflow Project is working, but our paved and other impervious surfaces are still causing us harm.

In 2010 it was massive flooding which was supposed to be our wake-up call about the damage our built environment was doing to us. We did not learn many lessons it would seem from those floods, as a year later a smiling Cranston Mayor Fung celebrated the opening of a new Stop & Shop on the banks of the Pawtuxet.

Will we learn any lessons from our 2013 beach closures wake-up call?

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News & Notes

Flying Into Boston 005 - Tilt Shift v2

Boston. Photo (cc) Kevin Tostado.

The Boston Globe: Don’t require more spaces; price curbside ones properly

If you give a valuable resource away for free, the inevitable result is overuse and crowding. In the old Soviet Union, groceries sold eggs and butter at near-free prices, and therefore shoppers faced long lines and empty shelves. In modern Massachusetts, on-street parking is available at low or no cost, and therefore drivers can’t find a parking spot. Low parking costs also ensure there are more drivers congesting the roads.

Small comfort I suppose that even in Boston, residents are aghast at the idea of reduced parking minimums.


The Boston Globe: Boston’s population boom speeds up

It’s not just the city proper. If you look at the other New England cities of 50,000 people or more you see that in general, the closer these sizable cities were to Boston, the faster they grew. (An exception: the similarly fast-growing cities along southern Connecticut’s I-95 and commuter rail corridor, which fall into the orbit of New York City.) This is an acceleration of a trend that began in 2000-2010, when Boston grew faster than the rest of New England for the first time in more than a century.

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Air Quality Alert Day – Monday, June 24, 2013

canvas-featured-air-quality-alertAir Quality Alert means free RIPTA fixed route service on Monday, June 24, 2013.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is predicting that air quality will reach unhealthy levels in all of Rhode Island in the afternoon on Monday. A very humid air mass with west to southwest winds will be present at that time, which will lead to unhealthy air conditions. The poor air quality will be due to elevated ground level ozone concentrations. Ozone is a major component of smog and is formed by the photochemical reaction of pollutants emitted by motor vehicles, industry and other sources in the presence of elevated temperatures and sunlight.

Rhode Island residents can help reduce air pollutant emissions. Limit car travel and the use of small engines, lawn motors and charcoal lighter fuels. Travel by bus or carpool whenever possible, particularly during high ozone periods.

The Department of Health warns that unhealthy levels of ozone can cause throat irritation, coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, increased susceptibility to respiratory infection and aggravation of asthma and other respiratory ailments. These symptoms are worsened by exercise and heavy activity. The children, elderly and people who have underlying lung diseases, such as asthma, are at particular risk of suffering from these effects. As ozone levels increase, the number of people affected and the severity of the health effects also increase.

To avoid experiencing these effects, limit outdoor exercise and strenuous activity and stay in an air-conditioned environment if possible during the afternoon and early evening hours, when ozone levels are highest. Schedule outdoor exercise and children’s outdoor activities in the morning hours. Individuals who experience respiratory symptoms may wish to consult their doctors.

The unhealthy levels of ozone are expected to last as long as the hot sunny weather is present. The Rhode Island Chapter of the American Lung Association reminds people that “when you can’t breathe nothing else matters.”

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Video: The Magnificent Bioswales & Stormwater Treatment Along the Indy Cultural Trail

With seemingly no end in site to all this rain, and our rivers quickly rising toward and beyond flood stage, this video which takes a look at bioswales, a form of storm water retention is quite timely.

Many American cities are growing to the idea that they need to do a much better job handling their stormwater runoff at ground level. In Indianapolis, they decided to not only do that but significantly green the city along its newly opened Cultural Trail. The 8 mile separated biking and walking route loops thru the heart of the downtown and as you’ll see in this short (expanded from our larger work) Karen S, Haley, the Executive Director of Indianapolis Cultural Trail, tells us a little about the substansial and verdant bioswales they installed.

Imagine if these became standard for roads in some vulnerable-to-storms- U.S. cities?

From Streetfilms via The Atlantic Cities.

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Environmental initiative to create urban farms on vacant City land

wilmington-urban-farm

An urban farm in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo (cc) tcd123usa

Providence Environmental Initiative Will Transform Vacant City-Owned Parcels into Urban Farms

‘Lots of Hope’ program awarded $100,000 by Rhode Island Foundation and Florida-based Local Sustainability Matching Fund

PROVIDENCE, RI – The City of Providence, in partnership with the Southside Community Land Trust and the Rhode Island Foundation, is embarking on a new initiative to convert city-owned vacant lots into productive urban farms.

“Lots of Hope is an innovative new program that will help to build a more sustainable and healthy City for years to come,” said Mayor Angel Taveras. “Providence has a vital environmental community committed to helping make the city more sustainable. Together, we are moving forward to transform Providence into one of the greenest cities in the nation. I thank the Rhode Island Foundation, the Local Sustainability Matching Fund and Southside Community Land Trust for partnering with the City of Providence on this exciting initiative.”

The Lots of Hope program will enable Providence residents to access low-cost, underutilized public land from the City along with technical assistance and hands-on support from Southside Community Land Trust. The program is financed by a $50,000 grant from the Florida-based Local Sustainability Matching Fund and a matching $50,000 grant from the Rhode Island Foundation.

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New City of Providence recycling program

The gist of the program is next month, all households are set to receive a new grey bin which will now be used for trash. The current green bins will be retrofitted with a blue lid and will now be your super duper single stream recycling bin.

Here’s all the details from the City:

Download a flyer explaining the program pdf

Providence Launches New Recycling Initiative Wednesday, September 26, 2012

‘Big Green Can’ barrels currently used for trash will now be used for recycling; larger barrel aims to increase recycling rates by making it easier to recycle.

big-green-canProvidence’s Big Green Can is about to get greener and recycling is getting a lot easier in the capital city.

Starting October 1 and continuing through the end of the year, every Providence household will receive a new, 65-gallon gray trash barrel. As soon as a gray can is delivered to a household, its large, 95-gallon ‘Big Green Can’ barrel currently used for trash will be used for recycling. Waste Management will replace the lids on the Big Green Cans with a bright blue lid and graphic instructions on the new recycling procedure.

The larger recycling barrel, coupled with the statewide transition to single-stream recycling, aims to increase recycling rates by making it easier for all residents to recycle.

“I am excited to launch this recycling program and make a new, stronger commitment to sustainability in Providence,” said Mayor Angel Taveras. “Cities that have implemented similar programs have seen increases in their recycling rate. That is great for the environment, and it is also great for our bottom line. It has never been easier to recycle and together, we are building more sustainable, greener future for our capital city.”

Residents should begin using their Big Green Can for all recyclables as soon as they get their new gray barrel for other trash. Recyclables don’t need to be sorted – simply put all plastics, paper, glass, metal cans and foil together in the Big Green Can.

Continue Reading →

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Link

ecoRI News: New Launch Date for Single-Stream Recycling

The goal of single-stream recycling is to dramatically increase the volume of recycable items collected, thereby extending the life of the state landfill. The new sorting machines can bundle a variety of plastics, such as coffee cups and yogurt containers. Selling bales of these plastics to recycling processors is expected to bring in additional revenue to the RIRRC and participating cities and towns.

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CBC brings kayaks to Providence

Community Boating Boathouse

The Providence Community Boating Center has announced that kayaking will be added to their programming this spring!

The simplicity of kayaking as an entry-level sport for anyone makes it attractive to get outside, get moving, and embrace a healthy lifestyle.

FREE recreational kayaking is now included with adult memberships! Paddle one day as a trial/guest member, or all season, + FREE guest! We want you to paddle with a friend, so you get up to 2 kayaks/ trip.

New to paddling? Join us for some basic instruction and a guided tour. FREE guided “RiverRomp” tours offer youth & families a healthy, active alternative to TV, video, and other indoor, static activities.

CBC will, of course, still be offering recreational sailing and sailing lessons this spring, but now a membership will also offer kayak usage and kayaking lessons!

An adult membership for the entire season costs only $195*, and basically gives you access to boats 7 days a week – with no boat rental fees and no maintenance obligations.

Only in town for a day, or worried about commitment? CBC offers a one-day pass for $75 – a great way to spend an afternoon before checking out a Waterfire.

More details on the CBC website including the 2012 Membership Application (PDF)

*packages and discounts available, too!

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Roger Williams Park Ponds Restoration Public Meeting, November 15

Roger Williams Park

Roger Williams Park Ponds Restoration Public Meeting

Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011, 7-9 p.m.
The Casino at Roger Williams Park
1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence, RI
Hosted by the City of Providence and Narragansett Bay Estuary Program
Contact: Robert F. McMahon, Supt. of Parks, 401-785-9450

The Ponds: Roger Williams Park is the largest area of public open space in Providence—a regional resource and a neighborhood park, with more than a million visitors each year. The centerpiece of the park is a 100-acre system of interconnected freshwater ponds, created when the park was built, flowing into the Pawtuxet River and Narragansett Bay. The ponds are important for boating, fishing and scenic value, yet they suffer from persistent water-quality problems, caused in part by storm-water pollution from local sources and urban areas upstream.

Continue Reading →

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Wind turbines approved for Port of Providence

EcoRI News reports that the Narragansett Bay Commission has approved a $12 million construction contract to build three wind turbines at the Port of Providence.

The turbines should be operational by March of next year.

In other wind turbine news, WPRI reports that Deepwater Wind has submitted new plans for a 200 turbine wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

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Like: Flower Grenades

Flower Grenades

We like SUCK UK‘s Flower Grenades. Route 195 land anybody?

Gardening’s gone guerilla – You’ve seen them, you may have looked away, but you’ve seen them. Those forgotten areas of the estate, left to fall apart and fall into disrepair. The municipal scrubland where nothing can grow… Or can it? Turn the concrete jungle into a wilderness with our compacted wild flower seed grenades.

Buttercups and Poppies will take at least 3 weeks to start growing Ryegrass will be the first thing to grow after about one week

Via: Life on Foot

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Rumor: tree removal?

Tree at 28 Foch Avenue

July 6, 2011 – 2pm: We are pulling this story for 24 hours.

Waiting on a response from the city.

In 2004, the City passed a regulation in its Zoning Ordinance (Sec. 425.1, “Removal of Significant Trees”) that protects trees that are 32 inches in diameter or greater (measured 4.5 feet above the ground), regardless of location. No “Significant Tree” shall be removed without prior permission of the City Forester. Any person wishing to remove a Significant Tree shall file a request to do so with the City Forester. The request must meet certain criteria in order to receive approval, most notably that the tree poses a danger to human safety, health, and welfare. Call the City Forester at 785-9450 for more information