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Photo (cc) Cristina Valencia

→ The Washington Post: Actually, cyclists make city streets safer

In the hysteria that predated the launch of New York’s bike-sharing system last year, many critics cried that the bikes would make the city’s streets less safe. All those cyclists wouldn’t be wearing helmets! They’d have no insurance! Accidents would skyrocket, and with them lawsuits against the city. Fatalities would triple!

The system’s safety record quickly turned out to be less sensational. But this was as bike advocates expected. Biking — as with walking — offers a prime example of the power of crowds. As more people bike and walk, cycling and pedestrian fatalities actually decline. That’s because the more people bike and walk, the more drivers become attuned to their presence (either on sidewalks or road shoulders), and the more cities are likely to invest in the kind of infrastructure explicitly meant to protect them (all of which further encourages more cyclists and pedestrians).


→ The Boston Globe: Boston’s parking solution is not more parking

Northeastern University professor Stephanie Pollack has studied gentrification around transit stops across the country, and she’s found that one of the biggest mistakes municipalities make is requiring too much parking. Pollack’s data show that, given the choice, residents will self-select: Heavy drivers choose to live in homes that provide parking, and residents who don’t own cars will choose transit-oriented, low-parking homes. This is especially true for renters. So the answer to an urban parking crunch isn’t adding supply. It’s recognizing that parking demand isn’t monolithic. Urban parking is a choice, and if Boston really does have too many cars already, the answer isn’t to build room for more.

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→ ProJo: Reviving Olneyville: Providence plan seeks overhaul of public housing

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A strategy is being developed to give the low-income [Manton Heights housing] development an overhaul and link it to the rest of Olneyville — one of Providence’s poorest neighborhoods, but a community improving with a helping hand from residents, the city, business owners and nonprofit groups.

Called Build Olneyville, the ambitious plan calls for replacing the development’s buildings with contemporary housing and reconfiguring the layout so there are through streets and mixed-income families living side by side. They also want to double Manton Heights, create jobs and add community amenities for the whole neighborhood, including a new early learning center.

The goal is to inject Olneyville with $100 million — up to $30 million from a federal grant and the rest in public-private partnerships.

See also:

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Downtown Providence Living Tour – September 21, 2013

Downtown Providence Living Tour Showcases 9 Properties in the Heart of the City

Offering an Up Close and Exclusive Look at the City’s Newest Developments, including the Arcade Providence and Providence G

DLT-Postcard-Front_WebGet the inside view on downtown living! On Saturday, September 21st from 11 AM to 5 PM, The Providence Foundation and Downtown Providence Improvement District will host a Downtown Providence Living Tour showcasing downtown’s transformation into a desirable mixed-use district. Ranked by the real estate website Walk Score® as the most walkable neighborhood in the city and described as a “Walker’s Paradise,” downtown Providence offers residents access to restaurants, shops, cultural offerings, transportation options, and other amenities within a few blocks. The tour will feature nine properties in the downtown core, including The 903, Arcade Providence, Avalon at Center Place, The Promenade, Providence G, Regency Plaza, The Residences, Waterplace, and Westminster Lofts. The tour is self-guided, and people are encouraged to walk or bike from place to place, although shuttle service will also be provided.

Tour organizer Joelle Kanter, program manager for The Providence Foundation, says, “Whether people are considering a move into downtown Providence, or they simply want to preview city’s latest developments, we invite everyone to see how the neighborhood has noticeably evolved since our last tour in 2010.” In 2011 and 2012, 35 new retail businesses opened downtown, and this year, 10 have already opened. The quality and breadth of offerings are steadily improving, with new additions including popular eateries such as birch, Figidini, and UMelt.

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News & Notes

Transportation Act Projects announcement

Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Anthony Brown announces improvement to Marc train Red Line by Brian K. Slack at Baltimore, MD. Photo (cc) Maryland Gov Pics.

→ The Baltimore Sun: O’Malley to announce $1.5 billion for Baltimore-area transportation projects

Gov. Martin O’Malley plans to announce $1.5 billion in new state funding for the Baltimore Red Line and more than a dozen other transportation projects in the area Wednesday, officials said, outlining for the first time how the state’s gas tax increase will be tapped to improve local infrastructure and mass transit here.

O’Malley also plans to discuss the state’s interest in attracting public-private partnerships to help fund the Red Line project, and a Dec. 7 start date for weekend MARC train service between Baltimore and Washington, which has never been offered before.

[Baltmore Mayor Stephanie] Rawlings-Blake said the new funding “says that the state is serious about being a partner with Baltimore” to improve connections between transportation options.

“They’re putting their money where their mouth is,” she said. “They’re recognizing that for the state to be strong, Baltimore has to be strong, and it has to be strong as a connected city.”


→ The Boston Globe: Menino pushes plan to boost housing

Mayor Thomas M. Menino is proposing to reach his ambitious goal of building 30,000 homes in Boston by allowing taller structures with smaller units, selling public land to developers at a discount, and using subsidies to spur development of more affordable housing, according to a blueprint to be released Monday.

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→ PBN: Downtown vision tied to ‘Superman’?

Central to the argument for saving Providence’s Superman Building with public investment is a vision of the downtown economy driven by residents as much as office workers.

It’s a vision that’s emerged over the last two decades of downtown revitalization and would take a major leap forward if Rhode Island’s tallest building was filled with 280 apartments in the heart of the Financial District.

The new residents and their neighbors in other buildings would draw different services, such as a supermarket or expanded mass transit, than offices would.

The two recent studies of potential uses for the Superman Building at 111 Westminster St. outline the demographic and market shifts that have local developers rushing away from office construction toward rental housing.

Full disclosure, I work for Cornish Associates.
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2012 Rhode Island statewide ballot questions

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We ran down the list of 11 City of Providence ballot questions in a previous post, here are the statewide questions on the November 6th ballot.

Update: All statewide ballot questions passed however, voters in Newport rejected a casino at Newport Grand.
Find further details about each ballot question and information on how to vote in the Rhode Island Voter Information Handbook 2012

QUESTION 1:

1. STATE CONSTITUTIONAL APPROVAL
(APPROVAL OF AN ACT AUTHORIZING STATE-OPERATED CASINO GAMING AT TWIN RIVER IN THE TOWN OF LINCOLN)

(Section 22 of Article VI of the Constitution)

Shall an act be approved which would authorize the facility known as “Twin River” in the town of Lincoln to add state-operated casino gaming, such as table games, to the types of gambling it offers?

APPROVE
REJECT


QUESTION 2:

2. STATE CONSTITUTIONAL APPROVAL
(APPROVAL OF AN ACT AUTHORIZING STATE-OPERATED CASINO GAMING AT NEWPORT GRAND IN THE CITY OF NEWPORT)

(Section 22 of Article VI of the Constitution)

Shall an act be approved which would authorize the facility known as “Newport Grand” in the city of Newport to add state-operated casino gaming, such as table games, to the types of gambling it offers?

APPROVE
REJECT

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Storified: Changing the perception of Downcity


Changing the perception of Downcity

A commenter at last week’s Providence Preservation Society Symposium stated that Downcity Providence is just vacant buildings and homeless people, prompting the following discussion on Twitter.

Storified by Gr. City Providence · Wed, Oct 17 2012 08:52:08

Ugh. Downcity is NOT just vacant buildings and homeless people. #pvdsymposiumGr. City Providence
@gcpvd do they really think that? Our population doubled in from 2000-2010Jason Becker
@jasonpbecker people who only come Downcity on Sunday mornings it seems. Maybe they’ll learn on the lunch break.Gr. City Providence
@gcpvd @jasonpbecker <chuckle> on Sundays it _is_ like that. Solution is to double downtown pop every 5 yrs.Allan Tear
@gcpvd I can’t sleep on weekend until 1 because its loud and I love that. Restaurants are full all the time. Tons of people work here.Jason Becker
@gcpvd I’m so sick of Warwick and Cranston pretending they know anything about Providence. They don’t come here. They don’t know.Jason Becker
@allantear @gcpvd lots of ways to do that. Too bad neither city or state rigorously pursuing itJason Becker
@jasonpbecker @gcpvd or an individual/private group. All sorts of problems w/ that being a public led vision – witness Oaklands 10K project.Allan Tear
@allantear @gcpvd generally agree but a lot of that work is dependent on currently government held land & a lot of what’s needed are "bones"Jason Becker
@allantear @gcpvd you won’t double downcity population by building 10,000 parking spots over existing surface lots.Jason Becker
@jasonpbecker @gcpvd so true!Allan Tear
@allantear @gcpvd won’t get suburban RIers to pay for city living where they still feel need for car & are surrounded by surface lotsJason Becker
@jasonpbecker @gcpvd those are the wrong assumptions, IMO. The next 1K residents will not be RI suburbanite émigrés. They will be imports.Allan Tear
@allantear @gcpvd who aren’t going to be excited by parking lots & no grocery shopping in sight. And there is 0 residential visionJason Becker
@allantear @gcpvd people don’t want to come here bc they don’t get the full benefits of a city. Need car. No family housing.Jason Becker
@jasonpbecker @gcpvd so let’s change it.Allan Tear
@allantear @gcpvd Westminster is what they want to see– for a couple of miles continuous.Jason Becker
@allantear @gcpvd I think @ProvPlanning has the vision 80% right. But they were shut out. I don’t see opportunity to influence commission.Jason Becker
@allantear @gcpvd feels like it marches in isolation barely interested in or accountable to the city, it’s residents, and its needs.Jason Becker
@allantear @gcpvd Im 25, own Downcity, knowledge sector employee in policy, interested in development- 0 opportunity to authentically engageJason Becker
@jasonpbecker Fair critique. No doubt trad powers have no place to plug in. But they’ve no mo’, either. Sounds like u r ripe for RIIF grant!Allan Tear
Yesterday’s story from PBN highlights the exacerbation I feel with the notion that Downcity is dead. It is not 1982 anymore people, come downtown and see what is happening.
Boutique shops build momentum – .comWhen Nora Alexander was a student at Rhode Island School of Design 10 years ago, the only things that routinely drew her and her classmat…
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ProvidenceG

Christo'd

The project to redevelop the Teste Block, old Providence Gas Building, and Narragansett Hotel Garage now has a website, ProvidenceG.com. The site currently is simply a placeholder with an email link for information about leasing and a short marketing blurb:

The ProvidenceG is a new development of one of the city’s most iconic historic buildings. Luxury apartment rentals are complimented by exceptional amenities and services as well as on-site fine dining and entertainment venues creating a truly unmatched lifestyle.

PBN has an article (behind the paywall) today about the project.

They report the project will include 52 luxury apartments expected to be ready for occupancy in October. There several restaurant/retail spaces available and there will be a rooftop bar. The old Narragansett Hotel Garage will have vetically stacked parking, apartments on the upper floors, and a rooftop pool. The project will also feature a fitness center for guests.

This all sounds nice if you can afford it. Another PBN article today noted that the Waterplace development still only has 73 of the 193 units under contract. So it will remain to be seen if luxury living in Downtown Providence is a commodity people are interested in buying.

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