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State defiantly moves ahead with surface parking

state-house-parking

In spite of Providence Zoning rules and Capital Center rules forbidding it, the State is moving ahead with plans to expand a surface parking lot on the State House grounds and building a new surface parking lot adjacent to the State House.

ecoRI reports that the Department of Administration (DOA) has already started work on expanding the Assembly Members parking lot on the State House grounds. “Work on the two tiers of new parking to the east of the Statehouse, along Smith Street, will replace 2,000 square feet of grass with some 40 parking spaces.”

Meanwhile, as we discussed in July, the DOA has spent $3.1 million purchasing property along Francis Street next to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium for even more surface parking.

The Chairman of the Capital Center Commission, Deming Sherman is none to happy about all this. Sherman told The Providence Journal that there should be less parking around the State House, not more and that a parking garage should be built behind the DOA building.

When the State restarted the project to expand the parking lot on the State House lawn in June of this year, Sherman contended that the plan had to be submitted to the Capital Center Commission for review, the DOA claims that their authority supercedes the Capital Center Commission (which was created by the State) as well as City zoning.

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Capital Center Commission Meeting – October 17, 2013

featured-capital-center Capital Center Commission Meeting
Thursday, October 17, 2013 – 12:00 NOON
Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

Agenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Minutes
    2.1 Approval of Commission Special Meeting Minutes of August 28, 2013
  3. Parking Lot Discussion Discussion regarding parking issues near the State House
  4. Designation of Auditor
  5. FY 2014 Budget
  6. Adjournment


See also: State to pay $3.1 million to buy land for prohibited parking

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Park(ing) Day Providence – September 20, 2013

parking-day

What is Park(ing) Day?

Park(ing) Day is a worldwide event for artists, designers, and citizens to transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks. For more information, visit the global Park(ing) Day website.

When is Park(ing) Day?

In 2013, Park(ing) Day is on Friday, September 20, from approximately 9:00am to 5:00pm (times may vary by spot – Parks can only be in the space when it is legal to park a vehicle there.

How many spots will there be?

35 Parklets throughout Providence

Where can I go to see parks?

Parks are located around Providence.

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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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Kennedy Plaza/Circulator Phase 3 Informational Meeting – July 10, 2013

The City will be having an informational meeting about proposed enhancements and reconfiguration of the Kennedy Plaza area as well as details about Phase 3 of the Downtown Circulator project. The Circulator project includes reconstruction of LaSalle and Emmet Squares, Fountain Street, Broadway, part of Dorrance Street, and Exchange Terrace.

circ-meeting

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 • 5pm-6pm
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor

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State to pay $3.1 million to buy land for prohibited parking

state-house-parcels

Image from Google Maps

As Ted Nesi reported in his Saturday Morning Post and ProJo reports today, the State Properties Committee has agreed to spend $3.1 million acquiring several parcels on Francis Street across from the State House and the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. State officials tell ProJo they would like to turn the land into a parking lot ‘available for visitors to state offices on Smith Hill and patrons of Veterans Memorial Auditorium.’ The Governor’s Director of Administration, Richard Licht, told Ted Nesi, “It may be 25 years or more before we actually put a building on it, but we’ll never get it for a lower price.”

The parcels are within the City’s D-1 zoning designation (as well as in the Capital Center District). D-1 zoning regulation list surface parking as a prohibited use except for as a carefully defined interim use (ephasis mine):

Interim surface parking may be permitted by waiver by the DRC as an interim use so long as it is either accessory to another interim use on the same lot, or to accommodate parking to serve a construction project. Said construction parking shall cease when the construction is complete. Interim Use surface parking lots shall conform to Section 502.2 E.

Why is the State spending money for land to use for a prohibited use? State government has been shrinking, why would we need more parking on Smith Hill? Isn’t there a public garage at the DOT? Isn’t there street parking? Isn’t there parking at the mall? Isn’t the State strapped for cash? Couldn’t people take the RIPTA to Smith Hill? Is there really a parking crisis up there, can people not get their business with the State done due to a lack of parking (I’ve never found that to be the case)?

This would be a fine place for more State offices, but we do not need for it to be a surface parking lot for 25 years.

Oh, and just in case you forgot what state you were in, RINPR reports that most of the parcels in question are owned by former Senate Majority Leader John Hawkins. Isn’t that convenient for the retired Senator?

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State to study Garrahy Courthouse Garage. Again.

garrahy-courthouse

Image from Google Maps

Ian Donnis tweeted out a link to the legislation authorizing a new Downtown Garage Commission:


Back in 2005 there was a $20 million proposal to build a garage on this site. Ian Donnis wrote about a similar plan languishing back in 2008 when he was at the Providence Phoenix. And in 2009, then Mayor Cicilline put $47 million in his stimulus wish list for the garage.

The desire for a garage at this site goes back way further than that even. The Providence 1970 plan, written in the early 60′s basically called for Downtown to be ringed with garages just off the highways, then an elevated people mover system would move people around town from the garages. Though the interstate highway that originally prompted this as a location is gone, and an elevated people mover in Providence is a non-starter, the Garrahy Courthouse as a parking garage location lives on.

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