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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.

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Mayor Elorza on MORE SNOWS!!!!

snow-ripta-2015-02-14

From Mayor Elorza:


I want to reach out as yet another snow storm arrives in Providence this evening. Six to fourteen inches of snow is expected by tomorrow.

Here are steps we are taking to prepare for the storm:

  • A citywide parking ban begins at 2:00 a.m. tomorrow, Sunday, February 15 and will remain in effect until further notice. We urge everyone to comply with the parking ban, so crews can plow our streets. Cars parked on the street once the parking ban is in effect will be ticketed and towed.
  • We also ask residents and businesses to shovel their sidewalks so people can safely get around our city. This is an important public safety concern. The City has begun giving fines to those who still have not cleared snow from the sidewalk in front of their home or business.
  • Trash and recycling collection will continue on a holiday schedule, with a one day delay.
    This winter has brought historic snow to Providence and we have been working around the clock to make every road passable and widen our busiest corridors. We’ve moved truckloads of snow to empty parcels throughout the city and we will continue to clear the snow long after the storm passes.

There is no challenge we cannot overcome when we come together as a community. So to everyone who lives, works and does business in Providence – thank you.

Thank you for your patience and perseverance as we continue to make it through this historic winter, and thank you for all you do for Providence.

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The economic argument for clearing snow from sidewalks

walkinpvd-iconThere’s been a lot of lip-service to forcing people to clear sidewalks through fines, but not too much seems to be coming of it. I’ve argued a lot about the safety issues involved in not clearing the sidewalks, especially for young children forced to walk in the road on the way to school; but few results have been seen.

So, what about the economic impact? Should a city and state that claims to want to attract millennials who seek walkable transit-oriented small cities look like this?

Continue Reading →

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New week, new snowstorm

snow-tree

Providence schools closed on Monday, parking bans starts at 12:01am Monday, trash/recycling collection delayed one day.

Helpful Links:

More information from the City of Providence:


Providence Public Schools Closed Tomorrow, Monday Feb. 9, 2015

Citywide Parking Ban in Effect at 12:01 AM on Monday – Garbage and Recycling Collection on Holiday Schedule

Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today announced a series of actions in response to a winter storm expected to escalate in the early hours of Monday, February 9 and continue through the day.

Providence Public Schools and afterschool activities are canceled Monday, February 9, 2015. City Recreation Centers will be closed Monday as well.

A citywide parking ban will go into effect at 12:01AM on Monday, February 9 and remain in effect until further notice. Residents with overnight parking passes are advised that they cannot park on the street during the duration of the citywide parking ban. All vehicles parked on the street in violation of the citywide parking ban will be ticketed and towed to ensure that roadways can be plowed.

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ProJo: Providence officials: Shovel, or pay a fine

elorza-pichardo-shovel

Mayor Elorza and State Senator Pichardo shoveling snow last week. Photo from Twitter.

walkinpvd-iconIntroduced by Ward 13 Council member Bryan Principe, the ordinance change would allow the Department of Public Works to clear un-passable sidewalks and then bill the abutting land owners for the cost of the work. It would also allow the city to levy a fine for each day a sidewalk remains unshoveled, instead of only a one-time charge.

This is what a lot of people have been calling for, the City shoveling, or paying someone to shovel, then billing the property owner. Of course, it will still be awkward when the City has to bill itself.

Update: Hearing canceled

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Seekonk woman struck killed by hit & run driver, unshoveled sidewalks partly to blame

walkinpvd-iconAs reported by local media, Karen McHugh, a 51-year-old Seekonk resident was struck and killed by a hit & run driver on Friday night as she was walking along the road near her home. At the time of the incident that took her life, the sidewalks on Arcade Avenue were not shoveled, forcing McHugh to walk along the edge of the roadway.

This is exactly what we feared would happen when we started documenting uncleared sidewalks through the #PVDsidewalks hashtag on Twitter.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident, in 2011 George Adams, IV was struck and killed by a driver who also fled the scene. Haley Mckee who killed Adams was eventually arrested by police. In 2013 a reader documented poor conditions on North Main Street and of course North Main Street features heavily in the #PVDsidewalks photos this year. And in 2009 we wrote about people dying.

Every year we deal with these sidewalk conditions, and every year, people die while people who drive their cars seem to become more and more entitled and unable to deal with the fact that we live in New England and it snows. Someone started a Twitter fight with me insisting that the real problem was that streets were not returned to dry pavement yet and how dare I waste time worrying about sidewalks. The road in Seekonk was returned to dry pavement, and motorist were moving 35-40 mph on it, and Karen McHugh is dead.


Seekonk police seek any information anyone might have about Ms. McHugh’s death:

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Blind pedestrian forced to walk in the road

SeeClickFix is a website where citizens can report issues to government, it never really took off in Providence (I’d recommend people report issues to the City’s own ProvConnex site and app) but occasionally people do use it in Providence.

I get alerts sent to me for reports in certain areas, this morning this was reported Downtown:

I am legally blind and I walk this same street five days a week. I walk from the #60 bus stop at Kennedy plaza to the Providence Amtrak via Exchange street. So far, there is a stretch of sidewalk along this street that has not been shoveled AT ALL. As a legally blind person, I am afraid to walk in the streets, but it’s the only “safe” route at the moment. PLEASE get someone to do something about this. If you need more details, I’m specifically talking about the sidewalk area that has the open parking lot area with a toll booth in it…that sidewalk is extremely dangerous. That parking lot is on Exchange Street, before you get to the four-way intersection by the Moshassuck River.

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Snowing again! Parking ban at 6pm, more…

Posted on February 15, 2014

2014-0215-snow

You know the drill, info from the City:


Providence Declares Citywide Parking Ban Beginning at 6PM Tonight, Saturday, Feb. 15

Travel is discouraged this evening due to near blizzard-like conditions.

In preparation for a snowstorm that is forecast to intensify from 5PM – 11PM this evening with near blizzard-like conditions, the City of Providence has declared a citywide parking ban beginning at 6PM tonight, Saturday, February 15. The parking ban will remain in effect until further notice. Cars in violation of the citywide parking ban will be ticketed and towed to ensure that roadways can be plowed. Cars parked in school parking lots overnight will also be ticketed and towed.

Snow is forecast to intensify dramatically during the evening hours, with possible rates of 1-3 inches per hour. Whiteout conditions are expected with an increasing northeasterly wind. Travel will be hazardous. Drivers and pedestrians are advised not to travel this evening given the rapidly deteriorating conditions.

The Department of Public Works has prepared all equipment and personnel to respond to the storm. The City’s Emergency Operations Center will be partially activated with Providence Emergency Management staff.

Residents can stay up to date on the latest storm developments from the City by using the filter #PVDsnow on Twitter and following the accounts of Mayor Taveras and PEMA.

Continue Reading →

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Reader Photo: Let me just put this on the sidewalk

westminster

A reader sent us this photo showing snow piled up (from the street, maybe the parking lot) on the sidewalk along Westminster Street near the Service Road. This photo was from yesterday afternoon, but our reader says it was still there in all its glory this morning.

This is right where high speed traffic coming off the Service Road whips through the right turn lane, drivers looking left to see if they can merge without stopping, not looking right to see if a person has been forced into the roadway by a glacier.

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Broadway Bridge sidewalk open, kind of

broadway-bridge

This morning, the Broadway Bridge sidewalk was clear of snow and ice and mostly dry. Hooray! But, as seen in the photo above, the abutter on the corner felt that shoveling all the way to the corner was not quite their responsibility (which is annoying as just behind me as I took the photo their sidewalk was clear and dry). You can also see in the photo a pile of detritus between the cleared sidewalk and the crosswalk. Not too much of a challenge for me to conquer but try it in a wheelchair or pushing a stroller or using a walker…

Then there’s this:

service-road

Looking up the Service Road from Broadway one can see that as always, Dominica Manor has done a terrific job with their sidewalks, with them being clear and dry. However, no one has decided to be responsible for the triangular traffic island at the end of Federal Street. And this condition persists at all traffic islands in the area. With some effort, a pedestrian can make it from the west side of the Broadway Bridge to the downtown side (depending on which way they approach it from), but once across the bridge a pedestrian is confronted with iced over traffic islands that no one cares to clear.

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UCAP School sidewalk yesterday

ucap-sidewalk

This is the sidewalk outside the UCAP School on Broadway yesterday, the day after the storm. The school was open and there were students inside the building when I took this photo. I walked on the other side of Broadway this morning so I am not sure of the condition of the sidewalk today.

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Providence parking ban at midnight; no school tomorrow

broadway

Snow from yesterday’s storm this morning on Broadway

Posted on February 4, 2014.

Here we go again. From the City:


Providence Public Schools Closed Tomorrow, Feb. 5

Parking Ban Begins at Midnight Tonight – Don’t ‘Block the Box’

PROVIDENCE, RI – In preparation for a winter snow storm forecast to bring treacherous driving conditions and leave several inches of heavy, wet snow in Providence, Providence Public Schools will be closed tomorrow, Wednesday, February 5, 2014.

The City of Providence has declared a citywide parking ban beginning at midnight tonight. The parking ban will remain in effect until further notice.

The State of the City Address that had been planned for tomorrow evening will take place on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 5PM in the City Council Chambers at Providence City Hall.

Snowfall is expected to begin in the early morning hours tomorrow and continue throughout the day before turning to sleet and freezing rain. Residents are advised that freezing temperatures forecast for tomorrow night will likely cause untreated walkways to become icy. Residents are asked to take caution while clearing snow from sidewalks as soon as possible to prevent icy conditions.

The Department of Public Works has prepared all equipment and personnel to respond to the storm. The City’s Emergency Operations Center will be partially activated with Providence Emergency Management staff.

Residents can stay up to date on the latest storm developments from the City by using the filter #PVDsnow on Twitter and following the accounts of Mayor Taveras and PEMA.

Continue Reading →

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Snows!

It is not quite fair to call out unshoveled sidewalks as it just stopped snowing (except the Route 95 overpasses, I had to walk in the road), but here’s just a couple photos from my walk to work.

First, as always, first thing in the morning and Angelo’s sidewalk is clear.

2014-0122-snow-angelos

Second, at the arch on Federal Hill… ZOMG! DID SOMEONE MURDER A SMURF!?

2014-0122-snow-arch

Please share your photos, good or bad, in our Greater City Providence Flickr Group.
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