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News & Notes

bikes-flickr

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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→ PBN: Cornish tapped to convert Superman building to apartments

Cornish Associates has been hired to redevelop the Industrial Trust Tower at 111 Westminster St. in downtown Providence and turn the city’s tallest building into apartments, Cornish president and CEO Arnold “Buff” Chace Jr. said Tuesday.

The owner of the tower, High Rock Westminster LLC, picked Cornish to reinvent the property, known locally as the “Superman building,” late last year, Chace said, because of the Providence firm’s success revitalizing several blocks of Westminster Street.

Full disclosure, I work for Cornish Associates.
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City Plan Commission Meeting, July 17

Notice of Regular Meeting
Tuesday, July 17, 2012 – 4:45pm
Department of Planning and Development
1st Floor Meeting Room 444 Westminster Street, Providence

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from June 19th, 2012 meeting – for action
  • Director’s Report

Major Land Development Project

1. Case No. 12-026MI – 125 Pitman Street The applicant is seeking preliminary plan approval to construct a 25 unit, five story apartment building. – for action (Fox Point, AP 15 Lots 408, 410 and 411)

2. Case No. 12-027MI – 66 Huber Avenue The applicant is seeking preliminary plan approval to construct a 40 unit apartment building. (Manton, AP 80 Lot 894) – for action

Adjournment


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The Arcade: Cautious Optimism

Arcade

Rumors have been swirling about the Arcade since, well probably since 1828 when it was built, but certainly since 2008 when Granoff kicked out all the retailers and closed it.

I’ve heard all manner of stories about the place over recent years but haven’t written about any of them because I’m very much of the “I’ll believe it when I see it,” opinion. The rumors however are ramping up now with GoLocalProv reporting about it earlier this month and PBN reporting on it today, and a special event scheduled for Wednesday with the Mayor and Governor attending. So, the noise has risen to the point where I must write about it.

The plan according to information gathered by GoLocalProv and PBN is to re-open retail on the ground floor and convert the 2nd and 3rd floors to residential uses.

First. Was it necessary to kick out the retailers and close the joint for 4 years in order to build apartments on the upper floors? Sure, there are costs to having the building open, but there were rent paying tenants and those tenants had customers (myself among them). Whatever, I’m always first to admit that I’m not an economist, maybe closing down made the most sense for the owners. So, yay, they’re going to re-open it.

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