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News & Notes

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President Obama announced his budget on Monday including a $478-billion six-year plan for transportation spending.

Streetsblog USA: Obama’s New Transportation Budget: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Today President Obama unveiled his opening bid in this process. The $478-billion, six-year plan from the White House includes many of the proposals the administration unveiled last year. Congress didn’t advance those ideas then, and with the GOP now controlling both houses, chances remain slim for reforming highway-centric federal transportation policy.

But the White House budget document remains the best summary of the Obama team’s transportation policy agenda. The ideas are intriguing even if they’re politically improbable.

Also on Streetsblog, they picked up our story about the death of Karen McHugh.

Scientific American: U.S. Cities Lag in Race against Rising Seas

In just a few decades, most U.S. coastal regions are likely to experience at least 30 days of nuisance flooding every year.

Washington, D.C.; Annapolis, Md.; and Wilmington, N.C., are already in trouble. By 2020, seven more cities, including Baltimore and Atlantic City, N.J., can add themselves to the list. And within the next 35 years, most cities along all coasts will be dealing with routine flooding.

Some cities, such as New York, are bolstering their shorelines in response to extreme events, such as Superstorm Sandy. But with more than half the U.S. population living within 50 miles of the coast, many areas are just at the beginning stages of preparing to deal with rising sea levels and the increased flooding they bring.

Where will we build the next hurricane barrier?


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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – February 18, 2015

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
February 18, 2015 – 5PM
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

bpac-public-forum

Agenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Presentation of ground rules for open public forum to follow
  3. Open public discussion of ways in which the City of Providence can improve pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, culture, and safety
  4. Motion to adjourn
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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Video: Gabe Klein speaking at the PPS Symposium

This video shows transportation advocate Gabe Klein speaking at last November’s Providence Preservation Society Symposium.

Transportation guru Gabe Klein gives an insightful look at how cities can make simple and effective changes to transportation policy and infrastructure to effect safety, livability and economic transformation. He spoke as a featured speaker at the 2014 Providence Symposium, produced by the Providence Preservation Society.

See videos of all the speakers and panels from the PPS Symposium on YouTube.

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PBN: Elizabeth Mill in Warwick to be razed, redeveloped

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Renderings from McGeorge Arcitecture Interiors.

The historic Elizabeth Mill will be razed and some of its architectural elements incorporated into a new building, under a plan that Warwick officials hope will serve as a development catalyst for the City Centre Warwick district.

The plan would create a four-story, 300,000-square-foot building with modern efficiencies, suitable for retail, office and residential space, according to Mayor Scott Avedisian. The mill’s cast iron stairs, doors and bricks will be incorporated into a new structure.

Michael Integlia & Company, an engineering and construction management firm, will market the conceptual plan.

You can see a skelton of white beams that create a ghost of the tower of the mill being demolished, which is sad and creepy.

Though our historic buildings are an extremely important part of what makes our region unique and special, I’m not afraid to admit that not all can always be saved. Could someone have tried harder to save this building? Maybe, but it seems that will not happen. Keeping some little remenants and building a literal skeleton to remember the building is just dumb though. If the building has to go, get rid of it and move on.

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New bike corral on Eddy Street, a first for Providence?

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Image from Downtown Improvement District Twitter.

The Downtown Improvement District installed a new bike corral today on Eddy Street, like literally, on the street. Is this the first time an on-street bike corral has been installed in Providence?

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News & Notes

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Toronto, Canada – Image (cc) Geee Kay

The Globe and Mail: Toronto to narrow traffic lanes in hopes of increasing safety

Toronto will narrow many of the city’s traffic lanes in a bid to increase safety by reining in speeds while freeing up space for bicycle lanes or wider sidewalks.

The city has just finished a new policy for lane widths, guidelines that will be rolled out gradually across Toronto.

It will mean that, over a period of years, the lanes on streets across the city will be redrawn. A city official said current widths can encourage drivers to go faster than necessary. The new lanes will generally range from 3 to 4.3 metres, depending on location.

3 to 4.3 meters equals 9′ 11″ to 14′ 1″ in American. 14′ is crazy wide, but 9′ 11″… RIDOT would faint dead away.

For example, buses operated by the TTC are up to 2.97 metres wide, including mirrors, and lanes on bus routes are to be a minimum of 3.3 metres wherever possible.

3.3 meters equals 10′ 6″.


The Atlantic: How Political Leadership Makes City Streets Bikeable

Becoming more bikeable: That seems to be a must for any self-respecting major American city these days. But what does it take to achieve that goal? Resources, of course—the funds to create the infrastructure for safe and comfortable bikeways. But the most important thing is political will. It takes real political leadership to overcome opposition to change.

Just ask people in Pittsburgh, which is making great progress on its goals to become more bikeable. It’s happening partly because of long-term, purposeful advocacy from organizations like BikePGH. But the most important factor in Pittsburgh’s success is the political leadership of Bill Peduto, the city’s mayor of only eleven months.

Indeed, big overhauls in the structure of a city require direct input from a Mayor.



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ProJo: Opening of Washington Bridge bike path in Providence delayed

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Photo of construction in October 2013

The opening of a new linear park for bikers and walkers on a transformed section of the old Washington Bridge has been delayed until the end of the year, according to the state Department of Transportation.

“It’s looking like in December that we’ll have it open for use, that’s what we are shooting for right now,” said DOT spokeswoman Rose Amoros.

When I took the above photo, over a year ago, they were saying, “next summer.”

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UPDATED: Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – November 19, 2014

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featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
November 19, 2014, 5:00pm at Aurora
276 Westminster Street. Hosted by the Providence Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) group, Cornish Associates, and Aurora
Note different start time and location

Agenda

  • 5:00: Introductions and Introduction to BPAC and CNU
  • 5:05: “Bike/Ped Safety Assessment Planning/USDOT Secretary Foxx’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Initiative,” Nick Garcia, USDOT
  • 5:45: Complete Streets: Intentions Behind the Resolution/Making it Useful
  • 6:10: Tactical Urbanism to Address Bike/Ped Roadway Challenges, Molly Henry, East Coast Greenway
  • 6:25: New Business
  • 6:30: Adjourn

Update: This meeting will not have a formal agenda. Instead it will be an informational meeting with the Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission (BPAC). Please come, enjoy a cocktail, and meet and discuss the BPAC with the BPAC Commissioners. This is a good time to give feedback on the direction you would like to see the BPAC go under the new administration coming into City Hall in January.

Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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News & Notes

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Eddy Street in Providence. Image from Google Street View.

CityLab: Why 12-Foot Traffic Lanes Are Disastrous for Safety and Must Be Replaced Now

Unfortunately, trained to expect this sort of behavior, highway engineers apply the same logic to the design of city streets, where people behave in an entirely different way. On city streets, most drivers ignore posted speed limits, and instead drive the speed at which they feel safe. That speed is set by the cues provided by the environment. Are there other cars near me? Is an intersection approaching? Can I see around that corner? Are there trees and buildings near the road? Are there people walking or biking nearby? And: How wide is my lane?

When lanes are built too wide, pedestrians are forced to walk further across streets on which cars are moving too fast and bikes don’t fit.
All of these factors matter, and others, too. The simplest one to discuss, and probably the most impactful, is lane width. When lanes are built too wide, many bad things happen. In a sentence: pedestrians are forced to walk further across streets on which cars are moving too fast and bikes don’t fit.

As with most other State and County road departments across the country, RIDOT mostly insists that all roads should strive for 12′ lanes and the Providence DPW does not much disagree.


BuzzFeed News: The Hidden Reason Why Rent Is So Expensive In Cities: Parking Spaces

While many factors contribute to drive up the price of rents, parking is among the most significant, according to University of California Los Angeles professor and renowned parking guru Donald Shoup. BuzzFeed News sat down with Shoup during the CityLab 2014 conference in Los Angeles Monday to talk about how parking makes housing more expensive. His point: “It’s unfair to have cities where parking is free for cars and housing is expensive for people.”


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ProJo: Wider Washington Bridge bike path across Seekonk River to open in November

washington-bridge-linear-park

An 11-foot-wide bike lane, yet to be paved, runs the length of the bridge from East Providence to Providence. Alongside it, but separate, is a partially poured, stamped-concrete 7-foot-wide path for walkers. At the center and widest part of the span, a small park is taking shape with expansive water views.

In the summer of 2012, the Department of Transportation closed the span — along with its narrow and harrowing path for bikers and walkers — to begin the $21.8-million “linear park” project. More than two years later, it’s expected to reopen, largely on schedule, in November.

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Providence PARK(ing) DAY – September 19, 2014

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Union Studio‘s parklet last year. Photo by Rachel Playe

From Rhode Island Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects:


September 19, 2014 8:00am – 4:00pm

Come out and join us for the second annual PARK(ing) Day Providence!

This year, PARK(ing) Day Providence will have 32 parklets in Downtown, the West Side, and the East Side and a protected bike lane on Broadway. We can’t express our thanks enough to the Downtown Improvement District, the West Broadway Neighborhood Association, the Department of Public Works, the City of Providence, and all of our amazing sponsors.

Check out the maps to plan your tour of the parklets on the 19th!

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission meeting – September 17, 2014

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
September 17, 2014, 4:30 PM
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Agenda

  • 4:35 Denise Kaplin: International Walk to School Day
  • 4:50 Jef Nickerson: Pedestrian “Beg Button” ban proposal/action
  • 5:20 Eric Weis: Bike Path Updates – George Redman Linear Park, Blackstone Bikeway segment 1, and Woonasquatucket paths
  • 5:30 Nate Urso, Providence DPW: Road Construction Updates
  • 5:45 Dave Everett: Updates – Safe States Pedestrian Injury Prevention Program; Greater Kennedy Plaza Bike Hitches and Racks
  • 6:00 Adjourn

Public comment is welcome at BPAC meetings.

Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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Hope Street Cyclovía – September 7, 2014

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From the Facebook event page:


Join Mayor Angel Taveras and the City of Providence for a car-free event that will open up Hope Street for walking, skating, running, cycling and exercise.

Free and open to the public! Featuring Zumba, YMCA’s Y on the Move obstacle course, Recycle-A-Bike, crafts, road bike and BMX demos, a pop-up playground, a dog fashion show, health information and screenings from The Miriam Hospital, and musical performances by Joe’s Backyard Band and Emeline Easton!

The event will take place on Hope Street between 9th Street and Rochambeau Avenue, Sunday, September 7th from noon to 4pm.

Local partners include the City of Providence’s Healthy Communities Office and Office of Sustainability, The Miriam Hospital- a Lifespan Partner, Hope Street Merchants Association, Bank RI, Walgreens, Zipcar, and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission.

For more information visit ProvidenceRI.com

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – August 20, 2014

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
August 20, 2014, 4:30 PM
444 Westminster Street, First Floor
  • 4:35 – Katie Goodrum, Congress for the New Urbanism – CNU and impacts on bike/ped in Providence
  • 4:55 – Sidewalk access during construction – Continued discussion
  • 5:10 – Road and sidewalk conditions in the Wickenden/South Main area – RIDOT communication
  • 5:20 – Butler Ave. at Waterman and S. Angell signal timing
  • 5:25 – Roadwork Report, Nate Urso, Providence DPW
  • 5:40 – James Kennedy, Providence (Park)ing Day
  • 5:55 – Safe States Pedestrian Injury Prevention Program – Providence proposal update (staff)
  • 6:00 – Adjourn

Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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Rescheduled Broadway Cyclovía – August 17, 2014

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The Broadway Cyclovia which was scheduled for July 27th was postponed due to weather concerns. It has been rescheduled to August 17, 2014 • noon-4pm.
Broadway Cyclovía
Broadway from Dean St. to Courtland St.
Sunday, August 17, 2014 • 12noon – 4pm

Join Mayor Angel Taveras and the City of Providence on Sunday, August 17 for a car-free event that will open up Broadway for walking, skating, running, cycling and exercise. Free and open to the public! Featuring Zumba, bike activities, street vendors and more!

The event will take place on Broadway from Dean St. to Courtland St.

Local partners include the City of Providence’s Healthy Communities Office and Office of Sustainability, Walgreens, Zipcar, and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission.

For more information visit ProvidenceRI.com.

Full disclosure: I am a member of the Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission.
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News & Notes

Snowy evening in Helsinki

Snowy evening in Helsinki, image (cc) Niklas Sjöblom

The Guardian: Helsinki’s ambitious plan to make car ownership pointless in 10 years

The Finnish capital has announced plans to transform its existing public transport network into a comprehensive, point-to-point “mobility on demand” system by 2025 – one that, in theory, would be so good nobody would have any reason to own a car.

Helsinki aims to transcend conventional public transport by allowing people to purchase mobility in real time, straight from their smartphones. The hope is to furnish riders with an array of options so cheap, flexible and well-coordinated that it becomes competitive with private car ownership not merely on cost, but on convenience and ease of use.


Old Urbanist: Going Driverless, or Not

A heated debate over the significance of Google’s so-called driverless car has been raging over the past several weeks. On one side of the aisle are those hailing it as a “revolutionary” technology that will dramatically alter personal mobility to the point of eliminating private car ownership. On the other side are those who reject the premise that the technology represents a groundbreaking shift, instead characterizing it as merely a “slightly different variation” on current transportation modes that is “so incremental that it epitomizes our national short-sightedness, and failure of imagination, when it comes to improving mobility in America.”

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Sign-up for Providence Park(ing) Day

parking-day-thumbProvidence businesses and residents can now sign up to be part of Providence’s Second Annual Park(ing) Day, which this year falls Friday, September 19th.

Park(ing) Day will feature the state’s first ever temporary protected bike lane from Dean Street to Tobey on Broadway. We hope the temporary installation will start a conversation on permanent changes that can be made to our city streets to better support biking.

For more information, you can email parkingdaypvd@gmail.com or go to the Rhode Island ASLA website.

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