Tag Archives | Bicycles

Automobile induced isolation and loneliness in small cities


Photo (cc) Matt Cloutier

The Bicylce Lobby posted the following Tweet this evening which I retweeted:

Typical Bicycle Lobby of course, but one of the responses to my retweet was:

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News & Notes


Image (cc) by Barbara Gossett

CityLab: The Real Downtown ‘Parking Problem’: There’s Too Much of It

It’s not unusual for people to worry about parking in places where they totally don’t need to worry about parking. The consultancy Nelson\Nygaard recently surveyed parking availability in 27 mixed-use districts across the U.S. and found that parking supply exceeded demand by an average of 65 percent. In nine areas where parking was thought to be scarce, the oversupply ranged from 6 to 82 percent.

Vox: Houston just dramatically improved its mass transit system without spending a dime

How is Houston able to pull that off with no additional funding?

Well, as Jarrett Walker, one of the plan’s lead designers, explains, it’s all about prioritizing routes that will plausibly attract riders. The old system, like many bus routes in the United States, expended a lot of resources on very low-ridership routes for the sake of saying there’s “a bus that goes there.” The new plan says the focus should be to provide reasonably frequent service on routes where reasonably frequent service will attract riders. That does mean that some people are further than ever from a transit stop. But it means that many more Houstonians will find themselves near a useful transit stop.

Focusing transit planning on the goal of promoting transit services that are actually used strikes me as common sense. But it’s also the best way to create a virtuous circle of sound urban planning and transportation management. A system with a lot of riders is a system with a lot of advocates for expansion and improvement.

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RIBike: Meetings with RIDOT


We had two meetings last week with Deputy Director of RIDOT, Pete Garino. One was a roundtable with a number of other advocates for biking & transit, one was one-on-one. There are changes afoot at RIDOT, and we wanted to let you know what’s going on.

First of all, the basic idea the new RIDOT leadership is pushing in its 10-year RhodeWorks proposal is to raise extra money through truck tolls to aggressively repair the state’s structurally-deficient bridges and get us out of the “death spiral” of nothing but emergency repairs. With public infrastructure, it’s often the case that doing proactive maintenance & repairs saves boatloads of money in the longer run, and RIDOT wants to do that.

But what about bikes? In the administration’s proposed breakdown of funding in the RhodeWorks proposal, there is $128 million for bike/ped infrastructure over the next 10 years, which is about 3x more than we’re getting currently. In addition to keeping that funding in there, we’ve been clear with DOT that when they’re resurfacing roads and bridges, they should stripe bike lanes wherever appropriate. To focus that process, we are eager to work with Statewide Planning, DOT, DEM, and local governments to ensure that good bike plans are in place so that DOT knows where to put bike lanes.

Visit the link to read RIBike’s extensive notes on various transportation projects.


RIbike: Another casualty of unsafe streets in Rhode Island: Charlie Hawkins of North Providence


Image from Google Streetview

walkinpvd-iconWe have been lucky in Rhode Island recently to have avoided deadly collisions involving bicyclists. That streak has now, tragically, ended. On Friday, Charlie Hawkins of North Providence was hit and killed while crossing a four-lane road in Warwick in the early evening.


Traffic fatalities are not acceptable. Until our state and local governments take responsibility for making our streets safer, this sort of horrific tragedy will continue to happen. Failure to make our streets safer for all road users is unacceptable.


News on the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge


The Providence Journal: Pedestrian bridge over Providence River being ‘reevaluated’ by RI transportation officials

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is now “reevaluating” the bridge project, RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said in a statement in response to questions from The Providence Journal.

“Given our current funding levels, RIDOT is reevaluating this project given the availability of funding,” Alviti wrote. “RIDOT must take into consideration the many needs for Rhode Island’s deficient bridges and deteriorated roadways. With reliable, predictable funding provided through the RhodeWorks program, RIDOT would be in a better position to schedule and fund projects such as the pedestrian bridge.”

The Feds let us use the money we’d save on not removing the piers in the river on the new highway. Will the Feds make us remove the piers if we don’t build the bridge?

Salisbury said his association would be “really disappointed” if the bridge isn’t built — plus, he questions what would happen to the old highway piers that once carried Route 195 over the river and now remain in the river, intended to carry the pedestrian bridge along the highway’s old path. Seven years ago, the DOT agreed to build the pedestrian bridge on those piers — and said the $2 million it would save by not demolishing them would go toward building the bridge. The DOT has already paid $1.4 million to design the pedestrian bridge, which was expected to cost $5.5 million.

Also, last week, PBN reported on possible changes to the design of the bridge.

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission – June 17, 2015

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
June 17, 2015 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor
  1. Roll call
  2. Introduction of new Commission members
  3. Update from Planning Department on planned crosswalk across Dave Gavitt Way at Westminster Street
  4. Approval of meeting minutes from April Commission meeting
  5. Introduction of new RI Bicycle Coalition staff
  6. Discussion of improved connections between Providence Place Mall and East Bay Bike Path
  7. Discussion of Health Equity Zone (HEZ) grant received by Healthy Communities Office from the RI Department of Health
  8. Adjournment
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.

James Kennedy: Why Routes 6/10 should be redeveloped as a surface boulevard


Overpass on 6/10 Connector inbound. Photo from RIDOT

This post originally appeared on Transport Providence and is reposted with persmission of the author.

My Letter to City Council

To Honorable Councilpersons Aponte, Hassett, Matos, Principe, and Jennings,

I would like to bring a proposal for Rt. 6/10 to your attention. My proposal was #10 on RI NPR’s “Things to Know in Rhode Island” this week, and I hope I can get Council’s attention to discuss it.

The Rt. 6/10 Connector would be best redeveloped as a surface boulevard. The RIDOT proposal for bus lanes is what I call “transit oriented decoration” rather than “transit oriented development” because the bus lanes would remain on a raised or sunken highway, which would mean that meaningful transit service would pass over your wards.

It’s important to have some kind of “express” service for buses, but what makes buses successful is ridership, which allows frequency. We can only get ridership if we allow the dense neighborhoods that 6/10 passes through to get full service, and that means fostering a healthy pedestrian environment with development around the route. A surface boulevard will do that, and a limited-access highway will not.

Bus lanes without a meaningful ridership base and walkable environment will be as unsuccessful as the Wickford Junction Station was, and for the same reasons.

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Barry Schiller: Rhode Works – $4.8 Billion for Rhode Island Transportation


The crumbling Warren Avenue bridge in East Providence was recently replace. Image from RIDOT

Barry Schiller, a retired Rhode Island College math professor, is a long-time member of the State Planning Council’s Transportation Advisory Committee. He also was on the RIPTA Board of Directors 1995-1999.

What is your 10 year vision for transportation in Rhode Island? The Governor and her new RIDOT leaders propose their answer on the home page of the RIDOT website where there is a link to a 10 year $4.8 billion transportation plan called “Rhode Works.” This is about $1.1 billion more than current funding levels. A $700 million revenue bond is proposed for funding “replacement, reconstruction, and maintenance” of state bridges, the bond to be paid back by tolls on large commercial trucks crossing some bridges on Routes 95, 195, 295, 146, and 6/10. $400 million is set aside for the Route 6/10 bridges. There is a goal to reduce the percentage of our deficient bridges from about 22% to 10%. There will be a hearing on the proposed tolls at House Finance on Tuesday evening June 2.

Another $400 million to fund Rhode Works is from seeking $400 million in federal “New Start” transit funds. Rhode Works promises a “new commitment to provide increased bus and rail services.” The only specific transit project mentioned is an express bus lane on Routes 6/10. Rhode Works also promises “funding for bike lanes and accessible sidewalks.” There is no mention of bike paths.

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Providence Bike to Work Day – May 15, 2015


From the Facebook event page:

Friday, May 15, 2015
7:30am – 9:30am
Burnside Park

With spring in the air, the City of Providence and the RI Bicycle Coalition invite you to celebrate Bike to Work Day as part of National Bike Month.

Free coffee and food will be provided to participants. Other activities include:

  • Bike demos
  • Raffles
  • Bike-powered charging station for your electronics
  • Photo booth
  • Information from community organizations and local vendors

Mayor Elorza is excited to demonstrate his support for bike commuting by leading one of the six bike trains to Bike to Work Day! Join one of these 1-3 mile trains starting in different locations across the city. Meet your bike train leaders at one of the following stops at 7:30am to bike downtown together.

  • Train 1 starting location: Neutaconkanut Recreation Center – Mayor Elorza’s train!
  • Train 2 starting location: Mount Pleasant High School
  • Train 3 starting location: Lippitt Park
  • Train 4 starting location: Roger Williams Park
  • Train 5 starting location: Wayland Square
  • Train 6 starting location: Coventry Bike Path– intermediate level – captains will also lead a ride home at the end of the work day

Bike Trains Map


News & Notes

A couple of red traffic lights against a blue sky

Photo (cc) Horia Varlan

Better Cities & Towns: The benefits of removing stop lights

In the 1990s, the City of Philadelphia removed 800 traffic lights. Traffic flow improved and accidents declined by 26 percent in these intersections.

Recently, Wayne State researchers recommended that Detroit remove 460 signals, or 30 percent of its total inventory. And that figure may underestimate removable signals, the researchers note.

For pedestrians, four-way stops are much better—because every automobile has to come to a complete stop and traffic is calmed.

For pedestrians, removing traffic signals also helps maintain their right-of-way. If one approaches a stop light and is unable to reach the beg-button before the light changes, the red hand tells pedetrains and motorists that the pedestrian is not allowed to cross, even if they are trying to cross with the green which they should be allowed to do by right. Even if the walk-light actuates, turning drivers interpret their green as their right-of-way and treat the pedestrian as secondary.

A non-signalized intersection gives pedestrians the right-of-way.

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: One-way streets are failing their cities

In John Gilderbloom’s experience, the notorious streets are invariably the one-way streets. These are the streets lined with foreclosed homes and empty storefronts, the streets that look neglected and feel unsafe, the streets where you might find drug dealers at night.

“Sociologically, the way one-way streets work,” he says, “[is that] if there are two or more lanes, a person can just pull over and make a deal, while other traffic can easily pass them by.”

It’s also easier on a high-speed one-way road to keep an eye out for police or flee from the scene of a crime.

So all the streets that were made one way on Federal Hill to deter drug activity, actually made it worse? Thanks NIMBYs.

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Jane’s Walk – May 2-3, 2015


Jane Jacobs in 1960. Photo by Phil Stanziola – New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection via Wikipedia

This weekend Providence has 6 walking tours and 1 biking tour scheduled for the 3rd annual Providence Jane’s Walk:

Jane’s Walk is a movement of free, citizen-led walking tours inspired by Jane Jacobs. The walks get people to tell stories about their communities, explore their cities, and connect with neighbours.

Providence is one of America’s oldest cities, and thrived as an industrial and maritime hub in the 1800s and early 1900s. Today, the city is known for its quirky art and design scene, its food, its universities and hospitals, and its walkable historic urban fabric, among many other things. Join us as we explore this great city, either by leading or participating in a Jane’s Walk!

See the full schedule of walks planned for Providence or create your own.


Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – April 15, 2015

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
April 15, 2015 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor


  1. Roll call
  2. Approval of meeting minutes from March Commission meeting
  3. Discussion of possible Roger Williams loop road closure
  4. Discussion of ideas for improving pedestrian and bicycle conditions generated from February Commission meeting
  5. Discussion and review of DPW plans for Pleasant Valley Parkway, Smith Street, Charles Street, Elmwood Avenue, Valley Street, River Road, Smithfield Avenue, and Washington Street
  6. Adjournment
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.

News & Notes


Planned protected bike lane on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston.

The Boston Globe: Boston to install protected bike lanes on Commonwealth Avenue

The city of Boston will install protected bike lanes on a stretch of Commonwealth Avenue, a victory for biking advocates who have pushed for the city to make it safer to cycle down the bustling thoroughfare.

City officials announced on Tuesday their plans to replace existing bike lanes with protected bike lanes — known as cycle tracks — from the Boston University Bridge to Packard’s Corner. The lanes will be about two-thirds of a mile and use parked cars as a barrier between cyclists and vehicle traffic, a move meant to cut down on accidents that have become common along the heavily used road.

The decision to install the protected bike lanes represents a turnaround for the administration of Mayor Martin J. Walsh, and could pave the way for more protected bike lanes in the city.

Providence is working on plans for the first protected bike lanes in the state along Fountain Street downtown.

The New Journal: Paint the Streets

On the morning of Sunday, May 1, 2011, residents of the Audubon district awoke to find a bold new crosswalk at the intersection of Whitney Avenue and Audubon Street. Spray-painted and slightly crooked, the rogue act made headlines around town. Opinions differed—officials said the sight lines weren’t clear enough for a crosswalk, business owners liked that it made it easier for people to get to their stores, and some just thought it looked a little funny. Useful or not, the crosswalk was illegal and officials had the paint removed two days later. The impromptu markings made a point, however: the intersection was dangerous. The city needed to rethink its streets.

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Providence Station Plaza improvement work commences


RIDOT has begun work at Providence Station. This is improvements to the existing station area, the bus proposed bus terminal that had bond money approved for by voters last November is still in planning and development.


RIDOT Begins Work on Providence Station Improvement Project

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) started work this week to upgrade the southern entrance plaza (downtown side) of Providence Station. Through a $6.9 million contract with J.H. Lynch & Sons, planned improvements will enhance circulation for all users of the station as well as create an inviting civic space. Pedestrian enhancements will also be made along Gaspee Street, and damaged concrete and limestone areas on the building’s plaza will be repaired. Other planned improvements include adding amenities for bicyclists, updating signage, and landscaping.

This work, which will be broken out into two phases, will require temporary restrictions, including a closure of the top level of the parking garage, a relocation of the taxi stands, and a closure of portions of Railroad Street and Park Row West. Project completion is scheduled for spring 2016.

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Providence Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – March 18, 2015

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
March 18, 2015 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor


  1. Roll call
  2. Vote to approve meeting minutes from February 18 Commission meeting
  3. Discussion of and vote to adopt 2015 meeting schedule
  4. Presentation by Robert Azar, Deputy Director of Planning and Development, regarding Fountain Street improvements
  5. Discussion of request to DPW for list of upcoming road repair and striping projects
  6. Discussion of agenda for Bicycle Friendly Community visit by League of American Bicyclists planned for April 16
  7. Discussion of the City’s participation in the USDOT Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets and next steps to be taken by the Commission in order fulfill their role as Mayor Elorza’s “local action team”
  8. Discussion of ideas for improving pedestrian and bicycle conditions generated from February 18 Commission meeting
  9. Adjournment

The location for this meeting is handicap accessible and translation or hearing impaired services are available upon request. Please contact Martina Haggerty at 401-680-8400 at least 48 hours in advance to request such services.

Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.

News & Notes


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



  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.

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.