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We STILL can’t get overnight parking done

Parking Sign

I can’t believe I’m writing about this, still. Last month word on the street was that overnight parking was part of the Mayor’s budget and the whole Council was on board, now…

Well, allowing overnight parking is in the budget (in the budget because it is a revenue generator through permits), but there is a small ordinance amendment needed at the Council level. Now, all of a sudden, the Finance Committee isn’t so sure this is a good idea.

People, we’re the only major city that bans overnight parking, and by overnight, I mean 2am to 5am, THREE HOURS! What in Maude’s name does the Finance Committee think is going to happen if residents are allowed to park their cars on the streets for 3 hours in the middle of the night?

As with all the nonsense in our fair city, there is a Facebook Group that is rallying troops to lobby the Council on this issue and there is a Citizen Speak petition which you can sign.

If you need me I’ll be paving my yard just in case.

26

Clearing snow from sidewalks

As I impatiently wait for the first real snowfall of the season, let’s take a minute to talk about removing snow from sidewalks, my favorite topic here on Greater City: Providence.

Back in February, the City Council updated the snow removal regulations, I was somewhat non-plussed by their action. My issues with the update were two; the DPW was given the authority to write citations, then immediately said they did not have the manpower to do so (the Police who originally had all the power here have been saying pretty much the same for years now), and the amount of time to remove the snow was increased from 4 hours after sunrise after the end of the storm to 8 hours.

As I outlined in the post in February, this extension to 8 hours could potentially create a situation where property owners are within the law not clearing their sidewalks for up to 24 hours. Were the roads not even attempted to be cleared for 24-hours, the citizens would rise en masse and burn down City Hall. And as I always say, at some point, every motorist leaves their car and becomes a pedestrian. So why have regulations that are so lax on snow removal when pedestrians are effected, but call out the National Guard if we have to to clear the roads?

In Cambridge, MA, a city with an online tool for reporting unclear or icy sidewalks, they are clear about when snow and ice need to be removed.

City Ordinance requires property owners to remove snow from sidewalks next to their property or business within 12 hours of daytime snowfall and before 1:00 pm when it has fallen overnight. They must also remove or melt all ice within 6 hours of the time it forms.

Public Works and the Traffic Department work together to enforce this Ordinance. Parking Control Officers in the Traffic Department conduct enforcement on priority pedestrian routes throughout the winter, and Public Works Compliance Officers investigate all complaints received of uncleared sidewalk.

We all have a shared responsibility for keeping our community safe and accessible during winter weather. For you, your neighbors, people with strollers or using wheelchairs, and the many people in Cambridge who walk, please do your part.

That 12 hour window seems excessively long to me, but the other part, the “remove or melt ice” bit is really the major problem in Providence. This week we’ve had two minor little dusters, the streets were barely impacted, but their was enough snow to make the sidewalks slick in some areas, however, I saw no evidence of anyone treating the sidewalks. This is a condition that repeats all winter. Just enough snow to make the sidewalks slick, but not enough where anyone bothers to clear it. And of course, we have absolutely no one doing enforcement because they have all begged off that they don’t have the manpower.

Cambridge also steps up to the plate and addresses the issue of the elderly or disabled who are unable to clear their own sidewalks:

If you are a homeowner on a low income and/or you are elderly or have a disability, you may qualify for the City’s Snow Exemption Program, in which case the City will shovel your sidewalk. To find out whether you are eligible, please call the Cambridge Council on Aging, 617.349.6220 (voice) or 617.349.6050 (TTY).

If you do not qualify for an exemption, the Council on Aging can provide you with a limited list of professional snow removal companies and a list of students who want to earn money by shoveling – you contact the student yourself and negotiate a price.

That’s what civilization looks like folks. A city that realizes it is located in a geographic area that has seen snow for millennia somehow manages to find itself unsurprised by this climatological situation and has created regulations and programs to deal with it.

We have a new Mayor, and largely new City Council, and importantly a new Public Safety Commissioner starting work in under two weeks. It can never be too soon for them to get to work ensuring that our city is navigable for all citizens all year long. The Public Safety Commissioner should work with the Mayor and the City Council to determine how to tackle the public safety threat which is snow and ice covered sidewalks. The answer cannot continue to be that it is the responsibility of a department who cries that they do not have enough manpower.

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Thoughts on the Councilman Hassett hit and run

Atwells Avenue. Image from Google StreetView

First, this goes without saying, but let’s say it because I’m about to get angry. Our thoughts (and I’m sure for those of us that do so, prayers) are with Councilman Hassett and his family and friends, and we hope for nothing but the speediest and fullest recovery for the Councilman and to see him back at work at City Hall soon.

Now’s the part of the post where I start to get angry. First I’m going to get angry at myself. Pedestrian injuries and fatalities are such a common place occurrence around here, and the section of Atwells where the Councilman was hit is among the most common, that I barely think about it anymore. It is simply part of the landscape. Like changing leaves, or students coming back to town.

The Journal reports:

The accident was the second severe mishap on that part of Atwells in five days.

A week ago, Brittany DeQuattro, whose home address the police withheld, suffered leg fractures and severe head cuts on her 22nd birthday when she got out of a parked car and was struck by the eastbound car of a hit-and-run driver in front of 422 Atwells. DeQuattro was hospitalized for a time and Zienowicz said she is expected to fully recover. The incident remains under investigation.

The scene is near the intersection of Atwells and Marcello Street, where a car driven by an off-duty policeman on a rainy night in December 2005 struck and killed a young woman pedestrian. The policeman was not criminally charged.

In October, Ericka Manzo, 25, was seriously injured near 216 Atwells when she was struck by a car driven by an allegedly drunken man as she crossed the street at about 1 a.m. The man was criminally charged in the hit-and-run accident.

People have been talking for years about the need for safety improvements along Atwells, where the speed limit is 25. After the 2005 fatality, the city did install more speed-limit signs.

That list does not include the elderly gentleman who jumped the sidewalk and slammed into the facade of Siena last Tuesday (thankfully no one on the sidewalk or in the restaurant were hurt).

Photo by Jim Beller

It also does not mention the person who was struck earlier this year prompting then Council-candidate Steven Meresi to get Traffic Engineering to install a crosswalk at the western end of Atwells, not far from where the Councilman was struck.

See what I mean? It happens all the time, one eventually gets outrage fatigue and I’m suffering from a severe case of it. I’m tired of being tired of hearing about people being run down in the streets and now I’m angry.

I’m also angry at the rest of the media. Of course the reaction to a City Councilor being struck by a car will be different than a private citizen as far as the media is concerned. More people know the Councilor, so it is a bigger story, we all know what a City Councilor is even if we don’t know the specific person. So it is a big story, OK. But look back up at that list from the Journal, someone in the newsroom could have picked up on that years ago and made a bigger deal of it.

I’m also angry with the City Council and the Mayor. The Journal goes on to write:

Lombardi said he asked Mayor David N. Cicilline’s staff to spend federal aid under the Obama economic stimulus bill on traffic-calming measures on Atwells but was told that the work was “not shovel-ready” and did not qualify. Lombardi insisted that preparation had been made and it did qualify.

“Obviously, [traffic] enforcement would be nice there, too,” he said. “People pick up speed. It’s difficult to see at night.”

It is no secret that the Mayor and Lombardi are not exactly friends. Somehow Steven Meresi, who at that point was just a regular citizen, got Traffic Engineering to install a crosswalk within days of someone else being struck, but Lombardi has not been able to get any serious action in decades in office. Was Cicilline playing politics with people’s lives? Was Lombardi not trying hard enough to rectify a deadly situation? I’ll let you dear reader be the judge.

I’m also angry with Traffic Engineering. The Councilor and the Mayor should not even have had the opportunity to bicker over this issue, Traffic Engineering should have identified the problem (or PPD should have identified it for them), and worked up a solution. If not to engineer roadways so that people are not struck down on a regular basis, then what is Traffic Engineering for? I will be asking the next Mayor to look into Traffic Engineering, determine what their function should be, and urge him to work to make them more effective.

Continue Reading →

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City Council Announces “Neighborhoods First” Infrastructure Program

Providence City Council Press Release:

City Council Announces “Neighborhoods First” Infrastructure Program

PROVIDENCE – The City Council has secured more than four million dollars ($4 million) to fund neighborhood-based infrastructure projects throughout the city, according to Office of the City Council. The funds will be used for parks, playgrounds, sidewalk and roadway repaving, and other neighborhood improvements.

Council Finance Chairman John J. Igliozzi, Ward 7, explained that the funds were pieced together from different sources, including proceeds from the sale of the civic center, the remaining 2001 capital improvement bond funds, and from the Providence Public Building Authority. “The Council felt strongly that the city’s neighborhoods need an infusion of resources to help improve, repair, and/or maintain the basic amenities and facilities for residents,” Igliozzi stated. “This money will be a shot in the arm for our city, and especially those neighborhoods hard hit by foreclosures, where the quality of life has been threatened.”

Tagged “Neighborhoods First,” the goal of the projects is to invest public funds into improvements that will benefit Providence neighborhoods and residents directly. “Often, Downtown and the major commercial corridors get the lion’s share of the resources,” Majority Leader Terrence M. Hassett, Ward 12, observed. “The Neighborhoods First program will allow the Council to complete neighborhood-focused projects that will have an immediate, positive impact on residents.”

Council President Peter S. Mancini, Ward 14, said that the funds will provide residents in his area access to improved park facilities, through significant improvements to the playground at Fargnoli Park. “I am proud that, in the midst of a recession, the Council was able to come together, combine resources, and allocate those resources toward a program that will provide an immediate benefit to our neighborhoods,” Mancini said. “In my ward, that translates directly into providing more green space and safe places for children to play outside.”

Also anticipating the rollout of the program is Councilman Leon Tejada, Ward 8, who has several initiatives planned, including a complete rehabilitation of Benedict Street, which will include the installation of new curbing and sidewalks, road resurfacing, and improved drainage. “The Council program will quickly pump money into our neighborhoods, and help Council members invest that money into projects that will make a big difference.”

Igliozzi noted several other pending projects including a significant sidewalk repaving effort, and intersection project at Killingly and Planfield Streets in Ward 7, and repaving projects in Ward 12, where Councilman Hassett will focus resources at the heavily-traveled intersection of Chalkstone Avenue and Raymond Street. Igliozzi said that, “Projects like these|big and small|will be getting underway in every ward of the city, and will have a major impact. They are an important way of communicating to city residents that the Council is serious about neighborhood investment.”

He added that many of the Neighborhoods First projects already are out to bid and will be completed during the spring, summer and fall.

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Election 2010: Submissions for candidate surveys

Election 2010

Hey whaddaya know, the 2010 campaign season just became even more exciting than we thought it would be. Of course the Governor’s, Providence Mayor’s, and Congressional District 1 seats are all wide open and jockeying to fill those seats will create more openings, likely in the City Council and elsewhere.

Greater City Providence does not make endorsements, however we have been planning to create candidate surveys to gauge the candidate positions on issues that impact the city. With the races becoming more exciting this week, those surveys suddenly become more interesting.

We are seeking your input on those surveys. We will be sending surveys to the candidates for Governor and Providence Mayor, and now with this week’s upheavals, we’ll probably throw District 1 and the City Council seats into the mix. Of course we are still waiting to find out who exactly is running for what, and we still have a long time until November, but we’re going to start working on the surveys now.

Please use the comments section (or email us) the questions you’d like the candidates to answer. List your question, and which race you’d like answers on your question from. We’ll be compiling the questions over the coming weeks, and when it becomes clear who is running for what, we’ll start sending surveys out. When the candidates return the surveys, we will be posting the results here.

We do need to make a note about comments on Election posts. We have a wonderful mix of people who comment here and are pleased that the comments are civil and intelligent. Elections and the discussions that surround them can be highly emotionally charged. We trust that the level of discourse here will remain high, but we will be editing and/or removing comments if the discourse degrades.

We thank you in advance for maintaining civil discourse.

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Updated sidewalk snow clearing regulations

Atwells Avenue overpass

Atwells Avenue over Route 95. Photo by Jef Nickerson

ProJo reports that the City Council has made some updates to the sidewalk snow clearing regulations.

Changes are:

  • In addition to the Police, Department of Public Works inspectors and supervisors can now issue citations.
  • The time to clear the snow has increased. Previously snow had to be cleared within 4 hours after sunrise after the end of snow, now it is 8 hours.
  • Fines now max out at $500.
  • The appeals process to the Municipal Court has been made more clear.

I have several issues with all this. One, Councilman Narducci was quoted in the Journal saying, “Obviously the reason we’re doing this is because the police don’t do it.” I don’t know about anyone else, but when I don’t do my job I get a talking to, I might even get fired. My boss does not find someone else to do my job for me. I’m fine with having more people authorized to issue citations, and I understand the police have other priorities, but it should be in addition to the police, not because the police seem to can’t be bothered. Unshoveled sidewalks are a very serious public safety issue and should be a priority for the police.

There’s also this from the Journal:

Peter T. Gaynor, city director of emergency management, acknowledged, however, that the DPW is not yet ready to discharge its new duty. For the time being, he said, it’s still up to the police.

Oh great, so excuses are already being made for why this will continue to not be addressed.

Continue Reading →

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City Plan Commission Meeting (12/15)

PROVIDENCE CITY PLAN COMMISSION
NOTICE OF REGULAR MEETING

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2009 – 4:45 PM
Department of Planning and Development, 4th Floor Auditorium 400 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903
Providence Public Safety Complex
Dean and Washington Streets, Providence

OPENING SESSION

Call to Order
Roll Call
Approval of Meeting Minutes: November 17, 2009
Approval of the CPC meeting schedule for the 2010 calendar year

REDEVELOPMENT PLANS


View Larger Map

1. City Council Referral: An ordinance to adopt the City of Providence Promenade Center Redevelopment Project Plan and Tax Increment Financing Plan
This ordinance would amend the redevelopment plan for portions of Valley and Smith Hill neighborhoods to reflect changes including proposed future land use, illustration of the acquisition and development of certain land parcels and changes to the roadway system within the redevelopment area. No change is proposed for the Tax Increment Financing portion of the plan. Public comment will be taken on the plan amendment, which was first presented before the Commission in November 2009.


View Larger Map

2. City Council Referral: An ordinance to adopt the Allens Avenue and Port Redevelopment Plan
This ordinance would adopt a redevelopment that would designate a redevelopment area around Allens Avenue and the Port of Providence and establish objectives and procedures for its redevelopment. Public Comment will be taken on the plan, which was first presented before the Commission in November 2009.

PROVIDENCE TOMORROW

3. Waterfront Plan
Public comment will be taken on the Waterfront Plan first presented in November 2009. The Commission may choose to act to adopt the plan.

ADJOURNMENT

Related UPDATED City: Put the Waterfront to Work [GC:PVD]

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Sidewalk rant: Reader results

Greater City Providence reader Meg contacted Councilman Hassett about unshoveled sidewalks in Ward 12.

Meg told Councilman Hassett about her concerns about unremoved snow and icy sidewalks along Douglas Avenue, and asked why no one has been fined for not removing the snow and ice. Councilman Hassett responds:

A recent review of this Ordinance [Article 1 Section 23-13 through 23-16] has triggered interest in improving enforcement in order to provide safe passage through our neighborhoods.

Upon receiving your e-mail I have asked our police Commander to identify areas where no attempt has been made to clear sidewalks of snow only to remind property owners of the Ordinance requirement. Additionally, I have asked the Mayor to launch a public campaign to remind all property owners to clear snow from their property. Such past campaigns have been met with success.

For our part locally, I have directed a mailing to property owners along main through ways to clear snow or face the penalty. It will be requested that owners clear a reasonable path so that neighbors and visitors may safely move along our neighborhood streets. This is a difficult issue that we need to continue to pursue.

With the warmer weather in recent days most of the sidewalks are finally almost clear. We still have a good bit of winter to get through yet though. Meg will be keeping an eye on Douglas Avenue and we will be keeping an eye on the areas we pass through.

—OK, change of tack in this post now. I was looking for the QAlert System to post a link here, remember the QAlert system, I wrote about it in August. I can’t find it. Where did it go? The Office of Neighborhood Services page now just has a phone number and an email for Pleshette Mitchell.

So I guess if you want to report a sidewalk uncleared you should email the Director of Neighborhood Services? You can also contact your City Councilor like Meg did.

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ALCO TIF Approved

Rendering from Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse

The Providence Journal reports that the city will now support the 8 million TIF1 for the immense American Locomotive (ALCO) project. Putting aside for a moment this quote from the venerable newspaper (while wondering how a project can break ground when it is already underway?):

With the full City Council expected to take the required two votes of approval at special meetings on Dec. 15 and Dec. 18, developer Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse says it plans to break ground by the spring on what is currently the largest development under way in the city.

And ignoring the fact that the article reads like a press release with no mention at all of what I am sure were plenty of detractors, I think this is good news.

While I originally was suspect of these TIF-funded projects such as the important public elements of parking garages2, affordable housing, bike paths, parks and funky little bridges on the back end of the project (and therefore the first things to get jettison when the goings get tough) but Streuver Brothers seem to have shown Providence that they are serious about completing this development, and that is good news. While our friends at RI Future and Not for Nothing report that Streuver Bros are selling off properties in their native Baltimore, and laying off most of their Rhode Island staff, the fact that they’re sticking around to make sure ALCO is finished the way they promised, and that should prove to be a good thing all around.

1 Tax Incremental Financing – when the developer pays what would be the increased property taxes as the project develops into a fund which then helps pay for more development at the site – it was originally $20 million, btw.

2Oops. I misspoke. It appears, from an article last month in the Providence Journal that the parking garages, which originally planned to be wrapped in retail, have been, in fact, jettisoned. So, I guess that means a lot of surface parking right on the river, then? That is unfortunate.

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No more free parking

From left, site of proposed but unbuilt Empire at Broadway, OneTen Westminster Street, and Grant’s Block

David Segal rumors on Daily Dose that the Hotel Sierra, proposed for Washington Street is dead.

David thinks it is time for the perpetual cycle of propose flashy new building for site of current historic or semi-historic building, get variance, get approvals, tear down building, cry poor, and park cars there for decades instead needs to stop. I have to say David, I agree.

Providence Daily Dose:

I think that we, as a microblogosphere, could make a coordinated push to pass an ordinance to make these purposeless demos of historic buildings far less likely. There are a million models in other cities and towns (typically just requiring that a substantial bond be posted, that would be kept by the city if the project doesn’t happen).

It think Messrs. Yurdin and Wood might be especially sympathetic, and that there’s a general recognition on the Council that these reforms are needed.

What say ye?

I say Seth, Cliff, get something written up and I’m all about supporting it.


Related:

3

Proposed Marriott Residence Inn on Orange Street

orange-marriott-rendering

Click image to enlarge

orange-marriott-siteplan

Click image to enlarge

Warwick Mall owner and former Cranston City Council President, Aram G. Garabedian and partners from Massachusetts and New Hampshire have proposed to build a Marriott Residence Inn on Clifford Street across from the Garrahy Courthouse (see above rendering and site plan). Residence Inn is an extended stay brand, more often associated with the suburbs but slowly making inroads to urban locations nationwide.

Currently, there are no extended stay hotels in Providence (there is a Residence Inn in Warwick), and while Greater City Providence is not opposed to an extended stay brand moving into the city, we must oppose this project as proposed.

The developer is seeking to abandon a portion of Orange Street between Clifford and Friendship Street. The abandonment will allow the developer to build a linear building along Clifford Street and have surface parking along Friendship Street. A street abandonment and surface parking are a double whammy of anti-urban design.

Viewing the site plan above, one can see the two lots straddling Orange Street (currently owned by the developer) are each large enough to hold the entire hotel. Certainly, hotel guests visiting Providence could deal with having to cross Orange Street to get from the parking lot to the hotel. A raised crosswalk or other traffic calming device could be employed to ensure the most pleasant pedestrian experience. The city is eager to rebuild the street grid between Downcity and the Jewelry District once Route 195 is removed. Removing a portion of the grid now is not a good first step towards that goal.

In their petition to the City Council to abandon the street the developer states, “the abandonment… would promote the public health, welfare, and comfort in that it would improve the overall economic well being of the surrounding area.” Seeing as it is physically possible to build the hotel completely on one of the adjacent parcels and not abandon the street, this public benefit would seem to be moot.

In a Providence Journal article dated May 13th, Ara Aftandilian (of Summit Hotel Properties, Garabedian’s partner in the project) states, that he sees the area near the courthouse, now covered with surface parking, as a budding neighborhood for development. OK then, why abandon one of this budding neighborhood’s existing streets to build a hotel that is dependent on surface parking then. Aftandilian also states, “Residence Inn is the leading extended-stay brand, and obviously it’s a recognizable brand and people know of it. Extended stay in urban environments is fairly new. Typically they’re in suburban environments.” Perhaps the developer and the brand need to learn how to fit in to an urban environment, one could forgive them if their prior experience is in the suburbs.

We look forward to the developers reviewing the urban environment in which they find themselves and are hopeful that they will come up with a plan that does not require the abandonment of a city street.


Related:

5

Why is no one dining outside?

Why is no one eating at sidewalk tables on this beautiful spring afternoon (well aside from the fact that Broadway Bistro isn’t open for lunch, I didn’t feel like walking further down the block to illustrate the point fully)? Seems that due to complaints, the city has been cracking down on permits for outdoor dining in the Broadway area.

From the WBNA:

Councilman Lombardi held a meeting with business owners and city representatives in early April with regard to the issue of outdoor seating and usage of sidewalk space for restaurants and other businesses on Broadway. In response to the issues that were raised, Councilman Lombardi asked that a zoning amendment be prepared to remedy the current restrictions that prohibit use of sidewalk on Broadway (considered an extension of business premises). He will be introducing the ordinance and ushering the zoning amendment through the approval process, which will hopefully be able to be expedited. In the meantime, Councilman Lombardi is exploring other options with the department of inspection and standards and the administration to determine if there is a temporary waiver or some other measure to ensure that businesses on Broadway do not suffer further from the current limitations. If you have any questions, please feel free to call the councilman at the City Council office, 521-7477

Many residents have contacted Councilman Lombardi to express their support for outdoor dining on Broadway. If you haven’t contacted the Councilman already, please let him know that you support his efforts to get tables on the sidewalks as soon as possible.

Oh by the way, Broadway Bistro is excellent, I highly recommend it!

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Greater City Providence Comments on proposed rezoning in the Waterfront District

waterfront

Aerial image from Microsoft Virtual Earth

To: Councilman Seth Yurdin
Cc: Mayor David Cicilline
Cc: Planning Director Thomas Deller
Cc: Councilman Cliff Wood

I am writing on behalf of Greater City Providence in regards to the petition being heard by the City Council Ordinance Committee on Monday, March 3rd to change the zoning of Lots 344 and 345 on Zoning Map 18 from Waterfront Mixed-Use to Public Space. These state-owned lots are located on the waterfront at Fox’s Point next to India Point Park. We submit that it is premature to consider any ad-hoc zoning changes to these waterfront lots until the highest and best use of the entire Providence waterfront is decided in a charrette format.

Please consider the following:

The aforementioned lots are part of the moratorium area established by City Council Resolution 385, approved July 10, 2007. It declares that a moratorium will be placed on any development plans, construction, or demolition permits that do not comply with the adopted Zoning Ordinance in effect as of the date of the resolution’s adoption. Any development as a result of the zoning change would not be effective due to the stipulations of the resolution until its expiration which is currently, at the latest, July 10, 2008.

Superceding the aforementioned expiration date is the stipulation that the resolution will be effective until the adoption and approval of amendments to the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance resulting from the Fox Point/College Hill/Wayland Neighborhood Plan and any Waterfront Vision Plan. The charrettes that are the forum for creating these plans should be allowed to proceed in order to ensure that community input is maximized. To paraphrase the resolution, Providence’s waterfront has a high amount of public, economic, and historic significance, something of which the entire city has a stake. In addition, Providence has a compelling interest to ensure that the goals of the Comprehensive and Neighborhood Plans are met.

Based on the risk that this proposed zoning change could have in conflicting with the waterfront/neighborhood vision plans for these lots, plans that the current moratorium emphasizes are basis for the waterfront’s long-term future, it is premature for this petition to be considered and should therefore not be approved at this time.

However, we also acknowledge that additional protection for these lots may be required. Therefore, we support an extension of the existing moratorium through at least July 10, 2009 in order to allow the Planning Department opportunity to schedule and hold the charrettes for this area and allow the public and area stakeholders an opportunity to weigh in on the area’s future.

Further, we understand that these parcels are currently owned by the state through RIDOT and that the state is facing a (to put it lightly) tough economic year. This economic stress is surely putting great pressure on the state to sell this property. We urge the Mayor and the City Council to work with the state to attempt to find a way to transfer this land to the city, of course understanding that the city’s economic situation is not any better than the state’s this year. Allowing the city to control this land and become the eventual developer of this land would ensure that the public’s wishes as set forth by the charrette process would be fulfilled.

Sincerely,
Jef Nickerson, President
Greater City Providence

Greater City Providence promotes the growth and development of the Greater Providence region in as urban a pattern as possible. Special emphasis is placed on the development of more walkable, affordable, and vibrant neighborhoods that are served by more robust mass transit and fueled by greater economic opportunity. Our primary focus is participating in the zoning and planning process to ensure that the Providence of the future is an urban environment and not a city plagued by inconsistent, uninspired, automobile-centric, and suburban-style development.

2

Public Works Committee to consider abandonment of part of Orange Street

2008-0210_orange

Aerial image from LiveLocal

There is a petition to abandon a portion of Orange Street in Downtown which is on the agenda for the February 11, 2008 Providence City Council Committee on Public Works meeting.

2. Petition from Aram Garabedian, Manager, One Financial Center Plaza, LLC, 235 Waterman Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02906, requesting to abandon a portion of Orange Street.

This petition should be referred back to the Providence City Plan Commission (CPC) due to the following reasons.

CPC has not completed their required review of this petition, and the planning department head has not submitted his required report. A discussion with the planning department revealed that the petitioner submitted this proposal to CPC in October of 2006. CPC continued this petition because they did not receive a clear development plan that would be associated with this abandonment. It is also typical that the planning department does not favor abandonments unless absolutely necessary.

In addition to the required reviews not being completed, page 55 of Providence Tomorrow: The Interim Comprehensive Plan states the following: “The relocation of I-195 is well underway and is scheduled to open in 2010. The removal of the current highway superstructure is scheduled for completion in 2012 and will allow for reconnection of portions of the traditional street grid downtown.”

It is our assertion that the abandonment of downtown streets such as Orange Street conflicts with the comprehensive plan’s desire to reconnect the downtown street grid that would be driven by the relocation of I-195.

The City Council Public Works Committee meets Monday, February 11th in Committee Room A at 6:00pm at Providence City Hall, 25 Dorrance Street.

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