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Tag Archives | Election 2010

Inauguration Providence Neighborhood Celebrations & Thank You! (Jan. 7)

The Providence Mayoral Inauguration events wrap up tomorrow with Mayor Taveras visiting the schools he attended in Providence:

INAUGURAL NEIGHBORHOOD EVENTS
FRIDAY, JANUARY 7, 2011

The Inaugural Neighborhood Events are being held at the schools that Mayor Angel Taveras attended growing up as a child in the City of Providence. All events are free and open to residents and friends of the City of Providence. All events offer refreshments and are alcohol-free.

Friday, January 7, 2011
3 – 4 pm Mary Fogarty Elementary School
4 – 5 pm Roger Williams Middle School
5 – 6 pm Nathaniel Greene Middle School
6 – 7 pm Classical High School

Los eventos de inaugración en los vecindarios tendrán lugar en las escuelas en las cuales el Alcalde Angel Taveras asistió cuando estaba creciendo en la Ciudad de Providence. Todos los eventos son gratis y abiertos a los residentes y amigos de la Ciudad de Providence. Todos los eventos ofrecerán refrescos y serán libres de alcohol.

Viernes, 7 de enero, 2011
3 – 4 pm Escuela Primaria Mary Fogarty
4 – 5 pm Escuela Media Roger Williams
5 – 6 pm Escuela Media Nathaniel Greene
6 – 7 pm Escuela Secundaria Classical

For additional questions or information please e-mail inauguration@transitionprovidence.org or call 401.424.1841. Thank you for your continued support and participation as we work together to move Providence forward.

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Governor Chafee’s Inaugural Address

Gov. LIncoln Chafee

Photo from yesterday’s Mayoral Inauguration. By Jef Nickerson

Prepared text of Governor Chafee’s Inaugural Address:

Governor Lincoln Chafee
Inaugural Address
January 4, 2011

With deep humility, aware of the adversity we face but confident that, together, we will meet the challenge of our times, I am honored to stand before you as our state’s 58th Governor.

I ask you to join with me in thanking Governor Carcieri for his service to Rhode Island over the past eight years.

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that there are no second acts in America. Fortunately, he was not a political sage. I believe a second chance begins at this very moment”¦. not just for me, but for our wonderful state of Rhode Island and for each and every one of her citizens. Today, I humbly ask each Rhode Islander to join me in embarking on a new era of opportunity for Rhode Island.

I pledge to devote every ounce of energy I have to this task. Indeed, I will not rest until we reclaim the promise that lay in the heart of our founder Roger Williams some 375 years ago.

This magnificent building behind me is replete with symbols of that promise, from the great charter of 1663 that gave a king’s blessing to our “lively experiment,” to the flags that Rhode Islanders carried into battle against another king, in defense of our basic rights.

We were the first colony to stand up to the crown by signing the Declaration of Independence. And we were the last to ratify the Constitution as we prudently waited to be persuaded that America’s standard of freedom was as high as our own.

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What Cheer/What Jeer 2010

What Cheer/What Jeer was originally supposed to be a monthly, or a quarterly thing, but you know what, it is a lot of work putting a list like this together, so it has become an annual thing. So join us as we take a look back at 2010, What Cheering the good and What Jeering the bad.

whatcheerProvidence River Pedestrian Bridge

Whether you love it or hate it, Providence will soon be getting a new pedestrian bridge over the Providence River. Design firms large and small from around the world entered the competition that led to the winning design. And the competition got people around the city interested in transportation and design.

providence-river-pedestrian-bridge

whatcheerRIPTA

Last year we declared that 2010 would be “The Year of RIPTA” and not to be too smug about it but, we were kinda right.

In December 2009 RIPTA and the City of Providence released the Metro Transit Study, which drew a lot of attention to its proposal to run a streetcar line through Providence. This year, RIPTA embarked on their Core Connector Study, the first step toward bringing streetcars back to Providence. In June, U.S. Sec. of Transportation Ray LaHood visited Providence and was very excited about our future plans. RIPTA also took delivery of a new fleet of hybrid buses and trolleys in October. This year also saw RIPTA unveil a 5-year plan for the future of transit in Rhode Island. Finally, RIPTA hired a new CEO, Charles Odimgbe. It is early days yet in Mr. Odimgbe’s tenure, so it remains to be seen if he’ll be What Cheered or What Jeered next year.

Certainly all was not good for RIPTA this year, 2010 saw the continuation of an annual tradition wherein RIPTA’s budget falls short resulting in the agency looking to cut routes and/or increase fares. This year they went with increasing fares yet again. Here’s hoping the incoming Governor and General Assembly can work to address the issues surrounding RIPTA’s budget.

whatcheerElection 2010

What an exciting year that was. New Mayor, new Governor, new Congressman from Providence (even if he is a freshman and in the minority party, that’s good for us!), many new City Councilors, Shoveitgate, The Uncaucas, Chris Young… Let’s do that again real soon (well, not too soon).

whatcheerThe Interlink & MBTA to Warwick

October saw the opening of the long awaited Interlink. The skybridge connects T.F. Green Airport to a parking garage, rental car facilities, and a train station via a skybridge with moving sidewalks over Post Road. The Interlink opening was followed in December by the extension of MBTA Commuter Rail service from Providence to the station at the Interlink facility. Next year that service will be expanded and will go further south to a new station currently under construction at Wickford Junction.

Interlink

whatcheerThe Box Office

The Box Office was completed this year. The building, made out of shipping containers brought national attention to Providence within the construction and design communities for its innovative design. Developers from near and far want to replicate the building in their communities.

whatcheerThe Arts

We What Cheered the arts last year, and we’re What Cheering them again this year. Woonsocket’s Riverzedge and Providence’s Community Music Works each took home one of fifteen 2010 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards (after Providence’s New Urban Arts won the same award last year (go Rhody!)). AS220 celebrated their 25th Anniversary this year, commissioned RISD alum Shepard Fairy to create a mural on Aborn Street, and is wrapping up renovation on its third Downcity Building, The Mercantile Block. And basically, art in Providence just continued to be pretty damn awesome. Buy Art!

Last year, we weren’t really in the mood to What Jeer, we had jeered enough I guess. But this year, oh, here go hell come, are you ready? Let’s do it.

whatjeerRIDOT

RIDOT, seriously, you’re killing us here. While we’ve said it time and again, we really like what Director Michael Lewis has to say about not being able to build more highways to end congestion and needing to be multi-modal and what not… the Director’s words have not been matching the agency’s actions.

From the craptacular original design of the Wickenden Street intersection related to the 195 Relocation, to the ridiculous placement of signs on the sidewalk on the Friendship Street bridge, to the utter disregard for any mode other than automobiles in the planning of the new Union Avenue Bridge, and more, RIDOT has proven that they have a long way to go in understanding how to build infrastructure in an urban environment and serve a multi-modal population.

Governor-elect Chafee has decided to keep Director Lewis on at RIDOT, a decision we agree with. Let’s hope that the Director can make the agency’s actions match his own and the Governor’s visions for how our transportation system should look. We’re hoping next year we might be able to What Cheer RIDOT.

whatjeerThe Arcade/35 Weybosset

Though these are separate properties, they are linked in the public consciousness and the destiny of each may best be served by thinking of them together. The What Jeer here is pretty obvious, the Arcade still sits empty and the facade at 35 Weybosset Street remains neglected.

The neglect of the 35 Weybosset facade is the clearest example available of a developer attempting a demolition by neglect, and he is beginning to get a lot of support for that option, though we clearly think there is a better way.

As for the Arcade, we might have to agree with one of our commenters that the best course of action is eminent domain.

whatjeerGrove Street School

Seeing as the Grove Street School’s current owner, Michael Tarro won election to the General Assembly, the school’s future seems more tenuous than ever.

Grove Street School

The good news is, the new City Councilor for Ward 13, Bryan Principe is an ardent supporter of the building. Let’s hope Bryan and the new Mayor can work on an arrangement with Mr. Tarro on the building’s future.

whatjeerCVS

While in the end, CVS agreed to some minor concessions on their initial proposal for a CVS in Edgewood, they’re still basically dropping a box from the sky into the middle of a parking lot. We still don’t know why CVS hates Rhode Island.

whatjeerUnion Wadding Mill Fire

Did they ever catch the bastard who did this? There’s a $10,000 reward you know.

Photo from Pawtucket Foundation Facebook Page

whatjeerParkinglotification

Last year we What Cheered the Smith-Mathewson Building proposed for where the Downcity Diner used to be. This year it is a parking lot. Sigh.

whatjeerAtwells Avenue

As if enduring 14 months of construction at the intersection with Dean Street wasn’t bad enough, at the other end of the Avenue we had a girl who works at a Salon and a City Councilor run down by errant drivers within weeks of each other. We all know which one got the most attention from the media, including us.

After years of people getting hit on Atwells, to the point where those of us who live up there see it as part of life, the hit and run of Councilman Hassett did serve to jolt us all out of our malaise on the topic. After years of inaction we now have some repainted crosswalks, more signs, and a speed bump at the western end of the Avenue (where most of the pedestrians have been struck). Much more needs to be done to improve the safety situation not just on Atwells, but on roads throughout the city.

Let us not fall back into our malaise where we accept people being struck by cars as an inevitable part of city life, it is not. Let us make sure that we follow through on the outrage that followed the Councilman’s injuries and act to do all we can to ensure that it does not happen again.


We could probably go on, but let’s wrap up the What Cheering and What Jeering there. Feel free to add you own in the comments.

Thank you to everyone who reads and contributes to Greater City: Providence. It was a great year discussing the city we all love.

Happy New Year!

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Inauguration of the 37th Mayor of Providence, January 3

Mayor-elect Taveras and supporters celebrating on election night

Mayor-elect Angel Taveras’ inauguration is Monday, January 3, 2011. All inauguration events are free and open to the public.

All the details you need to know are on the Transition Providence website.

Importantly, though the events are free, you do need to register for the evening Inaugural Celebration at the Rhode Island Convention Center. Visit the Inauguration page and fill out the form. The form must be filled out for each person attending. For people without internet access, one can either submit a reservation for them (in their name), or they can pick-up tickets in person at the Rhode Island Convention Center December 28, 29, or 30 between 4pm and 6pm. Registrations need to be submitted by Dec. 28th.

This event is expected to reach capacity quickly, so register now if you want to attend. The event will be business casual and will feature desserts, live music, a cash bar, and a “special guest.”

The inauguration of Mayor Angel Taveras, the 37th Mayor of the City of Providence, will take place on Monday, January 3, 2011.

Schedule of Events:

  • 1:30 PM
    Swearing-In Ceremony (free and open to the public)
    Steps of City Hall, 25 Dorrance Street
  • 3:00 PM
    Reception (free and open to the public)
    City Hall, 25 Dorrance Street
  • 7:00 PM
    Inaugural Celebration (free, requires admission ticket – register below)
    Rhode Island Convention Center
    One Sabin Street, Providence

Inaugural Neighborhood Events – Friday, January 7, 2011

  • 3-4pm Mary Fogarty Elementary School
  • 4-5pm Roger Williams Middle School
  • 5-6pm Nathanael Green Middle School
  • 6-7pm Classical High School

See my disclosure regarding serving on the Mayor-elect’s Transition Committee. I was also invited to be a Inauguration Ambassador, which basically means they want me to tell people about the Inauguration, which I just did.

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News & Notes

MTA-Slides_0106
Photo (cc) Metro Transportation Library and Archive

→ GOP Wants to Bring Transpo Policy Back to the 1950s [DC.Streetsblog]

Apparently, for Republicans, the big target for cuts appears to be transit spending. Tymon suggested to the Road Gang that the current $8 billion allocated for transit annually could shrink to $5 billion. The Road Gang was, apparently, relieved to see that transit would bear the brunt of the burden of spending cuts.

Meanwhile, Tymon said the Republicans want to bring transportation spending back to it roots in the 1950s – interstate commerce and travel, with a strong focus on the National Highway System. It all adds up to a possible revision of the longstanding 80/20 ratio governing highway and transit spending, with transit losing ground. Tymon confirmed that a new calculus could be coming.

→ Confessions of a recovering engineer [Grist]

In retrospect I understand that this was utter insanity. Wider, faster, treeless roads not only ruin our public places, they kill people. Taking highway standards and applying them to urban and suburban streets, and even county roads, costs us thousands of lives every year. There is no earthly reason why an engineer would ever design a 14-foot lane for a city block, yet we do it continually. Why?

The answer is utterly shameful: Because that is the standard.

→ State, Columbus Center developers in $5.5m accord [The Boston Globe]

The developers of the failed Columbus Center development in Boston yesterday reached a legal settlement with state transportation officials in which they agreed to pay about $5.5 million in cash and other benefits to clean up the fallow work site along the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The settlement requires the developers to fund road work, landscaping, and other upgrades on four parcels where they had begun building. The project stalled due to funding difficulties in April 2008, and then died in March, leading to a dispute over the cleanup.

Meanwhile in Providence, we allow developers to build parking lots because of hardship. Man up Providence.

→ Woman reading e-mail before crash given probation [ProJo]

A South Kingstown woman accused of checking her e-mail just before crashing into a pedestrian — and then leaving the seriously injured woman in the road — has pleaded no contest to felony charges.

Wales was reading an e-mail attachment on her Blackberry as she drove on South Road in Wakefield on Oct. 4, 2009, at the same time that Sheila Brogna, of Wakefield, was walking home, according to the attorney general’s office. Wales paused, but then drove off, until the police stopped her. Brogna was seriously injured.

→ Switching Gears: More Commuters Bike To Work [NPR]

Cycling has at least tripled over the past two decades in big cities across the U.S.

“It’s almost like a snowball effect,” says researcher John Pucher of Rutgers University. “People see other people cycling and they say, ‘Wow!’”

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Full disclosure regarding Transition Providence

Today the Transition Team for Mayor-Elect Taveras issued a press release announcing seven committees devoted to determining how to put Mr. Taveras’ campaign promises into action.

If you read the release closely, you’d have noticed that my name is on it. A couple weeks ago I was asked to be on the City Services Committee and accepted. So in the interest of full disclosure, I’m letting you, Greater City: Providence’s readers know.

I can assure you that I will continue to be as critical and snarky as ever when a critical eye and/or snark is warranted. It is an honor to be asked to provide input for the next administration though.

The City Services Committee will be meeting at least two more times (and we have split ourselves into subcommittees which are meeting more frequently), then we need to prepare a report for the Mayor-Elect by December 21st.

Head over to Nesi’s Notes on WPRI.com for a full list of all the committees and committee members.

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News & Notes

→ Next American City: Who’s Scared of a Transit Bridge?

Next spring, Portland will begin building its first bridge over the Willamette River in 37 years. The Willamette River Transit Bridge – which will link a future Oregon Health & Science University campus on the west side of the river with a museum and opera house on the east – will be 71 feet wide and feature 14-foot-wide paths on both sides for bicycles and pedestrians. The bridge’s middle will provide space for public-transit vehicles but no private cars


→ The Transport Politic: As a New Congress Sets Up Shop, Questions About the Future of Transportation Funding


→ Grist: Cafes will be popping up on the streets of New York

Pop-up Cafes provide outdoor public seating in the curb lane during the warm months and promote local businesses. Such cafes are popular in Europe, where narrow sidewalks prevent sidewalk cafes, and have recently been established in California and Canada.

In the summer of 2010, DOT partnered with two Lower Manhattan restaurants to pilot the city’s first Pop-up Cafe. Building on this success, DOT is expanding the Program in 2011 by partnering with restaurants or cafes in up to 12 locations throughout the five boroughs.

Two words: Atwells. Avenue.


→ DC Streetsblog: The Power of the Pursestrings Shifts to a Livability Denier in the House

…flying under the radar is another big shift with potentially enormous consequences. The Transportation and HUD subcommittee on Appropriations is getting a new master too. And livability advocates are alarmed.

Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) made it onto the League of American Bicyclists’ Trash Talk list this spring when he said every biker is “one less person paying into the transportation trust fund.”


→ DC Streetsblog: Our Stagnant Gas Tax Rate Is Making the Deficit Worse

Despite the anti-tax rhetoric of this round of elections, there’s been a little flurry of support for raising the gas tax lately. Two senators just proposed bumping it by 25 cents to replenish the highway trust fund. And the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform included a gas tax hike in its proposal for reducing the deficit by $3.8 trillion.

Also…

They also proposed eliminating the tax deduction for mortgage interest payments – or at least restricting the tax breaks so that second homes, expensive homes, and home equity loans weren’t eligible.

The mortgage tax break is a sprawl-inducer, encouraging people to buy “more house” for their money. Besides, home ownership rates are higher in the suburbs, since urbanites are more likely to rent. By removing the tax break, as the deficit commission recommends, they would require people to pay the full cost of the house they buy – and stop subsidizing the choice to live in the suburbs instead of cities.

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News & Notes

News & Notes→ New RIPTA bus route proposed, coming right through Summit neighborhood [Summit Neighborhood Association]

Link shows a map of proposed routes. SNA is seeking comment and is deciding if they need to have a neighborhood meeting to discuss the proposed options.

My 2 cents, a bus route that serves Miriam directly is a good thing.


→ Investing in urban centers key to growing new U.S. economy: Brookings [International Business Times]

“When cities collect networks of entrepreneurial firms, smart people, universities and other supporting institutions in close proximity, incredible things happen,” [Bruce Katz, Director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution] wrote.

“People engage. Specializations converge. Ideas collide and flourish. New inventions and processes emerge in research labs and on factory floors. New products and companies follow.”


Continue Reading →

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Transition Providence

Mayor-Elect Taveras has a new website up, TransitionProvidence.org. It is early days so it is pretty light on content at the moment, but he is already seeking your feedback.

We’re looking forward to seeing more content on the site soon. In the meantime, feel free to discuss here what you want to see the new mayor get to work on.

Update

Mayor-Elect Taveras also has a new Twitter for all you Twitterati to follow:


Follow @Angel_Taveras for transition updates and more.less than a minute ago via web

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Happy Election Day!

Election 2010

This is it, the day we’ve all been waiting for, the first day of the 2012 campaign season. Ugh.

Before we get into that, let’s wrap up the 2010 campaign season by getting out and voting.

Head over to the Secretary of State’s website to get your sample ballot and find your polling place. Then get out there and vote, and tell your friends to vote, and give your grandma a ride to the polls to vote, then vote again.

Polls are open statewide until 9pm.

On Primary night, Ted Nesi had excellent coverage on his blog on WPRI.com. I fully expect more excellent coverage tonight and highly recommend navigating there as the polls close. Ted will also likely have a Twitter storm of election coverage as well, if that’s your preferred media consumption medium, check him out here

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