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Providence receives HUD grant to improve transit on high ridership bus routes

Broad Street

Image from Google Street View

Transportation Corridors to Livable Communities Project

The City of Providence has been awarded a Community Planning Challenge Grant through HUD’s Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities to conduct the Transportation Corridors to Livable Communities study. The project will focus on the highest ridership bus routes in the city– Broad Street, Chalkstone Avenue, Elmwood Avenue, Manton Avenue, and North Main Street. Over the next 18 months, the City and RIPTA will be working together to conduct corridor studies to improve transit service, enhance bus stops and other pedestrian amenities, and encourage the development of mixed-income housing and opportunities for jobs and the arts near transit. Once the corridor studies are complete, the City will update and revise the Providence Zoning Ordinance so that it will be an effective tool to implement the corridor plans and the City’s overall livability and sustainability goals.

Project Goals

  • Provide frequent, reliable transit service.
  • Improve access to employment centers, arts and cultural opportunities, and healthy food choices.
  • Encourage development that is concentrated around transit stops and offers a range of housing choices serving a variety of household types and income levels.
  • Encourage the creation of community hubs, unique to the character of the neighborhoods where they are located.

More information at ProvidenceRI.com

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RIPTA Community Meeting on Elmwood Avenue service improvements – February 28, 2012

RIPTA

Photo (cc) Trisha Crabb

From RIPTA:

RIPTA and Senator Juan M. Pichardo to hold community meeting on Tuesday, February 28, 2012

RIPTA and Senator Juan M. Pichardo (District 2) will hold a community meeting to present suggested improvements to bus stop service along Elmwood Avenue. The Route 20/Elmwood Avenue Optimization Project is part of RIPTA’s Key Bus Route Improvement Program. These proposed improvements are scheduled to be completed by October 2013. The meeting is scheduled for 6pm on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 in the RIPTA Conference Room, located at 269 Melrose Street in Providence. For more information on this project, email Amy Pettine at apettine@ripta.com.

Also, don’t forget RIDOT is holding a meeting on proposed MBTA service cuts and fare increases on Monday the 27th.

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RIDOT to install “HAWK Signal” pedestrian crossing in South Providence

RIDOT annoounced today that they will be installing the state’s first “HAWK Signal” pedestrian crossing on Elmwood Avenue.

The HAWK signal, or beacon (High-Intensity Activated crossWalK beacon) was developed by traffic engineers in Tuscon, Arizon in 2009. The video below shows a HAWK Signal in action in Tuson:

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“Elmer the Elm” lobotomized

Elmwood Avenue at Route 95. Reader submitted photo.

A reader wrote in to us several weeks ago to report the lobotomization of several trees on Elmwood Avenue at the ramp from Route 95. Among the trees that had their tops sheared off was Elmer, who survived both the widening of Elmwood Avenue, which resulted in the removal of most of its namesake trees, and the construction of Route 95. The photo below was submitted by our reader and shows Elmwood Avenue during the construction of Route 95 in 1966. Elmer is visible at right past the bridge abutments.

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Elmwood Avenue Enhancement Report

From Community Works Rhode Island comes the Elmwood Avenue Enhancement Report . RIDOT has been planning for the rebuilding of Elmwood Avenue, and their proposals were typical RIDOT move as many cars as possible in the least amount of time designs. Community Works and others got out ahead of RIDOT and asked the community what they wanted and came up with this report which incorporates many Complete Streets paradigms and takes into account not just the automobile traffic, but pedestrians, cyclists, school children, open space, and the needs of the residents of the neighborhood.

From Community Works:

As many of you are aware, Community Works Rhode Island has been working with neighbors, elected officials and RIDOT for several years to make sure that the upcoming re-pavement of Elmwood Avenue meets the needs of this community. Starting in 2005, we held numerous public design meetings to create neighborhood-based recommendations for improving Elmwood as our neighborhood main street and historic Avenue. Through our meetings, it became clear that the neighborhood priorities are to make the Avenue a safer place to walk and bike, a more appealing place to do business, and a greener, more accessible route to Roger Williams Park, including “bringing the elms back to Elmwood.”

After much work by our elected officials, especially Senator Juan Pichardo, many neighbors and local organizations and our landscape design consultant L+A Landscape Architecture, we are pleased to release the final report of recommendations that was created out of this lengthy process. This report was delivered to RIDOT this week. Community Works Rhode Island will continue to advocate for the recommendations of the report as RIDOT moves forward with their design process for the Avenue, and asks for your support in distributing the report to the larger community and advocating for the recommendations.

Community Works Rhode Island thanks all of you who participated in the process over the years, and looks forward to continuing to work together to transform Elmwood Avenue.

The report looks at the street as a whole, but divides it into seperate areas with different needs. The southern end is the “Bikeway to the Park” with seperated bike lanes and enhancements to the roadway to slow highspeed traffic and allow for a better environment for cyclists and pedestrians, with an emphasis on making a pleasant experience for people heading to Roger Williams Park.

In the area around the Knight Library and Gilbert Stewart Middle School there is a “Hyper Zone” which makes large scale interventions to slow traffic and increase the safety of children in the area. Techniques such as raised cosswalks, textured pavement, and corner bump outs are recommended.

A pedestrianization scheme is recommended for Columbus Square (the area where Reservoir Avenue splits off Elmwood). Northbound traffic on Reservoir would be diverted to Adelaide Avenue making a right angle intersection with Elmwood instead of the highspeed race to make the green light and merge which happens now (we’ve all done it). Atlantic Avenue, immediately south of the triangular park, would be closed to traffic and pedestrianized, making the park connect to the block to the south and having it now function as a usable public space, and not as a glorified traffic island as it is now. Other pedestrian enhancements are recommended.

As is the case in Olneyville, Elmwood and South Elmwood are neighborhoods with a low level of car ownership and a high level of transit use. The current configuration of Columbus Square is all about the car and even the retail in the area is auto oriented, if not shops that sell things for cars, or sell actual cars, they are shops set back from the street with massive parking lots not at all catering to the many people in the community who arrive on foot. A better pedestrianized Columbus Square will encourage retails to cater to pedestrians and will attract new development that is suitable to the neighborhood.

I encourage you to download the full report and review it for yourself. It is a good template for other street redesigns in the city. If you support the report’s recommendations, especially if you live in the study area, be sure to contact RIDOT and let them know.

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Elmwood Ave Repaving Meeting (04/07)

Update: Meeting has been postponed due to an electrical problem at the library.

Via Bike Providence

When: Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 6:00-7:30pm
Where: Knight Memorial Library Auditorium (downstairs), 275 Elmwood Avenue

As many of you know, Community Works Rhode Island, our elected officials and other community partners have been working with RIDOT to make sure that the changes coming to Elmwood Avenue reflect the needs expressed by neighborhood residents and others. Through meeting with neighbors, we know that those needs are:

  • Pedestrian, bike and car safety
  • An improved environment for all using the street
  • Better access to Roger Williams Park
  • Returning Elmwood Ave to a beautiful neighborhood avenue rather than a car-dominated “combat zone”

We have been working with L+A Landscape Architects to produce designs reflecting what the community wants Elmwood Avenue to become. These designs will be presented to RIDOT in the next few weeks. We have presented the designs to a number of you already, but want to get more community input before creating final recommendations to deliver to RIDOT. Please come give your comments on the proposed changes and add your perspective on what needs to happen to make Elmwood Avenue the street it could be!

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