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ProJo: State to fast-track Route 6-10 connector project, abandon surface boulevard

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RIDOT’s Original Design for the 6/10 interchange

Governor Raimondo has ordered a fast-track reconstruction of the Route 6 and 10 interchange and the abandonment of plans to rebuild the highway under an earthen cap, state officials said Wednesday.

The decision to rebuild the highways in their current footprint — and scrap a design favored by Department of Transportation leaders just this spring — was prompted by safety concerns and the deteriorating condition of the overpasses, said DOT Director Peter Alviti Jr.

I.E. the public hates how we’re spending thier money, so let’s spend it faster.

Along with abandoning the capped highway plan, Raimondo’s move all but dismisses the possibility of replacing the highway with a surface boulevard, a design that drew overwhelming support from attendees of a public forum on the 6-10 held last week by the city of Providence.

[…]

Alviti said the disruption to commuters that a boulevard would create was unacceptable.

Translation, people in the suburbs are more important than people who live in the city next to the suburban infrastructure.

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Epic webhost #FAIL

Internet

If you tried to visit our site at any time since Tuesday morning, you were likely met with an error message of some sort, or a temporary message about our site being down. Temporary turned into five days as our hosting company, Dreamhost failed us spectacularly this week.

If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you got the play by play of our annoyance and desperation through the week as we submitted support ticket after support ticket with no response other than cryptic “we’re working on it” messages from reply robots.

The short story is, the server our site is hosted on had a hardware failure on Tuesday morning. Dreamhost attempted to move everyone on that server to new hardware, but that process failed, forcing them to fix up the old server, restore from backup, then move to a new server. While our site was half moved from one server to another, then back, then restored from backup (kind of), various things within the WordPress install reported back failure errors to anyone trying to visit the site.

Over the days we received various automated replies about things supposedly being back “tomorrow” and some people having service, but slow. With our random WordPress error messages and our inability to get a handle on where exactly Dreamhost was in their process (since we never got a human response to any of our requests for information), we were left to twiddle our thumbs and fume.

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Demolition FAIL

This planned implosion of a building in China went awry. The building was later dismantled by crane.

This one is from a few years ago in Sioux Falls, SD.

Hackney in London, 1985.

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Video: Stroll Federal Hill? Walk lights FAIL

Over the last month or so, much work has been done to the signals along the Service Roads on the west side of Route 95. At first it was pretty good, new LED walk lights with countdowns went in, and though they only give you 9 seconds to cross, they were brighter and worked well. Lately, I’ve noticed they don’t work anymore. Well, they don’t work like they used to.

Now pedestrians have to press the cross button to get a walk light. Before the walk lights always turned appropriately automatically when the corresponding traffic lights changed. Cars got their regular signals and pedestrians got to cross regularly, traffic turning had to wait for pedestrians crossing. Crossing the Service Roads has always been daunting, but traffic would generally yield to pedestrians. Though the walk lights no longer change automatically, I’ve continued to cross as if they did, it never occurred to me to push the button, I really just assumed the walk lights were broken, as a pedestrian in Providence, that is the assumption you reach when walk lights aren’t functioning right, very few of them do.

So why the switch to button activated walk signals? Pushing the button does not prompt the light to change, it still goes through its normal cycle giving you the light at the next appropriate phase in the light cycle, it does not turn traffic red and allow people to cross. Why not just leave it the way it was, turning to walk when the street you’re crossing goes red? Drivers don’t have to push a button to get a green light, why should pedestrians?

It seems to me, this is a way to keep auto traffic moving at the expense of foot traffic. I can no longer legally walk at each light cycle, I need to push the button and wait for the lights to cycle through. If I don’t push the button and just walk when the cross street turns red, I’m now jaywalking since the light walk light stays red. Turning traffic now has the right of way.

Federal Hill’s tagline is “Stroll.” The merchants association wants people to walk the street. The walk lights make pedestrians second class on the city’s streets, an after thought to the convenience of autos. As I was taking the above video, a couple who were a bit older, appearing to be out-of-towners, simply stood at the corner with a look of fear in their eyes. Apparently unaware of the button that needed to be pushed to allow for the walk light they needed to feel safe to cross.

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Atwells Avenue at Dean Street | Photo by Jef Nickerson

At the end of the video (which you of course watched all the way through, I worked hard on that video!) are some stills of the Dean and Atwells intersection. A wide area that strollers need to cross to get to the west end of Atwells. Here, where there are walk lights, they don’t work. I mean, they don’t work at all, it is not a matter of pushing buttons, the walk lights are just dead, and have been for years.

Most of us familiar with the city know how much traffic speeds through that intersection, and the confusion of the two sides of Dean having different greens (most people familiar with the city avoid that intersection at all costs). Without a walk light, it is perfectly reasonable for a pedestrian to think when Dean Street southbound turns red, they can cross. Ah, but no! Then Dean Street northbound turns green and all the traffic tries to run you down. It’d sure be nice to have some sort of indication that that traffic was coming before getting halfway into the intersection. It would make Federal Hill a slightly better place to stroll, don’t you think?

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195 Street Grid Part 2: Walk Light FAIL in Davol Square

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I’m including this post as part of the 195 Street Grid series because it highlights a very simple but important failure. These lights have been here for a couple (several?) months; the infrastructure for cars is in place, lights are up and on, islands have been moved to make way for lanes, lanes have been marked…

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The pedestrian infrastructure however, is an utter failure. The walk lights don’t work, sidewalks on two of the four corners are dug up and not replaced (and have been that way for at least several weeks if not longer); generally, very little thought or care seems to have been given to pedestrians (or cyclists for that matter) at all.

Below is the view from the center of the intersection, where there is a raised traffic island that has no place for pedestrians to stand, meaning it cannot be used as a pedestrian refuge; you can simply cling to the edge of it like a life raft and hope you don’t get sideswiped by an errant driver texting or applying makeup or eating a Boston Kreme or some such.

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