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Why is non-auto infrastructure always “too expensive”?

In one of the meetings of the Providence Downtown-Knowledge District Development Framework Study Committee, of which I am a member, we discussed the idea of a pedestrian/bike bridge over Route 95 between Point Street and Eddy Street. There is a long-term proposal for Rhode Island Hospital to build on a site along the highway, and the other side of the highway is a potential home for a parking structure.

Pedestrian/Bike bridge over Route 95

Click image to enlarge

The idea was thrown about for a minute, then immediately shot down as too expensive, would never happen, and we moved on. But why? We had money for the Iway. We have money for the Pawtucket River Bridge, on and on, we’ve gone over this before. Yes, we are in a recession, especially in this city and this state, but when there is a need for autos, we find a way.

In Minneapolis, they’ve found a way to build a stunning bridge for bikes and pedestrians. And their bridge was built to bypass a road that actually does have crosswalks. Albeit a terribly wide, dangerous road, but you can cross it. One cannot cross Route 95 on bike or on foot.

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Providence Downtown-Knowledge District Development Framework Study kick-off, Today

I keep forgetting to post about this, mainly because I’ve decided I’m not going because I’ve seen the basic presentation already, and I have 3 other things on my calendar; but you all should certainly go.

This is the Zoning/Development study committee that I was appointed to. I believe this will basically be the presentation that Perkins + Will gave to committee members several weeks ago. It is a good recap of the various studies that have been done over the years as well as some thinking about how the Jewelry and Hospital District are built, function, connect, and can grow.

The meeting is also a good opportunity to interact with the Planning Department and have your views heard.

The Providence Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is pleased to announce that the Kick-off Community Meeting for the Providence Downtown-Knowledge District Development Framework study will be held on Thursday, July 21, 2011. Please join us as we present the project background and existing conditions analysis, and solicit your input and ideas.

Kick-off Community Meeting:
Providence Downtown-Knowledge District Development Framework study
Thursday, July 21, 2011 • 5:30pm-7:00pm

Meeting Location:
444 Westminster Street*, first floor • Providence, RI 02903

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City plan for streamlining development Downtown and in the “Knowledge District”

The Mayor’s office today issues a press release outlining their plans for streamlining the redevelopment of the Route 195 land, Downtown, the Hospital District, and the Jewelry District:

Taveras Enacts Plan for Streamlining I-195 Development

Public and private sector stakeholders will work with federally funded design firm to create comprehensive, streamlined zoning and planning regulations for land made available through relocation of I-195

PROVIDENCE -Mayor Angel Taveras today announced that his administration will put into place a transparent and efficient process to create new comprehensive zoning and planning regulations for all of downtown Providence, with a special emphasis on maximizing the economic opportunities of land made available by the relocation of I-195.

Since work on the I-195 project began in earnest in 2002, City and State leadership have explored a series of ideas for fully maximizing the value of an unprecedented opportunity to reshape the Providence City skyline. Taveras’ effort will streamline the development process of the I-195 properties and reduce barriers to development of approximately 20 acres of property.

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