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Image from Cyclehoop

Fast Company: These Recycled Plastic Dividers Can Create A Bike Lane In A Second

Painted bike lanes are safer for cyclists than riding in the middle of the road, but bike lanes that are separated with a curb are even better. For example, one study found that cyclists in separated lanes had 80% fewer accidents than those in regular bike lanes. But it’s often tricky to convince city governments to take the extra, more concrete step of separation. One product from a U.K. design firm aims to help.

The “Armadillo” is a low-slung recycled plastic bump that can be installed along the edge of a bike lane. Set at an angle, the bumps allow enough space for bikes to ride back out into the street if they need to, something that isn’t as easy with a full concrete curb. But it still keeps cars out.


Mashable: London to Test ‘Smart’ Crosswalks

The system, called Pedestrian Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique (SCOOT) uses cameras to figure out how many people are waiting to cross the street and adjusts traffic signals accordingly. So if there is a large crowd waiting, for example, the signal to walk will last longer, giving the crowd more time to cross the street.

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News & Notes

Smart Growth America: Smart Growth Stories: Emerick Corsi on driving growth with transit

Many people recognize Forest City Enterprises as one of the biggest real estate companies in the nation, with a multi-billion dollar portfolio that spans coast to coast and a spot on the New York Stock Exchange.

What’s less well known is that Forest City also happens to be one of the biggest advocates of walkable neighborhoods with transportation choices. Real Estate Services President Emerick Corsi is a firm believer in the power of transit to drive economic growth in surrounding areas, and the company is actively pursuing this kind of development. As a member of LOCUS, Forest City understands the impact of transit-oriented development on local economic growth and job creation.


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Good news on job growth from the Creative Sector

Art + Design Lab for high school students, A Sculptor's History of the Eye, Art Shots and Sitings 2012 Opening

Photo (cc) RISD Museum

Amongst all the sturm und drang surrounding the 38 Studios debacle and municipal financial crises around the state, there is some good news from the creative sector of our economy. Over the last six years we have seen steady growth, 52% gain in creative industry businesses and a 13% rise in creative industry jobs. This all without a $75 million infusion of capital from the state.

And if you want to help boost that sector, The Providence Art Festival this weekend on Westminster Street is your perfect chance.

Report Shows Positive Trend in Jobs and Business in the Creative Industries in Rhode Island

A six-year trend, beginning in 2007 when the state’s recession began, shows 52% gain in creative industry businesses and 13% gain in creative industry jobs

PROVIDENCE, RI (May 24, 2012) – RI Citizens for the Arts (RI CFA) announces positive growth trends in creative industry jobs and businesses in Rhode Island. The annual Creative Industries in Rhode Island report shows the creative sector in RI added 770 jobs (or 6%) and 460 new businesses (or 16%) between 2011 and 2012. A six year trend, beginning in 2007 when the state’s recession hit, shows a strong and steadily growing industry sector, despite economic hard times. According to the report, based on Dun & Bradstreet registered businesses, the period from 2007-2012 shows overall a 52% gain in creative sector businesses and 13% gain in creative sector jobs in both nonprofit and for profit industries.

“Anecdotally, we’ve long understood the creative industries as a strong and resilient sector, and a significant asset to RI’s economy. With these compiled figures, we now also have concrete evidence,” noted Libby Slader, principal of Libby Slader Interior Design and RI CFA Board Chair. “In addition to providing core industry jobs, the creative sector feeds innovation and entrepreneurship. This is truly a solid basis for more growth and makes for a wise investment in our state.”

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News & Notes

Spokane: A very clear network map [Human Transit]

Human Transit looks at Spokane, Washington’s new system maps. The combined lines to create frequent service sectors would be apropo for RIPTA for places such as Elmwood Avenue and Charles Street.


In bicycle friendly D.C., going car-free is increasingly common [The Washington Post]

In urban areas nationwide, drivers younger than 24 drove six fewer miles a day in 2009 than in 1990. Drivers 25 to 34 drove almost 2.5 fewer miles a day.

“You don’t have to keep a car,” said Carroll, who takes Metro to work most days but walks the 2.4 miles occasionally on a nice day. “I love that the city is becoming more pedestrian-friendly and more bicycle-friendly. I can rent a bike and ride downhill all the way from work. I haven’t yet, but I’m going to.”

And Zipcar? She’s a longtime member who has never used a Zipcar.

“I have kept up my membership because you never know,” she said. “I might have a visitor who wants to take a trip to Middleburg or someplace. I think it’s a very valuable option.”

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News & Notes

Where Things Are, From Near to Far: A Children’s Book About Planning [Planetizen]

While playing in the city park, little Hugo wonders, “Who put these buildings here?” Hugo’s mother leads him on a whirlwind trip through the city, the country, and everything in-between to explain the answer. This engaging book is an easy introduction to the world of urban planning, and illustrates that “every building has its place.”

In case anyone was wondering, I am not too old for you to buy this for me.


The Alexander Hamilton solution to RI’s local pension crisis [WPRI]

There are 23 plans run by 18 municipalities – about half the 39 cities and towns – that “are considered at-risk” because of underfunding, former Auditor General Ernest Almonte told the pension advisory group Wednesday. They include Providence, Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket and East Providence – the state’s five largest communities and key parts of its economic engine.

This fall’s special legislative session on pensions is unlikely to do anything to address those local plans, focusing instead on the ones run by the state. But Almonte and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung warned of dire consequences if the independent plans’ problems aren’t addressed soon, and Governor Chafee proposed the MAST Fund partly due to those concerns.


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Photos and thoughts on today’s RIPTA Riders Rally

RIPTA Riders Rally
RIPTA Riders Rally today at Kennedy Plaza

This afternoon in Kennedy Plaza there was a rally of RIPTA Riders speaking out against proposed service cuts. The rally was well attended, probably 50+ people.

RIPTA Riders Rally
Channels 10 and 6 talking to RIPTA CEO Charles Odimgbe

I’m glad the Sierra Club of Rhode Island and others organized this rally and have been pushing hard on this issue, however…

I’ve had this thought in the back of my head throughout this whole service reduction process, and it is not a pretty thought, it is a thought about which I simply have to be blunt…

No one cares about poor people.

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News & Notes

Some photos of RI (and New Bedford) in the ’30s and ’40s [WPRI | Ted Nesi]

Ted digs up some photos from Depression era Providence and New Bedford, including this one of Kennedy Plaza before it was Kennedy Plaza:


Photo from The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division


A Home Is a Lousy Investment [The Wall Street Journal]

At the risk of heaping more misery on the struggling residential property market, an analysis of home-price and ownership data for the last 30 years in California-the Golden State with notoriously golden property prices-indicates that the average single family house has never been a particularly stellar investment.

In a society increasingly concerned with providing for retirement security and housing affordability, this finding has large implications. It means that we have put excessive emphasis on owner-occupied housing for social objectives, mistakenly relied on homebuilding for economic stimulus, and fostered misconceptions about homeownership and financial independence. We’ve diverted capital from more productive investments and misallocated scarce public resources.


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News & Notes

Saint-Pierre River Site to Become Montréal’s first Woonerf [Spacing Montréal]

The borough describes a woonerf as a convivial street where one can safely walk, bicycle, play, and relax, while still being accessible to cars, adding that the woonerf aims animate residential streets by giving them a soul. But the project also has more tangible goals: the subsidy requires the woonerf to have permeable surfaces over at least 85% of the site, to introduce vegetation in order to reduce the heat-island effect, and to incorporate a space for urban agriculture.


World Map on Bike-sharing [Fietsberaad]


View The Bike-sharing World Map in a larger map
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News & Notes

Actually, Highway Builders, Roads Don’t Pay For Themselves [DC.Streetsblog]

You’ve heard it a thousand times from the highway lobby: Roads pay for themselves through “user fees” — a.k.a. gas taxes and tolls — whereas transit is a drain on the taxpayer. They use this argument to push for new roads, instead of transit, as fiscally prudent investments.

The myth of the self-financed road meets its match today in the form of a new report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group: “Do Roads Pay For Themselves?” The answer is a resounding “no.” All told, the authors calculate that road construction has sucked $600 billion out of America’s public purse since the dawn of the interstate system.

Pedestrian-Only Shopping Streets Make Communities More Livable [Planetizen]

Pedestrian-oriented shopping streets can be key to making communities more livable, particularly when they are well designed, managed and strategically connected to networks of public transit, pedestrian paths and bike routes, says planning consultant Luis Rodriguez.

Smaller Cities Becoming Hotbeds for High-Tech Growth [Area Development]

By utilizing the strengths of existing business as well as government and academia, smaller cities are becoming hotbeds for the biotech, IT, renewable energy technologies, aerospace/defense, digital media, and a host of other high-tech endeavors.

Editor’s Choice: The Ten Best Opinion Pieces of 2010 [Next American City]

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News & Notes

Mass. Senate approves bill licensing 3 casinos [ProJo]
The bill includes an ammendment allowing Fall River to develop a casino on 300 acres of land at the northern edge of the city. Here in Rhode Island, Gordon Fox is making noise about calling back the Assembly to override the Governor’s veto of a casino ballot question.

Ximedica to expand HQ by 23,000 sq. ft. [PBN]

US Bicycle Route System begins connecting America [USDOT FastLane Blog]

Watery Future for the City of Light [New York Times]
French President and Paris Mayor at odds over closing 1.2 miles of expressway along the banks of the River Seine.

Readying Streetcar Plans, Cincinnati Considers Reducing Parking Requirements [The TransportPolitic]
“Cincinnati is thinking seriously about how to make its proposed streetcar system a vital element of a growing downtown, not simply a trophy piece to parade around in demonstration of its progress. The city’s Planning Commission has taken a major step in that direction by signaling its support last week to significantly reducing parking requirements in areas within two blocks of future streetcar stops.”

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