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Tag Archives | Kennedy Plaza

ProJo: Former Providence Mayor Paolino seeks $4.25M in tax help for new hotel

Image from ZDS

Former Mayor Joseph R. Paolino Jr. is seeking $4.25 million in state tax help to redevelop his historic office building at 30 Kennedy Plaza into a 48-room boutique hotel that he says would attract guests visiting the tenants in his adjacent office tower at 100 Westminster St.

When he bought both buildings and a nearby parking lot in early 2014 for about $60 million, Paolino said he hoped to turn the smaller of the buildings, built in the mid 1800s, into a hotel.

[…]

Paolino said challenges remain with his hotel plans. He has been one of the loudest critics of existing conditions at Kennedy Plaza, where many of the state’s bus routes converge. He said the city’s recent imposition of a no-smoking policy in Kennedy Plaza will help the area become more of a park and less a place where people loiter. But more must be done — the reason, Paolino said, that he has become chairman of the Downtown Improvement District.

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Groundbreaking for new Playground in Burnside Park

From the Downtown Providence Parks Conservacy:


An ocean of fun is coming to Burnside Park this summer!

We are thrilled to announce that today in Burnside Park, the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy broke ground on Brandon’s Beach at Burnside Park, a new destination playground for children of all abilities located in the heart of historic Downtown Providence.

The groundbreaking on Brandon’s Beach at Burnside Park marks a significant new investment in Burnside Park, and serves to enhance Greater Kennedy Plaza’s status as a welcoming city center and family destination. The completed playground will be sensory rich, with musical equipment, swings, and spinners. It will be appropriate for toddlers and young children of all abilities.

The DPPC also used the occasion to announce enhancements to the Imagination Center, which features new amenities made possible by a generous grant from the Hasbro Children’s Fund. It will work in concert with the new playground to establish Burnside Park as a compelling draw for families.

“These are major investments that enhance Greater Kennedy Plaza as a thriving, vital city center and destination for Providence residents and visitors,” said DPPC Executive Director Cliff Wood.

Read more to learn about the inspiration and design of the playground, funding sources, and the impact it’s expected to have on the community.

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Kennedy Plaza/Downtown Transit Connector Public Meeting – May 9, 2017

Kennedy Plaza – Image from RIPTA

From the Providence Department of Planning & Development:


Please join the City of Providence and the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority for an update on the Downtown Transit Connector (DTC) – a planned, high-frequency transit corridor in downtown Providence – and an opportunity to provide further input on the redesign of Kennedy Plaza. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 9, 2017, from 5:30 to 7:00 PM at the Joseph Doorley Municipal Building (first floor), 444 Westminster Street, Providence.

Both RIPTA and the City of Providence are seeking public input on the planned high-frequency DTC service and Kennedy Plaza, which will be a key stop. The City is in the process of looking at options for a long-term vision for Kennedy Plaza to make it a more active, vibrant, safe, and attractive city center while also accommodating public transit. In February, the City hosted a community meeting to gather public input on the redesign of the Plaza. During the upcoming May 9th meeting, the City will again engage community members in a discussion about the remaining options for the Plaza and surrounding area.

At the same time that the City is exploring options for the Plaza, RIPTA is working to advance design and engineering of the DTC. The DTC will create six “station-like” stops on a high?frequency route between Providence Station and the Hospital District, and includes service through Kennedy Plaza. These stops will be designed to be unique and highly visible. Features will include shelters, real time bus arrival signage, bike infrastructure, and other passenger amenities to create attractive public spaces. Part of the design effort will include branding to create a specific identity for the new transit corridor.

Continue Reading →

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Bike Month 2017

Photo angela n.

Providence Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 19th, information from Facebook:

Bike to Work Day is the origin of all National Bike Month events. Started in 1956, this day is a time to try out commuting to work by bike, even if that’s not something you’d normally do. This year, Bike to Work Day is on Friday, May 19th. There will be a big celebration in downtown Providence from 7-9am, in Burnside Park, with free food, booths with community organizations, and a few special guests to applaud your bicycling efforts. There will also be bike trains coming into downtown from all parts of the city, so you don’t have to bike alone!

Visit the Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition website for information about all the events happening during Bike Month.
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Community Conversation on the future of Kennedy Plaza – February 16, 2017

From the Mayor’s Office:


Mayor Jorge O. Elorza will be hosting a Citywide Conversation focusing on a long-term vision for Kennedy Plaza. The Mayor will provide remarks on his vision for the space and community members will be able to participate in working groups to provide thoughts, ideas, and feedback.

WHO: Mayor Elorza; Community Members
WHAT: Citywide Conversation on Long-Term Vision for Kennedy Plaza
WHERE: Joseph A Doorley Jr. Municipal Building, 444 Westminster Street, Providence
WHEN: Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 5:00PM

Event listing on Facebook
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ProJo: Cumberland woman, 30, struck and killed by bus in Providence’s Kennedy Plaza

walkinpvd-iconA 30-year-old Cumberland woman on her way to work Wednesday morning was killed when a bus struck her in a crosswalk in Kennedy Plaza and dragged her 50 to 60 feet.

Providence police identified the victim as Michelle Cagnon. She worked for Bank of America, according to company spokesman Trevor Koenig.

She was walking east on Washington Street, in front of the Alex and Ani City Center ice skating rink, when she stepped into the crosswalk to cross East Approach a little after 8 a.m., according to Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Paré.

“Lady was in the crosswalk,” said witness Charles Parker, “looked up, screamed as she got run over.”

“The minute she got into the middle of the crosswalk, Peter Pan came around and just hit her,” said another witness, Michael “Casey” Lee, of Dartmouth, Mass. “All you heard was the smack, and that was it.”


This is so awful.

The Peter Pan buses often move too fast and too recklessly through the plaza, I don’t understand why. One almost hit me the other day as it swung out of the berth at the Transit Center, across the 3 lanes of traffic on Washington Street, and up onto the East Approach. I was crossing East Approach on foot and had to step back onto the curb to avoid it.

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PBN: State approves $8M for historic renovations across R.I.

The state Division of Taxation has approved nearly $8 million in state historic preservation tax credits to seven projects in several cities, including for works that will create new purposes for old industrial buildings.


This is quite a list of buildings, some pretty important to the streetscapes of the city. Let’s take a look at the ones in Providence:

Freedom City Properties LLC – 431 Harris Avenue, Providence

Image from the R.I. Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission

In Eagle Square, Freedom City Properties LLC is renovating the former American Brewing Co. building (better known as Capital Records Management) into artists workspaces, a theatre, and apartments.

Continue Reading →

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Boo City at Burnside Music Series + Beer Garden – July 7, 2016

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Boo City – Image courtesy of the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy © Curt Allan

Canceled due to the imminent risk of severe weather.

The weekly Music Series + Beer Garden kicks off for the season this Thursday at Burnside Park in Kennedy Plaza:


You’ve earned it, Providence: an entire season of afternoons in the park. The sun on your face, the breeze in your hair, a well-deserved drink in your hand, and FREE MUSIC!

Every Thursday this summer from July 7th to September 8th, Burnside Park will be transformed into your favorite restaurant, your family outing, your afternoon date, and your patio bar. Lounge on the grass, grab a bite from your favorite food truck, or sidle up to the tables and chairs at Trinity Brewhouse’s beer garden (open from 4:30-7:30 every Thursday!). Live music from 5:30-7 ensures that your personal dance hall, showspace, and musician’s salon is but a stroll downtown away.

Whether you’re wrapping up work, heading in for your shift, cavorting with friends, or just reveling in something other than winter, join us by the fountain Thursday afternoons. You work hard. You deserve it.

Facebook event page

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ProJo: R.I. begins moving on RIPTA bus hub project at Providence Amtrak Station

Rhode Island officials have taken the first small step toward building a multimillion-dollar bus hub at the Providence Amtrak Station, potentially as part of a larger real estate project with a private developer.

On Monday, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation Board approved hiring Chicago-based real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle to talk to developers, promote the project and help put together bid documents to seek private investment.

[…]

A memo from Commerce Corporation Senior Project Manager Michael Walker given to the Commerce board described Jones Lang Lasalle’s task as: “…to assist with the outreach to the developer community to identify and promote the development opportunity, structure the data requirements that a successful solicitation will require in order to be favorably received by developers, and to draft the Request for Proposals that [the Department of Transportation] will issue to solicit the private investment in this first-of-a kind transit project in Rhode Island.”

I’m all about public/private partnerships, the land around the station is far too valuable to be just a bus station. And bringing in a private developer to team up on this project is the definition of Transit Oriented Development. But boy do I fear concessions to the developer whittling away at the benefits to transit riders that this project could realize.

Please oh please Rhode Island, don’t f*ck it up!

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ProJo: RIPTA turns focus to expansion near Rhode Island Hospital

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Rhode Island Hospital area. Image from Bing Maps

Although RIPTA still expects to create a bus stop or stops at Garrahy, transit planners don’t envision a “hub” or terminal there and actually see more potential for expansion farther south, near Rhode Island Hospital.

“Rhode Island Hospital is a huge ridership area for us,” said Amy Pettine, RIPTA’s executive director of planning. “Garrahy emerged as an opportunity, but with the hospital as a key anchor, we will probably need something further south.”

RIPTA is working with the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority, which is building the Garrahy garage, on determining what kind of mass transit presence makes sense, from a regular stop, to a “super stop” with passenger amenities and a place for drivers to take a break.


We need to consider the 195 Land and the Jewelry District as part of downtown. Operationally, I think it could work out better to have hubs on the periphery of downtown (Train Station Hub and Hospital Hub) rather than one on the edge and one kind of in the middle (Garrahy Garage). Hubs on the edge with routes from north and south converging at them allows for through-routing buses on narrowly defined corridors through downtown, creating corridors with high-frequency service.

Continue Reading →

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Capital Center Commission Meeting – January 13, 2016

parcel-12-homewood-dec-2015-001

Capital Center Commission Meeting Notice
Wednesday, January 13, 2016 – 12:00 noon
Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

ccc-roundAgenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Minutes
    2.1 Approval of Commission Meeting Minutes of September 9, 2015
    2.2 Acceptance of DRC Meeting Minutes of June 16, 2015, August 4, 2015, October 6, 2015, and November 3, 2015
  3. Acceptance of 2016 CCC Meeting Schedule
  4. Election of Officers
  5. Parcel 12: Public Hearing
    Application for Development and Deviations from the Development Review Regulations related to the construction of a new hotel building. The applicant will also be seeking variances from Section 604 of the Zoning Ordinance from the Zoning Board of Review.
  6. Parcel 12: Action
    Action on the Application for Development and Deviations from the Development Review Regulations related to the construction of a new hotel building, and on the request for variances from Section 604 of the Zoning Ordinance.
  7. Adjournment

Continue Reading →

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Capital Center Commission Design Review Committee Meeting – December 15, 2015

2015-0803-homewood-parcel-12-rendering-001

Capital Center Commission Meeting
Tuesday, December 15, 2015 • 8:00 am
Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

ccc-roundAgenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Minutes
    Meetings of August 4, 2015, October 6, 2015 and November 3, 2015
  3. Acceptance of 2016 CCDRC Meeting Schedule
  4. Parcel 12
    Continued design review of plans for the construction of a new hotel on the property. (The DRC made a recommendation to the Capital Center Commission for the application for development and deviations, and to the Zoning Board of Review for zoning variances, at a public hearing held on November 3, 2015).
  5. Adjournment
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Rhode Island Transit Future: A Strategy for Economic Growth, the Green Way

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Hudson-Bergen Light Rail vehicle operating on the street in Jersey City, NJ. Photo (cc) Wally Gobetz

This post was submitted to Greater City Providence by Roger Leaf.

walkinpvd-iconThere were two important takeaways from last week’s symposium on making mass transit work for Rhode Island. The first, made by Grow Smart RI’s Executive Director, Scott Wolf, was that only 2.7% of Rhode Islanders use public transit, about half the national average, despite being the second most densely populated state. According to the U.S. Census, only 8% of commuters in Providence took public transit in 2010, compared to 33% in Boston, 27% in Cambridge, and 21% in Hartford – even New Haven has 50% more transit commuters than Providence does.

The second key takeaway, made by leaders from the Minneapolis, Denver, and Hartford transit systems, was that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to public transit. Here again, Rhode Island seems out of step, with a bus-only network that only meets the needs of a small percentage of its citizens. With nearly 80% of the state already living within 10-minutes of a transit stop, it seems unlikely that RIPTA will be able to really move the needle on ridership unless it is willing to consider other approaches.

Bus transit offers many benefits: up front costs for infrastructure are low, and rerouting bus routes in response to changing rider demand is relatively easy. But RIPTA’s single-hub bus network hasn’t worked well for Providence. Kennedy Plaza feels like a barren, bus parking lot, adding to congestion and discouraging downtown development, and it is nearly impossible to get from one place in the region to another without passing through Kennedy Plaza. Other modes of transportation have been considered, most notably a downtown streetcar system and BRT along the 6-10 corridor, but both of these are expensive for the limited benefit they provide. In addition to growing its ridership, RIPTA should be looking for new ways to reduce congestion and pollution, to stimulate and support targeted development, make the region more competitive for jobs, and improve the quality of life for all Rhode Islanders. It needs to seriously consider light rail.

Continue Reading →

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RIPTA Riders Alliance: Suggestions on how to really make transit work

ripta-kp

This post was submitted to Greater City Providence by the RIPTA Riders Alliance.

walkinpvd-iconIn consideration of how to “make transit work,” the subject of the December 1st CTC conference which was to address the relatively low rate of commute-by-transit in Rhode Island, the RIPTA Riders Alliance distributed this list of challenges and possible strategies to deal with them.

Mostly it is about operational and promotional improvements rather than big infrastructure capital projects.


Challenge

1. Lack of operating funds to implement key Strategic Plan goals including increased frequency, route improvements, real-time bus info.

Response

Work with stakeholders, the Governor’s office, and legislators to really establish a funding stream that grows with inflation and need.


Challenge

2. Very inadequate snow removal from bus stops and shelters after storms.

Response

Convene stakeholder group including Governor’s Office, RIDOT, RIPTA, Lamar, municipalities, snowplow operators, police, DPWs, and advocacy groups to work out plans and responsibilities to address this issue.


Challenge

3. Bus trips often slow.

Response

Expand signal priority/green light extension to more key lines (e.g. Chalkstone, Elmwood, Cranston Street, etc); make preloaded smart-cards widely available to speed boarding, with discount incentives for their wide use; investigate BRT opportunities and new express services (e.g. Providence-Pawtucket, Newport limited stops)


Challenge

4. A very significant 30% to 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in the northeast come from transportation, but this is slower to be addressed than energy and commercial sectors.

Response

Addressing climate change is a reason to enhance and promote transit and should be part of the discussion at the task forces that address climate change. Legislation that proposes assessments or taxes on greenhouse emissions should provide funding for public transit operations or infrastructure.


Continue Reading →

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Rhode Island Transit Future: Ideas – Late Night Bus Routes – RIPTA-24

ripta-night-flickr

RIPTA bus at night. Photo (cc) .sanden.

This post was submitted Greater City Providence reader Peter Brassard. If you’ve written something you’d like us to consider posting, please contact us and let us know.
This is second of a series on ideas for Rhode Island’s transit future.

walkinpvd-iconIn recent articles and comments to posts, people have suggested that RIPTA might do better if it offered 24-hour service. Twenty-four hour transit would serve a population that is generally forced to drive, which includes nighttime service workers, hospital employees, restaurant, bar and nightclub goers, and travelers.

I started looking at what night service might look like, but before this Boston Globe article came out about the MBTA late night service being on the chopping block.

Regarding the Boston area transit system, besides being more extensive than Rhode Island’s, they have the challenge of providing both nighttime bus and subway service. With the subway the costs go up dramatically, especially if trains are mostly empty. The Providence area is nowhere as complicated as in Boston, so a simpler strategy is possible for providing an affordable late night service.

Continue Reading →

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2015 Burnside Music Series + Beer Garden starts Thursday, July 9, 2015

kennedy-plaza-beer-garden

The Kennedy Plaza Beer Garden is back! Starting this Thursday, July 9th and every Thursday through September 10th in Burnside Park. More information from Greater Kennedy Plaza:


2015 Burnside Music Series + Beer Garden

The time is nigh, friends, and not a moment too soon! Join us every Thursday this summer for beautiful times in Burnside Park, replete with delightful bevs by Trinity Brewhouse, delicious food by Rhode Island’s greatest food trucks, casual jams by celebrity DJs, and of course, the finest tunes Rhode Island has to offer, courtesy of a kaleidoscopic array of astounding musicians.

Each and every Thursday, July 9 – September 10, the Trinity Beer Garden will open for business at 4:30 pm. Mill about and sip sangria to the melodious sounds of DJ LaRochelle from 4:30 – 6pm, and enjoy live music from 6 – 7pm.

We are getting our groove on just thinking about our first act SALSA Y GAITAS, who graced us with their sultry music during the Providence International Arts Fest! Salsa with Sangria, what better way to kick off the Summer Season?!

Rendezvous in front of the fountain! Treat yourself, Providence! You’re worth it!

See the Facebook event page for the full summer line-up of music.
Full disclosure: I am on the Board of the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy and my employer, Cornish Associates, is sponsoring this week’s Beer Garden.
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Downtown Farmers Market in Kennedy Plaza starts today – July 7, 2015

kennedy-plaza-farmers-market

The Downtown Farmers Market in Kennedy Plaza is back starting today and every Tuesday through the end of October. More information from Greater Kennedy Plaza:


Welcome back, Downtown Farmers Market!

Downtown Farmers Market + Kidoinfo Play in the Park
Tuesdays 3 – 6PM
July 7th – October 27th

Welcome back to the Downtown Farmers Market with Farm Fresh Rhode Island! Stroll the outskirts of Burnside Park for all of your fresh veggie and locally produced comestible needs! Bring your appetite as well, because this dinnertime market has food trucks to feed you!

Concurrently, Kidoinfo Play in the Park will offer family friendly activities and playspace. The Imagination Center will be open, with the Open Air Reading Room and Imagination Playspace! Bring friends and family to make an afternoon of it!

Featured Play in the Park partner for July & August is playScience
with Miss Katie bringing you fun, interactive music and science activities each week! This week, in honor of Independence Day we bring you Marching Music!

2015 Downtown Farmers Market Vendor Lineup!

  • Pezza Farm
  • Mello Farm
  • Barden Family Orchard
  • Blackbird Farm
  • Ellie’s Bakery
  • Cafe Havav
  • Farm Fresh & Co.

This weeks featured Food Truck: Rocket Fine Street Food!

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