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City of Providence Seeks Public Comment on Sustainabilty Plan

providence-green

Over the past year, the City of Providence has been working on its Sustainability Plan. The City has released a draft of that plan and is seeking comment from the public. From the City:


From Mayor Taveras: Draft Sustainable Providence Plan Released for Public Comment

I am pleased to release for public comment a draft of the city’s first-ever sustainability action plan, Sustainable Providence.

In 2013, I released sustainability goals to move Providence forward in six key areas: waste, food, transportation, water, energy, and land use & development. Since then, more than 100 community leaders have worked with my staff to develop and provide feedback on this draft plan to achieve our goals.

Implementing this plan will help build a resilient and sustainable future for Providence as we protect our environment, rebuild our economy and strengthen our community. Thank you for working together with us to create a cleaner, greener city.

Please submit your comments by Friday, August 22, 2014 to Sheila Dormody, Director of Sustainability, sdormody@providenceri.com

Full disclosure: I participated on the Transportation Subcommittee
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CPC to review proposed drive-thru in Olneyville at January 21 28, 2014 meeting

olneyville

This building in Olneyville was razed last year. Image from Google Streetview

The City Plan Commission meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to the impending storm. It is rescheduled for January 28th.

The block of buildings on Plainfield between Dike and Atwood Streets was razed last January. An anonymous commenter from that post wins the prize as my understanding is a McDonald’s with a drive-thru along with a dollar store is now planned for this location.

As Olneyville attempts to reviatalize itself a fast food restaurant, seperated from the street by parking, with a drive-thru is exactly what the neighborhood does not need. This parcel interrupts what is almost a complete streetwall along the south side of Plainfield Street and through the Square from the Route 6 overpass to the unfortunately placed car wash at the Westminster and Broadway intersection.

Olneyville has the lowest rate of vehicle ownership in the City, who is this drive-thru being built for? McDonald’s, if they want to be in Olneyville, should consider maybe building a walk-up window rather than a drive-thru one.

The developer will be seeking relief for building setback and a special use permit for a drive-thru from the CPC at their meeting on January 21st. See the full CPC agenda below.

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PBN: City again tackles rezoning

Providence will try again this year to drag its zoning code into the 21st century.

Like many other communities across the country, Rhode Island’s capital hopes to remove barriers to urban growth within its 1950s-era, land-use regulations and this month begins a citywide public process to rewrite them.

The last time Providence tried a comprehensive zoning rewrite, in the midst of a building boom in 2005, the effort met community resistance and was drastically scaled back.

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City Plan Commission Meeting – April 23, 2013

Moar parkings pleaze!

Notice of Regular Meeting
Tuesday, April 23, 2013 – 4:45pm
Department of Planning and Development • 1st Floor Meeting Room
444 Westminster Street, Providence

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from February 26, 2013 meeting – for action
  • Director’s Report – Updates on the Thayer Street study and revision of Citywide Zoning

Major Land Development Project

1. Case No. 13-006 MA – 2-100 Harris Ave. (Master Plan Approval) The applicant is proposing to develop the subject property, zoned D-2, into a parking lot providing approximately 737 parking spaces. The lot measures approximately 174,575 SF and the applicant is requesting master plan approval – for action (AP 19 Lot 38, Smith Hill)

This is the site of the former Fruit and Produce Warehouse.

See also: Fruit and Produce safety hazard (01/10/2008)
Yes, you can haz demo permit (01/14/2008)

City Council Referral

2. Referral 3362 – Petition for zone change from R-2 to M-1 at 230 Carolina Ave. Petition to rezone the property at 230 Carolina Ave from R-2 to M-1 – for action (AP 58 lots 704-724, 726 and 730, Washington Park)

Major Land Development Project

3. Case No. 13-011MA – 225 and 230 Carolina Ave. (Master Plan Approval) The applicant is proposing to develop the subject property into a parking lot providing approximately 107 parking spaces. The subject property is zoned R-2 and will provide parking for an industrial business to the north located in an M-1 zone. The combined area of all the lots is approximately 45,360 SF. The applicant will apply to change the zone of the subject property to M-1 and is requesting master plan approval – for action (AP 58 lots 704-724, 726 and 730, Washington Park)

Adjournment


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Reader Submission: Unpaved Smith Hill

Providence New capital hill

In response to recent discussions on parking at the State House reader Nicolas R. Mariscal submits a Photoshop rendering (above) of what the State House area could look like with better land use planning. Nicholas says:

I saw your post on the parking situation at the state house, and agree that the surface parking is an eyesore, like it is almost everywhere else around Providence.

So I was bored after class today and photoshopped an aerial image of the RI State House that could get rid of the surface lots, still keeping in mind that most people commuting will drive to work.

Got rid of the surface lots, and feel a parking garage with a nice facade/metal screen, lighting and shops on the first floor could go on the fourth side(blank side) of the odd postmodern plaza in the middle of all the state offices. Creating a nice courtyard between all the buildings.

I like the idea of combining a parking structure with ground floor retail uses on the State House complex grounds. There really is no good place in the immediate area to get a bite to eat or a cup of coffee for state employees or visitors. Retail at a garage could help that, and the central plaza could become a good place for workers and visitors to enjoy thier lunch.

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Guest post: Parking reform should start at the State House

historic-state-house

The State House with a lot less parking. Photo courtesy of the Providence Department of Planning & Development.

Reader James Kennedy writes about reforming parking at the State House. Follow James on Twitter: @TransportPVD.

The State House is a great place to start reforming Providence’s parking crisis. The great map that Jef put up last April shows that the State House contributes considerably to the overwhelming of our downtown space by surface parking.

From the outset, 10% of State House parking lot space should be repurposed as a vegetable and flower garden, which could be run in private-public partnership with the Southside Community Land Trust. Repurposing State House parking will highlight one of the city’s best reasons for optimism, the Land Trust’s Lots for Hope program. Produce from the raised beds could be used to fill food banks around the state, or could be sold at Rhode Island’s farmers’ markets to return a modest revenue boost to the state budget.

The remaining spaces should no longer be free. Legislators and other State House employees should receive a transportation stipend, equal to the amount of money currently being spent on paving a parking spot for them to use. Those who continue to drive to the State House would not lose money, but they will at least be aware that parking is a fiscal choice. But many others will choose to save money by carpooling, taking transit, or biking to the capital. The plan will be revenue neutral to taxpayers, in that it will simply repurpose funds already being spent.

Parking demand will decrease if this plan is put in place, and as it does, the state should gradually remove more spaces to increase the area of the garden. As in Denmark, where cities have committed to remove 2-3% of parking spaces per year to reduce their carbon footprints, the State House could set a per year goal for removal of spots, with the eventual culmination of a parking lot half the size of the current one. The gradual pace of change will allow for other transportation options to be developed.

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City Plan Commission Meeting May 15, 2012

Notice of Regular Meeting
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 – 4:45pm
Department of Planning and Development
1st Floor Meeting Room
444 Westminster Street, Providence

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of meeting minutes from April 16th and April 24th, 2012 meetings – for action
  • Director’s Report

Minor Subdivision

1. Case No. 12-015MI – 157 Hope Street The applicant is seeking preliminary plan approval to subdivide the existing vacant lot measuring 4,038 SF, into two lots measuring 7,015 SF and 7,023 SF. (College Hill AP 13 Lot 204, R-1) – for action

City Council Referral

2. Referral 3346 Petition to amend the Future Land Use Map of the Comprehensive Plan – PUBLIC HEARING The petitioner is requesting that the Future Land Use Map of the Comprehensive Plan be amended so that the Neighborhood/Commercial land use designation is extended to encompass the area bounded by Cushing, Hope, Angell and Thayer Streets on Map 11.2 entitled “Future Land Use.” (College Hill) – for discussion and action

3. Referral 3347 – Petition to amend the Zoning Ordinance Review of proposed changes to the Zoning Ordinance including amending the zoning map to create the C-3 zone for mixed use transit oriented development, changes to dimensional and use regulations, signage and parking. The Commission will make a recommendation to the City Council – for discussion and action

Major Land Development Project

4. Case No. 12-014MA – Cedar Street Parking Structure The applicant is seeking Master Plan Approval to construct a two level parking structure with a total of 317 parking spaces. The structure will occupy the area between Brayton Street and 50 Cedar Street. A portion of Cedar Street and Bond Street is proposed for abandonment to provide access to the parking area. The applicant has proposed Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance amendments to accommodate the development. (Federal Hill AP 26 Lots 67, 166, 167, 171, 176, 178, 182, R-G and D-2) – for action.

See previous proposal: Building proposed at 50 Cedar Street

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News & Notes

Hubway bike share system launched this morning in Boston. Photo from Government Center from Hubway’s Twitter feed:

Hubway bike share bikes at Government Center in Boston


→ A beginning agenda for making smart growth legal [Switchboard]

When then-governor Parris Glendening announced a key portion of what was to become Maryland’s path-breaking land use legislation in the 1990s, he stood in the historic district of Annapolis, where Maryland’s State House is located. He told the crowd that the best parts of downtown Annapolis – a picturesque, highly walkable and much-loved collection of 17th- and 18th-century homes, apartments, shops, civic and church buildings, restaurants and small offices just above the city’s harbor – could not have been built in the late 20th century.


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Mayor appoints members to Downtown area zoning/permitting committees

Mayor Taveras has appointed 30+ people to committees that will work to streamline the zoning and permitting policies in the Downtown area, including the Jewelry District and the 195 Land. I am honored to be among the people appointed to the Advisory Committee.

The Advisory Committee is described thusly:

An Advisory Committee will provide feedback on broad development goals and policy issues that affect zoning in the target area.

The committees have not started meeting yet, so I’m not sure exactly how they will roll, but I am for sure open to hearing what you all have to say about it.

See below a press release from the Mayor’s Office outlining the goals of the Committees and listing the members:

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Turning downtowns into suburbia

Christopher T. McCahill and Norman Garrick look at how land use devoted to parking may turn our downtowns into a sort of office park in the city. Case in point, Hartford.

At the Travelers Companies, Inc. – an insurance company in the downtown where employees are charged between 70 and 125 dollars per month for parking – only 71 percent of employees choose to drive alone to work. In contrast, at enterprises where employee parking is free and ample (including the both the city and the state government offices in Downtown), between 83 and 95 percent drive alone to work.

Read more at Planetizen.

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