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Downcity Design Review Committee – May 10, 2010

Notice of Regular Meeting • Monday, May 10, 2010 4:45pm
Department of Planning and Development, 4th Floor Auditorium 400 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of Meeting Minutes of April 12, 2010

Pre-Application Review

Google Street View

Regency Plaza The applicant is requesting a pre-application review of a proposed sign package for the entire complex, which consists of three towers and campus.

Adjournment


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A proposal for two-way Empire Street at LaSalle Square

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Original drawing by RIDOT, modifications by Jef Nickerson • Click image to enlarge

Last month we took a look at the city’s plans for the redesign of LaSalle Square. The city is planning to make Empire Street two-way for the entire length (from Weybosset/Broad to through the square to Sabin Street). The city has had some back and forth with RIDOT on the issue, so the current plans do not reflect two-way Empire Street.

I’ve given some thought to how Empire should move through the square and above is a drawing of my idea.

Empire-Broadway through-route

Make Empire and Broadway one continuous through roadway. Make Sabin end at a T at Broadway/Empire. This makes for just two light movements. Broadway/Empire green with no turns, just straight through. And Sabin green with left and right onto Broadway/Empire. No need for special light cycles to get different turns accomplished, very easy predictable geometry for drivers and pedestrians. If the lights are timed right, one should be able to drive from Broadway and Dean to Empire and Weybosset and beyond without stopping.

Aborn Street plaza

Aborn Street, which runs between the Dunk and the Hilton is technically a public street, though it does not actually run anywhere and effectively acts a driveway for the Dunk. Since it has almost no public traffic, I’ve downgraded it from a full street to a plaza-like configuration. The street climbs up onto the sidewalk, bollards on the sidewalk mark its path. See the plaza at the RISD Chase Center for an idea of how this would work. The Chase Center plaza doubles as open space and a loading dock for the Museum and other adjacent buildings.

Sabin sidewalk/Dunk Plaza

Sabin Street is pulled away from the Dunk to make it meet Empire/Broadway at a right angle. The space where Sabin used to be outside the Dunk gets replaced with a raised planter that can double as casual seating along the planter ledge. This puts a barrier between traffic and pedestrians and also funnels pedestrians along the sidewalk properly.

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Dunkin Donuts Center prior to renovations • Photo by Jef Nickerson

At the Aborn end of the Dunk there is currently a sad little plaza that could and should be upgraded to make a small pocket park outside the Dunk. There was a small, not too terrible, pocket park at this location prior to the Dunk renovation, it was behind the giant electronic sign and really underused before. Having a park that is more open to the street, combined with more foot traffic in LaSalle Square would make for a more successful park at this location.

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Providence War Memorial Relocation

The Providence War Memorial has been under construction for some time, but until recently it has been all work on the footings, we now see the memorial itself taking shape.

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Photos by Jef Nickerson

This is a reconfiguration of the memorial that used to sit outside the Dunkin’ Donuts Center before renovation. When it was at the Dunk the panels were arranged in a fan shape, now the panels are being spread out and each getting it’s own base to stand one with interlocking bands connecting them. From what I’m told the bands will be red and blue when complete. The rededication will take place September 24th:

With construction of the Providence War Memorial well underway (see below pictures), the Authority is pleased to announce the dedication ceremony scheduled for Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. located at LaSalle Square, just across the street from the Dunkin’ Donuts Center (DDC). The event will include a brief speaking program as well as an unveiling ceremony presented by elements of the world renowned “Spirit of America” group, which is performing at the DDC September 25 and 26.

The Authority recognizes and appreciates the assistance of the Department of Planning and Development and the feedback and recommendations from local veterans on this important project.

For more information, please contact: Kim Keough, RICCA, at 401-572-3528, or via e-mail at kim.keough@riccauth.com

From Rhode Island Convention Center

This memorial honors Providence residents from all American conflicts. There was a portion of the original memorial which honored veterans state-wide, that section of the memorial is being moved to state land outside Providence.

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LaSalle Square redesign

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The city Department of Planning and Development has been working for some time on a Downtown Circulation Plan. Signs of the plan are visible already on city streets, Washington Street was made two-way, and the lights at Washington and Empire are built for the future transformation of Empire into a two-way street. Eventually, Weybosset will be made a two-way street as well. A large part of this plan will involve LaSalle and Emmett Squares near the Convention Center.

The city has secured funding and plans to move forward with the redirection of Empire and the redesign of LaSalle Square next spring. Below are conceptual drafts of the planned redesign of LaSalle Square.

Please note, there is a key part of the plan that has changed that is not reflected on these drafts. In the final plan, Empire will be two-way straight through LaSalle Square to the intersection of Sabin Street and Broadway. The city originally wanted this, but RIDOT was originally reluctant to allow two-way traffic through the center of the square. RIDOT now agrees that Empire should be two-way through the square, and new plans are being drawn up to reflect that.

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Download full site plans:
LaSalle Square Site Plan DRAFT
Fountain Street Site Plan DRAFT


So, let’s review the components of this plan:

Continue Reading →

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Parking Sign FAIL

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Sigh. Where to start, let’s start at the top.

“No Parking Here to Corner”

First, why do we need this sign on every corner? Most other municipalities make this plain with yellow markings on the curb. Second, RI General Law § 31-21-4 states that there is no parking or stopping “[w]ithin twenty feet of a crosswalk at an intersection.” The city has a $25 fine for parking within 25 feet of a corner [section 15.2]. This sign is not 20 feet or 25 feet from the corner of Aborn Street (or is that Don Imus Way?) , so why is the sign here?

“Handicapped Parking Permit Required”

Well, no problem with that really. The disabled may not like being referred to as handicapped anymore though, Differently Abled Parking maybe?

“RIPTA Bus Stop”

Oh, wait a second. I’m not finding the actual law that prohibits parking at a bus stop (and the bus stop sign does not say “No Parking”) but there is a $30 fine for parking at a bus stop [section 15.2].

So, is it a handicapped parking space within 25 feet of a corner or is it a bus stop? All uses are wrong, and a bus stop and handicapped parking sign can’t exist in the same space, especially not within 25 (or 20, take your pick) feet of a corner (though a bus stop could exist within 20 or 25 feet of a corner). FAIL.

But all of this is moot, wanna know why?

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BECAUSE THERE IS A GIANT TRAILER PARKED HERE!

Wha!?

Gee, wonder if the bus driver can see me as I stand behind this giant trailer. DOUBLE FAIL!

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Downcity Design Review Committee Meeting (03/09)

NOTICE OF REGULAR MEETING • MONDAY, MARCH 9, 2009 • 4:45 PM
Department of Planning and Development , 4th Floor Auditorium
400 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of Meeting Minutes: January 12, 2009 and February 9, 2009
  • Approval of 2009 DRC Calendar

Project Review

1. Case No. 09.04 One AT&T Plaza Proposal to relocate the Veteran’s War Memorial, formerly located on the old Civic Center Plaza on Sabin Street, to the plaza in front of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Building. One AT&T Plaza is bounded by Sabin, Empire and Fountain Streets (across from LaSalle Square).


View Larger Map

2. Case No. 09.02 165 Washington Street Civic Center Parking Garage (Public Hearing) The subject of the hearing will be an application by Joseph DiBattista, requesting a waiver of DRC Regulations prohibiting internally illuminated signs. The proposed LED signs are to be installed on the Washington Street and Adrian Hall Way elevations. (continued from the DRC meeting scheduled for 2/9/09)


View Larger Map

Adjournment


One AT&T Plaza!?! Am I to assume from that that AT&T bought the Blue Cross Blue Shield Building in LaSalle Square? Anyone?

Update: Here’s what I learned. It should be called, in the greatest Rhode Island tradition, “Where AT&T Used To Be Plaza.” Because AT&T used to be in the BCBS Building. I shall start calling it, “The Plaza Across From The Old Public Safety Building Memorial Parking Lot in LaSalle Square Plaza.”

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