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Release of Providence Bicycle Master Plan – November 5, 2013

mayor-bike

Bike Providence:

A Bicycling Master Plan for Providence

Join Mayor Angel Taveras and the Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission for the release of Bike Providence.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013
9:45-10:30am
Pleasant Valley Parkway – near River Avenue

Bring your bicycle and enjoy the new bike paths along Pleasant Valley Parkway!

The Bike Providence plan will guide the investment of future funding for the Providence bicycle network, promote a bicycle-friendly culture, set priorities for bicycling improvements, and expand the citywide network. The public comment period for the plan will continue through Friday, November 22, 2013.

This project is funded by a Planning Challenge Grant from the Rhode Island Division of Planning.

For more information contact Dave Everett, Department of Planning and Development, (401) 680-8520 or deverett@providencri.com.

Full disclosure: I am a member of the Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission.
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City announces agreement to maintain Providence Community Libraries

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Announcement at Smith Hill Library. Photo from Mayor Taveras’ Facebook page.

At a press conference this morning on Smith Hill, the Taveras Administration announced an agreement which will allow the Providence Community Library (PCL) to gain control of their branch library buildings and initiate much needed renovations of the buildings. The announcement ends a dispute between the PCL, the Providence Public Library (PPL), which maintains the main library on Empire Street, and the City of Providence.

The dispute had left employees at PCL uncertain about their future, community members uncertain about the continued operation of thier neighborhood libraries, and PCL unable to acquire loans or grants to fix and maintain their buidlings.

Taveras Administration Reaches Agreement to Save Libraries
City will lease neighborhood branches for 20 years under mediated settlement

PROVIDENCE, RI – The administration of Providence Mayor Angel Taveras has reached an agreement with the two independent organizations that operate the libraries that serve city residents that will preserve city branches and protect every neighborhood library in the city.

Under the agreement mediated by retired Superior Court Judge Mark Pfeiffer, the Providence Public Library (PPL), which operates the downtown library and owns seven of the city’s nine neighborhood library buildings, will transfer the seven buildings to the City as a 20 year lease-purchase, at the end of which the City will own the buildings outright.

The City will make an initial payment of $250,000 to PPL from funds held in escrow during the dispute over the future of the libraries. Additionally, the City will make 18 annual payments to PPL in the amount of $264,000, beginning in 2014. The total cost of acquiring the seven neighborhood libraries will be $5 million. The assessed value of the seven buildings is approximately $11 million.

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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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Mayor Taveras’ Budget Address

Update: Video of the Mayor’s budget address.


Press Release from Mayor Taveras’ office regarding tonight’s budget address (See below prepared text of the Mayor’s Address):

Mayor Taveras Delivers Fiscal Year 2012 Budget to City Council

Shared sacrifice is major theme of Mayor’s first budget submission

PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Angel Taveras today delivered his proposed 2012 budget to the Providence City Council. The budget reflects the many difficult decisions the City faces to address a ‘Category 5′ fiscal emergency and to restore financial stability to Rhode Island’s Capital City.

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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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Statement from the Mayor’s Office on the City’s ‘fiscal emergency’

Mayor Taveras’ Office this morning released the following statement on the city’s “fiscal emergency.”

March 3, 2011

TAVERAS ANNOUNCES ACTION PLAN IN FACE OF FISCAL EMERGENCY

Mayor takes pay cut, shrinks City workforce, cuts spending

PROVIDENCE – Exactly two months after taking the oath of office, Mayor Angel Taveras held a press conference releasing the findings of the Municipal Finances Review Panel he commissioned immediately upon taking office. Through Executive Order, Taveras tasked the Panel with conducting a comprehensive review of the City’s current fiscal condition.

The findings of the Municipal Finances Review Panel show the true extent of Providence’s financial emergency, revealing that this fiscal year’s structural deficit is $70 million and next fiscal year’s structural deficit is $110 million. Without immediate remediation efforts, the City is expected to end this year with a deficit of as much as $29 million.

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Announcement from the Mayor’s Office regarding snow removal

Announcement from the Mayor’s Office regarding snow removal:

Public Service Announcement: Snow-Covered Sidewalks Pose Signficant Safety Hazard

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Providence community urged to follow City Ordinance on Snow Removal

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for a potent, fast-moving storm forecast to affect Providence this afternoon and tomorrow morning. The storm is expected to cause 6 to 10 inches of heavy, wet snowfall. Snow removal on City sidewalks continues to be a challenge for our community.

With additional accumulations expected this week, it is important that everyone take responsibility for making sure sidewalks are safe and passable. This is especially important to ensure the safety of children who walk to school, and the many pedestrians who regularly walk in Providence.

Providence City Ordinance requires that property owners must shovel sidewalks within eight hours after snow stops falling. The fine for failing to shovel the sidewalks ranges from $25 to $500.

Snow-free sidewalks are more than a convenience; they are a matter of public safety. Property owners are urged to shovel sidewalks as soon as possible. For fire safety purposes, property owners should not rebury fire hydrants after they have been dug out.

Residents concerned about unsafe sidewalks should call the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services at 401-421-2489, or report their concerns directly via the City of Providence’s website, at ProvConnex. ProvConnex is the City’s online dashboard that provides residents with access to dozens of City services.

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Mayor Taveras Launches Economic Development Director Search

Among Mayor Taveras’ immediate goals for economic development in the City of Providence are maximizing the development of the newly recovered I-195 land; improving the City’s public transportation system; retaining existing businesses, recruiting new investment and reforming the City’s zoning, permitting and licensing processes; strategic investments in Providence’s arts and entrepreneurial communities; the pursuit of policies to reduce the City’s carbon footprint and grow a green economy, and; expanding workforce development and training in all neighborhoods.

Thursday, January 20, 2011
Providence business leaders tapped to lead search and selection process

PROVIDENCE – Mayor Angel Taveras has formed a search committee to seek and identify candidates for a cabinet-level position to lead the City’s economic development effort. The eight member committee will be chaired by attorney and business leader Mark Ryan.

Ryan is a principal at Moses & Afonso, Ltd., where he concentrates on corporate and business law. From 1986 to 2009, he worked in various capacities for the Providence Journal. Ryan is the First Vice Chairman and Trustee of the Providence Performing Arts Center and Director and member of the Nominating and Legislative Committees of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce.

Additional search committee members include: Taveras’ Chief of Staff John Pagliarini; Andrew Cortes, Director of Building Futures; William Parsons, Deputy Director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation; Yahaira (Jay) Placencia, Senior Vice President and Senior Client Manager for Bank of America’s Business Banking Division; Jim Riley, Secretary-Treasurer for the UFCW New England Council; Allan Tear, founding partner of Betaspring, a Providence-based entrepreneurship accelerator; and Laurie White, President of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce.

“Mark Ryan and the members of this search committee understand the urgency of our mission: to help businesses prosper, create well-paying jobs, and put our City’s residents back to work,” said Mayor Taveras. “This talented consortium of partners represents many facets of our community, and each will bring an important perspective to our effort to recruit an economic development professional who can leverage our City’s assets and forge a new path toward economic prosperity.”

The committee will seek to complete the search process within 100 days.

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Full disclosure regarding Transition Providence

Today the Transition Team for Mayor-Elect Taveras issued a press release announcing seven committees devoted to determining how to put Mr. Taveras’ campaign promises into action.

If you read the release closely, you’d have noticed that my name is on it. A couple weeks ago I was asked to be on the City Services Committee and accepted. So in the interest of full disclosure, I’m letting you, Greater City: Providence’s readers know.

I can assure you that I will continue to be as critical and snarky as ever when a critical eye and/or snark is warranted. It is an honor to be asked to provide input for the next administration though.

The City Services Committee will be meeting at least two more times (and we have split ourselves into subcommittees which are meeting more frequently), then we need to prepare a report for the Mayor-Elect by December 21st.

Head over to Nesi’s Notes on WPRI.com for a full list of all the committees and committee members.

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Transition Providence

Mayor-Elect Taveras has a new website up, TransitionProvidence.org. It is early days so it is pretty light on content at the moment, but he is already seeking your feedback.

We’re looking forward to seeing more content on the site soon. In the meantime, feel free to discuss here what you want to see the new mayor get to work on.

Update

Mayor-Elect Taveras also has a new Twitter for all you Twitterati to follow:

Follow @Angel_Taveras for transition updates and more.less than a minute ago via web

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Thoughts on the Councilman Hassett hit and run

Atwells Avenue. Image from Google StreetView

First, this goes without saying, but let’s say it because I’m about to get angry. Our thoughts (and I’m sure for those of us that do so, prayers) are with Councilman Hassett and his family and friends, and we hope for nothing but the speediest and fullest recovery for the Councilman and to see him back at work at City Hall soon.

Now’s the part of the post where I start to get angry. First I’m going to get angry at myself. Pedestrian injuries and fatalities are such a common place occurrence around here, and the section of Atwells where the Councilman was hit is among the most common, that I barely think about it anymore. It is simply part of the landscape. Like changing leaves, or students coming back to town.

The Journal reports:

The accident was the second severe mishap on that part of Atwells in five days.

A week ago, Brittany DeQuattro, whose home address the police withheld, suffered leg fractures and severe head cuts on her 22nd birthday when she got out of a parked car and was struck by the eastbound car of a hit-and-run driver in front of 422 Atwells. DeQuattro was hospitalized for a time and Zienowicz said she is expected to fully recover. The incident remains under investigation.

The scene is near the intersection of Atwells and Marcello Street, where a car driven by an off-duty policeman on a rainy night in December 2005 struck and killed a young woman pedestrian. The policeman was not criminally charged.

In October, Ericka Manzo, 25, was seriously injured near 216 Atwells when she was struck by a car driven by an allegedly drunken man as she crossed the street at about 1 a.m. The man was criminally charged in the hit-and-run accident.

People have been talking for years about the need for safety improvements along Atwells, where the speed limit is 25. After the 2005 fatality, the city did install more speed-limit signs.

That list does not include the elderly gentleman who jumped the sidewalk and slammed into the facade of Siena last Tuesday (thankfully no one on the sidewalk or in the restaurant were hurt).

Photo by Jim Beller

It also does not mention the person who was struck earlier this year prompting then Council-candidate Steven Meresi to get Traffic Engineering to install a crosswalk at the western end of Atwells, not far from where the Councilman was struck.

See what I mean? It happens all the time, one eventually gets outrage fatigue and I’m suffering from a severe case of it. I’m tired of being tired of hearing about people being run down in the streets and now I’m angry.

I’m also angry at the rest of the media. Of course the reaction to a City Councilor being struck by a car will be different than a private citizen as far as the media is concerned. More people know the Councilor, so it is a bigger story, we all know what a City Councilor is even if we don’t know the specific person. So it is a big story, OK. But look back up at that list from the Journal, someone in the newsroom could have picked up on that years ago and made a bigger deal of it.

I’m also angry with the City Council and the Mayor. The Journal goes on to write:

Lombardi said he asked Mayor David N. Cicilline’s staff to spend federal aid under the Obama economic stimulus bill on traffic-calming measures on Atwells but was told that the work was “not shovel-ready” and did not qualify. Lombardi insisted that preparation had been made and it did qualify.

“Obviously, [traffic] enforcement would be nice there, too,” he said. “People pick up speed. It’s difficult to see at night.”

It is no secret that the Mayor and Lombardi are not exactly friends. Somehow Steven Meresi, who at that point was just a regular citizen, got Traffic Engineering to install a crosswalk within days of someone else being struck, but Lombardi has not been able to get any serious action in decades in office. Was Cicilline playing politics with people’s lives? Was Lombardi not trying hard enough to rectify a deadly situation? I’ll let you dear reader be the judge.

I’m also angry with Traffic Engineering. The Councilor and the Mayor should not even have had the opportunity to bicker over this issue, Traffic Engineering should have identified the problem (or PPD should have identified it for them), and worked up a solution. If not to engineer roadways so that people are not struck down on a regular basis, then what is Traffic Engineering for? I will be asking the next Mayor to look into Traffic Engineering, determine what their function should be, and urge him to work to make them more effective.

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Providence River Pedestrian Bridge Design Competition Press Conference

The City and RIDOT today announced a design competition for the new Providence River Pedestrian Bridge which will replace the old Route 195. The schedule for the competion is quite aggresive, Requests for Qualifications are due by September 17th, finalists who will be invited to submit designs will be notified September 24th, and their designs will be due on October 29th.

When the designs are recieved they will go on display at City Hall for public input and then a jury will select the winning design at the end of November. RIDOT estimates it will take 18 months to transfer the winning design into engineering drawings and prepare for construction. All said, the new bridge should be well underway during 2013, which is the year the Iway project officially wraps up. If all goes according to plan, the bridge should be being built at the same time as the streetgrid is being rebuilt and the parks are being built on either bank of the river.

RIDOT Director Michael Lewis also announced that Bids for the removal of the old route 195 were being accepted starting this morning. The winning bid should be award this fall with demolition getting underway next year (I assume around March, start of construction season, as always, weather dependent).


Request for Qualifications
As part of the first phase of the design selection process, the City has issued a Request for Qualifications [.pdf] (RFQ). Interested parties are encouraged to submit a letter of interest, firm profile, a relevant and current project portfolio and appropriate references for review by the Pedestrian Bridge Design Competition Selection Committee. The informational package should be limited to 10 pages.

Submission deadline
The qualifications package should be submitted electronically via email to planning@providenceri.com by September 17 at 4pm EST. Email submittals must have “Providence River Pedestrian Bridge Design Competition” in the subject line. Firms may also mail or hand deliver a CD to the Department of Planning and Development at 400 Westminster Street, Providence.

Upon review, the Selection Committee, comprised of local architects, neighborhood residents, representatives from local universities, business owners and RIDOT and City staff, will invite up to 10 finalists to submit bridge designs. The finalists selected to participate in the competition will be evaluated based upon the following criteria:

  • Design philosophy and approach to design
  • Experience of key personnel
  • Prior design experience with pedestrian bridge projects of similar scale and complexity
  • Articulated understanding of the functional and operational needs of the proposed bridge
  • Commitment to developing a proposed bridge design within the timeframes and constraints outlined in the RFQ
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Metro Transit Study

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Providence Mayor David Cicilline speaks at the event introducing the Metropolitan Providence Transit Enhancement Study. Photo by Jef Nickerson

The time for us to make investment in transit is right now.

Today, RIPTA released their long awaited Metropolitan Providence Transit Enhancement Study, which looks to improve transit within the Rhode Island urban core centered on Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, Warwick, East Providence, Cranston, and North Providence. While the proposal to build a streetcar network in the capital city is getting the most attention, the report actually outlines many initiatives to improve transportation within the metro core.

Video of the Mayor’s speech

New buses

RIPTA’s General Manager, Al Moscola says the agency is waiting on delivery of 24 “clean diesel” buses (same style as the last batch of new buses) and 10 hybrid trolleybuses (to replace existing LINK trolleys). RIPTA also plans to order 63 “BRT Style” hybrid buses this month

Improve RIPTA’s current services

The streetcars, though flashy, and fun, and cool (and expensive) will only be a small part of our future transit system. Now and in the future, buses will be the work horses of our public transit system. RIPTA sees the need for more buses, more frequent service, more service at night and on weekends, and additional lines in new service areas. RIPTA hopes to deliver on those needs, “RIPTA aims to provide a ten percent increase to existing bus service to strengthen corridors that already enjoy high ridership and levels of service.”

In order to offer expansions of service where they are most needed throughout the state, RIPTA plans to conduct a service analysis to identify potential improvements to routes and services throughout the state, determine how to provide the most cost-effective service possible, and develop a plan to prioritize the expansion of service as finances permit.

Provide Additional Bus Service

Introducing, Rapid Bus

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Los Angeles Metro Rapid bus. Photo (cc) Metro Library and Archive

A new concept for RIPTA is Rapid Bus . Rapid Bus will function much like a BRT line, except it will not feature BRT’s separate bus lanes (at initially it won’t).

Rapid Bus offers the opportunity to enhance existing bus service to provide faster and more reliable service, a higher level of passenger comfort and amenities, and a distinctive service identity. Rapid Bus transit enhancements include: frequent service, simple routes, limited stops, queue jump lanes, unique identities, distinctive stop facilities, specially branded vehicles, transit signal priority, and real-time arrival information. These features work together to make service fast, reliable, convenient, comfortable and clearly identifiable – characteristics all associated with rail or Bus Rapid Transit service but without the major capital investment and in locations where dedicated lanes are not possible.

RIPTA’s first Rapid Bus line will combine the current Route 11 Broad Street with the current Route 99 North Main Street and Pawtucket. These two routes will be combined to provide continual service through Providence with one distinctive brand applied to the new route. These two routes in their current form serve 10,000 riders per day. Future enhancements to this route may include the reconstruction of North Main Street to provide true BRT service with designated bus lanes in that area.

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Mandatory recycling coming to Providence

Recycling is Beautiful

Photo (cc) Scott Ableman

ProJo reports today on a new recycling effort for the city of Providence.

Starting Nov. 2, any resident who doesn’t separate paper, glass and cans will not have their trash picked up, Cicilline said. Residents have an option, however: they can purchase the bins for $5 apiece, or they can label their own trash cans with recycling stickers.

The city plans to embark on a comprehensive recycling publicity campaign, called Green Up Providence, through mass mailings, informational stickers attached to garbage cans, public service announcements and outreach through the public schools.

Excuse me, the city plans to launch a publicity campaign about the fact that your trash will not be picked up starting November 2nd? November 2, 2009? Plans? Launch? Really?

Oh Oh! The other part, the goal is to get the recycling rate to 20%. Really? So, if I don’t separate my trash, you won’t pick it up, but your goal is to only get 20% compliance? What happens to the other 80%?

Oh oh!! I have another idea! How about you pick up the recycling people already put out today. My recycling sits out for weeks at a time until I finally give up and throw it all in the trash bins to get it off my sidewalk.

TWENTY PERCENT? As the ProJo reports, state law requires municipalities to be at 35% by 2012, which is like, not that far away.

Can you tell that I am just so annoyed that it is 2009 already, and this city can’t seem to suss out simple city things like recycling and overnight parking? If you’re going to launch a recycling campaign, your goal should be 100% compliance. How in creation can you say that your trash will not be picked up, but then have a 20% compliance goal? Your publicity campaign should be well launched before you hold press conferences on the matter. Go ahead, Google “Green Up Providence.”

/rant

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“The area commonly known as the Promenade Green Corridor”

Really?

alterisThe city announced today that Connecticut based Alteris Renewables will be opening an office in Providence.

The company’s finance department, a call center and regional staff will be located at 28 Wolcott St., an award-winning net-zero building in the city’s growing Green Corridor. The office spaces are Rhode Island’s first and only net-zero office environment, including heating and electricity provided by the sun via Alteris Renewables’ solar systems on the roof. (The Alteris wind business headquarters will remain in Bristol, RI).

This of course is great news, jobs, green jobs, a building getting a tenant, a company believing in Providence… good, good, good.

But this struck me as… odd:

In recent years, new and expanding “green” business has been occurring along the Woonasquatucket River Corridor, in the Valley and Olneyville neighborhoods. This area is commonly known as the Promenade Green Corridor.

I’m out there, I talk to a lot of people, but I have never heard anyone refer to this area as the Promenade Green Corridor. The Valley, the Promenade, even Olneyville (though it is not Olneyville), but Green Corridor, no. I think it is all well and good to move towards perhaps branding it that way, but stating as fact that it is a common appellation, I don’t know, that seems a little 1984 to me (a little).

Projects there involve: remediation and restoration of historic mill buildings; retrofitting of existing buildings for energy savings; green businesses in areas such as design and architecture; land reclamation projects; and purveyors of organic foods. Examples include the 50,000 square-foot Box Office commercial office building, the United Natural Foods headquarters at the Alco site, the Steelyard non-profit and for-profit businesses along Sims Street, the 39 artist live-work spaces at Monohasset Mills and the Wolcott Street Eco-Office where Alteris will be housed.

Ok, there are a number of green and greenish projects in this amorphous ill-defined area. But there is no concerted effort on anyone’s part to make that happen as far as I can see. These disconnected entities just happened to develop green or greenish projects in a tight geographic area. It is mostly a matter of world events conspiring to make being green a valid business choice (to save money and attract talent) and also like minded (green) people being attracted to the same area. If we want to see this area ‘commonly known as the Promenade Green Corridor’ then the city and state should actually do some work to make that a true goal, not just a happy coincidence that the city can then co-opt (and not do things like revoke the historic tax credits that made the renovated mill projects possible to begin with).

Make this area north and west of Route 6 into a green overlay district. Incentivize green development in the area, then create an actual brand around this green zone to go out and recruit new businesses to settle here.

Although, really, shouldn’t the whole city be green? Why should we have a Green Promenade? We should have a “Green Providence.”

Oh, and one more thing. If the Valley/Promenade were green, there would be more than a handful of diverted Route 26 buses running through there (on a Kennedy Plaza-centric commuter schedule), public transit is green.

3

Providence Parks Survey

Gondolas in Providence, Rhode Island

The Mayor’s Office is asking residents to fill out a brief survey about their park usage:

We will use this information as a basis for community meetings in the fall that will focus on merging the Parks Department and the Recreation Department to provide better open space and recreational programming to our residents.

The survey is here.

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Candid Camera

So the ProJo reports on this and frankly, I’m a little confused (emphasis mine):

The cameras are solar powered; when tripped, they snap a series of up to four photos and send out a loud, pre-recorded warning notifying intruders that their photo has been taken and they will be prosecuted.

So OK, I’m not sure how I feel about privacy implications of having cameras in the parks. I tend to lean towards the if you’re in public, you have no privacy argument, although this is creepy. So where am I going to trip these cameras and get a stern warning from them. One of the parks that is supposed to receive them, and certainly needs them is Waterplace. But everywhere graffiti appears in Waterplace (which is everywhere) are very public spaces. So am I going to be walking around randomly and get my photo taken and told I am going to be prosecuted? That would suck, I’d rather have graffiti than get hassled by a camera. You know, I want to find one and I want to trip it.

Check out this comment on the YouTube page:

How about working with the police department to find the vandals. Hell, when the building next to me got tagged I googled the tag and found the perp.

Seriously.

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If I were the Mayor…

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If I were Mayor of Providence, and all the other mayors were coming to visit I would show them the following 10 sites (in no particular order), providing I was in a good mood:

  1. The gardens at South Side Community Land Trust:
    SCLT, helping residents grow food for over 20 years is easily one of the greatest things Providence has to offer. Nestled over in what used to be some of the worst housing in Providence, SCLT helped other non profit housing organization make Upper South Providence a very nice place to live and garden. And SCLT is reaching out to other neighborhoods across the city as more and more residents find value in growing their own food. And not just that, but they have a farm, where Providence residence can eek out a living growing food for others. What is not to love about that? Plus, they have chickens!
  2. Pancakes at Nick’s on Broadway:
    Nick’s is one of those magical urban stories. Local boy goes to college, stays in town, works his way up in restaurants to become a superstar, opens his own tiny place in a neighborhood not known for its restaurants but keeps the original name, even though his name isn’t Nick, buys a house in the same neighborhood, expands the restaurant even farther from downtown… See also: Julian’s (also on Broadway), and The Red Fez (historic parking lot district downtown.) It is the local stuff that makes Providence special, not the Cheesecake Factories and the Fleming Steakhouses.
  3. The lower tree farm at Roger Williams Park
    It is not a place you can really tell someone how to get to, except to say that you walk away from the parking lot of the Botanic Garden and head toward the water. It is a quiet, magical little piece of the park where in the spring you can be overrun with fuzzy yellow goslings. See also: The Steps of the Temple To Music at dusk, or early in the morning. You can almost hear the Shakespeare that used to be performed there 60+ years ago when people used the park for more than just charity walk-a-thons.
  4. The top floor of the Sciences Library at Brown University
    One of the best views of Providence and the east side.
  5. WaterFire
    Of course.
  6. The Steel Yard
    Who would have thought that you could make a community non-profit organization out of an old steelyard, and have it continue to BE a steelyard?
  7. The lawn of the State House
    If you are on those white alabaster steps of the statehouse and you look toward Downcity, the lawn just rolls you out to the city like an elegant green carpet. If you stand at the bottom of the lawn and look up to the statehouse, you are looking at one of the most beautiful state government buildings in the entire country, where, if you didn’t know better, important laws were being passed every day. So either way you look it is a win. Just don’t look at the side from Smith Street with the gigantic wide street and the mostly dead, puny trees. Can you imagine how it would look with some 30 year old lindens, or elms lining Smith Street? Elegant, that’s how. So, don’t go around the statehouse. Stay on the downcity side.
  8. The Corner of Cooke and George Streets
    Quiet, and cool and green and clean. I always wanted to live here. It wasn’t the big houses full of wealthy people, it was the calmness of this spot that was appealing to me. Every Providence resident should have clean, cool, green and quiet as part of their neighborhood–not exclusively but at least as options.
  9. Pastiche
    Hands down, the best damn carrot cake in all of cakedom. See also: white almond cake from Scialo Brothers Bakery and Zuppi Inglase from LaSalle Bakery.

But, you say, What if I were an angry Mayor? Where would I take all the other mayors to show them a bad time? 10, in no particular order:

  1. Grove Street School
  2. The Old Public Safety Building Memorial Parking Lot
    See Also: The Gulf Station Memorial Parking Lot, the Grants Lot Parking Lot, the Sierra Suites Parking Lot, the 110 Westminster Parking Lot, the America Street School Memorial Parking Lot…
  3. The old Fruit and Produce Warehouse
  4. The Speed Bumps in Roger Williams Park
  5. The corner of Waterman and Hope Streets
    Where one of the largest Copper Beech trees in the city once stood. Now it is a parking lot.
  6. The India Point Park Bridge Bridge
  7. Shooters
  8. Any sidewalk outside of Downcity between December and March
  9. forgottenprovidence.com

Sharp eyed readers will notice I promised 10 of each, but only provided 9. The 10th item in each section is up to you. Where are you taking your mayor friends to show them the best of Providence, and where are you taking your mayor friends to show them the worst of Providence?

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