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News & Notes

bikes-flickr

Photo (cc) Cristina Valencia

→ The Washington Post: Actually, cyclists make city streets safer

In the hysteria that predated the launch of New York’s bike-sharing system last year, many critics cried that the bikes would make the city’s streets less safe. All those cyclists wouldn’t be wearing helmets! They’d have no insurance! Accidents would skyrocket, and with them lawsuits against the city. Fatalities would triple!

The system’s safety record quickly turned out to be less sensational. But this was as bike advocates expected. Biking — as with walking — offers a prime example of the power of crowds. As more people bike and walk, cycling and pedestrian fatalities actually decline. That’s because the more people bike and walk, the more drivers become attuned to their presence (either on sidewalks or road shoulders), and the more cities are likely to invest in the kind of infrastructure explicitly meant to protect them (all of which further encourages more cyclists and pedestrians).


→ The Boston Globe: Boston’s parking solution is not more parking

Northeastern University professor Stephanie Pollack has studied gentrification around transit stops across the country, and she’s found that one of the biggest mistakes municipalities make is requiring too much parking. Pollack’s data show that, given the choice, residents will self-select: Heavy drivers choose to live in homes that provide parking, and residents who don’t own cars will choose transit-oriented, low-parking homes. This is especially true for renters. So the answer to an urban parking crunch isn’t adding supply. It’s recognizing that parking demand isn’t monolithic. Urban parking is a choice, and if Boston really does have too many cars already, the answer isn’t to build room for more.

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The further suburbanization of North Main Street

lafitness-elevations

North Main Street facade of proposed LA Fitness

As RIPTA prepares to start running their new Rapid Bus service next month on North Main Street, the City Plan Commission is hearing a proposalpdf to knock down a building to create 300 parking spaces on the street at the Pawtucket line.

CPC agenda:

Case No. 14-009MA – 1300 North Main Street The applicant is proposing to demolish an existing building to create a parking lot providing 300 spaces. The lot will serve a health club on an adjacent lot located in the City of Pawtucket

The building being considered for demolition is the old Sears building at the corner of North Main and White Streets across from Gregg’s (The Down Under Duck Pin bowling alley is on this site too, but I feel like it has already been demo’d? Art In Ruins does not say so).

lafitness-sears

Old Sears building on North Main Street. Reader submitted photo.

This building would be removed to make way for 300 parking spaces in the City of Providence for an LA Fitness location being built mainly in Pawtucket at the corner of Ann Mary Street.

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City Plan Commission Meeting – March 18, 2014

featured-bikeped City Plan Commission Meeting
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from the February 25th meeting – for action
  • Director’s Report

City Council Referral

1. Referral 3374 – Petition to abandon a portion of Eddy Street – The applicant is requesting to abandon a portion of Eddy Street – for action (Downtown)

Institutional Master Plan

2. Amendment of RISD’s Institutional Master Plan (IMP) – The applicant is seeking to amend their IMP to reflect the acquisition or lease of the building at 189 Canal Street for office, studios or classrooms. The amendment will also provide information on parking and progress of construction projects – for action

Major Land Development Project

3. Case No. 14-003MA – 35 Holden Street – The applicant is proposing to construct a one story parking deck in the D-2 zone measuring approximately 27,552 SF over an existing parking area. A total of 176 parking spaces will be provided – for action (AP 4 Lot 255, Smith Hill)

Re:Zoning Providence

4. Update on Re: Zoning Providence – Presentation detailing the organization of the zoning ordinance and the content of articles one through five
– for discussion

Adjournment


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News & Notes

→ Streetsblog: Obama to Propose Four-Year Transpo Bill Funded By “Business Tax Reform”

obama-official-portrait-vertA fact sheet from the administration indicates the proposal would increase dedicated funding for transit more than funding for highways.

The proposal would represent a 38 percent spending increase over the current $109 billion, 2-year law, known as MAP-21, and is the most concrete long-term transportation bill proposed by the Obama administration, which has never put forward a funding stream until now.

See also: → Whitehouse.gov: FACT SHEET: President Obama Lays Out Vision for 21st Century Transportation Infrastructure


→ The New York Times: When Pedestrians Get Mixed Signals

But the indication to walk never came. I was contemplating a four-lane dash when a man appeared who told me I had to press the “Walk” button. I did, and at the next signal change for cars, my signal appeared as well.

At first, I applauded this municipal beneficence, which I encountered during a visit while researching my book. Los Angeles is looking after its pedestrians! In New York City, by contrast, the once-functioning “Walk” buttons were left to go dormant, then largely removed. But in my subsequent visits to Los Angeles, my feelings have shifted.

The reason the buttons were rendered obsolete in New York is that there was no need for them. There were always pedestrians waiting to cross. In Los Angeles, the working button came to seem a rare and feeble plea: May I please cross the street?

In Providence I’m all the time seeing people push the wrong walk button. People press the one closest to them, but that is not the button for the street they are hoping to cross.

But the article is really about the misguided crack-down on “jaywalking” in some cities.

If tough love will not make pedestrians safer, what will? The answer is: better walking infrastructure, slower car speeds and more pedestrians. But it’s easier to write off the problem as one of jaywalkers.

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POSTPONED: Zoning Board of Review Meeting – March 3, 2014

This meeting has been postponed.

Items on the Zoning Board of Review agenda for the March 3rd meeting include:

  • Extention of the “temporary” surface parking use for the site of the former Outlet Garage
  • Installation of LED signs on the LaSalle Square side of the Trinity Repertory building*

More on the posted agenda. pdf


*My understanding is the signs that used to be on the marquee at PPAC are the signs that Trinity Rep plans to install. Also, I’ve long been a proponent of LaSalle Square being all lit up with signs and stuff, bring it!

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Snowing again! Parking ban at 6pm, more…

Posted on February 15, 2014

2014-0215-snow

You know the drill, info from the City:


Providence Declares Citywide Parking Ban Beginning at 6PM Tonight, Saturday, Feb. 15

Travel is discouraged this evening due to near blizzard-like conditions.

In preparation for a snowstorm that is forecast to intensify from 5PM – 11PM this evening with near blizzard-like conditions, the City of Providence has declared a citywide parking ban beginning at 6PM tonight, Saturday, February 15. The parking ban will remain in effect until further notice. Cars in violation of the citywide parking ban will be ticketed and towed to ensure that roadways can be plowed. Cars parked in school parking lots overnight will also be ticketed and towed.

Snow is forecast to intensify dramatically during the evening hours, with possible rates of 1-3 inches per hour. Whiteout conditions are expected with an increasing northeasterly wind. Travel will be hazardous. Drivers and pedestrians are advised not to travel this evening given the rapidly deteriorating conditions.

The Department of Public Works has prepared all equipment and personnel to respond to the storm. The City’s Emergency Operations Center will be partially activated with Providence Emergency Management staff.

Residents can stay up to date on the latest storm developments from the City by using the filter #PVDsnow on Twitter and following the accounts of Mayor Taveras and PEMA.

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CANCELED – Capital Center Commission Meeting – February 12, 2013

featured-capital-center Capital Center Commission Meeting
Wednesday, February 12, 2013 • 12:00 noon
Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903
This meeting has been canceled.


AGENDA

  1. Roll Call
  2. Minutes
    Approval of Meeting Minutes of December 19, 2013
  3. Election of Officers
    Elect Vice Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer
  4. Design Review Committee Advisory Member Appointment
    Appoint Melvin Bilezerian to the Design Review Committee of the Capital Center Commission (term to expire 6/18)
  5. Amend Capital Center Commission By-Laws
    Amend Section 6: Quorum
  6. State House Parking Lot Lighting
  7. New Business
  8. Adjournment

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Providence parking ban at midnight; no school tomorrow

broadway

Snow from yesterday’s storm this morning on Broadway

Posted on February 4, 2014.

Here we go again. From the City:


Providence Public Schools Closed Tomorrow, Feb. 5

Parking Ban Begins at Midnight Tonight – Don’t ‘Block the Box’

PROVIDENCE, RI – In preparation for a winter snow storm forecast to bring treacherous driving conditions and leave several inches of heavy, wet snow in Providence, Providence Public Schools will be closed tomorrow, Wednesday, February 5, 2014.

The City of Providence has declared a citywide parking ban beginning at midnight tonight. The parking ban will remain in effect until further notice.

The State of the City Address that had been planned for tomorrow evening will take place on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 5PM in the City Council Chambers at Providence City Hall.

Snowfall is expected to begin in the early morning hours tomorrow and continue throughout the day before turning to sleet and freezing rain. Residents are advised that freezing temperatures forecast for tomorrow night will likely cause untreated walkways to become icy. Residents are asked to take caution while clearing snow from sidewalks as soon as possible to prevent icy conditions.

The Department of Public Works has prepared all equipment and personnel to respond to the storm. The City’s Emergency Operations Center will be partially activated with Providence Emergency Management staff.

Residents can stay up to date on the latest storm developments from the City by using the filter #PVDsnow on Twitter and following the accounts of Mayor Taveras and PEMA.

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→ PBN: Paolino purchases three properties downtown for $60M

50-k-plaza

Image from Google Streetview

Paolino Properties has purchased a package of three high-profile properties in Providence’s Financial District for $60 million, the company announced Wednesday.

The acquisitions include the 20-story tower at 100 Westminster St., the five-story building next door at 30 Kennedy Plaza and the Weybosset Street Metropark lot across the street that features the propped-up façade of the former Providence National Bank Building.

The article goes into plans for the buildings and vacant parcel which all sound great, look at me, I’m all surprised over here. One wonders, and one is not just me people are talking, where the former Mayor is getting funds for all this. Wonders about funding instill fears about the viability of the proposed plans. Fingers crossed good things happen, would be very good for Kennedy Plaza as well as Westminster Street.

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→ PBN: Parking, bus plans ‘Link’-ed

garrahy-courthouse

The two projects carry estimated price tags in the neighborhood of $40 million each and one of the bus hubs will likely share a location with the parking garage at the Garrahy Judicial Complex on Dorrance Street.

[...]

As central as The Link [195 Redevelopment District] is to the state’s economic-development strategy, by itself the second RIPTA bus hub planned adjacent to the Providence Train Station could be a larger project than the combined Garrahy proposal.

That’s because the hub is being looked at as part of a public-private partnership including, potentially, expansion of the train station, more garage parking and mixed-use development of the vacant land next door owned by Capital Properties Inc.

Planned correctly, these projects could greatly enhance the city’s transportation system. It is good to see divergent players looking at all the pieces together and seeing how they fit.

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