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News & Notes

pedestrians

Image (cc) pedbikeimages.org by Barbara Gossett

CityLab: The Real Downtown ‘Parking Problem’: There’s Too Much of It

It’s not unusual for people to worry about parking in places where they totally don’t need to worry about parking. The consultancy Nelson\Nygaard recently surveyed parking availability in 27 mixed-use districts across the U.S. and found that parking supply exceeded demand by an average of 65 percent. In nine areas where parking was thought to be scarce, the oversupply ranged from 6 to 82 percent.


Vox: Houston just dramatically improved its mass transit system without spending a dime

How is Houston able to pull that off with no additional funding?

Well, as Jarrett Walker, one of the plan’s lead designers, explains, it’s all about prioritizing routes that will plausibly attract riders. The old system, like many bus routes in the United States, expended a lot of resources on very low-ridership routes for the sake of saying there’s “a bus that goes there.” The new plan says the focus should be to provide reasonably frequent service on routes where reasonably frequent service will attract riders. That does mean that some people are further than ever from a transit stop. But it means that many more Houstonians will find themselves near a useful transit stop.

Focusing transit planning on the goal of promoting transit services that are actually used strikes me as common sense. But it’s also the best way to create a virtuous circle of sound urban planning and transportation management. A system with a lot of riders is a system with a lot of advocates for expansion and improvement.


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ProJo: URI rescinds parking fee after graduate assistants launch protest

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Photo from Graduate Assistants United Facebook Page.

About 25 graduate assistants at the University of Rhode Island rallied Tuesday afternoon to protest what their union leader says have been repeated attempts charge them for parking.

The students — some carrying a banner that read “Big Thinkers Deserve More” — stood outside a third-floor hallway in Roosevelt Hall where negotiators for the college and the union were scheduled to meet.

The protest followed a recent posting on URI’s website stating that graduate assistants who commuted to campus and were previously allowed to park for free would be charged $100 for a permit, said Danielle Dirocco, executive director of Graduate Assistants United, which represents over 500 of unionized teaching, research and departmental assistants. The union filed a grievance stating the fee violated their contract.

I’ve seen this news hailed by some as a great progressive victory over the man on social media. My view? Big thinkers don’t pave farm land for free parking.

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City Plan Commission Meeting – July 21, 2015

CPC City Plan Commission Meeting
Tuesday, July 21, 2015 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from June 16, 2015 meeting – for action
  • Director’s Report

Development Review Regulations

1. Amendment of Development Review Regulations – A discussion on the amendments to the City Plan Commission’s Development Review Regulations – for discussion

Zoning Ordinance Amendment

2. Referral 3394 – Zoning Ordinance Amendment regarding student homes – Proposed amendment to the zoning ordinance to create regulations for student homes – for action

City Council Referral

3. Referral 3395 – Abandonment of DeWolf Street1 – The applicant is requesting to abandon the entirety of DeWolf Street, which lies between Audrey Street and Appleton Street to merge it with their abutting property – for action (Olneyville)

Minor Subdivision

4. Case No. 15-024 MI – 32 Luke Street (Preliminary plan approval) – The applicant is proposing to subdivide a lot measuring approximately 15,912 SF into two lots measuring approximately 5,000 SF and 10,912 SF – for action (AP 97 Lot 948, Charles)

5. Case No. 15-028 MI – 342 Eddy Street (Preliminary and Final plan approval)2

sga-south-street-landing-parking-garage

Rendering of proposed parking garage at South Street Landing by SGA.

The applicant is proposing to create a new lot measuring approximately one acre from Lot 429 which measures approximately 6.5 acres. The applicant is requesting to combine the preliminary and final plan stages – for action (AP 21 Lot 429, Downtown)

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ProJo: DOT seeks permission to move RIPTA commuter lot in North Kingstown

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Image from Google Streetview

RIDOT is still discussing merging the RIPTA park and ride at Routes 2 and 102 with the parking facility at Wickford Junction MBTA station, a mile away.

“The property’s highest and best use is not as a parking lot,” said Paul Carcieri, the DOT’s real estate specialist. “It’s a very valuable property.”

Approximately $1.9 million dollars valuable.

Committee members are concerned about whether moving the Park-n-Ride roughly a mile to Wickford Junction would make it less convenient to RIPTA users, whether bus riders who park at the MBTA garage would be guaranteed free parking as they get now and whether the garage operator would keep the facility open as needed by RIPTA users — on weekends, for instance.

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News & Notes

A couple of red traffic lights against a blue sky

Photo (cc) Horia Varlan

Better Cities & Towns: The benefits of removing stop lights

In the 1990s, the City of Philadelphia removed 800 traffic lights. Traffic flow improved and accidents declined by 26 percent in these intersections.

Recently, Wayne State researchers recommended that Detroit remove 460 signals, or 30 percent of its total inventory. And that figure may underestimate removable signals, the researchers note.

For pedestrians, four-way stops are much better—because every automobile has to come to a complete stop and traffic is calmed.

For pedestrians, removing traffic signals also helps maintain their right-of-way. If one approaches a stop light and is unable to reach the beg-button before the light changes, the red hand tells pedetrains and motorists that the pedestrian is not allowed to cross, even if they are trying to cross with the green which they should be allowed to do by right. Even if the walk-light actuates, turning drivers interpret their green as their right-of-way and treat the pedestrian as secondary.

A non-signalized intersection gives pedestrians the right-of-way.


The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: One-way streets are failing their cities

In John Gilderbloom’s experience, the notorious streets are invariably the one-way streets. These are the streets lined with foreclosed homes and empty storefronts, the streets that look neglected and feel unsafe, the streets where you might find drug dealers at night.

“Sociologically, the way one-way streets work,” he says, “[is that] if there are two or more lanes, a person can just pull over and make a deal, while other traffic can easily pass them by.”

It’s also easier on a high-speed one-way road to keep an eye out for police or flee from the scene of a crime.

So all the streets that were made one way on Federal Hill to deter drug activity, actually made it worse? Thanks NIMBYs.


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Old Public Safety Building Memorial Parking Lot™ seeks 2-year extension

public-safety-building-lot

Image from Google Street View

The owners of the Old Public Safety Building Memorial Parking Lot™ are seeking a 2-year extension of the non-compliant use at Tuesday’s Zoning Board of Review meeting:

PRI XIV, LP: 197-209 Fountain Street (bounded by Empire St., Greene St. and Broadway), also known as Lots 116 & 436 on the Tax Assessor’s Plat 25, located in a D-1 Downtown District, filed an application requesting a USE VARIANCE seeking relief from Article 12 – Section 1201, Use Matrix Table 12-1, to continue the use the subject property for surface parking. The applicant seeks relief from the use restriction; whereby, surface parking lots are not permitted within the D-1 district. The lots in question together contain approximately 44,547 square feet of land area.

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Jane’s Walk – May 2-3, 2015

jane_jacobs

Jane Jacobs in 1960. Photo by Phil Stanziola – New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection via Wikipedia

This weekend Providence has 6 walking tours and 1 biking tour scheduled for the 3rd annual Providence Jane’s Walk:

Jane’s Walk is a movement of free, citizen-led walking tours inspired by Jane Jacobs. The walks get people to tell stories about their communities, explore their cities, and connect with neighbours.

Providence is one of America’s oldest cities, and thrived as an industrial and maritime hub in the 1800s and early 1900s. Today, the city is known for its quirky art and design scene, its food, its universities and hospitals, and its walkable historic urban fabric, among many other things. Join us as we explore this great city, either by leading or participating in a Jane’s Walk!

See the full schedule of walks planned for Providence or create your own.

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City Plan Commission Meeting – April 28, 2015

CPC City Plan Commission Meeting
Tuesday, April 28, 2015 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from February 24, 2015 meeting – for action
  • Approval of minutes from March 17, 2015 meeting – for action
  • Director’s Report

Major Land Development Project – Public Hearing

1. Case No. 14-038MA – 181 Corliss Street (Preliminary Plan Approval) – The applicant is seeking preliminary plan approval to construct a four story, 124 room extended stay hotel on the former site of an abandoned Postal Service building. The lot measures approximately 2.01 acres. The applicant is seeking a waiver from the requirement that all state permits be acquired by the preliminary plan stage. Public comment will be taken. Continued from the February 24 meeting – for action (AP 74 Lot 376, Mt. Hope)

City Council Referral

2. Referral 3389—Amendment to Port Redevelopment Plan – The amendment proposes to change the boundaries of the redevelopment area by removing two properties. The amendment will be reviewed for conformance with the Comprehensive Plan – for action (Lower South Providence)

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PawSox Baseball Stadium News

pawsox-site

Proposed site of PawSox stadium. Image from Google Maps

PBN reports on PawSox President James J. Skeffington’s tour of the riverfront land in the Jewelry District he proposes to build a new home for the PawSox on:

In a tour of the site, overlooking College Hill and the Providence skyline, attorney James J. Skeffington said consultants had determined the seven-acre proposed site will support the baseball park that team owners want to build.

In addition, he said, team owners have reached an agreement to use the parking garage planned for the South Street Landing project, now under construction on an adjacent site. Under the plan, the parking garage will be enlarged to 750 spaces, to accommodate the baseball traffic, he said, and the PawSox owners will contribute financially to its construction.

The parking garage at South Street Landing has sought relief from City Zoning requiring ground floor retail uses in parking structures. With the increased size of the structure and the increased diversity of visitors (they won’t mostly be Nursing School students presumably) there should be no reason for the garage developers not to conform to City zoning regulations.

ProJo also has a report:

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Capital Center Commission Meeting – April 8, 2015

featured-capital-center Capital Center Commission Meeting
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 • 12:00 noon
Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

Agenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Minutes
    2.1 Approval of Commission Meeting Minutes of December 10, 2014
    2.2 Acceptance of DRC Meeting Minutes of September 16, 2014, November 18, 2014 and December 2, 2014
  3. Election of Officers
  4. Internal Operating Procedures: Development Fees
  5. Parcel 15: Francis Street parking lot update
  6. Adjournment
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Because Pawtucket doesn’t have enough parking

adams-furniture-pawtucket

From The Valley Breeze, prepare for brain explosion:

Two old buildings that are part of the Downtown Pawtucket Historic District will be leveled to make way for parking.

The 1921 Adams Furniture building, at 65 East Ave., and the 1902 former Pawtucket Boys Club, at 53 East Ave., are both expected to be demolished to make room for a new parking lot for the Blackstone Valley Community Health Care.

Because you know what makes for a healthy community? Lots and lots of surface parking.

I can’t even.

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Providence Station Plaza improvement work commences

IMG_4581.JPG

RIDOT has begun work at Providence Station. This is improvements to the existing station area, the bus proposed bus terminal that had bond money approved for by voters last November is still in planning and development.

From RIDOT:


RIDOT Begins Work on Providence Station Improvement Project

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) started work this week to upgrade the southern entrance plaza (downtown side) of Providence Station. Through a $6.9 million contract with J.H. Lynch & Sons, planned improvements will enhance circulation for all users of the station as well as create an inviting civic space. Pedestrian enhancements will also be made along Gaspee Street, and damaged concrete and limestone areas on the building’s plaza will be repaired. Other planned improvements include adding amenities for bicyclists, updating signage, and landscaping.

This work, which will be broken out into two phases, will require temporary restrictions, including a closure of the top level of the parking garage, a relocation of the taxi stands, and a closure of portions of Railroad Street and Park Row West. Project completion is scheduled for spring 2016.

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Capital Center Commission Design Review Committee Meeting – March 17, 2015

Francis Street Presentation.pdf

featured-capital-center Design Review Committee of the Capital Center Commission Meeting
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 • 8:00am
Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

Agenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Minutes
    Meetings of November 18, 2014, December 2, 2014 and January 20, 2015
  3. Parcel 15: Francis Street Parcels
    Presentation of revised plans for a temporary parking lot on the site.
  4. Adjournment

Note the ridiculous 8am start time for this meeting, which is actually before this building is officially open.

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Mayor Elorza on MORE SNOWS!!!!

snow-ripta-2015-02-14

From Mayor Elorza:


I want to reach out as yet another snow storm arrives in Providence this evening. Six to fourteen inches of snow is expected by tomorrow.

Here are steps we are taking to prepare for the storm:

  • A citywide parking ban begins at 2:00 a.m. tomorrow, Sunday, February 15 and will remain in effect until further notice. We urge everyone to comply with the parking ban, so crews can plow our streets. Cars parked on the street once the parking ban is in effect will be ticketed and towed.
  • We also ask residents and businesses to shovel their sidewalks so people can safely get around our city. This is an important public safety concern. The City has begun giving fines to those who still have not cleared snow from the sidewalk in front of their home or business.
  • Trash and recycling collection will continue on a holiday schedule, with a one day delay.
    This winter has brought historic snow to Providence and we have been working around the clock to make every road passable and widen our busiest corridors. We’ve moved truckloads of snow to empty parcels throughout the city and we will continue to clear the snow long after the storm passes.

There is no challenge we cannot overcome when we come together as a community. So to everyone who lives, works and does business in Providence – thank you.

Thank you for your patience and perseverance as we continue to make it through this historic winter, and thank you for all you do for Providence.

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New week, new snowstorm

snow-tree

Providence schools closed on Monday, parking bans starts at 12:01am Monday, trash/recycling collection delayed one day.

Helpful Links:

More information from the City of Providence:


Providence Public Schools Closed Tomorrow, Monday Feb. 9, 2015

Citywide Parking Ban in Effect at 12:01 AM on Monday – Garbage and Recycling Collection on Holiday Schedule

Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today announced a series of actions in response to a winter storm expected to escalate in the early hours of Monday, February 9 and continue through the day.

Providence Public Schools and afterschool activities are canceled Monday, February 9, 2015. City Recreation Centers will be closed Monday as well.

A citywide parking ban will go into effect at 12:01AM on Monday, February 9 and remain in effect until further notice. Residents with overnight parking passes are advised that they cannot park on the street during the duration of the citywide parking ban. All vehicles parked on the street in violation of the citywide parking ban will be ticketed and towed to ensure that roadways can be plowed.

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2″-14″ of Snow Monday!

yellow-jackets-2015-0128

DID ‘Yellow Jackets’ clearing snow downtown last week.

Providence schools canceled Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015.

No school in Providence Monday, parking ban at 2am Monday, more information from the City of Providence:


Providence Public Schools Closed Tomorrow, Monday Feb. 2, 2015

Citywide Parking Ban in Effect at 2AM – Garbage and Recycling Collection on Holiday Schedule

PROVIDENCE, RI – Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today announced a series of actions ahead of a winter storm expected to begin in the early morning hours of Monday, February 2, 2015.

Providence Public Schools and afterschool activities are canceled Monday, February 2, 2015. City Recreation Centers will be closed Monday as well.

A citywide parking ban will go into effect at 2AM on Monday, February 2 and remain in effect until further notice. Residents with overnight parking passes are advised that they cannot park on the street during the duration of the citywide parking ban. All vehicles parked on the street in violation of the citywide parking ban will be ticketed and towed to ensure that roadways can be plowed.

Garbage and recycling pickup in Providence will proceed on a holiday schedule. Monday’s garbage and recycling pick-up will take place on Tuesday and all pick-up for the rest of the week will take place a day later with Friday’s pick-up taking place on Saturday. Residents who did not receive trash pick-up last week due to the storm and have urgent and additional concerns can call the Office of Neighborhood Services at 401-421-2489.

“We expect heavy snowfall, high winds and other conditions that will significantly impact both the morning and evening commutes on Monday,” Mayor Elorza said. “I urge residents to comply with the citywide parking ban, exercise caution and prepare for rapidly changing travel conditions throughout the day. If you see a person or a family in need, please do what you can to either lend a helping hand or notify the City. When we all pull together, we are capable of overcoming any challenge.”

The Department of Public Works has prepared all equipment and personnel to respond to the storm. Roadways will be pretreated ahead of expected snowfall. The Providence Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) will begin a partial activation the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 12AM on Monday.

The City’s snow hotline will be open Monday through the duration of the storm at 401-680-8080. Residents experiencing power outages should contact National Grid at 800-322-3223. Individuals are warned never to touch downed power lines and report downed lines to National Grid. In the event of an emergency always dial 911.

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