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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 proposal 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.


*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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City Plan Commission Meeting – January 28, 2014

featured-bikeped City Plan Commission Meeting
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from the December 17th meeting – for action
  • Election of officers for the 2014 calendar year – for action
  • Director’s Report

City Council Referral

1. City Council Referral: Petition to amend the Providence Zoning Ordinance The petitioner is requesting that Article 3 and appendix A of the zoning ordinance – pertaining to certain dimensional and use regulations in W-3 and M-2 zones – be amended – for action

Major Land Development Project

2. Case No. 13-039MA – 48-54 Plainfield Street and 4-14 The applicant is seeking master plan approval to construct a free standing fast food restaurant with a drive through and a free standing retail department store on a vacant commercial lot. The applicant is seeking dimensional relief for front yard setbacks and a special use permit for a drive through use. A total of 56 parking spaces are proposed for the development, which measures approximately 64,295 SF – for action (AP 105 Lots
46, 47, 66, 98, 99, 100, Olneyville)

Re: Zoning Providence

3. Update on Re: Zoning Providence Presentation detailing progress on the zoning ordinance revision process and proposed zoning changes developed by the project consultants – for discussion

Adjournment


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Infill development in Quahog

The other night, watching an old episode of Family Guy on one of the 37 stations it airs on, as one does, I noticed something about the Drunken Clam.

clam-parking

The clam used to have a surface parking lot next to it. Looking at later episode one notices a new building on that surface lot.

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What Cheer / What Jeer 2013

We’re running a little late this year but we’re finally ready to run down the What Cheers and What Jeers of 2013.

what-cheer-south-street-power-station

WHAT CHEER: South Street Power Station (Maybe)

In 2013 we got another plan to redevelop the moribund South Street Power Station. While numerous plans for the building, which at one point was known as the Dynamo House, have come and gone, this latest plan engenders optimism as Brown University is involved now.

In January the New York Times and then The Brown Daily Herald reported on rumors of the university becoming involved in the project. Then in June Brown announced it’s plans for the building in a letter to the campus community.

Those plans include a home for the long talked about URI/RIC Nursing School, office space for Brown, and some sort of retail component in the former power station building. Brown also has a developer engaged in building a student apartment building in the neighboring parking lot along Point Street and the City is involved in plans for a parking structure across Point Street from that.

The latest news on the project comes from the ProJo just before Christmas with reports that the PRA is considering condemning the building so the project can move forward.

While this could all be looked at as another in a long line of proposals for the building, Brown’s involvement makes this proposal seem more promising. 2014 will show us if this project actually moves forward.

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Storm updates from the City – No school, parking ban, no trash collection Friday

snow00g

Providence parking ban ends at noon (Jan. 3rd).
TRASH REMOVAL
Garbage and recycling collection will not take place today, Friday, January 3, 2014. If your regular trash pickup day is Thursday, your trash will be picked up tomorrow, Saturday, January 4, 2014. If your regular trash pickup day is Friday, your trash will be picked up on Monday, January 6, 2014.

Trash pickup will be delayed by one day next week:

  • Monday pickup will be Tuesday
  • Tuesday pickup will be Wednesday
  • Wednesday pickup will be Thursday
  • Thursday pickup will be Friday
  • Friday pickup will be Saturday

The regular trash pickup schedule will resume on Monday, January 13, 2014.

From the City:


Providence Public Schools Closed Tomorrow, Jan. 3 – Parking Ban Begins at Midnight

Residents urged to exercise caution during frigid conditions

PROVIDENCE, RI – In preparation for a winter snow storm forecast to bring frigid temperatures and leave up to eight inches of snow in Providence, Providence Public Schools will be closed tomorrow, January 3, 2013.

Mayor Angel Taveras has declared a citywide parking ban beginning at midnight tonight. The parking ban will remain in effect until further notice.

Snowfall is expected to peak in intensity during the evening hours tonight and will continue through tomorrow morning. The storm will be accompanied by frigid temperatures and wind gusts up to 45 miles per hour that will greatly reduce visibility and make extended outdoor exposure dangerous.

The Department of Public Works has prepared all equipment and personnel to respond to the storm. The City’s Emergency Operations Center has been 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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News & Notes

20120921 46 Gas Pump

Photo (cc) David Wilson

The Verge: Uber surge pricing: sound economic theory, bad business practice

When the snow started falling in New York City this past weekend, the prices for a ride in an Uber car began rising. It’s part of the company’s long-standing policy of “surge pricing”: using an algorithm that raises prices to adjust for demand. Uber says the higher prices motivate more drivers to hit the road, ensuring that there are always enough cars available for customers, at least those who can afford much steeper fares. The adjusted prices, which got as high as $35 a mile, were roughly eight times the regular fare. The minimum of $175 a ride took many customers by surprise and they reacted with anger. Surge pricing happens regularly in Uber’s busiest markets, and has drawn customer outrage and media scrutiny before, including in New York during the snowstorm on New Year’s Eve, 2011, and during Hurricane Sandy.

See also ValleyWag: The Weekend Uber Tried To Rip Everyone Off


The Walking Bostonian: Thought experiment: how much bus service can you get for the price of a parking garage?

We know that excavating an underground parking garage can cost from $50,000 to $100,000 per parking space (sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on conditions). Speaking loosely, then, each underground parking space could cover the net cost of approximately 5-10 weekdays worth of key bus route service. Let’s just assume for simplicity that every day has the same cost as a weekday. Then a year’s worth of key bus route service could be covered for the same cost as 36 to 73 underground parking spaces.

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News & Notes

Jersey City - Hudson-Bergen Light Rail

Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line in Jersey City, NJ. Photo (cc) Wally Gobetz.

Streetsblog: Why Free Black Friday Parking Is a Bad Idea

Lastly, providing free parking creates an inequity issue for people who do not own a car. As I’ve noted before, more than one-quarter of Cleveland households lack access to a vehicle. Yet, because the cost of parking is already factored into the price of retail goods, these individuals will have to pay for the hidden cost of parking, despite the fact that they will not take advantage of it. Ohio’s transportation policies are already skewed heavily enough towards driving. The round-trip cost of taking public transportation to Tower City ($4.50 per person) is higher than the price for two hours of on-street parking. Requiring the City to pick up this tab only serves to widen the gap between drivers and non-drivers.


The Atlantic Cities: Why Correcting Misperceptions About Mass Transit May Be More Important Than Improving Service

If you want to understand why people use a certain transit system, it makes sense to start with the system itself. Frequency, access, and any other service qualities that make riding as convenient as driving will help. Whether or not the way a city is designed and built nudges people toward the system — via residential density and street design, for instance — matters, too.

But as we’ve pointed out in the past, there’s a psychological component to riding transit that’s easy for city officials and planners to overlook. Fact is, we’re not all completely rational about our travel decisions. The perceptions that people have about public transportation, substantiated or not, are powerful enough to attract or repel them.


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2013 City of Providence Free Holiday parking starts Friday

Holiday Parking Program

City of Providence offers free holiday parking

To accommodate holiday shoppers and support local businesses during the busy holiday sales season, Mayor Taveras announced today that there will be two hours of free parking in designated commercial districts throughout Providence. Shoppers will be offered two hours of free parking from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. beginning Friday, November 29, 2013 through Wednesday, January 1, 2014 in the following commercial districts:

  • Atwells Avenue – Bradford Street to Knight Street
  • Broad Street – Public Street to Montgomery Street
  • Downtown Providence – bounded by Fountain Street, Memorial Boulevard, Weybosset Street, Empire Street and Pine Street (from Dorrance Street to Dyer Street)
  • Hope Street – Rochambeau Avenue to Blackstone Boulevard
  • North Main Street – Thomas Street to Park Row
  • Olneyville Square – Route 10 to Sydney Street and Delaine Street to Atwood Street to Magnolia Street
  • South Main Street – James Street to Packet Street
  • Thayer Street – Meeting Street to Bowen Street
  • Wayland Square – East Angell Street/Angell Street to Gano Street and Wayland Avenue from Angell Street to Pitman Street
  • Wickenden/Ives – Wickenden Street at Benefit Street to Ives Street at Preston Street

The holiday parking program is designed to make it easier for shoppers to patronize local businesses. The two-hour parking limit will be strictly enforced by parking enforcement officers. Cars parked illegally in prohibited areas, including crosswalks and tow zones, will be ticketed during this period.

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