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Tag Archives | Pedestrians

City seeks ideas to light the Route 95 Eddy Street underpass

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From the Providence Department of Planning and Development:


Request for Proposals for a Lighting Installation for the Eddy Street Underpass

Project Background and Context

The City of Providence is soliciting creative designs for a lighting installation that would activate and enhance the safety and visual appeal of the Eddy Street underpass. The improvement of this space through unique artistic design would not only make the underpass significantly safer and more inviting for pedestrians, but it would also define a sense of place, effectively connecting the City’s emerging Hospital District with the more established, pedestrian-friendly Jewelry District. Activation of this space provides a significant opportunity to establish a well-designed, identifiable connection between these two vital districts, while promoting a safe, pedestrian-oriented environment. Furthermore, this project allows for an exciting opportunity to utilize the abundant local artistic talent, further enhancing the identity of Providence as “The Creative Capital.”

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News on the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge

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The Providence Journal: Pedestrian bridge over Providence River being ‘reevaluated’ by RI transportation officials

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is now “reevaluating” the bridge project, RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said in a statement in response to questions from The Providence Journal.

“Given our current funding levels, RIDOT is reevaluating this project given the availability of funding,” Alviti wrote. “RIDOT must take into consideration the many needs for Rhode Island’s deficient bridges and deteriorated roadways. With reliable, predictable funding provided through the RhodeWorks program, RIDOT would be in a better position to schedule and fund projects such as the pedestrian bridge.”

The Feds let us use the money we’d save on not removing the piers in the river on the new highway. Will the Feds make us remove the piers if we don’t build the bridge?

Salisbury said his association would be “really disappointed” if the bridge isn’t built — plus, he questions what would happen to the old highway piers that once carried Route 195 over the river and now remain in the river, intended to carry the pedestrian bridge along the highway’s old path. Seven years ago, the DOT agreed to build the pedestrian bridge on those piers — and said the $2 million it would save by not demolishing them would go toward building the bridge. The DOT has already paid $1.4 million to design the pedestrian bridge, which was expected to cost $5.5 million.


Also, last week, PBN reported on possible changes to the design of the bridge.

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission – June 17, 2015

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
June 17, 2015 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor
  1. Roll call
  2. Introduction of new Commission members
  3. Update from Planning Department on planned crosswalk across Dave Gavitt Way at Westminster Street
  4. Approval of meeting minutes from April Commission meeting
  5. Introduction of new RI Bicycle Coalition staff
  6. Discussion of improved connections between Providence Place Mall and East Bay Bike Path
  7. Discussion of Health Equity Zone (HEZ) grant received by Healthy Communities Office from the RI Department of Health
  8. Adjournment
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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James Kennedy: Why Routes 6/10 should be redeveloped as a surface boulevard

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Overpass on 6/10 Connector inbound. Photo from RIDOT

This post originally appeared on Transport Providence and is reposted with persmission of the author.

My Letter to City Council

To Honorable Councilpersons Aponte, Hassett, Matos, Principe, and Jennings,

I would like to bring a proposal for Rt. 6/10 to your attention. My proposal was #10 on RI NPR’s “Things to Know in Rhode Island” this week, and I hope I can get Council’s attention to discuss it.

The Rt. 6/10 Connector would be best redeveloped as a surface boulevard. The RIDOT proposal for bus lanes is what I call “transit oriented decoration” rather than “transit oriented development” because the bus lanes would remain on a raised or sunken highway, which would mean that meaningful transit service would pass over your wards.

It’s important to have some kind of “express” service for buses, but what makes buses successful is ridership, which allows frequency. We can only get ridership if we allow the dense neighborhoods that 6/10 passes through to get full service, and that means fostering a healthy pedestrian environment with development around the route. A surface boulevard will do that, and a limited-access highway will not.

Bus lanes without a meaningful ridership base and walkable environment will be as unsuccessful as the Wickford Junction Station was, and for the same reasons.

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Barry Schiller: Rhode Works – $4.8 Billion for Rhode Island Transportation

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The crumbling Warren Avenue bridge in East Providence was recently replace. Image from RIDOT

Barry Schiller, a retired Rhode Island College math professor, is a long-time member of the State Planning Council’s Transportation Advisory Committee. He also was on the RIPTA Board of Directors 1995-1999.

What is your 10 year vision for transportation in Rhode Island? The Governor and her new RIDOT leaders propose their answer on the home page of the RIDOT website where there is a link to a 10 year $4.8 billion transportation plan called “Rhode Works.” This is about $1.1 billion more than current funding levels. A $700 million revenue bond is proposed for funding “replacement, reconstruction, and maintenance” of state bridges, the bond to be paid back by tolls on large commercial trucks crossing some bridges on Routes 95, 195, 295, 146, and 6/10. $400 million is set aside for the Route 6/10 bridges. There is a goal to reduce the percentage of our deficient bridges from about 22% to 10%. There will be a hearing on the proposed tolls at House Finance on Tuesday evening June 2.

Another $400 million to fund Rhode Works is from seeking $400 million in federal “New Start” transit funds. Rhode Works promises a “new commitment to provide increased bus and rail services.” The only specific transit project mentioned is an express bus lane on Routes 6/10. Rhode Works also promises “funding for bike lanes and accessible sidewalks.” There is no mention of bike paths.

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Capital Center Commission Design Review Committee Meeting – May 19, 2015

featured-capital-center Capital Center Commission Design Review Committee Meeting
Wednesday, May 19, 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 January 20, 2015, March 17, 2015 and April 21, 2015
  3. Francis Street & Memorial Boulevard Intersection Safety Improvements
    Continued review of proposed safety improvements.
  4. Adjournment

There’s not really any safety improvements to the Memorial and Francis intersection (which is a pedestrian nightmare). It is basically to further keep people from walking along the side along the Omni and getting killed crossing the ramp traffic. No changes to the roadway to make anything safer.

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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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Jane’s Walk – May 2-3, 2015

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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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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – April 15, 2015

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
April 15, 2015 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Agenda

  1. Roll call
  2. Approval of meeting minutes from March Commission meeting
  3. Discussion of possible Roger Williams loop road closure
  4. Discussion of ideas for improving pedestrian and bicycle conditions generated from February Commission meeting
  5. Discussion and review of DPW plans for Pleasant Valley Parkway, Smith Street, Charles Street, Elmwood Avenue, Valley Street, River Road, Smithfield Avenue, and Washington Street
  6. Adjournment
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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News & Notes

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Planned protected bike lane on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston.

The Boston Globe: Boston to install protected bike lanes on Commonwealth Avenue

The city of Boston will install protected bike lanes on a stretch of Commonwealth Avenue, a victory for biking advocates who have pushed for the city to make it safer to cycle down the bustling thoroughfare.

City officials announced on Tuesday their plans to replace existing bike lanes with protected bike lanes — known as cycle tracks — from the Boston University Bridge to Packard’s Corner. The lanes will be about two-thirds of a mile and use parked cars as a barrier between cyclists and vehicle traffic, a move meant to cut down on accidents that have become common along the heavily used road.

The decision to install the protected bike lanes represents a turnaround for the administration of Mayor Martin J. Walsh, and could pave the way for more protected bike lanes in the city.

Providence is working on plans for the first protected bike lanes in the state along Fountain Street downtown.


The New Journal: Paint the Streets

On the morning of Sunday, May 1, 2011, residents of the Audubon district awoke to find a bold new crosswalk at the intersection of Whitney Avenue and Audubon Street. Spray-painted and slightly crooked, the rogue act made headlines around town. Opinions differed—officials said the sight lines weren’t clear enough for a crosswalk, business owners liked that it made it easier for people to get to their stores, and some just thought it looked a little funny. Useful or not, the crosswalk was illegal and officials had the paint removed two days later. The impromptu markings made a point, however: the intersection was dangerous. The city needed to rethink its streets.


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House and Senate Committees to consider bills mandating bridge sidewalk snow removal

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Route 95 clear after Blizzard of 2015, Broadway Bridge sidewalks, not so much.

Committees of the Rhode Island General Assembly House and Senate will consider bills this Wednesday, March 25th, to mandate that RIDOT remove snow from roads and sidewalk under their control, including overpasses in Providence:


House Finance Committee:

House Bill No. 5349
BY Blazejewski
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO HIGHWAYS – SIDEWALKS {LC1086/1} (Requires the DOT to complete snow removal on all sidewalks located on state highway overpasses, and on all pedestrian overhead walkways under the control of the state within (24) hours after the end of a snowstorm.)


Senate:

Senate Housing and Municipal Government Committee to hear bill on sidewalk snow removal

STATE HOUSE – The Senate Housing and Municipal Government Committee will meet Wednesday to hear proposed legislation addressing the removal of snow from sidewalks on highway overpasses.

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, March 25, at the rise of the Senate (about 4:30 p.m.) in Room 310 on the third floor of the State House.

The bill (2015-S 0195 ), sponsored by Sen. Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence), would require the Department of Transportation to complete snow removal on all sidewalks located on state highway overpasses, and on all pedestrian overhead walkways under the control of the state within 24 hours after the end of a snowstorm.


The public is welcome to attend and testify at these meetings, you can also contact your Represenative or Senator directly to express support.

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Providence Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – March 18, 2015

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
March 18, 2015 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Agenda

  1. Roll call
  2. Vote to approve meeting minutes from February 18 Commission meeting
  3. Discussion of and vote to adopt 2015 meeting schedule
  4. Presentation by Robert Azar, Deputy Director of Planning and Development, regarding Fountain Street improvements
  5. Discussion of request to DPW for list of upcoming road repair and striping projects
  6. Discussion of agenda for Bicycle Friendly Community visit by League of American Bicyclists planned for April 16
  7. Discussion of the City’s participation in the USDOT Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets and next steps to be taken by the Commission in order fulfill their role as Mayor Elorza’s “local action team”
  8. Discussion of ideas for improving pedestrian and bicycle conditions generated from February 18 Commission meeting
  9. Adjournment

The location for this meeting is handicap accessible and translation or hearing impaired services are available upon request. Please contact Martina Haggerty at 401-680-8400 at least 48 hours in advance to request such services.

Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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News & Notes

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Chattanooga, Tennessee. Photo (cc) Dave Lawrence.

CityLab: Why Housing Is Key to Chattanooga’s Tech-Hub Ambitions

Chattanooga is aiming to build on the reputation it’s earned from its world-class broadband service. The goal is to make the city a sustainable innovation hub, showing that it’s a well-rounded city rather than a one-trick pony. Evidence of this forward-thinking strategy can be seen in an ambitious expansion of housing downtown—known locally as the City Center—which is aimed at attracting young professionals that value walkable urban cores.

The latest downtown housing effort began in 2013, three years after the city’s gigabit Internet was first introduced. The community was of course enthused by the changes they were seeing in the city. But to local policymakers, the level of housing density in downtown Chattanooga was far from ideal. Over 50,000 people showed up to work there each day, but a dearth of adequate housing prevented many of them from moving there. Over the course of several months, more than 70 local stakeholders came together to identify 22 downtown buildings that needed to be remodeled (some razed) to make room for new housing.


The Boston Globe: A new age for an old town

There have been three great ages of development in modern Boston. The first began after the Back Bay was filled in the late 19th century, a radical change that triggered a historic construction boom. The second came in the 1960s and ’70s, when a “high spine” of office towers — stretching from the financial district to the Pru — began to rise over an old town.

The third is now.

Its businesses and population on the rise, Boston is in the midst of a building spree whose enormity, pace, and geographic sweep are redefining the skyline faster than any period since the early Industrial Age.


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Pedestrians struck in Providence and Pawtucket over the weekend

WJAR reports that two people were struck by a driver who stopped on the Point Street Bridge on Saturday afternoon:

In Providence, police tell NBC 10 two pedestrians were struck on Saturday shortly after 5:00 p.m. on the Point Street Bridge with their backs facing traffic. The operator of the vehicle stopped and told police that he was unable to see the two walking in the road because of heavy sun glare.

The pair were transported to Rhode Island Hospital with minor injuries and the driver is not facing any charges. Police noted that the sidewalks were passable and are not sure why the two were walking in the road.

I have not been on the Point Street Bridge lately; does anyone know if it is true that the sidewalks there are “passable?”

Update: A reader challenges the Police Department’s claim that the Point Street Bridge sidewalks are passable, more photos.

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ProJo reports that a man was struck by a hit and run driver on Newport Avenue in Pawtucket early Saturday morning:

The victim, who is being identified only as a 35-year-old Pawtucket man, was walking south near 1114 Newport Avenue sometime between 1 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. when he was hit by a vehicle also travelling south, according to an email from Pawtucket Police Detective Maj. Arthur Martins.

WJAR says there was another hit and run on Newport Avenue in Pawtucket later Saturday afternoon.

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The economic argument for clearing snow from sidewalks

There’s been a lot of lip-service to forcing people to clear sidewalks through fines, but not too much seems to be coming of it. I’ve argued a lot about the safety issues involved in not clearing the sidewalks, especially for young children forced to walk in the road on the way to school; but few results have been seen.

So, what about the economic impact? Should a city and state that claims to want to attract millennials who seek walkable transit-oriented small cities look like this?

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News & Notes

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President Obama announced his budget on Monday including a $478-billion six-year plan for transportation spending.

Streetsblog USA: Obama’s New Transportation Budget: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Today President Obama unveiled his opening bid in this process. The $478-billion, six-year plan from the White House includes many of the proposals the administration unveiled last year. Congress didn’t advance those ideas then, and with the GOP now controlling both houses, chances remain slim for reforming highway-centric federal transportation policy.

But the White House budget document remains the best summary of the Obama team’s transportation policy agenda. The ideas are intriguing even if they’re politically improbable.

Also on Streetsblog, they picked up our story about the death of Karen McHugh.

Scientific American: U.S. Cities Lag in Race against Rising Seas

In just a few decades, most U.S. coastal regions are likely to experience at least 30 days of nuisance flooding every year.

Washington, D.C.; Annapolis, Md.; and Wilmington, N.C., are already in trouble. By 2020, seven more cities, including Baltimore and Atlantic City, N.J., can add themselves to the list. And within the next 35 years, most cities along all coasts will be dealing with routine flooding.

Some cities, such as New York, are bolstering their shorelines in response to extreme events, such as Superstorm Sandy. But with more than half the U.S. population living within 50 miles of the coast, many areas are just at the beginning stages of preparing to deal with rising sea levels and the increased flooding they bring.

Where will we build the next hurricane barrier?


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ProJo: Providence officials: Shovel, or pay a fine

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Mayor Elorza and State Senator Pichardo shoveling snow last week. Photo from Twitter.

Introduced by Ward 13 Council member Bryan Principe, the ordinance change would allow the Department of Public Works to clear un-passable sidewalks and then bill the abutting land owners for the cost of the work. It would also allow the city to levy a fine for each day a sidewalk remains unshoveled, instead of only a one-time charge.

This is what a lot of people have been calling for, the City shoveling, or paying someone to shovel, then billing the property owner. Of course, it will still be awkward when the City has to bill itself.

Update: Hearing canceled

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