Tag Archives | Pedestrians

Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – November 18, 2015

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
November 18, 2015 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor
  1. Roll call
  2. Approval of meeting minutes from October Commission meeting
  3. Reading of a response regarding BPAC recommendations to Mayor Elorza – update on advancement of several key recommendations
  4. Discussion and identification of intersections where the timing of pedestrian crossing signals needs to be improved
  5. Discussion and identification of intersections where crosswalks need to be improved
  6. Discussion and identification of priority areas for snow removal
  7. Adjournment

Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.

Local News & Notes


Proposed South Street Landing parking garage. Rendering by Spagnolo Gisness & Associates, Inc.

I’ve been quite busy offline the last few weeks. Here’s a selection of local stories I’ve been trying to catch myself up on: New MBTA ‘bullet trains’ will get riders from Worcester to Boston in less than an hour

Riding the rails from Worcester to Boston should take less time come May. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito on Wednesday announced the addition of a non-stop bullet train and two additional express trains on the Worcester/Framingham line.

“This is a game changer,” Polito said, referring to it as a quality of life issue. “For the first time ever, a non-stop train leaves Worcester and arrives in Boston in less than an hour.

Can the Providence line haz ‘bullet trains’ too pleaz?

The Providence Journal Fed-ordered drainage work will cost RIDOT $112 million

Faced with a consent decree requiring it to comply with federal clean water rules, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation has budgeted $112 million over the next decade to clean and repair its ailing network of drainage systems around the state.

DOT director Peter Alviti said the state agency plans to annually spend between $6.6 million and $16.8 million on drainage improvements as part of its 10-year strategic plan in a bid to correct years of inaction and reduce the amount of polluted stormwater that flows into Narragansett Bay and other local water bodies from state roads.

Look back to 2013 when Save The Bay highlighted the issue that surface run-off, not sewer overflow was what was most contributing to beach closures that year. RIDOT didn’t even know where it’s run-off was coming from, while we, the Narragansett Bay Commission rate-payers, are paying crazy sewer bills for a giant pipe to hold our poo.

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ProJo: Trying to avoid Providence police, van driver hits pedestrian, flips van

walkinpvd-iconA 45-year-old Providence man faces charges after, in an attempt to evade police, he sped away, hit a pedestrian and rolled over his minivan, before taking off toward a gentleman’s club on foot, police said.

Michael Robinson, 45, is to be arraigned in Providence District Court Wednesday morning on several charges, including operating a vehicle without a license, and duty to stop in an accident resulting in personal injury, according to a police report provided by Major Thomas Verdi.


Robinson allegedly sped down Broadway “in an aggressive manner.” He then turned left onto Dave Gavitt Way and hit 29-year-old Ryan Karpuska, but kept going, according to the report.

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ProJo: Woman struck by minivan while walking on Memorial Boulevard, Providence

walkinpvd-iconA woman walking on Memorial Boulevard Wednesday night was rushed to the hospital after she was hit by a minivan, police said.

The 25-year-old woman was walking at about 10:15 p.m. when she was struck by the car. She had cuts on her face, and complained of pain on the left side of her abdomen, according to the police report, provided by Major Thomas Verdi.

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ecoRI News: R.I.’s Bike Infrastructure a Disjointed Maze


Bike Lane on Allens Avenue

In June 2012 complete-streets legislation was passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by then-Gov. Lincoln Chafee. The law requires federal- and state-funded road-construction projects to consider bicyclists, public-transit users and pedestrians during the design process. The goal is to increase road safety for non-automobile users and, thereby, encourage people to use alternative forms of transportation, which promote public and environmental health while reducing traffic congestion.

While Rhode Island’s complete-streets legislation has resulted in safer road design in some places, many bicycle advocates are generally disappointed by the results. The legislation requires the state Department of Transportation (DOT) to consider incorporating complete-streets features, but allows exceptions on projects if the agency determines space is limited or costs are deemed disproportionate to the use those features would likely garner.

When I imagine RIDOT considering complete street infrastructure on construction projects, I imagine it a lot like my non-religious family says grace at Thanksgiving; “Someone should say grace,” “Grace,” eat. “Someone should consider complete streets,” “considered,” make street geometry so cars can move as fast as possible.

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – October 20, 2015

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
October 20, 2015, 2015 – 4:45pm
30 Exchange Terrace, 1st Floor Conference Room
Note: This meeting is at a different location than regularly scheduled meetings


  1. Roll call
  2. Approval of meeting minutes from September Commission meeting
  3. Introduction of Peter Garino, RIDOT Deputy Director (Martina Haggerty)
  4. Discussion with Peter Garino, RIDOT Deputy Director, regarding ways to improve coordination between RIDOT and BPAC and status updates on several RIDOT projects within the City of Providence
  5. Update on bike share program (Leah Bamberger)
  6. Adjournment
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.

Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – September 16, 2015

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
September 16, 2015, 2015 – 4:45pm
30 Exchange Terrace, 1st floor conference room
Note, this meeting will be at a different location, 30 Exchange Terrace.
  1. Roll call
  2. Approval of meeting minutes from July Commission meeting
  3. Update on the City’s participation in the USDOT Mayor’s Challenge (Martina Haggerty)
  4. Update on response from administration regarding letter of BPAC recommendations (Martina Haggerty)
  5. Update on status of Pleasant Valley Parkway Bridge 777 plans and bike detour (Martina Haggerty)
  6. Discussion of planned update to the City’s Bike Plan and possible public engagement strategies (Martina Haggerty)
  7. Update on improvements to reporting of pot holes and patching (Leah Bamberger)
  8. Discussion of Point Street traffic volume data collected by DPW in relation to possible bike lanes on Point Street (Bill Bombard)
  9. Adjournment
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.

ProJo: Police: Driver headed for body shop after hitting pedestrian with stolen car

walkinpvd-iconAfter hitting a pedestrian with a stolen car Wednesday afternoon, a Providence man drove to an auto body shop less than a block away from the crash site, according to police.

A 21-year-old man was struck by a vehicle while trying to cross the intersection of Valley Street and Eagle Street at 2:40 p.m., according to a police report provided by Maj. Thomas Verdi.

The vehicle, which had been turning from Valley Street onto Eagle Street, drove off after the crash.

I better get my stolen car to the auto body shop stat! Damn pedestrians!


News & Notes


Image (cc) 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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RIBike: Meetings with RIDOT


We had two meetings last week with Deputy Director of RIDOT, Pete Garino. One was a roundtable with a number of other advocates for biking & transit, one was one-on-one. There are changes afoot at RIDOT, and we wanted to let you know what’s going on.

First of all, the basic idea the new RIDOT leadership is pushing in its 10-year RhodeWorks proposal is to raise extra money through truck tolls to aggressively repair the state’s structurally-deficient bridges and get us out of the “death spiral” of nothing but emergency repairs. With public infrastructure, it’s often the case that doing proactive maintenance & repairs saves boatloads of money in the longer run, and RIDOT wants to do that.

But what about bikes? In the administration’s proposed breakdown of funding in the RhodeWorks proposal, there is $128 million for bike/ped infrastructure over the next 10 years, which is about 3x more than we’re getting currently. In addition to keeping that funding in there, we’ve been clear with DOT that when they’re resurfacing roads and bridges, they should stripe bike lanes wherever appropriate. To focus that process, we are eager to work with Statewide Planning, DOT, DEM, and local governments to ensure that good bike plans are in place so that DOT knows where to put bike lanes.

Visit the link to read RIBike’s extensive notes on various transportation projects.


Transport Providence: Beg Buttons Got to Go


What button? – Image from GCPVD’s Instagram

Asked if he had any recommendations for the mayor, in an email Weis said:

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission recently sent a letter to Mayor Elorza advising that our city phase out use of pedestrian crossing push buttons (aka beg buttons) citywide, with a special focus on school zones, commercial districts, and the areas around recreation centers. We hope that the Mayor will accept this recommendation, which would override the recommendation made in the Olneyville Road Safety Assessment to continue their use.

Weis was unequivocal. “Beg buttons got to go.”


News & Notes


Photo (cc) Michelle

Planetizen The Case Against Jaywalking Laws, Part 2

Some months ago, I wrote that laws against so-called “jaywalking” (that is, crossing in places other than crosswalks or where traffic lights encourage pedestrians to cross) fail to promote safety, because traffic lights are inadequate guides to safety. When crossing midblock, a pedestrian need only watch out for traffic coming in one direction—right toward her. By contrast, when crossing at a light, a pedestrian may be in less danger from cars coming straight at him, but may be attacked by cars making left and right turns. Moreover, it is not at all clear that jaywalking is a major cause of pedestrian fatalities; although most crashes do occur outside intersections, these crashes often occur in places where there is no easily available crosswalk. According to traffic writer Tom Vanderbilt, “While jaywalking is often cited as a cause of pedestrian accidents, less than 20 percent of fatalities occurred where a pedestrian was crossing outside an easily available crosswalk.” And even where a pedestrian is jaywalking, a crash may be caused primarily by driver misconduct.

Penn Medicine Remediating Abandoned, Inner City Buildings Reduces Crime and Violence in Surrounding Areas, Penn Study Finds

“Replacing broken windows and doors is an effective deterrent of crime—and a low-cost alternative to demolishing abandoned buildings,” MacDonald said. “During a time when big cities like Philadelphia are looking to tackle issues of crime and violence, this study points to a potentially effective tactic for municipalities to continue or implement in helping make their neighborhoods safer and ultimately improving health outcomes.”

Prior research suggests that vacant and abandoned places have a significant and negative impact on community health and safety. The “broken windows” theory proposes that abandonment sends a signal to would-be offenders that committing crimes is acceptable and will likely go unchallenged or unseen. A sister study of abandoned land, not buildings, conducted by Branas, MacDonald and others in 2011 found an association between greening remediation of vacant lots and reduced risks of neighborhood violence, stress, and sedentary behavior. Other studies have found associations between boarded-up buildings and drug-related deaths and sexually transmitted diseases.

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RIbike: Another casualty of unsafe streets in Rhode Island: Charlie Hawkins of North Providence


Image from Google Streetview

walkinpvd-iconWe have been lucky in Rhode Island recently to have avoided deadly collisions involving bicyclists. That streak has now, tragically, ended. On Friday, Charlie Hawkins of North Providence was hit and killed while crossing a four-lane road in Warwick in the early evening.


Traffic fatalities are not acceptable. Until our state and local governments take responsibility for making our streets safer, this sort of horrific tragedy will continue to happen. Failure to make our streets safer for all road users is unacceptable.


CANCELED Capital Center Commission Meeting – July 23, 2015

This meeting has been canceled.
featured-capital-center Capital Center Commission Meeting
Tursday, July 23, 2015 • 12:00 noon
Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903


  1. Roll Call
  2. Minutes
    2.1 Approval of Commission Meeting Minutes of April 8, 2015
    2.2 Acceptance of DRC Meeting Minutes of January 20, March 17, and April 21, 2015
  3. Election of CCC Vice Chair
  4. Election of DRC Vice Chair
  5. Parcel 14: Veterans Memorial Auditorium
    Request for approval to install 2-sided marquee sign and electronic message board.
  6. Parcel 9: GTECH Building
    Request for approval to replace existing GTECH signage with new IGT signage.
  7. Francis Street & Memorial Boulevard Intersection Safety Improvements
    Request for approval of proposed safety improvements.
  8. FY2016 Budget
  9. Designation of Service Provider
    9.1 Legal Services
  10. Adjournment

City seeks ideas to light the Route 95 Eddy Street underpass


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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