Categories

Tag Archives | Pedestrians

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?

Continue Reading →

24

News & Notes

obama-official-edit

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?


Continue Reading →

0

ProJo: Providence officials: Shovel, or pay a fine

elorza-pichardo-shovel

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

9

Seekonk woman struck killed by hit & run driver, unshoveled sidewalks partly to blame

As reported by local media, Karen McHugh, a 51-year-old Seekonk resident was struck and killed by a hit & run driver on Friday night as she was walking along the road near her home. At the time of the incident that took her life, the sidewalks on Arcade Avenue were not shoveled, forcing McHugh to walk along the edge of the roadway.

This is exactly what we feared would happen when we started documenting uncleared sidewalks through the #PVDsidewalks hashtag on Twitter.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident, in 2011 George Adams, IV was struck and killed by a driver who also fled the scene. Haley Mckee who killed Adams was eventually arrested by police. In 2013 a reader documented poor conditions on North Main Street and of course North Main Street features heavily in the #PVDsidewalks photos this year. And in 2009 we wrote about people dying.

Every year we deal with these sidewalk conditions, and every year, people die while people who drive their cars seem to become more and more entitled and unable to deal with the fact that we live in New England and it snows. Someone started a Twitter fight with me insisting that the real problem was that streets were not returned to dry pavement yet and how dare I waste time worrying about sidewalks. The road in Seekonk was returned to dry pavement, and motorist were moving 35-40 mph on it, and Karen McHugh is dead.


Seekonk police seek any information anyone might have about Ms. McHugh’s death:

2

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

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
February 18, 2015 – 5PM
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

bpac-public-forum

Agenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Presentation of ground rules for open public forum to follow
  3. Open public discussion of ways in which the City of Providence can improve pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, culture, and safety
  4. Motion to adjourn
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
1

Share your sidewalk photos #PVDsidewalks

The Mayor is saying that he is going to enforce sidewalk snow removal regulations, including fining property owners who are out of compliance. We’ve created a hashtag on Twitter for people to share their photos: #PVDsidewalks.

3

Déjà vu

I’m pretty sure RIDOT sent this same exact Tweet last time we had a giant storm and I sent the exact same reply.

Also, the Mayor wants all the sidewalks clear by tomorrow afternoon, but don’t ever put any snow on the street!

3

Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – January 21, 2015

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
January 21, 2015, 4:30 PM
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Agenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Discussion of staff changes as they relate to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission
  3. Presentation by Emily Kish from Department of Planning and Development on Pop Up Providence program
  4. Discussion of goals and ideas for future 2015 BPAC meetings
  5. Motion to adjourn

Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
0

Video: Gabe Klein speaking at the PPS Symposium

This video shows transportation advocate Gabe Klein speaking at last November’s Providence Preservation Society Symposium.

Transportation guru Gabe Klein gives an insightful look at how cities can make simple and effective changes to transportation policy and infrastructure to effect safety, livability and economic transformation. He spoke as a featured speaker at the 2014 Providence Symposium, produced by the Providence Preservation Society.

See videos of all the speakers and panels from the PPS Symposium on YouTube.

0

PBN: Elizabeth Mill in Warwick to be razed, redeveloped

integlia-warwick-002

Renderings from McGeorge Arcitecture Interiors.

The historic Elizabeth Mill will be razed and some of its architectural elements incorporated into a new building, under a plan that Warwick officials hope will serve as a development catalyst for the City Centre Warwick district.

The plan would create a four-story, 300,000-square-foot building with modern efficiencies, suitable for retail, office and residential space, according to Mayor Scott Avedisian. The mill’s cast iron stairs, doors and bricks will be incorporated into a new structure.

Michael Integlia & Company, an engineering and construction management firm, will market the conceptual plan.

You can see a skelton of white beams that create a ghost of the tower of the mill being demolished, which is sad and creepy.

Though our historic buildings are an extremely important part of what makes our region unique and special, I’m not afraid to admit that not all can always be saved. Could someone have tried harder to save this building? Maybe, but it seems that will not happen. Keeping some little remenants and building a literal skeleton to remember the building is just dumb though. If the building has to go, get rid of it and move on.

Continue Reading →

32

News & Notes

manchester-flickr

Manchester, England – Photo (cc) Nathan Makan

The Economist: Heading north – Londoners in their 30s are moving out

Central Birmingham is buzzing. The fine square in Brindleyplace is lined with snazzy restaurants, and after 6pm, smartly dressed office workers. In 2003 the city got a globby new branch of Selfridges, a posh London department store, and in 2011 its first craft beer bar took over a former post office. Behind the redbrick factory facades of nearby Bradford Street, the yuppies are also taking over, quietly occupying new flats within.

Many of these go-getters are former Londoners. According to the Office of National Statistics, a record number of 30- to 39-year-olds left the capital in the year to June 2013: a net outflow of nearly 22,000 (and a 25% increase on 2010). They have settled in Birmingham, which attracted the largest number, as well as Manchester, Bristol and Oxford. London has long shed people in their 30s. Mainly they want bigger, cheaper living-space for their children. London’s soaring house prices have exacerbated the trend: the city’s average property price rose by 19% in the past year. It now stands at £402,800 – in Birmingham it is £133,700.

Those fleeing London are often moving jobs, too.

Speed up the commuter rail, build more housing… boom, we’re Manchester or Birmingham.


The Boston Globe: Marty Walsh goes up against boring architecture

Boston needs bolder buildings, and it needs civic leaders who aren’t afraid to permit them. In what could mark a major turn for Boston’s architectural history, Mayor Marty Walsh signaled Wednesday that not everything needs to built in red brick. Unlike predecessor Tom Menino, he personally won’t be deciding what the tops of new buildings should look like. And, most striking of all, non-boring ideas are now welcome in the city.

“Boston is home to the world’s most innovative thinkers — in science and technology, and in business, art, and architecture,” Walsh said in a speech before the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. “Our city’s built environment should reflect this culture of imagination. Too often, in recent decades, new buildings have been merely functional. I believe Boston can do better. We should aim for world-class design. Our historic buildings reflect our unique past. New buildings should project the values and aspirations of our growing city. We can balance the old and new.”

not everything needs to built in red brick.


Continue Reading →

1

Traffic changes coming to Exchange Terrace

exchange-terrace

From the City:


Changes to Traffic Pattern around Kennedy Plaza Beginning December 22

The City of Providence today announced upcoming changes to the traffic pattern on Exchange Terrace. Beginning Monday morning, December 22, Exchange Terrace (East Approach to Exchange Street) will be changed to accommodate 2-way traffic. The remainder of Exchange Terrace will allow two-way traffic later in 2015 when improvements to Emmitt Square are completed.

In preparation for this change, the southern portion of Exchange Terrace (East Approach to Exchange St.) will be barreled off Thursday morning, December 18, to allow westbound traffic to become used to driving on the northern part of Exchange Terrace prior to the switch.

There is a variable message board facing the westbound approach at the Exchange Street/Steeple St. intersection alerting motorists of the change in traffic pattern.

12

ProJo: Opening of Washington Bridge bike path in Providence delayed

washington-bridge

Photo of construction in October 2013

The opening of a new linear park for bikers and walkers on a transformed section of the old Washington Bridge has been delayed until the end of the year, according to the state Department of Transportation.

“It’s looking like in December that we’ll have it open for use, that’s what we are shooting for right now,” said DOT spokeswoman Rose Amoros.

When I took the above photo, over a year ago, they were saying, “next summer.”

1

UPDATED: Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – November 19, 2014

aurora

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
November 19, 2014, 5:00pm at Aurora
276 Westminster Street. Hosted by the Providence Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) group, Cornish Associates, and Aurora
Note different start time and location

Agenda

  • 5:00: Introductions and Introduction to BPAC and CNU
  • 5:05: “Bike/Ped Safety Assessment Planning/USDOT Secretary Foxx’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Initiative,” Nick Garcia, USDOT
  • 5:45: Complete Streets: Intentions Behind the Resolution/Making it Useful
  • 6:10: Tactical Urbanism to Address Bike/Ped Roadway Challenges, Molly Henry, East Coast Greenway
  • 6:25: New Business
  • 6:30: Adjourn

Update: This meeting will not have a formal agenda. Instead it will be an informational meeting with the Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission (BPAC). Please come, enjoy a cocktail, and meet and discuss the BPAC with the BPAC Commissioners. This is a good time to give feedback on the direction you would like to see the BPAC go under the new administration coming into City Hall in January.

Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
3

News & Notes

Rendering of the Boston Public Market

Project for Public Spaces: Boston’s Public Market To Be a Hub for Local Food

PPS’ public markets team has just returned from Boston and is excited to announce that it has begun creating an implementation plan for the first floor of Parcel 7, a MassDOT-owned building that is slated to house a public market. Both local residents and vendors are energized by the decision to re-purpose Parcel 7 into a marketplace that will promote regional food, support the New England economy and foster social integration.

More on Boston’s new public market, set to open in 2015 at their website.

The American Conservative: What to Do With Waterfronts?

Many city waterfronts used to be seedy industrial spaces: Dickensian areas once characterized by water trade and commerce, marked occasionally by squalor or disrepute. But as cities have changed, grown, and gentrified, our waterfronts are changing too.

Nonetheless: changes, even good changes, have consequences. Waterfront projects—be they in wealthy, well-kept communities or in run-down spaces—need a sense of scale and structure in order to foster beneficial growth.

When I wrote about Alexandria’s waterfront project, New Urbanists Peter Katz and Philip Bess both offered a wealth of ideas and tips for excellent, human-scale waterfront development. There were a lot of things we discussed that I simply didn’t have room for in my story—so here are a few “bonus” comments from the two men. They explained five specific ways to help make a waterfront a good New Urbanist space:

I think the best piece of advise in this list is the building it for locals, not tourists. Tourists like local things, but locals do not always like tourist things.


Continue Reading →

3

News & Notes

eddy-street

Eddy Street in Providence. Image from Google Street View.

CityLab: Why 12-Foot Traffic Lanes Are Disastrous for Safety and Must Be Replaced Now

Unfortunately, trained to expect this sort of behavior, highway engineers apply the same logic to the design of city streets, where people behave in an entirely different way. On city streets, most drivers ignore posted speed limits, and instead drive the speed at which they feel safe. That speed is set by the cues provided by the environment. Are there other cars near me? Is an intersection approaching? Can I see around that corner? Are there trees and buildings near the road? Are there people walking or biking nearby? And: How wide is my lane?

When lanes are built too wide, pedestrians are forced to walk further across streets on which cars are moving too fast and bikes don’t fit.
All of these factors matter, and others, too. The simplest one to discuss, and probably the most impactful, is lane width. When lanes are built too wide, many bad things happen. In a sentence: pedestrians are forced to walk further across streets on which cars are moving too fast and bikes don’t fit.

As with most other State and County road departments across the country, RIDOT mostly insists that all roads should strive for 12′ lanes and the Providence DPW does not much disagree.


BuzzFeed News: The Hidden Reason Why Rent Is So Expensive In Cities: Parking Spaces

While many factors contribute to drive up the price of rents, parking is among the most significant, according to University of California Los Angeles professor and renowned parking guru Donald Shoup. BuzzFeed News sat down with Shoup during the CityLab 2014 conference in Los Angeles Monday to talk about how parking makes housing more expensive. His point: “It’s unfair to have cities where parking is free for cars and housing is expensive for people.”


Continue Reading →

0