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Providence PARK(ing) DAY – September 19, 2014

union-studio-parklet

Union Studio‘s parklet last year. Photo by Rachel Playe

From Rhode Island Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects:


September 19, 2014 8:00am – 4:00pm

Come out and join us for the second annual PARK(ing) Day Providence!

This year, PARK(ing) Day Providence will have 32 parklets in Downtown, the West Side, and the East Side and a protected bike lane on Broadway. We can’t express our thanks enough to the Downtown Improvement District, the West Broadway Neighborhood Association, the Department of Public Works, the City of Providence, and all of our amazing sponsors.

Check out the maps to plan your tour of the parklets on the 19th!

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission meeting – September 17, 2014

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
September 17, 2014, 4:30 PM
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Agenda

  • 4:35 Denise Kaplin: International Walk to School Day
  • 4:50 Jef Nickerson: Pedestrian “Beg Button” ban proposal/action
  • 5:20 Eric Weis: Bike Path Updates – George Redman Linear Park, Blackstone Bikeway segment 1, and Woonasquatucket paths
  • 5:30 Nate Urso, Providence DPW: Road Construction Updates
  • 5:45 Dave Everett: Updates – Safe States Pedestrian Injury Prevention Program; Greater Kennedy Plaza Bike Hitches and Racks
  • 6:00 Adjourn

Public comment is welcome at BPAC meetings.

Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – August 20, 2014

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
August 20, 2014, 4:30 PM
444 Westminster Street, First Floor
  • 4:35 – Katie Goodrum, Congress for the New Urbanism – CNU and impacts on bike/ped in Providence
  • 4:55 – Sidewalk access during construction – Continued discussion
  • 5:10 – Road and sidewalk conditions in the Wickenden/South Main area – RIDOT communication
  • 5:20 – Butler Ave. at Waterman and S. Angell signal timing
  • 5:25 – Roadwork Report, Nate Urso, Providence DPW
  • 5:40 – James Kennedy, Providence (Park)ing Day
  • 5:55 – Safe States Pedestrian Injury Prevention Program – Providence proposal update (staff)
  • 6:00 – Adjourn

Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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Sign-up for Providence Park(ing) Day

parking-day-thumbProvidence businesses and residents can now sign up to be part of Providence’s Second Annual Park(ing) Day, which this year falls Friday, September 19th.

Park(ing) Day will feature the state’s first ever temporary protected bike lane from Dean Street to Tobey on Broadway. We hope the temporary installation will start a conversation on permanent changes that can be made to our city streets to better support biking.

For more information, you can email parkingdaypvd@gmail.com or go to the Rhode Island ASLA website.

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2014 Providence Cyclovía series starts this weekend on Broad Street

angel-cyclovia

Photo from Mayor Taveras’ Facebook page

Providence will have 3 cyclovía events this year, the first takes place this Sunday on Broad Street in South Providence. Details from the City:


Cyclovía is a car-free event that opens the street for people of all ages to walk, skate, run, bicycle, exercise, and socialize. The event is sponsored by Mayor Taveras in collaboration with the City’s Healthy Communities Office and the Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission.

“Cyclovía provides Providence residents with a safe and fun environment that promotes cycling, walking and community interaction – all elements of a healthy, balanced lifestyle,” said Mayor Angel Taveras. “Residents from across the city will have the opportunity to enjoy their neighborhoods and to experience the great things that Providence has to offer.”

Providence held its first-ever Cyclovía in September 2012 on Broad Street. In 2013, the City of Providence expanded Cyclovías to Valley Street in Olneyville and Hope Street on the East Side.

2014 Cyclovía Providence Series

  • Sunday, June 29 • 12-4pm
    Elmwood: Broad Street (Thurbers Ave. – Prairie Ave.)
  • Sunday, July 27 • 12-4pm
    Federal Hill: Broadway (Dean St. – Courtland St.)
  • Sunday, September 7 • 12-4pm
    East Side: Hope Street (Lippitt Park/9th Ave – Rochambeau Ave.)
Full disclosure: I am a member of the Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission.
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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission meeting – June 18, 2014

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
June 18, 2014, 4:30 PM
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Agenda

  1. Roadwork Report, Nate Urso, Providence DPW
  2. Providence Cylocross Festival, Richard Fries
  3. Motion: Bike Lane request for Pitman Street
  4. Discussion/Motion: request ordinance requiring sidewalk accommodation during construction projects
  5. Broadway Update
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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News & Notes

miami-station

Proposed Florida Station in Miami.

→ Gizmodo: 5 Rail Stations From America’s New Golden Age of Train Travel

With a high-speed rail network slowly making its way towards reality, cities are commissioning grand stations for the 21st century to accommodate this new mode of transit. Here are five stations on the horizon that are bringing the drama and glamour back to train travel, while positioning it for a high-tech, high-speed future.


→ City Journal: Aaron Renn: The Bluest State

“Rhode Island is in the midst of an especially grim economic meltdown,” a 2009 New York Times story began, “and no one can pinpoint exactly why.” Five years later, the state continues to suffer from most of the same problems the Times story described: high unemployment, a crippling tax structure, dangerously underfunded state pension systems. But contrary to the Times’s claims, Rhode Island’s predicament is easy to explain. With no special economic advantages, the state has maintained an entitlement mentality inherited from an age of colonial and industrial grandeur. Rhode Island was once one of America’s most prosperous states, and its rate of higher-education attainment remains better than the national average. But the state’s key industries collapsed long ago, and its political leadership has refused to make adjustments to its high-cost, high-regulation governance system.

The result: a state with “the costs of Minnesota and the quality of Mississippi,” as Rob Atkinson, former executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Policy Council, told WPRI-TV. Indeed, Rhode Island is arguably America’s basket case, overlooked only because it is small enough to escape most national scrutiny. Its ruination is a striking corrective to the argument that states can tax, spend, and regulate their way to prosperity.


Continue Reading →

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission meeting – May 21, 2014

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
May 21, 2014, 4:30 PM
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Agenda

  1. James Daley, Director of Training, RIPTA: Bus Operator Training and pedestrian/cyclist safety
  2. Pedestrian Safety project (Safe States)
  3. Broadway Bike Lane – recommendation of extension to frontage road
  4. Discussion: BPAC’s role, goals, priorities, accomplishments

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

Kennedy Plaza

Two ProJo articles last weekend about Kennedy Plaza:

→ The Providence Journal: A View from Providence: Hangout or hub, Kennedy Plaza certainly is quirky

People get off buses. Others get on. Some stand in line, others stand around. They wear headphones and backpacks, some carry bags.
The plaza draws folks from all walks. Students. Workers. Homeless. Peddlers. Visitors.

→ The Providence Journal: Some argue that good parks and public spaces can revitalize RI economy

In Kennedy Plaza, bus and vehicle traffic compete with people wanting to use the park. There is too much hard surface; too few trees. There’s too much noise; too little to do.

“If you leave public spaces barren you get this blight,” Wood said. “You create a draw for all sorts of undesirable activity.”

Continue Reading →

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RIPTA: Downtown Transit 2.0

Downtown Transit Alternatives 140320

As RIPTA prepares to introduce its new R-Line rapid bus service next month, and reroute some buses in September based on the recent Comprehensive Operational Analysis, the agency is also planning for how to operate in Downtown Providence in the future.

Ideas for the future include physical improvements to Kennedy Plaza and the creation of two new bus hubs, one at Providence Train Station, the other behind the Garrahy Courthouse off Dorrance Street.

Information from RIPTA on the recent studies they have undertaken:


RIPTA has commissioned several recent studies to seek ways to improve the transit experience for Rhode Islanders. Rising ridership and the need to provide service that best meets demand in our state has driven recent evaluations of RIPTA’s operations, including the Comprehensive Operational Analysis (COA). As almost all RIPTA routes access Kennedy Plaza, it is expected that operations at this location would be more closely studied. RIPTA, in partnership with the RI Department of Transportation and RI Statewide Planning, is conducting a downtown transit improvement study, Downtown Transit 2.0, to evaluate whether the introduction of additional downtown Providence transit stations could improve service for existing riders, enhance downtown accessibility and mobility, and resolve operational and passenger experience issues at Kennedy Plaza.

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Providence street sweeping and yard waste collection start this month

yard-waste-bags-flickr

Image (cc) regan76

From the City:


Mayor Taveras Kicks Off Citywide Springtime Street Sweeping Program

Temporary ‘alternate side of the street’ parking rules will be in effect to accommodate aggressive street sweeping schedule

PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Angel Taveras kicked off a citywide street sweeping program after a snowy winter that left sand and debris on roads throughout Providence. Ward 7 City Councilman John Igliozzi joined Mayor Taveras to kick off the street sweeping initiative in the city’s Silver Lake neighborhood.

“I am pleased to begin the process of cleaning Providence’s streets after a long winter,” said Mayor Taveras. “Crews will be working on an aggressive schedule to give our Capital City the spring cleaning it needs and deserves.”

Cleaning crews will work first shift and third shift for six weeks to sweep all streets in Providence, making roads more passable for bicyclists and pedestrians. Crews will simultaneously begin work to sweep main streets and clean neighborhood roads throughout the city. The Department of Public Works has hired an outside vendor to supplement the city’s street sweeping resources.

“Sweeping all city streets will not only enhance the appearance of our neighborhoods, but will make it easier for residents to walk and bike on our roads,” Councilman Igliozzi said.

Continue Reading →

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News & Notes

armadillos2

Image from Cyclehoop

→ Fast Company: These Recycled Plastic Dividers Can Create A Bike Lane In A Second

Painted bike lanes are safer for cyclists than riding in the middle of the road, but bike lanes that are separated with a curb are even better. For example, one study found that cyclists in separated lanes had 80% fewer accidents than those in regular bike lanes. But it’s often tricky to convince city governments to take the extra, more concrete step of separation. One product from a U.K. design firm aims to help.

The “Armadillo” is a low-slung recycled plastic bump that can be installed along the edge of a bike lane. Set at an angle, the bumps allow enough space for bikes to ride back out into the street if they need to, something that isn’t as easy with a full concrete curb. But it still keeps cars out.


→ Mashable: London to Test ‘Smart’ Crosswalks

The system, called Pedestrian Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique (SCOOT) uses cameras to figure out how many people are waiting to cross the street and adjusts traffic signals accordingly. So if there is a large crowd waiting, for example, the signal to walk will last longer, giving the crowd more time to cross the street.

Continue Reading →

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→ Steven Can Plan: Let’s get rid of beg buttons

Atwells Avenue and Dean Street

This is a mechanism wherein a person walking along a street must apply to cross another street. You are begging for permission. They are not popular, many are not even hooked up anymore, and they don’t call the pedestrian signal any sooner (their purpose is to make the green traffic signal long enough for a person to cross).

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→ ProJo: Pedestrian safety on Providence’s Federal Hill takes giant step forward

atwells-bump-out-001

In 2013 the state, in cooperation with the city, installed on Atwells 14 sidewalk “bumpouts,” 7 neon green crosswalk signs that are supposed to be more vivid than the standard highway orange, and other signs; upgraded some pedestrian-crossing signals; and restriped to create a 3-foot buffer zone on both sides of the avenue.

Nothing has been done to improve pedestrian safety at the intersection of Atwells and Dean, which is basically an extention of the Route 6/10 highway off-ramp.

Scheduled this year are the installation of additional traffic signal improvements, including 12 unusual pedestrian crossing signals; the painting of “25 mph,” the speed limit, and “PED XING” on the pavement; and the painting of 11 additional crosswalks.

The pedestrian crossing signal, called a “rectangular rapid flashing beacon,” would be unique in Rhode Island. It is a pedestrian-activated LED array attached to a pedestrian crossing sign that irregularly flashes an amber or white light that Urso said is impossible for a motorist to ignore.

Now if we can just stop people getting stabbed to death and drunks driving up on the sidewalks, it’ll be a nice place.

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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.

Continue Reading →

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→ RIFuture.org: Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition: Reclaim our streets for people

n-s-main-streetview

South Main Street at the bus tunnel. Image from Google Street View.

We believe that as proposed, these plans do little to increase access to all users; moreover, the decision to start this work at James Street even as the I-195 Commission has issued specific developer criteria for that stretch of road and riverfront is unfortunate in the extreme. It demonstrates yet again a failure to implement both the city’s and the state’s goals for complete streets and integrated transportation into the actual operations of their agencies.

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – February 19, 2014

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 4:30pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Agenda

  • 4:30: Introductions
  • 4:35 South Main/North Main St. ADA Project/Improvements – Kate Wilson, RIDOT and Todd Brayton, Bryant Associates
  • 5:30: PSAs and Public Education – Despina Metakos-Harris, RIDOT Office of Highway Safety
  • 5:55: Commission/Staff Updates
  • 6:00 Adjourn
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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