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PBN: ‘Rapid bus’ lines part of new development districts

Providence is encouraging transit-oriented development in two neighborhoods most residents may not associate with transportation or potential growth.

The Trinity Square neighborhood in Upper South Providence and the northern section of North Main Street at the Pawtucket line are singled out for the city’s first two transit-oriented development districts in its ongoing zoning rewrite.

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Transportation Corridors to Livable Communities Project Community Meeting, May 30th

RIPTA

Photo (cc) Trisha Crabb

Community Meeting – Transportation Corridors to Livable Communities Project – Broad Street and Elmwood Avenue

The City of Providence and the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) invite you to share your thoughts on the future of Broad Street and Elmwood Avenue.

Southside Cultural Center, 393 Broad Street
(formerly Trinity Community Theater)
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 – 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
(Presentation at 6:00 PM followed by open house)

  • How is RIPTA improving bus stop locations, bus shelters, and bus service along routes 11 and 20?
  • What is RIPTA’s new R-Line (Rapid Bus) service?
  • What improvements are coming? (bus shelters, trash cans, bicycle racks, wayfinding signage, public art)
  • Where should community hubs and gateways be located?
  • What services and businesses would you like to see along Broad and Elmwood?

The City of Providence and RIPTA have been awarded a Community Planning Challenge Grant through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities to conduct the Transportation Corridors to Livable Communities study. Focusing on the highest ridership bus routes in the city — Broad Street, North Main Street, Elmwood Avenue, Chalkstone Avenue, and Manton Avenue — the City and RIPTA are working together to improve transit service, enhance bus stops and other pedestrian amenities, and encourage the development of mixed-income housing and opportunities for jobs and the arts near transit.

For more information, please contact Martina Haggerty, Project Coordinator or visit the project website.

Please join us on May 30th to hear more about this exciting project and to share your thoughts.

A 72-hour notice is required for persons with sensory impairment requiring auxiliary aids. To request this service, please contact the RIPTA Customer Service Manager at 401-784-9500 x183.

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Transportation Corridors to Livable Communities Project Community Meeting, May 14th

RIPTA

Photo (cc) Trisha Crabb

Community Meeting – Transportation Corridors to Livable Communities Project – North Main Street

The City of Providence and the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) invite you to share your thoughts on the future of North Main Street.

Rochambeau Library, 708 Hope Street
Monday, May 14th, 2012 – 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
(Presentation at 6:00 PM followed by open house)

  • How is RIPTA improving bus stop locations, bus shelters, and bus service?
  • What is RIPTA’s new R-Line (Rapid Bus) service?
  • What improvements are coming? (bus shelters, trash cans, bicycle racks, wayfinding signage, public art)
  • Where should community hubs and gateways be located?
  • What services and businesses would you like to see at community hubs?

A 72-hour notice is required for persons with sensory impairment requiring auxiliary aids. To request this service, please contact the RIPTA Customer Service Manager at 401-784-9500 x183.

For more information, please contact Martina Haggerty, Project Coordinator or visit the Transportation Corridors to Livable Communities project website.

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RIPTA’s Rapid Bus

RIPTA Hybrid Bus

You may have missed it while you were stuffing your face with turkey or pepper spraying people for an Xbox at 3am, but the Coalition for Transportation Choices had a write-up last week about RIPTA’s Rapid Bus initiative. Good news; it is funded, in progress, and happening soon.

Rapid Bus is a service enhancement to existing services that RIPTA has proposed as part of their Five Year Strategic Plan. It will combine RIPTA’s two busiest routes, the 11 and the 99, into a continuous through-city route from Pawtucket to the Cranston line. Enhancements such as signal prioritization for buses, roadway improvements such as bus only lanes, and limited stops will help speed up the buses.

Passenger will see amenities such as unique branding and bus shelters as well as schedule/arrival information at stops.

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News & Notes

Amsterdam

Photo (cc) Fang Guo

News & Notes Amsterdam proves bikes and streetcars are allies [Greater Greater Washington]

Cyclists and streetcar tracks don’t always get along, but the two should not be enemies. On the contrary, cities with large streetcar networks also tend to be the most bicycle friendly.

This is because streetcars contribute strongly to the development of more dense, urban, less car-dependent cities – the same characteristics that produce the most friendly urban bicycling environment.


It’s time to forget the big-box store Downtown . . . and think small [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

More boutiques, more women’s clothing and accessories, more home furnishings and entertainment, longer store hours, common courtesy and parking, parking, parking.

If the working group formed by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is serious about improving the retail environment Downtown, those areas might be good places to start.


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News & Notes

Apartments, stores planned on Loyola Avenue near Superdome [The Times-Picayune]

Spurred by the future Loyola Avenue streetcar line, a local development firm plans to transform a sea of downtown [New Orleans] parking lots into 450 apartments and 125,000 square feet of shops and restaurants that it calls the South Market District.

Jewelry District, this is your fuiture.

In Quest for Revenue, Cities Turning to PILOTs [CitiWire]

“PILOTs can provide crucial revenue for certain municipalities, and are one way to make nonprofits pay for the public services they consume,” Kenyon and Langley say. “However, PILOTs are often haphazard, secretive, and calculated in an ad hoc manner that results in widely varying payments among similar nonprofits. In addition, a municipality’s attempt to collect PILOTs can prompt a battle with nonprofits and lead to years of contentious, costly, and unproductive litigation.”

Moving an Interstate highway [Let's Go KC]

In recent months a movement has started to relocate I-35 from Downtown to the West Bottoms, undoing one of the city’s worst 1950s-era highway mistakes. MoDOT is planning to rehab the aging section between the state line and Downtown Loop, and several neighborhoods have seized the opportunity to broaden the conversation to include the idea of moving the freeway instead of rebuilding it.

Been there, done that.

No Free Parking [Physics Central]

Next time you’re searching for a parking space and someone grabs a spot from right in front of you, it might seem like the last space left on Earth, but ponder this: there are at least 500 million empty spaces in the United States at any given time.

The researchers extrapolated on a rule of thumb used by urban planners that claims eight parking spaces exist for every one car. The group says that there is little science to support this scenario, but the result would be a whopping 2 billion parking spaces. If all of those spots were consolidated into a single location they would cover an area the size of Massachusetts. The most likely scenario calls for about half that area in parking spaces.

seattle: quick notes on “rapid ride” [Human Transit]

Looks to be a lot like RIPTA’s proposed Rapid Bus [.pdf] service.

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A proposal for the Core Connector and a Frequent Service network

The City and RIPTA are having a public meeting about the Core Connector Study on Thursday. Before that, I thought I’d lay out some of my thoughts on the issue.

First, let me share my thoughts on having streetcars in Providence. The short story is I support them. Let’s say, for the sake of having a number, that the Core Connector built out as streetcars will cost $80 million¹. Certainly, a lot could be done for $80 million. But the Core Connector is not simply the school bus for Brown that people² are so flippant to say.

I view the Core Connector in large part as a marketing scheme for RIPTA and the City of Providence. Many people who’ve never ridden a bus will ride the streetcars. If RIPTA builds it and runs it properly, with reasonable fares, frequent service, well trained operators, ease of use, etc., it will be a great introduction to mass transit for these new users. Then when RIPTA makes the case for funding, as they will always need to do, the chorus of haters will be tempered. It is also a strong stake in the ground wherein RIPTA and the state leadership are saying they believe in public transit in Rhode Island and are willing to lay out a pile of money and steel rails in the ground to back that up.

For the city, having a streetcar line is a marketing dream. The shiny photos of happy people riding the rails are a brochure makers dream. They’ll be plastered all over the city’s and the convention center’s websites (and this website). It is a strong message for economic developers to send to companies looking to relocate here. ‘Look at us, we have a strong commuter rail line tied to a streetcar line and excellent bus service. Come here, your employees will love it!’

And plus that, we get a streetcar line connecting the two largest employment areas in the state with the train station and Downcity. In addition to serving existing riders and institutions, our proposed routing will help spur development in the Route 195 land, one of the best areas of development opportunity on the East Coast.

Could we save some money and put some rubber wheels on the road and call it a Core Connector? Sure, but we would not get anywhere near the bang for the buck that streetcars will provide. I think it is a worthy investment for our city and our state.

Now, onto where I think said streetcar should go and what service I think could supplement it.

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