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Bike to Work Day: Mayor announces expanded Cyclovía program for 2013

Bike To Work Day: Mayor announces expanded Cyclovía program for 2013

mayor-bike

Photo from Mayor Taveras’ Facebook Page

Las September, Providence had it’s first Cyclovía on Broad Street. At this morning’s Bike To Work Day, the Mayor announced an expanded list of Cyclovías in Providence for 2013.

City to hold three Cyclovías this summer

Speaking at this morning’s Bike to Work Day community celebration, Mayor Angel Taveras announced the city will host an expanded schedule of Providence Cyclovía events this summer.

“Cyclovía Providence will provide an opportunity for residents from every corner of the city to come together, exercise, have fun and enjoy all that Providence has to offer,” said Mayor Taveras.

Cyclovía is an international phenomenon that reportedly began in Bogotá, Colombia and has spread to cities across the globe, including New York City, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami and Cambridge, MA.

Project for Public Spaces, a nonprofit planning organization, has described Cyclovía as a large-scale community building exercise that facilitates social interaction and activity between people of all ages, incomes, occupations, religions and races.

The City held its first Cyclovía in September 2012 on Broad Street. The 2013 Cyclovías will be expanded to the following dates and locations:

  • Sunday, June 30 – Broad St. in Elmwood (between Thurbers Ave. and Prairie Ave.)
  • Sunday, July 28 – Valley St. in Olneyville (between San Souci Dr. and Atwells Ave.)
  • Saturday, September 14 – Hope St. in the East Side (between Lippitt Park and Rochambeau Ave.)

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Events at the Skating Center as they wrap up the season

skating center

It may be freezing outside, but spring is on the way and that means the Skating Center will be closing down the ice soon.

The Providence Rink at The Bank of America City Center Offers Last Chance of The Season to Catch Some Ice

An extra week to enjoy outdoor ice-skating in downtown Providence! Special events to celebrate the end of the season!

PROVIDENCE – Providence residents and visitors alike can savor the final days of winter by skating outside at the Bank of America City Center at the end of its 14th season. The season ends Sunday, March 24th, completing the 18-week season of ice-skating that was enjoyed by more than 50,000 skaters.

  • Special Weekday Hours Monday, March 18 to Friday, March 22: 4pm to 10pm
  • Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24 hours: 11am to 10pm

Special events for the last two weeks of the season:

  • Thursday, March 14th: Art in Ice ice-sculpting feature from 6pm to 9pm.
  • Friday, March 15: High School Night special 7pm to 10pm.
  • Saturday, March 16th: Girl Scout cookies for sale!
  • Sunday, March 17th: St. Patrick’s Day celebration with City Girl Cupcake 12pm to 4pm
  • Monday, March 18th: New weekday hours from 4pm to 10pm
  • Saturday, March 23rd: Open 11 to 10pm
  • Sunday, March 24th: Open 11am to 10pm. Closing Day

With the end of the ice skating season drawing to a close, The Providence Rink at the Bank of America City Center will transform into a premier programming and event center from April to October! The Providence Rink is a perfect location to host all types of summer programming and events with over 14,000 square feet of space available in the heart of downtown. Event applications are still being accepted for the upcoming 2013 summer and fall season.

Coming soon! The Providence Rink will unveil a new website at ProvidenceRink.com that will provide the complete year-round programming and event schedule and offerings.

For additional information until our new website is up, please visit ProvidenceSkating.com or call 401.331.5544.

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ecoRI News: New Providence Bike Plan Wants Safer Routes

This new bike plan, spearheaded by the city of Providence and Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. (VHB), an engineering firm headquartered in Waltham, Mass., is being funded with a $33,000 challenge grant from the state Department of Transportation, and will guide the investment of future funding into the city’s bicycle network through a program of recommended short-, medium- and long-term capital improvements.

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It’s boating season in Providence

community-boating-center

This Saturday Providence Community Boating is hosting a free open house starting at 1pm with skippered sailboat rides and a BBQ.

Additionally, there will be Audubon Birds of Prey presentations at 1:15 pm and 2:45 pm. Anyone who joins either CBC or Audubon Society of Rhode Island as a 2012 member at the event will receive a free bird-watching boat tour narrated by an Audubon naturalist. Bird-watching boat tours will leave at 2:00 pm and 3:30 PM

Celebrate and enjoy free iced tea from our new friends at Granny Squibb‘s.

And don’t forget, CBC is offering kayaking this year too. Opening day will be May 29th.

Lessons are starting next week! Here is a link (PDF) to the membership forms. No experience necessary!

109 India Street, Providence

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Updated: May is bike month

Office Bikes

Update: This post previously had links to last year’s events. Sorry about that! (page updated 5/1/12 @ 4pm)

Congratulations, you made it through one of the most mild winters on record. If you took advantage of the warmer temps and got out on the bike, good on ya! For the rest of you, if you haven’t been out on your bike yet, now is the time.

That’s right, May is National Bike Month! And bike month wouldn’t be complete without a Bike to Work Day event where you can put a name to some those spandex clad bodies faces you’ve seen two-wheeling it around town.

According to the Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition’s website, the Providence B2WD will be on May 18th and, like last year, there will be an opportunity to meet-up downtown for a little morning bike-fuel.

In the meantime, take the lane, turn on your blinkies, don one of Jef’s slick designs (like this cool button), and I’ll see you on the streets.

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Temporary uses for the 195 Land – your ideas

Betaspring

Photo blatantly stolen from Betaspring’s Facebook Page.

Two of my Facebook friends/pages-I-like posted photos of themselves recreating on the 195 Land during this week’s crazy heat wave. The above photo shows people from Betaspring playing a game of wiffle ball on the 195 Land next to their offices on Chestnut Street.

Bad economy or no, redeveloping the land left behind by the relocation of Route 195 is going to take years, decades even. So, unlike the lots in Capital Center behind Citizens which have been turned over to parking, we should be finding good temporary uses for the land.

Right now most of the land is just seeded, we’ll see as spring turns to summer if anyone maintains that grass and if pick-up games of wiffle ball will still be an option. If past is prologue, then I don’t have very much confidence that this grass will be mowed and that trash will be cleared, etc.

So the question is, what would we like to see as temporary uses on the 195 Land? Some of it can certainly just be grass that sits there and is hopefully cared for, we’re not going to have active uses on all the avaialable parcels. But what uses could we bring to the land? Which parcels should those uses live on? How can temporary uses be moved as they are (hopefully) displaced by development? And, how can we make it clear that these are indeed temporary uses, how can we avert the cries to save something that people have grown fond of, but was never meant to be permanent (the “park” which people cried was being taken away to build GTECH for example)?

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Ice Skating season ends March 17, 2012

Bank of America Skating Center Offers Last Chance of the Season to Catch Some Ice

Bank of America City Center

With just a few more days to enjoy outdoor skating in downtown Providence, the skating rink offers special hours for its final weeks – and special rates.

PROVIDENCE – Providence residents and visitors alike can savor the final days of winter by skating outside at the Bank of America City Center at the end of its 13th season. The season ends Saturday, March 17th, completing a full four months of skating at consistently low-priced rates offered by the City of Providence.

Special hours for the last two weeks of the season:

  • March 5th – March 17th
  • Monday – Thursday: 2pm – 10pm
  • Friday – Sunday: 11am – 10pm

The Bank of America City Center skating rink is one of New England’s most popular destinations for wintertime play. The 14,000 sq. ft. facility is twice the size of Rockefeller Plaza’s ice rink in New York City.

Special end of season rates will be just $3 admission and $3 skate rental for all ages Monday through Friday from 2pm – 10pm now through March 16th. (Regular admission is $6 for adults, $3 for kids, and $4 for skate rental).

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CBC brings kayaks to Providence

Community Boating Boathouse

The Providence Community Boating Center has announced that kayaking will be added to their programming this spring!

The simplicity of kayaking as an entry-level sport for anyone makes it attractive to get outside, get moving, and embrace a healthy lifestyle.

FREE recreational kayaking is now included with adult memberships! Paddle one day as a trial/guest member, or all season, + FREE guest! We want you to paddle with a friend, so you get up to 2 kayaks/ trip.

New to paddling? Join us for some basic instruction and a guided tour. FREE guided “RiverRomp” tours offer youth & families a healthy, active alternative to TV, video, and other indoor, static activities.

CBC will, of course, still be offering recreational sailing and sailing lessons this spring, but now a membership will also offer kayak usage and kayaking lessons!

An adult membership for the entire season costs only $195*, and basically gives you access to boats 7 days a week – with no boat rental fees and no maintenance obligations.

Only in town for a day, or worried about commitment? CBC offers a one-day pass for $75 – a great way to spend an afternoon before checking out a Waterfire.

More details on the CBC website including the 2012 Membership Application (PDF)

*packages and discounts available, too!

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Skating Center opens November 23

Skating Center

The Bank of America City Center in Kennedy Plaza

Update 11/23/2011: Due to the rain today, the Skating Center opening is delayed until tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day.

Opening Night: November 23rd, 4pm to 10 pm
Regular Hours: November 24th, 2011 – March 18th, 2012
Monday – Friday: 10am to 10pm
Saturday and Sunday: 11am to 10pm

Join Greater Kennedy Plaza on Wednesday, November 23rd for the first skate of the season at Bank of America Skating Center! From 4-10 pm the ice will be fresh, the tunes will be playing, and the lights will be aglow as we kick-off the skate season in style.

The temperature is dropping, but there is no need to rush inside! The Bank of America Skating Center provides outdoor family fun all winter long. Get in a quick work out at lunch, decompress after work, or spend a Saturday with family and friends at the rink. Affordable fun in the heart of downtown Providence!

Upcoming events at the Skating Center:

The following are just some of the events at the Bank of America City Center during the 2011/2012 season:

  • December 3: Downtown Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting. Join us for a professional figure skating exhibition after the Mayor’s tree lighting ceremony at 6PM
  • December 3: Learn-To-Skate six-week session begins
  • Sunday, December 11 and Sunday, December 18: Skate with Santa from 2-4PM
  • December 31: Bright Night skating performances and opening ceremonies from 5-6PM
  • Month of January: Providence Bruins practice – watch players practice and then share public open skate with players
  • Month of February: Skate with 28. Food-raiser for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank with CW28, featuring contests, performers, refreshments and prizes
  • Month of February: Valentine’s Day, 6-8PM; Bring a CD and have a song dedicated to your sweetheart; 8-10PM Free Valentine’s Day keepsake for couples
  • Every Wednesday from 6-10PM: College Night. Admission for college students is $3 with a valid college photo ID
  • Every weekday from 12-2PM: Lunchtime Special. Admission is $3 and skate rentals are $3.
  • Every weekday from 4-6PM: After Work Special. Admission is $3 and skate rentals are $3.

More information

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New England Revolution Soccer to Providence?

Half full stadium

New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Photo (cc) Mikenan1

For some time now, the Krafts, owners of the New England Patriot, Gillette Stadium, and the New England Revolution soccer club have been talking about a purpose built stadium for their soccer team. The Revolution currently play at Gillette and as seen in the photo above, the Revs don’t quite fill Gillette’s 68,756 seats.

While the Krafts have been looking in the Greater Boston area, with Somerville especially pushing for a 20,000 seat stadium on land aside the MBTA green line extension through that city, the ProJo editorialized today about bringing the team here.

Of course any thoughts of the Krafts looking to Providence for a stadium location brings back memories of the Patriots playing us off Hartford to get Massachusetts to give them the incentives they wanted all along.

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An Evening by the Bay

Back in January, Rhode Island suffered a terrible loss when the Edgewood Yacht Club burned. More than just a landmark building, the club, the neighbors, and the community all feel the loss of this Edgewood institution.

Since the fire, the Edgewood Sailing School has determined to press on. Much of the fleet and docks survived, but most of the necessary equipment need to be replaced, and they could use your help.

This weekend we will be holding our fundraiser at the house of George and Stephanie Shuster in Warwick. This is our community event to raise money to replace what the school lost in the fire of January 2011 at the Edgewood Yacht Club.

Since the fire, all this spring our board, volunteers and staff have been hard at work to rebuild the Sailing School. We have been raising money, collecting donated equipment and marketing our programs to youths and adults in the area – sending a strong message that we will be on the water again this summer. Likewise, the Yacht Club is also making a strong push towards being ready to open on time.

The community is responding. The support is generous. And, with some classes already full to capacity, the Sailing School has a Youth program enrollment that is as strong as it has ever been.

At this moment we are filling the coffers so that we can go forward and purchase items that we lost in the fire. This fundraiser event is one important step in helping us to rebuild. We hope that you will enjoy the occasion. We need your help. Please consider coming.

This Saturday’s event is from 5-7 PM. You may see more details and RSVP here.

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Biking the Washington Secondary Bikepath

Washington Secondary Bikepath

This weekend I got to explore a portion of the Washington Secondary Bikepath. The path currently stretches from Cranston to Coventry along which it is dedicated bikepath. North of the Cranston end, one could get there via roads, and West of Coventry, the path continues unpaved. Like the Blackstone path, this one ends unceremoniously as the paved portion simply yields to dirt leaving little option but to simply turn around.

A good friend of mine lives near the Warwick Mall, so I met up with him near that portion of the path. We biked towards Coventry as far as the pavement would lead us, about nine miles, but had I started at the northernmost end, it would have been closer to 14 miles.

Like the other paths, this one is relatively flat, nicely paved, and there are few street crossings. There are several scenic bridges, and on a quiet day, one could conceivably get up some good speed, but Saturday had a little too strong of a breeze for me to put it to the test. What I did get to test, however, was taking pictures from my phone mounted to my handlebars, like this one below:

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Springing Ahead

Yesterday, I got back out on my bike for the first ride of the season. Since I was also trying out my first pair of SPD pedals (pedals that clip into shoes with a binding), I didn’t want to take my ride into traffic just yet, but I was eager to take advantage of the warmer weather.

I headed back to the Blackstone River Bikeway (map), where I did my last ride of 2010. Not entirely confident, I set out cautiously optimistic that the path would be clear of snow and ice. Though there were a few patches of snow north of marker 13, enough pavement was exposed that one could still get by, but the path could definitely use some sweeping, as there were many sections that were completely covered in twigs.

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Robert Billington: Bringing the Blackstone Valley Bikeway to its completion

Photo (cc) cho_kettie

The following is by Robert Billington, Ed.D, President of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council.

January 20, 2011

Let’s face it; Rhode Island’s bikeways bring lots of enjoyment to our residents. From South County to the Blackstone Valley, these paths connect our neighborhoods, improve our economy and draw visitors to explore our communities. They are safe, enjoyable and provide a stress-free place to relax and exercise. Everyone who experiences them wants to see not only more paths but improved connectivity between paths. We have the opportunity to do this.

While there are other bike paths in the state, what makes the Blackstone River bikeway special is the industrious American story it tells. Over 30 years ago, planning began on the Blackstone River bikeway — a bold idea for its time. Restoring dirty land along the oldest polluted river in the hemisphere, the river that launched America to super-power status, took great imagination, and guts. Ten years ago, the first few miles of the bikeway opened in Lincoln. Now with 11 miles of the Bikeway constructed, accessibility to the Blackstone River and Canal is now easy and enjoyable for fishing, canoeing and cross-country skiing. Our state has successfully transformed land that was once a dump to land that is transforming people and reconnecting them to nature.

While we have made considerable progress, we are not done. The completed section of the bikeway passes along the Blackstone River through Cumberland, Lincoln and Woonsocket. As wonderful as the completed section is, a significant amount of work has to be done in order to connect the Blackstone Valley bikeway to both the East Bay bike path and to the Massachusetts border. Despite the Rhode Island Department of Transportation and Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s work to plan and construct the bikeway, its completion is elusive. The reason is funding.

We have worked with Rhode Island Department of Transportation officials to determine a completion date for the Bikeway and the amount of funding necessary. As of right now, it is projected that completion could take place in seven years if we continue to work hard and as long as the $31 million needed for construction is secured. To make the completion of the Blackstone Bikeway by 2017 a reality, residents, governmental leaders, community groups and organizations need to take responsibility to find the funds to complete the Blackstone Bikeway.

To date, we have 11 of the less-expensive miles of the Bikeway completed. Additionally, we have $1 million of the $31 million needed to fund the more-expensive miles ahead. We must not wait and assume that someone else will step forward and secure the funding to complete the rest of the Bikeway. We have done this for too long. It is time to stay focused and bring the project to full completion. While cutting through the dense riverfront of Central Falls, Pawtucket, East Providence, Providence, Woonsocket and North Smithfield is going to be difficult, the completion of the bikeway is within our grasp. We need to urge its completion to every local, state and federal official asking them to help us find the construction funds to build. This is a call to action to get involved and continue to remind our officials to push for the completion of the Blackstone Bikeway by 2017.

Even with the State’s growing budget deficit, we must not waiver from completing the Blackstone Bikeway. Our state has many priorities for recreational spending and we realize that the Blackstone River Bikeway is just one of them. However, this one has been on the agenda for over three decades. It is time that the completion is moved to the top of the list. Don’t think of the bikeway as simply being a place of recreation. With gas prices steadily increasing, it provides Rhode Islanders with a way to bike to work, shop for groceries and travel. The Blackstone River Bikeway is quickly becoming the new Main Street in the Blackstone Valley. The economic, environmental and health benefits from using the Bikeway cannot be overstated.

Residents, businesses, federal, state, and local officials, and community groups have to work to complete the Blackstone Valley Bikeway. It is time for the Blackstone Valley Bikeway to be completed. 2017 has to be the date! Push for progress: Cycleblackstone.com.

Robert Billington, Ed.D, President
Blackstone Valley Tourism Council

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Blackstone and East Bay Bike Paths to connect

Blackstone Valley Bikeway

We have some spectacular bike paths here in Rhode Island, and two of them are about to get connected, maybe as soon as this spring.

Officials from the Broad Street Regeneration Initiative (BSRI) and the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council (BVTC) have announced that the City of Pawtucket, RI has been awarded $38 thousand in Federal funds to create a temporary on road connection linking the Blackstone Valley Bike Path and the East Bay Bike Path.

The funds come from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) through the RI Office of Energy Resources and awarded to the City of Pawtucket.

This temporary on road linkage will provide bicyclists recreational and intermodal access to all the cities and towns located along both bikeways, along with guiding people who use both bike paths opportunities to access merchants and shops located along the Broad Street corridor of Pawtucket, Central Falls and Cumberland, RI.

Most recent projections indicate that the temporary on road linkage connecting the Blackstone Valley and East Bay Bike Paths should be installed by the spring of 2011.

More details on the temporary bikeway connections is available online at http://mybroadstreetri.com/bikestripe.htm

So, though it isn’t yet a dedicated off-roadway link between the two paths, it does sound as though it will be more than just “bicycles in road” signs.

McMahon Associates, a Taunton, MA based firm, was chosen for the project. They will be working with the committee to design the stripe and provide construction and engineering advice by early 2011. At that point, the committee will hire a painting contractor to install the stripe, ideally ensuring its completion for May 2011.

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Kennedy Plaza Week!

Summer’s here and Kennedy Plaza’s summer activities are getting into full swing this week.

Kennedy Plaza

Monthly Market Bazaar June 1st

Please join us on the first Tuesday of the month from 11am-5pm for the Monthly Market Bazaar on the sidewalk along Burnside Park.

(June 1, July 6, August 3, September 7, October 5).

We’ve got a host of great vendors lined up including delicious food, antiques, books, accessories, art, merchandise — and fun!

Noon Tunes June 2nd

This Wednesday Lunchtime series kicks off with a very special performance!

The Big 5 will play outside by the fountain in Burnside Park from 12-1pm on Wednesday, June 2nd. Featuring members of Sierre Leone’s Refugee All Stars, this stateside incarnation is dubbed “The Big 5 – Africans on Vacation” and also includes local RI musicians in this 8 member line-up. Not to be missed!

Grab your lunch from a Kennedy Plaza vendor and take a break outside for this great performance.

Beer Garden June 3rd

Relax with this after-work music series every Thursday between 4:30-7:30pm.

Check out bands and DJs from all over New England before you head to dinner and outdoor movies! Free!

Here’s the June schedule:
June 3: WBRU presents: Infusion Experience
June 10: Double Decker Dance Band
June 17: Afrosonic Collective
June 24: Superchief Trio

This year’s sponsors include WBRU, Providence Monthly, Sam Adams and Waterplace Restaurant.

More info at Greater Kennedy Plaza

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