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City of Providence 6-10 Connector Draft Plan Release – October 3, 2016

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From the Department of Planning & Development Facebook page:


Please join us on Monday, October 3 at 6:00pm at 444 Westminster Street to review our draft plan for a better 6-10 Connector. The 6-10 Connector is an aging highway that cuts through several Providence neighborhoods and is slated for immediate replacement. Similar to the I-195 relocation, this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest wisely, reconnect neighborhoods, and improve our city.

Over 250 community members attended a City-led public workshop on August 30th.

At the workshop, community members were asked to help identify goals for the project and to begin brainstorming about ideas to improve the area surrounding the 6-10 Connector. Click here to view photos of the ideas that community members presented at the event. Click here to view the presentation that was given by City staff at the meeting.

More information on Facebook

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WPRI: 6/10 inspection reports reveal close-ups of potentially dangerous dilapidation

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Huntington Bridge photo from RIDOT’s Facebook page

Among the new issues revealed, a horribly rusted temporary support beam.

“This was decaying to the point of possibly falling over onto the high speed rail that’s next to it,” [RIDOT Director Peter] Alviti explained.

OK, should I not ride the train through this area then?

Alviti, who admitted the condition of the various structures keep him awake at night, said the fact that the reports are available is one of RIDOT’s most important, recent changes.

If the Director literally cannot sleep at night about it, shouldn’t the roadway be closed? What exactly is keeping him from sleeping if not the fear of an imminent collapse?

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ProJo: State to fast-track Route 6-10 connector project, abandon surface boulevard

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RIDOT’s Original Design for the 6/10 interchange

Governor Raimondo has ordered a fast-track reconstruction of the Route 6 and 10 interchange and the abandonment of plans to rebuild the highway under an earthen cap, state officials said Wednesday.

The decision to rebuild the highways in their current footprint — and scrap a design favored by Department of Transportation leaders just this spring — was prompted by safety concerns and the deteriorating condition of the overpasses, said DOT Director Peter Alviti Jr.

I.E. the public hates how we’re spending thier money, so let’s spend it faster.

Along with abandoning the capped highway plan, Raimondo’s move all but dismisses the possibility of replacing the highway with a surface boulevard, a design that drew overwhelming support from attendees of a public forum on the 6-10 held last week by the city of Providence.

[…]

Alviti said the disruption to commuters that a boulevard would create was unacceptable.

Translation, people in the suburbs are more important than people who live in the city next to the suburban infrastructure.

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6/10 Connector Public Workshop – August 30, 2016

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From the City of Providence Department of Planning and Development:


My vision for the 6-10 Connector is…

Please join us on Tuesday, August 30th for a Public Workshop to discuss your ideas for the 6-10 Connector.

The City of Providence is launching a public process to bring community members and decision-makers together to craft a design proposal for the 6-10 Connector, a portion of state highway that runs through numerous Providence neighborhoods including Olneyville, West End, Federal Hill, Silver Lake, Hartford, Valley, and Smith Hill.

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ProJo: Pedestrian bridge moving forward in Providence

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The fate of a long-delayed pedestrian bridge across the Providence River is back on track, after a flurry in recent weeks of negotiations, meetings and budget deliberations.

The Department of Transportation expects to award a bid in October so the bridge can be completed by November 2018, spokeswoman Lisbeth Pettengill told The Providence Journal.

The DOT and the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission are pledging to spend about $6 million more than the DOT’s earlier estimate to build the bridge.

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PBN: Long-sought Pawtucket-Central Falls commuter rail station gets $13.1M boost

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Location of proposed Pawtucket-Central Falls train station. Image from Bing Maps

A long-discussed plan to expand passenger rail service to Pawtucket and Central Falls got a boost on Wednesday from a $13.1 million federal TIGER grant which will help build a new commuter rail station here, something the mayor of Pawtucket called a “game changer.”

The station, expected to cost $40 million, will be located between Dexter and Conant streets. It is within and adjacent to the Amtrak-owned railroad right-of-way between the Conant Street bridge and Dexter Street bridge, in the northwest corner of the city of Pawtucket, near its border with Central Falls.


The Pawtucket Foundation is hosting a public forum about the proposed station, Wednesday, August 3rd at 8:30am at the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center. Details on Facebook.

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Providence Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – July 20, 2016

Providence Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
July 20, 2016 • 4:45 PM
Doorley Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, First Floor
Providence, RI 02903

bpac-roundAgenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of June Meeting Minutes (For Action)
  3. Olney Street Restriping – College Hill, Mount Hope (For Action) – The Department of Public Works intends to restripe Olney Street from Camp to Hope streets. DPW seeks comment from the BPAC at this initial scoping phase of the project.
  4. Allens Avenue Restriping – Upper South Providence, Lower South Providence, Washington Park (For Action) – The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has developed preliminary design plans for the restriping of Allens Avenue from Blackstone Street to New York Avenue. The City of Providence DPD and DPW seek comment from the BPAC regarding RIDOT’s preliminary plans.
  5. Francis Street Mid-Block Crossing – Downtown (For Action) – The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has developed preliminary design plans for a new mid-block crossing across Francis Street to improve pedestrian safety between Providence Place Mall and Station Park. The City of Providence DPD and DPW seek comment from the BPAC regarding RIDOT’s preliminary plans.
  6. Potential Improvements to Tobey and Ridge streets – Federal Hill (For Discussion)
  7. Potential Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements to streets surrounding the new LINK District waterfront parks and Providence River Pedestrian Bridge – Downtown, Fox Point (For Discussion)
  8. Announcements and Staff Updates (For Discussion)
  9. Adjournment
Full Disclosure: I am a member of this commission.
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ProJo: Feds reject $175-million grant for 6-10 interchange project – City Workshop Scheduled on July 19, 2016

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Plans to rebuild Routes 6 and 10 were dealt a setback Friday as Rhode Island’s bid for a $175-million federal grant for the project was passed over, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation said.

[…]

“While we are disappointed that we did not receive the FASTLANE grant funding for the Route 6-10 Interchange project, we remain committed to moving this long-delayed project forward,” said DOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. in the release. “RIDOT will move quickly to evaluate our options to tackle this problem and present a recommendation for next steps.”

[…]

The state and its consultants are refining a design for the 6/10 project, which is estimated to cost $959 million, in anticipation of seeking federal environmental approval for construction.


ONE BILLION DOLLARS is just a kookoo bananas amount of money for a highway interchange.

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ProJo: Pawtucket, Central Falls seeking rail station

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Rhode Island is making its strongest push yet for a Pawtucket commuter rail station long-sought by the city and neighboring Central Falls.

The Department of Transportation late last month applied for a $14.5-million federal grant for the project, which would be built between Dexter and Conant Streets and cost an estimated $40 million.

According to the application to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “TIGER” grant program, the state would contribute $3.6 million to the project and the two cities would combine to chip in another $3 million. The remaining $18.9 million would come from Rhode Island’s annual appropriation of federal transportation dollars.


The station could be completed as soon as late summer 2019, more likely early 2020.

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – May 18, 2016

Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 4:45 PM
Joseph Doorley Municipal Building, 1st Floor Meeting Room
444 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903

bpac-roundAgenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of April Meeting Minutes (For Action)
  3. Waterman Street Modifications – Wayland (For Action) – The City of Providence intends to restripe Waterman Street between Butler Avenue and the Henderson Bridge. This restriping will include the relocation of on street parking from the south side to the north side of Waterman and installation a crosswalk near the ramp to the Henderson Bridge. DPW seeks comment from the BPAC regarding the preliminary plans.
  4. Eddy Street Restriping – Upper South Providence (For Action) – The Rhode Island Department of Transportation intends to restripe Eddy Street from Willard Avenue north to the I-95 Eddy Street underpass. RIDOT’s restriping plan includes bike lanes along portions of Eddy Street in both directions. DPW seeks comment from the BPAC regarding RIDOT’s preliminary striping plans.
  5. Bicycle Infrastructure Improvements to Connect to New Waterfront Parks and Pedestrian Bridge – Downtown and Fox Point (For Action) – The Rhode Island Department of Transportation will soon begin construction on the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge and two new waterfront parks to be placed on the former I-195 land on either side of the Providence River. DPD seeks ideas from the BPAC regarding new bicycle infrastructure to improve access from Downtown and Fox Point to the new parks and bridge.
  6. DPW Report on Status and Outcomes of Autotmatic Pedestrian Signal Pilot Project (For Discussion)
  7. Announcements and Staff Updates (For Discussion)
  8. Adjournment
Full Disclosure: I am a member of this commission.
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James Kennedy: Reconnect Providence with a real 6/10 Boulevard

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This post was originally written as an Op-Ed submitted to the Providence Journal. It was originally published at Transport Providence and appears here with permission.

James Kennedy is part of the group Moving Together Providence. You can follow him on Twitter at @transportpvd.

RIDOT has dubbed its proposal for a 6/10 Connector Big Dig a “highway-boulevard hybrid”, but the 6/10 Dig is sharply at odds with the Moving Together Providence proposal for a genuine 6/10 Boulevard. Like the “cooler and warmer” scandal that has captured the public’s attention and revulsion, highway-boulevard hybrid is state-government-speak for nonsense. But the mistakes embedded in RIDOT’s 6/10 approach are orders of magnitude more expensive than the $4.5 million Reykjavik excursion, and its failure will stay with us for decades.

It’s pretty obvious why the 6/10 Connector has segregated Silver Lake, Olneyville, and the West End from each other, and not hard to understand how it made Providence’s “second downtown” its poorest neighborhood. Less obvious, but vital, is for suburbanites to understand how RIDOT’s policy fails them, and to join in a statewide movement for a genuine boulevard.

Urban highways funnel traffic and collect it into a few chokepoints, instead of allowing it to disperse naturally. Olneyville has next to no job centers that would draw outsiders, and the neighborhood itself is almost 50% car-free. But 11:30 on a Wednesday in Olneyville Square feels like let-out time for the Newport Jazz Festival. How can a place with so little economic activity and driving be so congested?

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ProJo: $800M Route 6-10 Connector plan gains fans at 1st public hearing

The initial estimate for the “hybrid” design assumed a $500-$550 million price for the highway portion of the project and $300 million for the bus line and stations. However in a March 25 letter to federal officials expressing interest in a $150-million grant for the project, DOT listed the highway portion of the project at $650 million.

DOT spokesman Charles St. Martin said the $650-million estimate included the possibility that the project could be expanded to include repair of additional structurally deficient bridges, such as one at Plainfield Street. He could not immediately say whether the total price tag, including the transit component, would then grow to $950 million, or whether the state’s share of the project would still be $400 million.


Do we think we’ll be told the project is going to cost a billion dollars before or after they start construction?

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Public workshops on the 6/10 interchange hosted by RIDOT

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Press Release from RIDOT:


RIDOT Announces Public Workshops for 6-10 Interchange Design Options

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today announced a series of public workshops for the reconstruction of the 6-10 interchange as part of a process to reimagine this important transportation infrastructure.

The Route 6-10 Interchange Project has road and bridge elements that have been in design for approximately 30 years. Within the project limits there are seven structurally deficient bridges that need to be addressed immediately. The project, which is of regional significance, consists of addressing structurally deficient bridges and reconfiguring the interchange to accommodate local and regional travel for commuters and businesses.

The Department is committed to meet an April 14 deadline for submission to the Federal Highway Administration’s recently announced FASTLANE grant program. The program, announced on February 26, makes $800 million available for projects of national or regional significance. RIDOT is applying for a $150 million grant for this project.

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Citizens plans campus in the middle of nowhere

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Rendering of Citizens planned campus in Johnston

On Wednesday, Citizens Financial Group announced their plans to build a corporate campus on a greenfield site in Johnson outside Route 295, while maintaining their current corporate headquarters in Providence.

As reported by WPRI, the 420,000 square foot campus will house 3,200 employees. Construction will start this year with occupancy in 2018.

Rhode Island Public Radio reports the campus will feature an on-site cafeteria, fitness center, and walking paths.

The Providence Journal reports on some financial help Citizens received for the project, notably:

Citizens and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation have agreed to split the $6-million cost to build new exit and entrance ramps onto Route 295, between current exits 6 and 7, where the highway crosses Greenville Avenue. The DOT will pay $3 million, and construction is expected to start in the spring of 2017, DOT spokesman Charles St. Martin said;

Didn’t we just pass a super-controversial bill to toll trucks because RIDOT can’t afford to maintain what it has now? Now RIDOT is building infrastructure for private development?

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ProJo: Work on R.I. routes 6-10 a major undertaking for planners

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According to the bid documents released Friday, the 6-10 “conceptual design” consultant will play a central role in figuring out what the state’s “preferred alternative” for 6-10 reconstruction is before helping secure federal environmental approval and, hopefully, federal grants.

Although a surface boulevard plan for 6-10 is not mentioned specifically in the bid documents, one section requires the consultant to study “the traffic impacts along Route 6-10” based on the addition of transit and “a reduction in capacity,” indicating a possible loss of automobile lanes from the current alignment.

Later it says “pedestrian/bicycle flow will also be calculated at key intersections and corridor segments under the future build scenarios. Both positive and negative impacts on traffic will be identified.” The current highway does not allow pedestrians or bicycles and does not have intersections.


The City is hosting a Community Forum on the 6/10 Connector on March 23rd.

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Community Conversation on the Future of the 6/10 Connector – March 23, 2016

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Mayor Jorge Elorza and the American Planning Association of Rhode Island invite you to a community conversation about the future of the 6-10 Connector, featuring a discussion with three national experts who have experience with similar highway projects. This event is free and open to the public.

A Community Conversation About the Future of the 6-10 Connector
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 – 6-8pm
Doorley Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, Providence
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ProJo: 6-10 rapid transit plan would draw nearly 4,000 riders, report says

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Olneyville before the construction of the 6/10 Connector

In the report released Jan. 22, VHB estimated that between 7,000 and 9,000 people use mass transit to reach downtown Providence from an area south and west of the city and could utilize a 6-10 transit line. The higher end of the estimate, 9,193, came from adding the passengers of 13 current Rhode Island Public Transit Authority lines and the 7,014 figure came from extrapolated census figures.

[…]

The additional 3,500 to 4,000 riders VHB estimates would use a new transit line on Routes 6 and 10 was determined by taking these numbers and adding “several percentage points” of higher transit usage to the population within the catchment area.


That all sounds rather, take a guess from this column and take a guess from that column, but OK. It seems like RIPTA needs some input on this. Do existing lines from the south and west get re-routed? Does that allow for better time into the City? Does that attract more ridership? Is there a demand for riders from the south to reach Olneyville without making a transfer in Kennedy Plaza and vice-versa..?


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