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Yes On 6

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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.”


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195 Redevelopment District Commission Meeting – September 15, 2014

featured-195commission A meeting of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission will be held at Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, 315 Iron Horse Way, Providence, Rhode Island, on MONDAY, September 15, 2014, beginning at 5 P.M., for the following purposes

I. Public Session

  1. Welcome by Chairperson: Chairperson Colin Kane.
  2. Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meetings Held on August 18, 2014.
  3. Executive Director’s Report – Review of Activities During Past Month and Business Plan for the Period September – December 2014.
  4. Presentation of District Audit by LGCD, District Auditor, and Vote Regarding Acceptance of Audit.
  5. Update from Jones Lang LaSalle on Market Conditions and Strategies for October 15, 2014 RFI Submission Date.
  6. Update from DOT Director Lewis on Work Progress on I-195 Surplus Land.
  7. Discussion and Review of Draft Parks Maintenance and Management Budget.
  8. Discussion and Vote on Allocation of Funds from the EPA Grant to the District.
  9. Update from Counsel Regarding District Permitting Process and Legal Issues Subcommittee.
  10. II. Executive Session

    To consider and act upon such matters as may be considered at a meeting closed to the public pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws, Section 42-46-5(a) (the Open Meetings Law), specifically matters permitted to be so considered under subsection (5) (acquisition and disposition of public property).

  11. Review of Status of Proposals to Purchase and Develop District Property.
  12. III. Public Session

  13. Chairman’s Report – Review of Activities in Past Month and Proposed Future Activities/ Tentative Agenda for October 20, 2014 Meeting.
  14. Vote to Adjourn.

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

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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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PBN: Costly bridge work looming

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Image from Bing Maps

At an estimated cost of up to $500 million, [the Route 6/Route 10 interchange] is the most expensive unfunded highway construction project on the state’s to-do list and could be one of the toughest to find the resources for.

We need to be thinking beyond replacement.

Asked about the possibility of not rebuilding the interchange or replacing sections of the expressway with surface-level roads, Lewis said elimination was “not workable.”

“It’s just too much a part of the transportation system” to eliminate, Lewis said. “I don’t think there is a transit option that would take care of this need. If [routes] 6 or 10 access was not available, all that traffic would have to go somewhere else and shift to [Interstate 95] and local roads.”

Sigh.

Call San Francisco, ask them about the Embarcadero.

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ProJo: R.I. considers commuter-rail stops in Cranston, W. Davisville, E. Greenwich, other links

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MBTA train at T.F. Green, image from RIDOT

Could commuter trains someday be stopping at Pawtucket, Cranston, East Greenwich and West Davisville on their way to Kingston and Westerly and maybe into Connecticut?

Could such trains link Woonsocket to Providence and T.F. Green Airport, with connections to Boston?

The Rhode Island Statewide Planning Program is pondering such questions as it compiles a state rail plan for the next 20 years, to be finalized sometime this year.

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Barry Schiller: State Rail Plan hearings, January 23, 2014

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Photo (cc) Providence Public Library

Barry Schiller, a retired Rhode Island College math professor, is a long-time member of the State Planning Council’s Transportation Advisory Committee. He also was on the RIPTA Board of Directors 1995-1999.

Here is a chance to give your opinion on any railroad related issue in Rhode Island. In response to Federal incentives, RI is developing a State Rail Plan for both passenger and freight services. A draft is available on-line at Planning.ri.gov. There will be public hearings on this draft on Thursday, January 23 at 10am and 6:30pm at the Department of Administration Building in Providence.

The draft plan starts with state railroad history, explains the process for developing the plan, notes related Federal programs and previous studies, and inventories the existing situation. The plan goes on to identify various desirable goals related to safety, security, infrastructure condition, reliability, service levels, coordination with other agencies, economic activity, congestion reduction, environment, and financial feasibility, but perhaps the heart of it is with Chapter 10 “Rhode Island Rail Investment Program” which suggests implementation plans over a 20 year timeframe.

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News & Notes

Jersey City - Hudson-Bergen Light Rail

Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line in Jersey City, NJ. Photo (cc) Wally Gobetz.

Streetsblog: Why Free Black Friday Parking Is a Bad Idea

Lastly, providing free parking creates an inequity issue for people who do not own a car. As I’ve noted before, more than one-quarter of Cleveland households lack access to a vehicle. Yet, because the cost of parking is already factored into the price of retail goods, these individuals will have to pay for the hidden cost of parking, despite the fact that they will not take advantage of it. Ohio’s transportation policies are already skewed heavily enough towards driving. The round-trip cost of taking public transportation to Tower City ($4.50 per person) is higher than the price for two hours of on-street parking. Requiring the City to pick up this tab only serves to widen the gap between drivers and non-drivers.


The Atlantic Cities: Why Correcting Misperceptions About Mass Transit May Be More Important Than Improving Service

If you want to understand why people use a certain transit system, it makes sense to start with the system itself. Frequency, access, and any other service qualities that make riding as convenient as driving will help. Whether or not the way a city is designed and built nudges people toward the system — via residential density and street design, for instance — matters, too.

But as we’ve pointed out in the past, there’s a psychological component to riding transit that’s easy for city officials and planners to overlook. Fact is, we’re not all completely rational about our travel decisions. The perceptions that people have about public transportation, substantiated or not, are powerful enough to attract or repel them.


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PBN: Free parking has done little to spur commuter-rail use

Until more people need to get to Providence, [Wickford Junction garage operator Robert] Cioe said, those who do go will be able to drive in and find parking at rates that make it difficult for “park-and-ride” from the suburbs to compete.

Johnson & Wales University is preparing to open a 700-space parking garage downtown, the state is expanding a surface lot near the capitol while adding another, Brown University’s plans for redeveloping the South Street Power Station include a city-financed, 600-space parking garage and the Interstate 195 Commission wants the state to build a new parking garage next to the Garrahy Judicial Complex.

We don’t have enough parking but we have too much parking?

William Lawrence, a transportation consultant in South Kingstown who used to manage real estate for the MBTA, said there are currently a number of barriers standing in the way of commuter-rail ridership to Providence, in addition to the economy.

They include the inconvenience of getting from the Providence train station to many offices and the comparatively cheap cost of parking in or taking a bus into the city.

If we expect people to leave their cars at home, or at a park n’ ride, we need to make moving about the core better. We can’t put people on trains, let them off, and say, ‘good luck!’

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RINPR: New Life For Old Train Tunnel May Be in the Works

Gov. Chafee says he’d like to see if it could be opened and used for RIPTA buses. DOT director Michael Lewis says there are no firm plans for the old tunnel and the point of Thursday’s inspection is to see if it’s structurally sound.

I have heard the Governor’s plan could include moving many bus operations from Kennedy Plaza to the Gano Street end of the tunnel and could cost something like a ZILLION dollars. This all sounds very fanciful especially coming from a lame-duck administration. No word from RIPTA about what they think about such a thing.

Also, the tunnel hasn’t been inspected in 20-years!? WTF!?

It does seem a waste to let such a valuable piece of infrastructure sit and rot, what would you do with it?

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RIDOT receives grant to combat distracted driving

2013 06 25 - 8332 - Rockville - Intexticated

Photo (cc) Bossi

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced today that it is one of only seven states to receive a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) incentive grant designed to combat distracted driving. The $459,000 grant is part of NHTSA’s National Priority Safety Program.

“Rhode Island continues to lead the way in proactively addressing highway safety programs,” Governor Lincoln D. Chafee said. “Through the receipt of this grant, we can step up our ongoing efforts to ensure highway safety and ensure that drivers stay focused while driving. I want to congratulate RIDOT and our many partners in law enforcement as they continue to do all they can to make our roadways safer.”

RIDOT will use the NHTSA funds to develop a comprehensive distracted driving prevention program, which launches in October 2013. It will focus on Rhode Island drivers and include education, community outreach and increased funding for enforcement efforts.

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Pawtucket Commuter Rail Station Public Meeting – June 13, 2013

Did you want more transit news today? From the Pawtucket Foundation:

June 13th: 6PM – Commuter Rail Station Public Meeting

You are invited to attend a Rhode Island Department of Transportation and City of Pawtucket Public Meeting

CONCERNING THE POTENTIAL PAWTUCKET COMMUTER RAIL STATION

Thursday, June 13, 2013
Open House: 6:00 PM
Presentation: 6:30 PM

Blackstone Valley Visitor’s Center
175 Main Street, Pawtucket, Rhode Island

pawtucket-commuter-rail-logoThe Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and the City of Pawtucket invite members of the community to a Public Meeting on Thursday June 13, 2013, to learn more about the Pawtucket Commuter Rail Station Project.

The meeting will take place at the Blackstone Valley Visitor’s Center, 175 Main Street, Pawtucket. Beginning at 6:00 PM, representatives from RIDOT, the City of Pawtucket, and the project team, will host an open house to discuss the project and answer questions. At 6:30 PM, RIDOT will present an overview of the Pawtucket Commuter Rail Project, which is exploring options for a potential station to reintroduce commuter rail service to Pawtucket. The Project will evaluate site, environmental, and rail impacts associated with a new station on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Providence Line.

The Blackstone Valley Visitor’s Center is located at RIPTA’s Pawtucket Transit Center and is accessible to persons with disabilities. Spanish translation services will be available at the meeting. Individuals who do not speak the English or Spanish languages or who are hearing impaired may contact RIDOT on or before June 6, 2013, to request an interpreter. Please direct interpreter requests to customerservice@dot.ri.gov or (401) 222-2450.

  • Si esta información es necesaria en otro idioma, llame al (401) 222-2450.
  • Se esta informacao e nevessario emu ma outro lingua, contate por favor (401) 222-2450.
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Work Begins to rebuild street grid on the Former I-195 Land

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Route 195 under construction, July 2, 1957 – Photo from the RIDOT archives.

Gov. Chafee, Congressional Delegation, Assembly Members, City Officials, Private Sector Leaders Break Ground as Infrastructure Work Commences

Important Step in Readying Land for Responsible, Job-Generating Development

Providence, RI – Governor Lincoln D. Chafee joined members of Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation, General Assembly members, state and City of Providence officials, and private sector leaders today to break ground on the next phase of the I-195 relocation project. Infrastructure work has now begun in the footprint of the former I-195 to rebuild the surrounding city streets.

“The work taking place now is a fundamental step toward the responsible, job-generating development of this valuable land, which holds a tremendous potential for economic development here in the capital city,” Governor Chafee said. “By upgrading our infrastructure around these properties, we can attract leaders in high-growth industries to create good jobs here in Rhode Island.”

The $13 million contract with the Cardi Corporation will focus on roadways west of the Providence River. Work will begin with underground utilities, and move on to the streets as spring and summer progress. The goal is to create a more efficient configuration for all modes of transportation, from cars to bikes to pedestrians. Final completion is anticipated in 2014.

“Today marks a significant step forward in the I-195 Commission’s efforts to realize the highest and best use of these parcels of land,” said Chairman Colin P. Kane. “The groundbreaking represents a nearly $50 million investment by the federal government, state, City government and the utility providers to truly create a dynamic Knowledge District reconnected by new city streets, sidewalks, enhanced infrastructure, pedestrian and bicycle paths, and public parks. All great places are built on strong foundations, and today kicks off the beginning of this foundation. The Commission, working with its partners in the state and City of Providence, together offer a platform for job creation and a flywheel of economic development.”

“We ask that the residents bear with us and be patient while we complete this important work,” Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Michael P. Lewis said. “The result will be an alignment that will better support the city with improved access to the new highway and the neighborhoods nearby.”

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Free commuter rail parking through March 29, 2013

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Wickford Junction train station and parking garage. Photo &copy RIDOT.

Governor Chafee and RIDOT Announce Free Parking at Commuter Rail Stations for Rest of Winter

Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today announced that parking at the garages at the Interlink at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick and at Wickford Junction Station in North Kingstown will be free for the reminder of the winter.

“As we have seen over the past couple of days, travel conditions and parking in Providence have been anything but normal because of the blizzard,” Governor Lincoln D. Chafee said. “In consideration of what has happened, and the expectations of future storms in the coming weeks, we have decided to provide free parking at our commuter rail stations to make it easier for people to get to work for the rest of the winter.”

Commuters taking advantage of the free parking will receive validated tickets allowing them to exit the parking garages at T.F. Green and Wickford at no charge through Friday, March 29, 2013. Fares from Warwick and Wickford to Providence are $3 and $3.25, respectively, each way. Fares to from these stations to Boston’s South Station cost $10.50 and $11, respectively. Full schedule and fare information can be found on RIDOT’s website at www.dot.ri.gov.

“While we can clear roads in a relatively short time following snowstorms, major weather events such as the blizzard leave huge volumes of snow that create hazardous situations for many days with slick and narrowed roadways, snow-covered breakdown lanes and less parking,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. “These problems are being experienced all across Rhode Island, but are greatly exacerbated in a dense, urban environment such as Providence.”

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Wickford Junction Station and the Route 2/102 Park and Ride

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Park and Ride at Routes 2 and 102. Image from Google Maps.

This post was submitted Greater City Providence reader Peter Brassard. If you’ve written something you’d like us to consider posting, please contact us and let us know.

On Tuesday, January 15th there was a meeting of the Rhode Island State Properties Committee, where the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) requested clarification regarding a Request for Proposals (RFP) to sell the Route 2/102 Park and Ride lot near Wickford Junction Station. The original RFP offered to sell the land for private development, but stipulated that the Park and Ride lot would have to be relocated and rebuilt at the expense of the developer.

RIDOT asked for clarification on whether the intent of the RFP would still be valid, if the agency dropped the requirement that the Park and Ride lot be relocated and rebuilt. The committee indicated that they would not support that change. They felt that it would be a clear departure from the original RFP and would create unnecessary hardship on the public that relies on the free lot to access public transit or to park cars when people car pool. The committee chair also said that they had been told in the past by RIDOT that the Wickford Junction Parking Garage would not be available for free.

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195 Redevelopment District Commission Meeting – January 14, 2013

A meeting of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission will be held at the office of Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, 315 Iron Horse Way, Suite 101, Providence, Rhode Island, on MONDAY, January 14, 2013, beginning at 5:00 p.m., for the following purposes:

I. Public Session

Call to Order: The Chairperson

  1. Welcome by Chairperson: Chairperson Colin Kane.
  2. To approve the public session minutes of the meetings held on November 19, 2012 and December 10, 2012. (Tab 1.)
  3. Engineering and Permitting Status Update.
  4. Briefing by RIDOT on Road Construction Schedule and Contract 15 (East Side) Activities.
  5. Bond and Land Acquisition update, including snow and landscape maintenance contract recommendations/property insurance.
  6. Q1/Q2 Workplan and Action Item Discussion, including market perspective and planning activities.
  7. Legal Activities Discussion (regulatory development, internal policies, etc.).
  8. Executive Director Search Update.
  9. II. Executive Session

    To consider and act upon such matters as may be considered at a meeting closed to the public pursuant to the Open Meetings Law, specifically matters permitted to be so considered under subsection (7), (investment of public funds) of Rhode Island General Laws, Section 42-46-5(a) (the Open Meetings Law).

  10. Schedule and Protocol for Interested Parties.
  11. III. Public Session

  12. Chairman’s Report/Agenda for January 29, 2013 Meeting.
  13. Vote to Adjourn.

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Free rides from Wickford Junction

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Commuter rail train at Wickford Junction. Photo from RIDOT.

RIDOT annouces “Wickford Wintertime Wednesdays.” Six Wednesdays from January 23, 2013 to February 27, 2013 RIDOT will provide free roundtrip commuter rail fares from Wickford Junction Station to Providence as well as free parking at the Wickford Junction Garage. This program is to encourage commuters to try the commuter rail service which started last April.

When the morning radio or television station is giving the bad news about slow traffic on Route 4 and I-95 because of snowy conditions, many South County commuters won’t be concerned because they take commuter rail to work in Providence. Those who are thinking about joining them in the hassle-free way to work this winter now have a chance to try it for free.

As an invitation to try the train service from Wickford Junction Station in North Kingstown, Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) are announcing “Wickford Wintertime Wednesdays” for six weeks from January 23, 2013, to February 27, 2013. Each Wednesday during this promotion, commuters will receive validated parking at the station and a round-trip ticket for travel to Providence Station from Wickford.

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