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What Cheer / What Jeer 2013

We’re running a little late this year but we’re finally ready to run down the What Cheers and What Jeers of 2013.

what-cheer-south-street-power-station

WHAT CHEER: South Street Power Station (Maybe)

In 2013 we got another plan to redevelop the moribund South Street Power Station. While numerous plans for the building, which at one point was known as the Dynamo House, have come and gone, this latest plan engenders optimism as Brown University is involved now.

In January the New York Times and then The Brown Daily Herald reported on rumors of the university becoming involved in the project. Then in June Brown announced it’s plans for the building in a letter to the campus community.

Those plans include a home for the long talked about URI/RIC Nursing School, office space for Brown, and some sort of retail component in the former power station building. Brown also has a developer engaged in building a student apartment building in the neighboring parking lot along Point Street and the City is involved in plans for a parking structure across Point Street from that.

The latest news on the project comes from the ProJo just before Christmas with reports that the PRA is considering condemning the building so the project can move forward.

While this could all be looked at as another in a long line of proposals for the building, Brown’s involvement makes this proposal seem more promising. 2014 will show us if this project actually moves forward.

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Storm updates from the City – No school, parking ban, no trash collection Friday

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Providence parking ban ends at noon (Jan. 3rd).
TRASH REMOVAL
Garbage and recycling collection will not take place today, Friday, January 3, 2014. If your regular trash pickup day is Thursday, your trash will be picked up tomorrow, Saturday, January 4, 2014. If your regular trash pickup day is Friday, your trash will be picked up on Monday, January 6, 2014.

Trash pickup will be delayed by one day next week:

  • Monday pickup will be Tuesday
  • Tuesday pickup will be Wednesday
  • Wednesday pickup will be Thursday
  • Thursday pickup will be Friday
  • Friday pickup will be Saturday

The regular trash pickup schedule will resume on Monday, January 13, 2014.

From the City:


Providence Public Schools Closed Tomorrow, Jan. 3 – Parking Ban Begins at Midnight

Residents urged to exercise caution during frigid conditions

PROVIDENCE, RI – In preparation for a winter snow storm forecast to bring frigid temperatures and leave up to eight inches of snow in Providence, Providence Public Schools will be closed tomorrow, January 3, 2013.

Mayor Angel Taveras has declared a citywide parking ban beginning at midnight tonight. The parking ban will remain in effect until further notice.

Snowfall is expected to peak in intensity during the evening hours tonight and will continue through tomorrow morning. The storm will be accompanied by frigid temperatures and wind gusts up to 45 miles per hour that will greatly reduce visibility and make extended outdoor exposure dangerous.

The Department of Public Works has prepared all equipment and personnel to respond to the storm. The City’s Emergency Operations Center has been partially activated with Providence Emergency Management staff.

Residents can stay up to date on the latest storm developments from the City by using the filter #PVDsnow on Twitter and following the accounts of Mayor Taveras and PEMA.

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RIDOT receives grant to combat distracted driving

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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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I rebuilt North Main Street for you

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I rebuilt North Main Street and you can rebuilt it and other roads too. Streetmix is a new online app that let’s you custom build your own street with streetcars, bus lanes, bike lanes, and more. I made a quick measurement on Google Maps to figure out that North Main is about 94′ wide and filled in my infrastructure from there.

Create your streets and post the results here.

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Curb extensions being installed on Atwells

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Atwells Avenue at Sutton Street.

It has been nearly three years since City Councilman Terry Hassett was struck and severely injured by a hit and run driver on Atwells Avenue; one in a long line of pedestrian injuries and fatalities on the Avenue. Now, we are finally seeing some action on building pedestrian safety interventions.

After the Councilman was struck, we listed some recommended safety interventions including curb extensions such as those being installed now.

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Atwells Avenue at America Street.

Hopefully we’ll continue to see more of this type of infrastructure installed in the city to promote pedestrian safety.

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Kennedy Plaza/Circulator Phase 3 Informational Meeting – July 10, 2013

The City will be having an informational meeting about proposed enhancements and reconfiguration of the Kennedy Plaza area as well as details about Phase 3 of the Downtown Circulator project. The Circulator project includes reconstruction of LaSalle and Emmet Squares, Fountain Street, Broadway, part of Dorrance Street, and Exchange Terrace.

circ-meeting

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 • 5pm-6pm
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor

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10 reasons why the Apponaug Circulator is ‘not ready to go’

The Providence streetcar project is not the only TIGER grant application coming from Rhode Island. RIDOT has also submitted an application for the Apponaug Circulator Long-term Improvements Project .

The Mayor has thrown his support behind the streetcar however the Governor (former Mayor of Warwick) is not on board, saying through a spokesperson to WPRI that the streetcar project is, “not ready to go.”

I contend that it is the Apponaug project is not ready to go, here’s why:

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RIDOT rendering of Four Corners in Apponaug.

1. 20th century traffic solutions

The one-way circulation as it exists today was a temporary response to the construction of the Post Road Extension by-pass built in the 1970′s. High-speed traffic from that bypass was dumped into the one-way circulation to reach Routes 117 and 1 at the southern side of Apponaug.

The current circulator project seeks to relieve problems cause by heavy through traffic and fix “numerous roadway deficiencies [that] exist along all legs the circulator, including narrow lane widths, narrow or nonexistent shoulder widths, insufficient horizontal curves, poor curb reveal, and poorly defined curb openings.” At the same time, it seeks to improve the environment for area businesses, pedestrians, and cyclists.

These wide lanes, wide shoulders, broad curves, and etc. are exactly what make a village center environment such as Apponaug a poor place for pedestrians and cyclists and by extension, a poor place to run a business. This kind of engineering perpetuates the high-speed movement of automobiles and will not help get pass-through traffic to stop and patronize area businesses.

Basically, these conditions extend the road environment of the Post Road Extension straight through Apponaug.

2. Walkability

While the plan calls for reducing the section of Post Road between Four Corners and Williams Corner, the main historic business district, to one lane and installing curb extensions leading to raised crosswalks through that section, the rest of the roadways through the project feature four-lane arterials with wide shoulders; not an ideal environment for pedestrians.

The project features four roundabouts and one tear-shaped not quite roundabout at Williams Corner. While the proposal claims that, “A key characteristic of roundabouts is their ability to handle pedestrian crossings safely,” I’m dubious about the safety of pedestrians in any roundabout that has two-lanes of high-speed traffic moving in each direction. ‘Yield to pedestrians’ and speed limit signs can be put up all over the place, but traffic will move at the speed the road is engineered to allow it to move at.

The business district portion has good pedestrian enhancements, the rest of the project area is not ideal and continues to cut pedestrians off from the surrounding areas.

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