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Tag Archives | Sidewalks

RI General Assembly: Bill taps DOT to clear snow from sidewalks on overpasses, pedestrian bridges

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Press Release from the General Assembly:


STATE HOUSE – After last winter’s barrage of snow made traversing streets a challenge for pedestrians, Providence legislators Sen. Maryellen Goodwin and Rep. Christopher R. Blazejewski have reintroduced legislation putting the Department of Transportation in charge of clearing snow from sidewalks on state-controlled highway overpasses and overhead pedestrian walkways with significant pedestrian traffic.

The pair said it became apparent last year by the many pedestrians forced to dodge traffic in the street that sidewalks in those two areas seem to be among the most neglected after snowstorms.

“Most cities and towns require property owners to clear the sidewalks in front of their land, and you’ll see lots of business owners and residents out there when it snows fulfilling their duty. But when pedestrians get to an overpass, which isn’t in front of anybody’s property, they have to either walk out in the street or climb over a snow bank and trudge through the snow. It’s dangerous, and we need to designate someone to be in charge of snow removal in these areas, at least where there are a lot of pedestrians,” said Senator Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence), who is the Senate majority whip.

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Providence Planning Department Neighborhood Planning Survey

From the City of Providence Department of Planning & Development:


square-p-01From 2007-2012, the Department of Planning and Development conducted extensive community outreach as part of the Providence Tomorrow neighborhood planning process. The neighborhood action plans were an important result of that process.

As several years have now passed, we feel that it is important to update the action plans for each neighborhood to make sure that they reflect current goals and issues. These documents will serve as a central repository for all planning-related issues, containing a prioritized list of issues and opportunities specific to each neighborhood including those pertaining to redevelopment, crosswalks and sidewalks, nuisance properties, parks and playgrounds, zoning, parking, schools, public transportation, drainage, historic preservation, and business needs, among many others.

Once the action items are updated to reflect current needs and goals, the Department of Planning + Development will work to identify funding to complete specific projects, build on opportunities that exist, and resolve other issues as needed.

Neighborhood Planning Survey: English | Español
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Spring Street Sweeping and Yard Waste Collection Dates Announced

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Photo (cc) Kim Brookes

Thank goodness! From the City of Providence:


Mayor Elorza Announces Citywide Street Sweeping Plan

Street Sweeping to Begin April 5, Yard Waste Collection Begins April 13

PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today announced an aggressive citywide street sweeping program that will begin on Sunday, April 5.

“After a historic winter, Providence is ready to welcome spring with street sweeping and yard waste collection throughout the City,” said Mayor Elorza. “Providence has to be the City that works and that means making sure city services are working for our residents and our businesses. We will focus on our main thoroughfares and business districts first, and will then branch off into the neighborhoods.”

Crews will work to clean streets throughout the City nightly from 10:30PM-7AM, prioritizing main streets and business districts followed by neighborhoods.

Yard waste collection will begin on Monday, April 13. Residents are encouraged to recycle and compost all yard debris. Yard waste should be left curbside on regular recycling and trash collection days. Sticks and trimmings should be cut shorter than 4 feet and tied together. Yard waste may not be placed in plastic bags.

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News & Notes

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Planned protected bike lane on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston.

The Boston Globe: Boston to install protected bike lanes on Commonwealth Avenue

The city of Boston will install protected bike lanes on a stretch of Commonwealth Avenue, a victory for biking advocates who have pushed for the city to make it safer to cycle down the bustling thoroughfare.

City officials announced on Tuesday their plans to replace existing bike lanes with protected bike lanes — known as cycle tracks — from the Boston University Bridge to Packard’s Corner. The lanes will be about two-thirds of a mile and use parked cars as a barrier between cyclists and vehicle traffic, a move meant to cut down on accidents that have become common along the heavily used road.

The decision to install the protected bike lanes represents a turnaround for the administration of Mayor Martin J. Walsh, and could pave the way for more protected bike lanes in the city.

Providence is working on plans for the first protected bike lanes in the state along Fountain Street downtown.


The New Journal: Paint the Streets

On the morning of Sunday, May 1, 2011, residents of the Audubon district awoke to find a bold new crosswalk at the intersection of Whitney Avenue and Audubon Street. Spray-painted and slightly crooked, the rogue act made headlines around town. Opinions differed—officials said the sight lines weren’t clear enough for a crosswalk, business owners liked that it made it easier for people to get to their stores, and some just thought it looked a little funny. Useful or not, the crosswalk was illegal and officials had the paint removed two days later. The impromptu markings made a point, however: the intersection was dangerous. The city needed to rethink its streets.


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House and Senate Committees to consider bills mandating bridge sidewalk snow removal

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Route 95 clear after Blizzard of 2015, Broadway Bridge sidewalks, not so much.

Committees of the Rhode Island General Assembly House and Senate will consider bills this Wednesday, March 25th, to mandate that RIDOT remove snow from roads and sidewalk under their control, including overpasses in Providence:


House Finance Committee:

House Bill No. 5349
BY Blazejewski
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO HIGHWAYS – SIDEWALKS {LC1086/1} (Requires the DOT to complete snow removal on all sidewalks located on state highway overpasses, and on all pedestrian overhead walkways under the control of the state within (24) hours after the end of a snowstorm.)


Senate:

Senate Housing and Municipal Government Committee to hear bill on sidewalk snow removal

STATE HOUSE – The Senate Housing and Municipal Government Committee will meet Wednesday to hear proposed legislation addressing the removal of snow from sidewalks on highway overpasses.

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, March 25, at the rise of the Senate (about 4:30 p.m.) in Room 310 on the third floor of the State House.

The bill (2015-S 0195 ), sponsored by Sen. Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence), would require the Department of Transportation to complete snow removal on all sidewalks located on state highway overpasses, and on all pedestrian overhead walkways under the control of the state within 24 hours after the end of a snowstorm.


The public is welcome to attend and testify at these meetings, you can also contact your Represenative or Senator directly to express support.

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Mayor Elorza on MORE SNOWS!!!!

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From Mayor Elorza:


I want to reach out as yet another snow storm arrives in Providence this evening. Six to fourteen inches of snow is expected by tomorrow.

Here are steps we are taking to prepare for the storm:

  • A citywide parking ban begins at 2:00 a.m. tomorrow, Sunday, February 15 and will remain in effect until further notice. We urge everyone to comply with the parking ban, so crews can plow our streets. Cars parked on the street once the parking ban is in effect will be ticketed and towed.
  • We also ask residents and businesses to shovel their sidewalks so people can safely get around our city. This is an important public safety concern. The City has begun giving fines to those who still have not cleared snow from the sidewalk in front of their home or business.
  • Trash and recycling collection will continue on a holiday schedule, with a one day delay.
    This winter has brought historic snow to Providence and we have been working around the clock to make every road passable and widen our busiest corridors. We’ve moved truckloads of snow to empty parcels throughout the city and we will continue to clear the snow long after the storm passes.

There is no challenge we cannot overcome when we come together as a community. So to everyone who lives, works and does business in Providence – thank you.

Thank you for your patience and perseverance as we continue to make it through this historic winter, and thank you for all you do for Providence.

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The economic argument for clearing snow from sidewalks

walkinpvd-iconThere’s been a lot of lip-service to forcing people to clear sidewalks through fines, but not too much seems to be coming of it. I’ve argued a lot about the safety issues involved in not clearing the sidewalks, especially for young children forced to walk in the road on the way to school; but few results have been seen.

So, what about the economic impact? Should a city and state that claims to want to attract millennials who seek walkable transit-oriented small cities look like this?

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ProJo: Providence officials: Shovel, or pay a fine

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Mayor Elorza and State Senator Pichardo shoveling snow last week. Photo from Twitter.

walkinpvd-iconIntroduced by Ward 13 Council member Bryan Principe, the ordinance change would allow the Department of Public Works to clear un-passable sidewalks and then bill the abutting land owners for the cost of the work. It would also allow the city to levy a fine for each day a sidewalk remains unshoveled, instead of only a one-time charge.


This is what a lot of people have been calling for, the City shoveling, or paying someone to shovel, then billing the property owner. Of course, it will still be awkward when the City has to bill itself.

Update: Hearing canceled

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Seekonk woman struck killed by hit & run driver, unshoveled sidewalks partly to blame

walkinpvd-iconAs reported by local media, Karen McHugh, a 51-year-old Seekonk resident was struck and killed by a hit & run driver on Friday night as she was walking along the road near her home. At the time of the incident that took her life, the sidewalks on Arcade Avenue were not shoveled, forcing McHugh to walk along the edge of the roadway.

This is exactly what we feared would happen when we started documenting uncleared sidewalks through the #PVDsidewalks hashtag on Twitter.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident, in 2011 George Adams, IV was struck and killed by a driver who also fled the scene. Haley Mckee who killed Adams was eventually arrested by police. In 2013 a reader documented poor conditions on North Main Street and of course North Main Street features heavily in the #PVDsidewalks photos this year. And in 2009 we wrote about people dying.

Every year we deal with these sidewalk conditions, and every year, people die while people who drive their cars seem to become more and more entitled and unable to deal with the fact that we live in New England and it snows. Someone started a Twitter fight with me insisting that the real problem was that streets were not returned to dry pavement yet and how dare I waste time worrying about sidewalks. The road in Seekonk was returned to dry pavement, and motorist were moving 35-40 mph on it, and Karen McHugh is dead.


Seekonk police seek any information anyone might have about Ms. McHugh’s death:

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Share your sidewalk photos #PVDsidewalks

The Mayor is saying that he is going to enforce sidewalk snow removal regulations, including fining property owners who are out of compliance. We’ve created a hashtag on Twitter for people to share their photos: #PVDsidewalks.

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News & Notes

armadillos2

Image from Cyclehoop

Fast Company: These Recycled Plastic Dividers Can Create A Bike Lane In A Second

Painted bike lanes are safer for cyclists than riding in the middle of the road, but bike lanes that are separated with a curb are even better. For example, one study found that cyclists in separated lanes had 80% fewer accidents than those in regular bike lanes. But it’s often tricky to convince city governments to take the extra, more concrete step of separation. One product from a U.K. design firm aims to help.

The “Armadillo” is a low-slung recycled plastic bump that can be installed along the edge of a bike lane. Set at an angle, the bumps allow enough space for bikes to ride back out into the street if they need to, something that isn’t as easy with a full concrete curb. But it still keeps cars out.


Mashable: London to Test ‘Smart’ Crosswalks

The system, called Pedestrian Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique (SCOOT) uses cameras to figure out how many people are waiting to cross the street and adjusts traffic signals accordingly. So if there is a large crowd waiting, for example, the signal to walk will last longer, giving the crowd more time to cross the street.

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News & Notes

Streetsblog: Obama to Propose Four-Year Transpo Bill Funded By “Business Tax Reform”

obama-official-portrait-vertA fact sheet from the administration indicates the proposal would increase dedicated funding for transit more than funding for highways.

The proposal would represent a 38 percent spending increase over the current $109 billion, 2-year law, known as MAP-21, and is the most concrete long-term transportation bill proposed by the Obama administration, which has never put forward a funding stream until now.

See also: Whitehouse.gov: FACT SHEET: President Obama Lays Out Vision for 21st Century Transportation Infrastructure


The New York Times: When Pedestrians Get Mixed Signals

But the indication to walk never came. I was contemplating a four-lane dash when a man appeared who told me I had to press the “Walk” button. I did, and at the next signal change for cars, my signal appeared as well.

At first, I applauded this municipal beneficence, which I encountered during a visit while researching my book. Los Angeles is looking after its pedestrians! In New York City, by contrast, the once-functioning “Walk” buttons were left to go dormant, then largely removed. But in my subsequent visits to Los Angeles, my feelings have shifted.

The reason the buttons were rendered obsolete in New York is that there was no need for them. There were always pedestrians waiting to cross. In Los Angeles, the working button came to seem a rare and feeble plea: May I please cross the street?

In Providence I’m all the time seeing people push the wrong walk button. People press the one closest to them, but that is not the button for the street they are hoping to cross.

But the article is really about the misguided crack-down on “jaywalking” in some cities.

If tough love will not make pedestrians safer, what will? The answer is: better walking infrastructure, slower car speeds and more pedestrians. But it’s easier to write off the problem as one of jaywalkers.

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WPRI: Student inspires school transportation bill

walkinpvd-iconRepresentative John Lombardi walked to school with Rossi on Monday and described the treacherous walk.

“Several obstructions in the sidewalk, including but not limited to garbage, ice, snow, uprooted trees. In some places, there was no sidewalk and we had to walk in the streets,” said Lombardi.

Lombardi is now introducing a bill that would reduce the number of miles students have to walk to be eligible for a pass from three miles to two.


This is all well and good, I agree that more than two miles is too far to walk, but what about everyone else that has to suffer this “treacherous walk?” Are we just going to leave the garbage, ice, uprooted trees, and sidewalk-less streets as they are?

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Blind pedestrian forced to walk in the road

walkinpvd-iconSeeClickFix is a website where citizens can report issues to government, it never really took off in Providence (I’d recommend people report issues to the City’s own ProvConnex site and app) but occasionally people do use it in Providence.

I get alerts sent to me for reports in certain areas, this morning this was reported Downtown:

I am legally blind and I walk this same street five days a week. I walk from the #60 bus stop at Kennedy plaza to the Providence Amtrak via Exchange street. So far, there is a stretch of sidewalk along this street that has not been shoveled AT ALL. As a legally blind person, I am afraid to walk in the streets, but it’s the only “safe” route at the moment. PLEASE get someone to do something about this. If you need more details, I’m specifically talking about the sidewalk area that has the open parking lot area with a toll booth in it…that sidewalk is extremely dangerous. That parking lot is on Exchange Street, before you get to the four-way intersection by the Moshassuck River.

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