Tag Archives | Sidewalks

News & Notes


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: 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?


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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Broadway Bridge sidewalk open, kind of


This morning, the Broadway Bridge sidewalk was clear of snow and ice and mostly dry. Hooray! But, as seen in the photo above, the abutter on the corner felt that shoveling all the way to the corner was not quite their responsibility (which is annoying as just behind me as I took the photo their sidewalk was clear and dry). You can also see in the photo a pile of detritus between the cleared sidewalk and the crosswalk. Not too much of a challenge for me to conquer but try it in a wheelchair or pushing a stroller or using a walker…

Then there’s this:


Looking up the Service Road from Broadway one can see that as always, Dominica Manor has done a terrific job with their sidewalks, with them being clear and dry. However, no one has decided to be responsible for the triangular traffic island at the end of Federal Street. And this condition persists at all traffic islands in the area. With some effort, a pedestrian can make it from the west side of the Broadway Bridge to the downtown side (depending on which way they approach it from), but once across the bridge a pedestrian is confronted with iced over traffic islands that no one cares to clear.


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


Providence parking ban ends at noon (Jan. 3rd).
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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Providence Parking Ban tonight, clear your sidewalks


From the City of Providence:

Providence Declares Citywide Parking Ban Beginning at 9PM

Clearing major roads, emergency routes is first priority; side streets are not plowed immediately during a snow event

PROVIDENCE, RI – In preparation for a snowstorm that is forecast to begin late this afternoon and peak in intensity this evening, Mayor Angel Taveras has declared a citywide parking ban beginning at 9PM tonight, Saturday, December 14. The parking ban will remain in effect until further notice.

Snowfall is forecasted to begin later this afternoon, peaking in intensity during the evening hours with 3-6 inches of snow before turning to sleet and rain early tomorrow morning.

Residents with overnight parking passes and all residents are advised that they cannot park on the street during the duration of the citywide parking ban. All vehicles parked on the street in violation of the citywide parking ban will be ticketed and towed to ensure that roadways can be plowed.

The Department of Public Works has prepared all equipment and personnel to respond to the storm.

Residents can stay up to date on the latest storm developments from the City by following the Twitter accounts of Mayor Taveras and PEMA or by monitoring the Facebook account of Mayor Taveras.

The City’s snow hotline will not be open during this storm.

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Why are so many people driving up onto the sidewalk in North Providence?

News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England


About 15 years ago, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation put up more than 200 decorative street lights in the Centredale and Marieville sections of North Providence.

Twenty-seven have been wiped clean from their bases by passing motorists, and are too expensive to replace at $4,200 each.

Shouldn’t the title of this piece be, “Why are so many people driving up onto the sidewalk in North Providence?”

Drivers get a certain amount of real estate in which to operate in, this is called a roadway. They don’t get to swing about wildly across the roadway and a few feet on either side of it.

“Oh boo hoo, it is so difficult to drive without knocking shit over on either side of the road.”

It’s a cautionary tale for towns getting the decorative lighting, especially when the towns take possession of the projects, and are responsible for maintaining or replacing ones that get damaged.

It’s a cautionary tale for anyone walking in North Providence, look out for people driving up onto the sidewalk knocking over decorative street lights and who knows what else.


Streetsblog: NYC Motorists Killed Three Pedestrians on City Sidewalks Today

In one tragic day in New York City, three people walking on the sidewalk were killed by drivers; and after this story was published, a fourth pedestrian was struck and killed on Staten Island.

Three pedestrians were killed on NYC sidewalks today in two separate crashes. Just before 7:30 a.m. on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst, a 22-year-old man driving a new Camaro ran over and killed two men on the sidewalk, and just before 1 p.m., a woman was killed on an East Harlem corner after a taxi driver struck a box truck, which careened onto the sidewalk. So far, no charges have been filed, though witnesses say the Queens Boulevard driver was speeding and the East Harlem cabbie ran a red light, according to reports.


Plowing done wrong


East Avenue near the Pawtucket/Providence line.

I’m seeing a lot of bellyaching on social media about streets not being plowed yet. While, my street is showing signs of blacktop, I feel others pain, but. We got walloped with feet of snow drifting to amazing proportions. There are hundreds of thousands, probably millions of tons of snow that need to be removed from hundreds of miles of roads. This is not something that just happens in a day or two, or more.

What does annoy me, is snow removal done wrong. The Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission (of which I am a member) has discussed with Providence EMA the problem of plows piling snow at the corners of blocks, which then makes it impossible for abutters to comply with snow removal regulations. And while like I said, we’re dealing with a monumental amount of snow, that really has few places to go, I’m seeing a lot of signs around the few parts of the city that I’ve been able to reach this weekend, signs that this continues to happen.

While the photo above is from Pawtucket, not Providence, it illustrates the problem well. My friend who took the photo asked the workers who were dumping the snow if the abutter here would receive a fine and was told: ‘if they talked to city hall they wouldn’t get a fine.’

Well, that is nice for the pocketbook of the abutter (though, ‘talk to City Hall,’ is a rather vague directive), it sucks for all the people who now have to walk in East Avenue because the sidewalk will be closed for weeks.


Snowblogging III: Whoa!

Internet is down here at Greater City Providence. Lucky for us we still have power and heat. So, I’m posting from my phone, lets see how that goes.

I took an epic amount of photos (and a few videos) and am going to split them up a bit. Here goes day after post number one.


Whoops! Published that too quick. Wait, I’m adding more!

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – January 23, 2013

featured-bikeped Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
January 23, 2013, 4:30 PM
444 Westminster Street, First Floor
Note: Meeting is Wednesday instead of Monday due to the Martin Luther King Day holiday. Also, meetings start at 4:30pm now rather than 4 o’clock.
  1. 4:30 – Nate Urso, Providence Department of Public Works: Crosswalks, Street Repaving, Policy, and Safety (Nate will also give a brief update on the status of the Road Bond repaving in general)
  2. 4:55 – Dave Everett: Bike Plan Update and BPAC input on potential road bond bicycle improvements (Melrose, Prairie, Potters, Olney) and review of typical sections. Also plans for draft report and stakeholder meeting in Feb.
  3. 5:05 – Public comment.
  4. 5:20 – Discussion/letter re DOT bikeway plans (master list for bike plan)
  5. 5:25 – Jef Nickerson: S. Main St. merchant issues re pedestrian access/movement relative to I-Way parcels
  6. 5:30 – Jenn Steinfeld/Jef Nickerson: BPAC communications update/protocol for receiving input
  7. 5:40 – Bridge detours update
  8. 5:45 – Zip Car spaces and potential bike lane conflicts
  9. 5:55 – Rescheduling BPAC meetings now scheduled for May 20, August 19, November 18, December 16
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.

Guest Post: Snow removal, “not my job.”

A reader submits photos and commentary on common snow removal issues along North Main. Just a little extra effort would save hundreds of people from huge inconvenience and safety concerns.

Here are some snowy sidewalk pics that illustrate the not-my-job mindset. I am glad the long sidewalk along North Burial Ground on North Main Street has been getting plowed lately, although when the snow is deep enough to bog down their little tractor, they simply fuggedaboutit. But how hard would it be to drive that little tractor a few yards farther along and clear the traffic island at Cemetary Street?


On a side note, this intersection is a fine example of inappropriate high-speed design. Oh yeah, there is a stop sign, but most drivers scoot right on through and merge into N. Main at full speed, with heads turned left to check approaching traffic as if they were at a highway on-ramp instead of a crosswalk. Also, note how the sidewalk on the traffic island is where the plow driver who clears the lawyer’s lot dumps snow.


I guess it a dead-serious matter of turf and good fences between Parks Dept and Public Works, (or RIDOT? Or the Feds? N Main is US 1, you know) that keeps the Parks Dept. tractor from plowing all the way to Branch Ave. It might take 90 seconds and cause huge paperwork and budget issues.


Snowy sidewalks

Yes, yes, the law says you have 8 hours until after the first light after it stops snowing to clear your sidewalk, blah, blah, blah… But, there is the law, and then there is sensibility and being a good neighbor.


Of course, I had no doubt, even though they are not open, and not required to do so, per usual, Angelo’s sidewalk is clear. It always is, it is like the sunrise, you know it will happen. This is an example of being a good neighbor and a good business person. This simple act creates amazing goodwill from me for Angelo’s.


Up the block, The Old Canteen has been really good with the few snowfalls we’ve had this winter. That plow pulling out of the lot, the driver of that plow is the one who shoveled the sidewalk, I watched him finish up, put his shovel in his truck, and leave. Old Canteen obviously has an arrangement for both their parking lot and their sidewalks to be clear; satisfying the needs of their customers in cars and on foot obviously makes good business sense.

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