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Tag Archives | Streets

→ 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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Streetfilms: A Montreal Intersection Morphs Into a Wonderful Neighborhood Space

On a Bixi bike excursion to get some ice cream in Montreal, my wife and I stumbled upon the intersection of Fairmount Avenue and Rue Clark, recently upgraded with colorful new street furniture, traffic calming treatments, and a two-way protected bike lane. The space is teeming with street life. When you arrive at this lovely place your first instinct is to stop, sit down, and enjoy.

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News & Notes

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Detroit from Canada. Photo (cc) Patricia Drury

→ Spacing: Converting Alleyways to Livable Laneways and Country Lanes

Asphalt paving was removed and replaced with “structural grass,” rigid plastic honeycomb cells sprinkled with ordinary lawn seed and nurtured into green swaths. Concrete strips were embedded on two sides, creating a durable driving surface. Permeable brick pavers were installed in driveways and at the lane way entrances; these allow rain water to infiltrate between their joints and into the ground, reducing run-off, the bane of municipal storm sewer systems.


→ Newshour: Will Other U.S. Cities Follow in Detroit’s Footsteps?

Well, I think cities have realized they’re not going to grow their economies by bribing companies to come in[1].

Just as Bruce said, they’re going to build on their own strategic assets, and as specialized as they are — and Bruce knows this — they also to be diverse. Diverse economies grow. But in the United States, the cities and regions that are having trouble are the manufacturing regions that have not revitalized and developed their knowledge assets and diversified.

And Sun Belt regions that are dependent on real estate and construction, our economy is being reshaped around knowledge centers, big and small. Ann Arbor right outside of Detroit is doing fabulously well, and energy centers — and those are becoming the powerhouses of the U.S. regional economy. But there are very real winners and losers in this economy. And for those falling behind, they have to take steps to specialize, to focus on their niche, but also to diversify their economy.

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Video: “Executive Suite” 195 Commission

This week on Executive Suite: Colin Kane, chairman of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission, and Jan Brodie, the commission’s newly named executive director.

Kane and Brodie discuss the commission’s role in redeveloping the land, their vision for the area and their estimates of how long it will take to make significant progress. They also tackle questions about the interim use of the land and the possible broader impact on Rhode Island’s economy.

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – May 30, 2013

featured-bikepedMay 30, 2013, 4:30 PM
City Administrative Building
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Agenda

  • 4:30: Welcome and introductions
  • 4:35: City signs and bike locks (guest: Parking Administrator Leo Perrotta)
  • 4:50: Kennedy Plaza redesign: bike and pedestrian elements (guests: Cliff Wood, Bonnie Nickerson)
  • 5:10: Fountain & Sabin streets: bike & ped improvements
  • 5:20: Pedestrian crosswalk signals
  • 5:30: League of American Bicyclists: State ranking; bike-friendly community application (Matt Moritz)
  • 5:40: City bike & ped ordinances: recommendation to the City (Matt Moritz)
  • 5:50: Old Business and Public Comment
Full disclosure: I am a member of this Commission.
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City Plan Commission Meeting – May 21, 2013

featured-bikeped City Plan Commission Meeting
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from April 23, 2013 meeting – for action
  • Director’s Report

City Council Referral

1. Referral 3362 – Petition for zone change from R-2 to M-1 at 230 Carolina Ave. Petition to rezone the property at 230 Carolina Ave from R-2 to M-1 subject to the use of the property being restricted to parking – for action (AP 58 lots 704-724, 726 and 730, Washington Park)

2. Referral 3363 – An ordinance in amendment of the Downtown Providence Renewal Official Redevelopment Plan Review of the amendment, which proposes acquisition and redevelopment of the building at 94 Washington Street, for conformance with the Comprehensive Plan – for action (AP 25 Lot 354, Downtown)

The “Narrow Building

3. Referral 3364 – Petition to abandon a portion of Beach Ave. Petition to abandon the portion of Beach Ave along the eastern edge of the property at AP 17 Lot 416 – for action (Fox Point)

Beach Avenue appears to be a paper street which runs along the Seekonk Riverfront from the Gano Street off-ramp from 195 to Fremont Street. Lot 416 sits along Gano Street between the off-ramp and East Transit Street. The existence of that street would allow for public access to the water.

Minor Land Development Project

4. Case No. 13-014 MI – 207 Waterman Street (Preliminary Plan Stage) The applicant is proposing to demolish the existing building to construct a four story (50 feet), 30 unit multifamily development on a lot measuring approximately 11,677 SF. The applicant is proposing to provide 23 internal parking spaces, 45 are required. The development will require dimensional relief from height, parking and density requirements – for action (AP 14 Lot 516, Wayland)

Adjournment

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Joyriders vs. Jaywalkers: U.Va.’s Peter Norton Examines a Collision of Cultures

In 1909, “jaywalker” was an obscure Midwestern colloquial term that referred to a country hick in the city who got in the way of other pedestrians. But with the rise of the automobile, people connected with the auto industry used “jaywalker” to mean a pedestrian who crosses the street against regulations.

“Most people living in cities didn’t think fast cars belonged in streets,” Norton said. “So when cars hit pedestrians, it was always the driver’s fault. Angry city residents wrote letters to their newspapers denouncing ‘joy riders’ and ‘speed demons.’ But some people wanted to give cars a rightful claim to street space. The word ‘jaywalker’ was one way to do this. By casting doubt on pedestrians’ place in the street, it strengthened cars’ claim to street space. Making streets places for cars took not just regulations and devices such as traffic lights — language was also part of the struggle.”

Related to the discussion here.

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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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Guest Post: Building streets

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Future Friendship Street

Jewelry District resident Lewis Dana sent us some photos and a bit of snarky commentary to go with them. Enjoy.

I don’t know much about building a new street, either. …

Based on this shot of the continuation of Friendship St., early on you dig large holes, drop in these storm sewer pipes and cover them up with dirt. If all goes well, the sanitary lines go in at the same time. Let everything settle for a year or so.

Then you come back, dig more trenches for water, gas and electric services, back fill them and pave everything over.

Then some wise guy asks, what about telephone and cable? So you send in new teams of workers who barricade the streets, jackhammer trenches through the new macadam, install cable and phone, and patch everything back up.

If you’re being fastidious, you make a smooth job of it. Judging by the bomb cratered condition of Chestnut Street, into which someone sawed a fiberoptic trench about 7 years ago, that is a faint hope. Traces of that havoc remain to this day all along Chestnut, which is not on the Mayor’s 40-million dollar street repair map.

When the dust settles, mostly on everything in our apartment, is it too much to hope that the Grafitti Patrol will stop by and remove the tags with which the contractors have embellished every sidewalk in the neighborhood?

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