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Tag Archives | Streets

Capital Center Commission Meeting – August 12, 2015

featured-capital-center Capital Center Commission Meeting
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 • 12:00 noon
Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

Agenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Minutes
    2.1 Approval of Commission Meeting Minutes of April 8, 2015
    2.2 Acceptance of DRC Meeting Minutes of January 20, March 17, April 21, and May 19, 2015
  3. Election of CCC Vice Chair
  4. Election of DRC Vice Chair
  5. DRC Reappointment
  6. Francis Street & Memorial Boulevard Intersection Safety Improvements
    Request for approval of proposed safety improvements.
  7. FY2016 Budget
  8. Designation of Service Provider
    8.1 Legal Services
  9. Adjournment
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News & Notes

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Photo (cc) Michelle

Planetizen The Case Against Jaywalking Laws, Part 2

Some months ago, I wrote that laws against so-called “jaywalking” (that is, crossing in places other than crosswalks or where traffic lights encourage pedestrians to cross) fail to promote safety, because traffic lights are inadequate guides to safety. When crossing midblock, a pedestrian need only watch out for traffic coming in one direction—right toward her. By contrast, when crossing at a light, a pedestrian may be in less danger from cars coming straight at him, but may be attacked by cars making left and right turns. Moreover, it is not at all clear that jaywalking is a major cause of pedestrian fatalities; although most crashes do occur outside intersections, these crashes often occur in places where there is no easily available crosswalk. According to traffic writer Tom Vanderbilt, “While jaywalking is often cited as a cause of pedestrian accidents, less than 20 percent of fatalities occurred where a pedestrian was crossing outside an easily available crosswalk.” And even where a pedestrian is jaywalking, a crash may be caused primarily by driver misconduct.


Penn Medicine Remediating Abandoned, Inner City Buildings Reduces Crime and Violence in Surrounding Areas, Penn Study Finds

“Replacing broken windows and doors is an effective deterrent of crime—and a low-cost alternative to demolishing abandoned buildings,” MacDonald said. “During a time when big cities like Philadelphia are looking to tackle issues of crime and violence, this study points to a potentially effective tactic for municipalities to continue or implement in helping make their neighborhoods safer and ultimately improving health outcomes.”

Prior research suggests that vacant and abandoned places have a significant and negative impact on community health and safety. The “broken windows” theory proposes that abandonment sends a signal to would-be offenders that committing crimes is acceptable and will likely go unchallenged or unseen. A sister study of abandoned land, not buildings, conducted by Branas, MacDonald and others in 2011 found an association between greening remediation of vacant lots and reduced risks of neighborhood violence, stress, and sedentary behavior. Other studies have found associations between boarded-up buildings and drug-related deaths and sexually transmitted diseases.


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News & Notes

A couple of red traffic lights against a blue sky

Photo (cc) Horia Varlan

Better Cities & Towns: The benefits of removing stop lights

In the 1990s, the City of Philadelphia removed 800 traffic lights. Traffic flow improved and accidents declined by 26 percent in these intersections.

Recently, Wayne State researchers recommended that Detroit remove 460 signals, or 30 percent of its total inventory. And that figure may underestimate removable signals, the researchers note.

For pedestrians, four-way stops are much better—because every automobile has to come to a complete stop and traffic is calmed.

For pedestrians, removing traffic signals also helps maintain their right-of-way. If one approaches a stop light and is unable to reach the beg-button before the light changes, the red hand tells pedetrains and motorists that the pedestrian is not allowed to cross, even if they are trying to cross with the green which they should be allowed to do by right. Even if the walk-light actuates, turning drivers interpret their green as their right-of-way and treat the pedestrian as secondary.

A non-signalized intersection gives pedestrians the right-of-way.


The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: One-way streets are failing their cities

In John Gilderbloom’s experience, the notorious streets are invariably the one-way streets. These are the streets lined with foreclosed homes and empty storefronts, the streets that look neglected and feel unsafe, the streets where you might find drug dealers at night.

“Sociologically, the way one-way streets work,” he says, “[is that] if there are two or more lanes, a person can just pull over and make a deal, while other traffic can easily pass them by.”

It’s also easier on a high-speed one-way road to keep an eye out for police or flee from the scene of a crime.

So all the streets that were made one way on Federal Hill to deter drug activity, actually made it worse? Thanks NIMBYs.


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Elorza updates street sweeping plans

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Photo from Mayor Elorza’s Facebook page

Mayor Elorza held a press conference this morning to provide an update on the street sweeping schedule. I asked on Twitter about prohibiting parking during scheduled street sweeping.


I did take it upon myself to sweep the street in front of my house a few weeks ago, but the rest of my block remains littered with detritus even after the street sweepers went by because no one knew they were coming.

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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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New bike corral on Eddy Street, a first for Providence?

bike-corral

Image from Downtown Improvement District Twitter.

The Downtown Improvement District installed a new bike corral today on Eddy Street, like literally, on the street. Is this the first time an on-street bike corral has been installed in Providence?

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News & Notes

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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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City Plan Commission Meeting – June 17, 2014

featured-bikeped City Plan Commission Meeting
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of minutes from May 20th meeting – for action
  • Director’s Report

City Council Referral

1. Referral No. 3377 – Petition to abandon a portion of Broadway The petitioner is requesting to abandon a portion of the width of Broadway between Dave Gavitt Way and Greene Street adjacent to Plat 75 Lot 460 – for action

Institutional Master Plan

2. Amendment of Brown University’s Institutional Master Plan The applicant is seeking to amend the IMP to reflect the School of Engineering’s expansion, property acquisitions, rehabilitation of the South Street Power Station, changes to parking and improvements to Thayer Street – for action

Public Hearing

PROVIDENCE TOMORROW – The Comprehensive Plan 3. Referral No. 3377 – Changes to the Comprehensive Plan Changes proposed include technical changes based on comments received from statewide planning and changes to the future land use map. Public comment will be taken – for action

Re:Zoning Providence

4. Update on Re: Zoning Providence A review of the organization and content of the draft zoning ordinance – for discussion

Adjournment


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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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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

Detroit - Renaissance Center

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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