These renderings are what it would look like if an episode of Star Trek was set in Providence.
These renderings are what it would look like if an episode of Star Trek was set in Providence.
Last week, Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced that, from July through the end of the year, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) commuter rail service will be free for people traveling within the state. The intention of the pilot program is to attract new riders who, in theory, will then realize the convenience of the rail line and continue to utilize it in the future. However, unless you are commuting to and from Boston, commuter rail service in Rhode Island is not very useful. Despite offering three MBTA stations in the state, service proves to be infrequent and unreliable. Lack of coordinated policy in solving transportation problems is a major cause. Large expenditures for highways and extending MBTA service to South County, albeit solving some traffic problems, have failed to eliminate growing traffic congestion throughout the Providence metropolitan area. If some action is not taken, rising immobility may erode the basic economic fiber of the state.
To become more economically independent from Boston and promote more local sustainable development, Rhode Island must develop a stronger public transit system. For example, looking to Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor connecting Providence with Boston, New York City, and Washington, D.C., it is one of the region’s most important transportation arteries. Yet, most Rhode Islanders associate the route only with long-distance commuting, which is an unfortunate association falling far short of its full potential.
A Warwick man accused of driving drunk and hitting a city police officer with his vehicle is facing new charges.
The officer was conducting traffic on Warwick Avenue due to a power outage Sunday night when he was struck by a vehicle making a left turn from Sandy Lane, according to police.
On Tuesday, Warwick police announced the charges had been amended due to the seriousness of the injuries suffered by the officer.
Police in Warwick are investigating a serious pedestrian crash.
According to police, officers were called to the area of 70 Centerville Road for a report of a pedestrian hit by a car.
Police said the crash involved a 32-year-old driver from Warwick and 27-year-old pedestrian from West Greenwich. The pedestrian was transported to Rhode Island Hospital with serious injuries, according to police.
Police have identified the 83-year-old man killed in a pedestrian accident Wednesday as Jose S. Dionisio, and the driver as Carmella Visinho, 92, both of Warwick.
Dionisio was crossing Main Avenue around 9:30 a.m., near the intersection with Greenwich Avenue, when he was struck by Visinho, who was driving in the right lane, eastbound. Dionisio was not in a crosswalk, according to the initial investigation.
Crosswalk or no crosswalk, how do we expect an elderly person to ever cross that street? How do we expect anyone to ever be able to cross that street? A traffic engineer designed that.
As our population continues to age, and more elderly people are no longer able to drive, we’re going to have a lot more elderly people in suburbs trying to cross the streets we engineered for cars.
The officer had been directing traffic at Dave’s Marketplace on Airport Road Saturday about 10 a.m..
The woman began arguing with the officer, then backed up her vehicle about fifty feet and drove at the officer head-on. He was able to step partially out of the way, but had minor injuries.
The woman sped away, southbound on Warwick Avenue. She’s described as a woman in her 20s or 30s. Several eyewitnesses saw it happen, but the woman remains at large.
If you see the vehicle on the road, Warwick Police ask you to call (401) 468-4293.
There were two important takeaways from last week’s symposium on making mass transit work for Rhode Island. The first, made by Grow Smart RI’s Executive Director, Scott Wolf, was that only 2.7% of Rhode Islanders use public transit, about half the national average, despite being the second most densely populated state. According to the U.S. Census, only 8% of commuters in Providence took public transit in 2010, compared to 33% in Boston, 27% in Cambridge, and 21% in Hartford – even New Haven has 50% more transit commuters than Providence does.
The second key takeaway, made by leaders from the Minneapolis, Denver, and Hartford transit systems, was that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to public transit. Here again, Rhode Island seems out of step, with a bus-only network that only meets the needs of a small percentage of its citizens. With nearly 80% of the state already living within 10-minutes of a transit stop, it seems unlikely that RIPTA will be able to really move the needle on ridership unless it is willing to consider other approaches.
Bus transit offers many benefits: up front costs for infrastructure are low, and rerouting bus routes in response to changing rider demand is relatively easy. But RIPTA’s single-hub bus network hasn’t worked well for Providence. Kennedy Plaza feels like a barren, bus parking lot, adding to congestion and discouraging downtown development, and it is nearly impossible to get from one place in the region to another without passing through Kennedy Plaza. Other modes of transportation have been considered, most notably a downtown streetcar system and BRT along the 6-10 corridor, but both of these are expensive for the limited benefit they provide. In addition to growing its ridership, RIPTA should be looking for new ways to reduce congestion and pollution, to stimulate and support targeted development, make the region more competitive for jobs, and improve the quality of life for all Rhode Islanders. It needs to seriously consider light rail.
We have been lucky in Rhode Island recently to have avoided deadly collisions involving bicyclists. That streak has now, tragically, ended. On Friday, Charlie Hawkins of North Providence was hit and killed while crossing a four-lane road in Warwick in the early evening.
Traffic fatalities are not acceptable. Until our state and local governments take responsibility for making our streets safer, this sort of horrific tragedy will continue to happen. Failure to make our streets safer for all road users is unacceptable.
Outlet stores won’t be coming to Warwick.
On Thursday, Adam Winstanley of Winstanley Enterprise LLC confirmed reports the proposal to convert Rhode Island Mall into an outlet mall has been abandoned and that the company has a contract to sell the property, which as Midland Mall was the state’s first suburban mall.
Winstanley sees Rhode Island Mall as “coming back as a big box mall,” meaning in place of smaller stores congregated around a couple of anchor stores, there would be five or six larger stores. He put those stores at between 40,000 and 60,000 square feet each.
Because we all know what a sure bet big box stores have been over the last decade.
The historic Elizabeth Mill will be razed and some of its architectural elements incorporated into a new building, under a plan that Warwick officials hope will serve as a development catalyst for the City Centre Warwick district.
The plan would create a four-story, 300,000-square-foot building with modern efficiencies, suitable for retail, office and residential space, according to Mayor Scott Avedisian. The mill’s cast iron stairs, doors and bricks will be incorporated into a new structure.
Michael Integlia & Company, an engineering and construction management firm, will market the conceptual plan.
You can see a skelton of white beams that create a ghost of the tower of the mill being demolished, which is sad and creepy.
Though our historic buildings are an extremely important part of what makes our region unique and special, I’m not afraid to admit that not all can always be saved. Could someone have tried harder to save this building? Maybe, but it seems that will not happen. Keeping some little remenants and building a literal skeleton to remember the building is just dumb though. If the building has to go, get rid of it and move on.
Police said the man was walking across West Shore Road in a painted crosswalk when he was hit by a 2006 Saturn at about 4 p.m. Wednesday. He was taken to Rhode Island Hospital.
Police said the driver, an 18-year-old Warwick man, is not likely to face any criminal charges.
Failure to yield to a pedestrian, anyone, no?
A man who was hit by a car in Warwick earlier this month has died as a result of his injuries.
City police said Thursday that Sean P. Eagan died at Rhode Island Hospital on Nov. 13.
Eagan, 47, was crossing Warwick Avenue in the area of Scranton Avenue at about 5 p.m. on Nov. 7 when he was struck by a car traveling northbound. He was transported to Rhode Island Hospital, but passed away the following Thursday.
The Warwick Police reported a car and pedestrian accident near 717 Post Rd. at around 8:50 p.m. on Saturday. The accident involved a vehicle operated by Katelyn Barnes, a 23-year-old female from Heath Avenue in Warwick, and a 44-year-old male from Dryden Boulevard in Warwick. The pedestrian was transported to Rhode Island Hospital by Warwick Fire Rescue where, as of yesterday, he was listed in critical condition. The identity of the pedestrian is being withheld pending notification to his family.
The developers of the former Rhode Island Mall are hoping to open “The Outlets at Rhode Island Mall” late next year.
Winstanley Enterprises of Mass. and Surrey Equities of New York bought the mall back in 2012 and had previously planned to turn the vacant shopping center into several big-box stores.
I hate to say I told you so* about the big box concept but… I told you so.
The completed outlet mall would house between 40 and 60 outlet stores according to Silvera. He says it will have similar tenants to the Wrentham Outlets, but unlike Wrentham, it will not be an outdoor mall – they plan to keep the existing exterior of the Rhode Island Mall, but will completely renovate the inside.
*Who am I kidding, I love to say I told you so.
Raymond Joutras, 21, of Sweet Street, Warwick, was driving south in the area of 1811 Warwick Ave., near the Jamestown Apartments, when he hit Jefferis as she walked toward a bus stop, police said. Neither speed nor alcohol appear to be factors, according to police. Minimal lighting and the fact that Jefferis was wearing dark clothing could have contributed.
Warwick wins $10m US TIGER grant for Apponaug road project, beating out PVD streetcar. Background here: http://t.co/QlnddqFnwR
— Patrick Anderson (@andersonpbn) September 5, 2013
RI delegation says Warwick has won $10M US TIGER grant for Apponaug project: http://t.co/LJbl9cR4qr Presumably Prov didn't get streetcar $.
— Ted Nesi (@tednesi) September 5, 2013
After the 2010 floods, I wrote about the public desire for some sort of solution to prevent future flooding. Spoiler, we can’t prevent future floods, but we can change what we’re doing to mitigate the impact of flooding.
We haven’t had a giant flood since, but related to the flooding problem is stormwater runoff polluting the bay. Bob Plain writes today on RIFuture about how Warwick has been heavily impacted by beach closures related to pollution caused by runoff.
Also today, Save The Bay is holding a press conference about the high number of beach closings this year. The AP’s Erika Niedowski tweets from the press conference:
–@SaveTheBayRI: closures associated w/ wastewater overflows have declined dramatically. This year’s are associated w/ local polluted runoff.
— Erika Niedowski (@eniedowski) July 31, 2013
That is to say, I believe, that the Providence Combined Sewer Overflow Project is working, but our paved and other impervious surfaces are still causing us harm.
In 2010 it was massive flooding which was supposed to be our wake-up call about the damage our built environment was doing to us. We did not learn many lessons it would seem from those floods, as a year later a smiling Cranston Mayor Fung celebrated the opening of a new Stop & Shop on the banks of the Pawtuxet.
Will we learn any lessons from our 2013 beach closures wake-up call?
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:
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.
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.