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→ WPRO: Former Rhode Island Mall to become factory outlets

PowerPoint Presentation

Interior concept rendering from Winstanley Enterprises

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.


The developer has a marketing brochure online pdf

*Who am I kidding, I love to say I told you so.

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Reports: Apponaug wins TIGER grant, streetcar seemingly, no.




Previously: 10 reasons why the Apponaug Circulator is ‘not ready to go’

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Repost: Seeking a solution (to flooding and beach closures)

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:


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?

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10 reasons why the Apponaug Circulator is ‘not ready to go’

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:

apponaug-4-corners

RIDOT rendering of Four Corners in Apponaug.

1. 20th century traffic solutions

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.

2. Walkability

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.

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→ Warwick Beacon: RI Mall to have new life as home to big box retailers

…Winstanley sees the potential to attract larger retailers that are not yet present in the area, though he said it was premature to name any specifically.

Depending on retailer demands, Winstanley said the building could house either two or four large stores.

The preliminary phases of the project will continue over the next six to nine months, but Winstanley said people shouldn’t expect to see the mall re-open for at least two years. He said it will take at least a year to design and plan out the project and at least another year for construction.

Hasn’t the recession taught us that the age of the Big Box is coming to a close? Are there any retailers left to attract that aren’t already on Route 2?

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USDOT issues Rhode Island more discretionary grants

Interlink

Interlink in Warwick

Recently, the Federal Transportation Adminstration issued two grants for RIPTA and now RIDOT is recieving Federal Highway Administration grants for three projects.

Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment (IBRD) Program • $360,000

Browning Mill Bridge carrying Arcadia road over Roaring Brook: The project uses relatively new bridge replacement technology known as “Bridge in Backpack.” Construction time for this innovative construction method is much faster than the conventional cast-in-place construction technique, improving safety and minimizing traffic impact.

Interstate Maintenance Discretionary (IMD) Program • $3,341,000

I-95 Pawtucket River Bridge Reconstruction Project in Providence*: The project will replace a structurally deficient interstate bridge (between exits 27 and 28 in Pawtucket) that was constructed in 1958 to carry 60,000 vehicles per day but now carries approximately 162,000 vehicles per day.

Transportation, Community and System Preservation Program (TCSP) • $400,000

Warwick Station Transit Oriented Development Economic Development Implementation Plan: TCSP funds will help advance the economic development outreach for a proposed transit project in Warwick.

* This is actually for the Pawtucket River Bridge in Pawtucket, I don’t know why it says Providence, maybe Providence County.

Via: Transportation Nation

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No more excuses, back on the bike.

Morning CommuteWe may not be past solstice yet, but it sure feels like spring is here. Now that we have a bit more daylight in the evenings, I’m out of excuses; it’s time to get back on the bike.

Yesterday I did my first bike commute of the season. The morning ride to work wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected despite sand on the roads and a relatively new scrap-metal yard on my route.

I live in Providence, but my office is in Warwick on the oh-so-bicycle-friendly Jefferson Boulevard. This last stretch of ride is the only time I find safety in riding on a sidewalk. No, it’s not ideal, but sharing the right-most of 4 lanes with tractor-trailers, pothole craters, and sand is just too scary for this guy. Instead, I trudge through about a mile of sandy sidewalk, weaving around grossly parked cars in adjacent lots, before ducking into the safety of a parking lot and side street that leads to my building.

I felt great on the ride in, such a beautiful morning. In the evening, it was even warmer. When I hopped back on the bike and headed down the street, I quickly realized which muscles had not been maintained over the winter…

I recently got my first GoPro camera, so I look forward to making some videos of my adventures. This video, by my friend Peter, not only got me interested in these cameras, but seriously makes me realize I need more Rule #5 want to get back on the bike every time I watch it.

Six Days to Glover from Peter Gengler on Vimeo.

Today, am I sore, but I am excited to be back at it. I need somebody to make me a shirt to wear while I’m biking that says “I’m blogging this.”

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RIAC & Warwick City Council reach agreement on airport runway expansion

Interlink

Providence Business News has information on the agreement between the Warwick City Council and the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) which will allow the runway expansion project at T.F. Green to finally move forward.

The agreement includes details on which houses in the area will be taken or sound-proofed, provisions to relocate a ball field which will be taken by the expansion, agreements on monitoring air and water in the area, and signage and promotional materials about Warwick.

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Treasurer’s Offices move to location with free parking, pathetic bus service

Google Map

Image from Google Maps

The Treasurer’s Office has announced that the divisions of Unclaimed Property, Investment and Cash Management as well as the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program and the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island (ERSRI) will be moving from their current downtown Providence location to 50 Service Avenue in Warwick, effective Monday.

While the Press Release from the Treasurer’s office touts the benefits of this new location (emphasis mine):

“Moving the majority of Treasury divisions to this state-owned facility will help streamline operations and allow staff to serve constituents more efficiently and effectively,” Raimondo said. “Better parking, easy highway access and improved meeting space are all positive changes that should enhance the public’s interaction with Treasury.”

…it fails to point out the massive draw back for those unable to travel by car, the bus service on Jefferson Boulevard, SUCKS!

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