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News & Notes

How to Create a Culture of Public Transit: The ‘Marci Option’ [The Atlantic]

Last week I went to an exurban office park in San Ramon, California where 33 percent of the park’s 30,000 workers leave their cars at home. Despite the fact that Bishop Ranch is 37 miles from San Francisco, a dozen miles from the nearest BART rail station, and home to Chevron’s corporate offices, its parking lots are surprisingly empty, and it has won many awards for transit. Marci McGuire, the program manager for the Ranch’s Transportation center, describes the attitude at the park as “a culture” where it’s cool to have a bus pass. “When you do it right, it’s like a cult,” she says.


Will London’s New Wayfinding System Get More People Walking? [This Big City]

The thinking behind the new system is to encourage more people to walk around London instead of driving or using already overcrowded public transport. By catching people at key decision points – such as tube stations – and providing them with the right information on walking times and local attractions, it is hoped that they will choose to walk.

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Downcity Design Review Committee Meeting – December 13, 2010

Notice of Regular Meeting • Monday, December 13, 2010 – 4:45pm
Department of Planning and Development, 4th Floor Conference Room
400 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903

Opening Session

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of Meeting Minutes of September 13, 2010 and October 18, 2010
  • Acceptance of the DRC 2011 Monthly Meeting Schedule

New Business

1. DRC Application No. 10.19, Kennedy Plaza Proposal by the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) to install new two new information kiosks on Washington Street adjacent to the east and west entrances into Burnside Park.

2. Providence Core Connector Study Presentation of the Providence Core Connector Study by the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) – for discussion.

Other Business

Image from Google StreetView

3. Pre-Application Review: 55 Canal Street (Arnold Hoffman Building) Proposal to construct an addition to the east elevation of Rhode Island School of Design’s Illustration Studies Building. This is a conceptual presentation for discussion only.

Adjournment


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Some observations from Alexandria, Virginia

Last weekend I was in Alexandria, Virginia. My hotel which was mega-cheap and right next to a Metro station was out in the exurbia hell next to the Beltway surrounded by surface parking, but not too far away was Old Town. While walking around the King Street area I snapped a few photos.

CVS without a drive-thru!

CVS in Alexandria, VA

I was very confused by this CVS, it appears to not have a parking lot or a drive-thru. How do people shop there!?!

Adopt a Block

Adopt a Block in Alexandria, VA

Seems like a simple concept.

More Shops

Alexandria, VA

Wondering where the shops are?

Wayfinding

Alexandria, VA

Wondering where and how far away the waterfront is, the Metro Station..? This is not the prettiest sign, but it works.

Public hearing notice

Alexandria, VA

Wondering what is up with that building, wondering when the city is holding hearings about it?

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Can I get there from here?

The ProJo recently covered the story of retailers feeling cut off by the reconfiguration of Route 195. On the old alignment of Route 195, Exit 2 went to Wickenden Street and the big green sign on the overpass said as much. Now, the eastbound exit which one would use to reach Wickenden is simply signed for India Point and Gano Street, much to the chagrin of business owners on Wickenden.

I hate that this is such an autocentric problem, but I’m sure it is true. When there is no Wickenden Street exit, people can’t find the street.

This video shows how to reach Wickenden and some of the shops on the street:

RIDOT is responding to the concerns of the business owners and plans to experiment with some signage for Wickenden Street. RIDOT will look into placing smaller signs on Route 195 alerting motorists to use the Gano Street exit to reach Wickenden. And on Route 195 Westbound, the new South Main Street exit will have Wickenden Street listed on the big green signs on Route 195.

This is indicative though of the city falling short when it comes to wayfinding. RIDOT can put all the signs they want on Route 195, but there needs to be better signage on city streets.

The sign above on Route 195 westbound is before the Washington Bridge. It tells drivers to use Exit 2 to reach Benefit Street, Brown, RISD, and Johnson & Wales. That exit leads you onto South Main Street so you will eventually arrive in the middle of RISD’s South Main campus area, but I challenge you to pretend you don’t know, and rely on signage to try to reach Benefit Street, Brown, and J&W from Exit 2.

Sitges, Spain
Sitges, Spain. Photo by Jef Nickerson

To make our city truly visitor friendly and to help customers reach business districts, Providence really needs to invest in a comprehensive wayfinding system.

Where’s Wickenden video via Providence Daily Dose

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