Tag Archives | Winter

News & Notes


Photo (cc) MoDOT Photos

The Atlantic Cities: Zen and the Art of Snow Plow Maintenance

One of the realities of municipal snow removal is that what residents want during a freak event (a plow for every person!) is not what they’d be willing to pay for – or should pay for – when everything thaws.

Urbanophile: Providence and the Virtues of Scale

But they are small enough to have some structural advantages from that as well. First, as a small state and city, it’s easier to turn the ship. As I’ve observed about Detroit and Michigan, part of the challenge for them is that they are big. It’s always harder to turn a large ship than a small one. That’s Rhode Island’s advantage. You could almost literally turn the entire state into a civic laboratory in a way that can’t be done elsewhere.

In a related vein, things that wouldn’t make much of a difference in New York can make a huge difference in Providence. The presence of Brown University and RISD make a palpable difference in a smaller city that they wouldn’t in a much bigger one. Successful civic initiatives can have a bigger impact here.

I was at the cocktail gathering Aaron discusses later in his post. It was very nice to meet him and gather his impressions on Providence.

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195 Redevelopment District Commission Meeting – January 25, 2012

featured-195commission A meeting of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission will be held at the offices of Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, 315 Iron Horse Way, Suite 101, Providence, Rhode Island, on WEDNESDAY, January 25, 2012, beginning at 2:00 p.m., for the following purposes:

Public Session

1. To approve the Public Session and Executive Session minutes of the meeting held on January 9, 2012.

2. For discussion regarding snow removal on sidewalks and other interim maintenance issues.

3. For consideration of the vision and mission statement of the District.

4. For the making of findings related to, and consideration of, the engagement of an engineering firm and ratification of the selection committee’s actions and recommendations.

Executive Session

5. To consider and act upon such matters, indicated in agenda item 4, as may be considered at a meeting closed to the public pursuant to the Open Meeting Law, specifically matters permitted to be so considered under subsection (7) (investment of public funds) of Rhode Island General Laws Section 42-46-5(a) (the Open Meetings Law)

Emphasis mine


Snowblogging: Twice in one week!

I am going to try to not sidewalk rant here. It is still snowing, so by right, no one is required to have their sidewalks clear, but expect a little ranting to sneak in, I can’t help myself!

I was out between noon and 1pm and did a big loop through Downcity to Waterplace and back.

Snow - January 21, 2012

Right off the bat, a little rant, I told you I can’t help myself. Well not so much a rant as a surprise; the sidewalks at Dominica Manor have not been touched today. They do not need to be per regulations, but they are usually out clearing snow all day on a day like this. Budget problems?

I didn’t take a photo, but as always, Angelo’s was clear. Someone was out shoveling and salting as I walked by.

Again, dumbfounded here, my ranting is bearing fruit. Someone (I assume the City though it is a State bridge) dumped a metric ton of salt on the Atwells Avenue Bridge sidewalks.

Snow - January 21, 2012

Of course then the plows pushed snow up on top of it. The sidewalk on the other side faired better and was actually clear, even as I walked back and the snow was getting heavier.

Snow - January 21, 2012

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News & Notes

Portland Aerial Tram car

Portland Aerial Tram in station. Photo (cc) kevincrumbs.

News & Notes Looking to the skies for answers: a second look at gondola transit [The Toronto Star]

[Toronto] Mayor Rob Ford seems to favour tunneling transit underground in Toronto. But a growing number of international cities, including some in Canada, are casting their eyes to the sky at an unconventional mode that’s cheaper, cleaner and quicker to build than subways and light rail.

In fringe suburbs, has economics trumped the appeal of new? [Greater Greater Washington]

The recession and the burst of the housing bubble have stopped development in many fringe suburbs. With many urban neighborhoods on the rise, some suggest that fringe suburbs are on the decline. Has simple economics surpassed the appeal of “new” in the hinterlands?

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News & Notes

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News & Notes Brian Williams Doesn’t Get How Streets Work. Will His Four Million Viewers? [Streetsblog]

Here’s the profile of New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan that aired on “Rock Center with Brian Williams” last night. The show reaches more than four million people, which isn’t enough to win its time slot but adds up to a lot more eyeballs than the print circulation of any NYC daily paper. In all likelihood, it reached a bigger American audience than any other piece of media content about reclaiming city streets for public space and more efficient modes of transportation. So how did NBC’s Harry Smith and his producers do with the assignment?

Treasuring Urban Oases [The New York Times]

Writing in The New York Times last week, Christopher B. Leinberger, a professor of urban planning, took note of “a profound structural shift” in America during the last decade or so, “a reversal of what took place in the 1950s.” Back then drivable suburbs boomed while center cities decayed. Now more and more people want to settle in “a walkable urban downtown.” The most expensive housing in the country, and not just New York City, is in “high-density, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods,” he said.

But what makes high-density neighborhoods pedestrian friendly?

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Chafee mobilizing National Guard to combat street flooding

WPRI reported via Twitter that the Governor will mobilize the National Guard to combat Street flooding:

Breaking: Gov. Chafee authorizes mobilization of RI National Guard members to help with street flooding.less than a minute ago via HootSuite

Have you been out there? Very good idea Governor!

More later and as always, if you have photos of the mess share them on Flickr or email them to

Update: WPRI’s coverage is here with lots of info about the storm, warnings, etc.

Basically, if you are not out, don’t go out, if you are out, be careful.

Update: Now WPRI is Tweeting that the National Guard isn’t needed, crazy day.

RIDOT not using RI Nat’l Guard after all. Crews were able to clear storm drains. Comforting to know Guard is on standby though.less than a minute ago via HootSuite

I still think getting the National Guard out would be a most excellent idea.

Update: Judging from this ProJo Video, the recommended attire for this evening is swimsuits and ice skates:


Snowblogging: Fluff Factor Edition

Fred Campagna keeps Tweeting about the “Fluff Factor” in this storm, and it is certainly apparent out on the streets of Providence:

Definitely a “fluff factor” inland. Report of 5.8″ in N. Cumberland. Northern Rhode Islanders, how much new snow have you received?less than a minute ago via Facebook

January 21, 2011 Snow

There was also some second guessing going on last night about school closings, but I think I agree with closing schools today. I often lament the fact that we New Englanders seem to have lost our ability to function in our environment, and that is certainly apparent in the people yacking on cell phones and driving 50mph because they have 4-wheel drive, see ya in the ditch later fool! And the yahoos who can’t drive are part of the reason school should be canceled.

January 21, 2011 Snow

While today’s snow is certainly fluffy, it was indeed falling at a very fast clip as I was walking through it around 8am, and even the most conscientious shovelers could not keep pace with it. And even fluff becomes a compacted slippery mess as people walk on it.

January 21, 2011 Snow

Then there are all the sidewalks that were never cleared after the last storms. Put fluff over ice and you have hidden mine fields of danger to navigate. It was certainly prudent to keep the kids at home today.

January 21, 2011 Snow

January 21, 2011 Snow

January 21, 2011 Snow