Greater City Providence

A Christmas Miracle!

Walking Downcity today to pick up the rental car I found a Christmas Miracle.

Garibaldi Park


That is Garibaldi Park at the Arch on Atwells and that is a clear sidewalk. When I was ranting on Tuesday, this was not clear. So sometime between Tuesday afternoon and this morning, it was cleared. Hallelujah! Can I get an Amen!?

Now for the -ish…

Bus Stop at Garibaldi Park

Snow is cleared from that bus shelter but good luck to anyone getting from the shelter, over the snow bank (not to mention past the illegally parked pick-up), and onto the bus. I have to assume that since this is park frontage, a city crew cleared this sidewalk. So regardless of who is responsible, the city crew should have cleared the snow between the bus stop and the curb. Good effort, falling slightly short. The wells from the crosswalks to the sidewalk were clear, so yay for that.

The miracles never cease…

Atwells Avenue Bridge

Atwells Bridge, cleared!

And more -ish…


At the Downcity side of the bridge, snow is piled up on the triangle here. Again, assuming city (or perhaps state) crews cleared this bridge, the extra work to clear the triangle should have been done. For myself, a relatively not old, relatively spry person to climb this is not such a big deal (I shouldn’t have to do it, but I can get on with my life if I have to), but that woman in the wheelchair from the other day, is still shit out of luck and will be in the street here.

Now, considering the magnitude of this storm, were sidewalk clearing something that we usually could rely on, I would not be so terribly put out that it took this long to get these areas cleared. Removing 15″ of snow is no small task. Ahead of the storm, DPW was warning they were well equipped to handle a foot of snow, but more than that, and things start to fall apart. The shear weight of the snow can hinder snowplows, needing someplace to put the snow becomes an issue. Look at the bridge, 4 inches of snow, and you can dig and pile it on the side. 15 inches of snow and now you have to actually remove it, there is no place to put it. This greatly impacts the ability to remove snow in a timely manner.

I still think Sunday to late Tuesday or Wednesday (not positive when this was cleared) is too long to wait. Drivers would not stand for the major roads not being cleared that long. And in a city that the mayor is trying to make walkable and car-free-able, waiting that long for sidewalk clearing is not acceptable.

I also know, that Atwells current condition is not the norm. After picking up the rental car I drove back on Washington, and the sidewalks on that bridge are not cleared. I encourage readers to report on their bridges here, so we can see how many are being cleared and when. What does Point Street look like now, or Branch Ave, or any of the other bridges or city or state properties?

Seeing these sidewalks cleared this morning is a good sign and encouraging (previous years they’ve gone uncleared pretty much all winter). It is a start, but we are far from where we need to be on this issue.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • I have to wonder if my sending the original link to Lombardi had an effect. Maybe he lit a fire under someones behind. I still want to meet with him though.

    I am proposing a change in the structural fines of Ordinance 23-13. I want the fines to range from $150 to $500. I note some offenders here on Broadway and on Knight St. I am also proposing we give the meter checkers the capability to cite for unshoveled sidewalks. Unshoveled defined as no path bigger than 18″.

    On Broadway the Young Italians Club only shoveled a path from their door to the street. The Italo American Club didn’t even bother.

    On Knight Street the parking lot at the corner of Knight and Ring Streets the sidewalks are piled with snow.

  • Kudos for your work. I am one of the many, I am sure that is completely annoyed being a person who chooses to live in a walkable city, yet forced to walk in the street/and or drive because of the failure of sidewalks to be cleared due to shear laziness, known to many simply as, “the majority of RI’ers.”

  • Oh, by the way. The other day, before the rain washed away all the snow, I saw there was a little slot cut in the snow bank at the bus stop so people could get from the sidewalk, to the cars parked illegally at the bus stop.

  • Great Posting! A similar walkability issue is clogged stormdrains. It doesn’t take much of a shower to render crosswalks impassable on foot at many intersections. Sure, no one is going to die by walking through a puddle, but its a dignity thing. Melting snow and slush make it even more dicey.

Providence, RI
5:10 am8:22 pm EDT
Feels like: 57°F
Wind: 6mph NNW
Humidity: 63%
Pressure: 30.17"Hg
UV index: 0
79°F / 64°F
91°F / 68°F
93°F / 70°F