Greater City Providence

News & Notes

The Art and Science of Designing Good Cities for Walking [Streetsblog]

The article is a great read, but this photo is the best part to me:

Copenhagen sidewalk
Photo from Streetsblog

This Copenhagen sidewalk completely flips the script on the relationship between cars and pedestrians at intersections. Rather than there being a curb, the sidewalk ending, and pedestrians moved into the street via a crosswalk; the sidewalk continues across the road and it is the car that enters the pedestrians domain in order to move through the intersection. Why are we not making all minor side streets have this relation to the main?

Which part of Detroit really needs to be ‘right-sized’? [Grist]

Shrinking city? Really? What this tells me is that an even bigger problem for Detroit than the decline of the Rust Belt economy has been that the fringe of the region has been allowed, more than in most places, to expand, not shrink, and to suck the life and hope out of the inner city. So why aren’t the self-styled progressive responses to “the Detroit problem” addressing this critical aspect of the situation?

Maybe they are, but the only ones I hear and read are about “right-sizing” the inner city — demolishing vacant (and even some occupied) housing, letting vast areas revert to nature or farming, and so forth. Let sprawl, the cause of the problem, be someone else’s issue to address. But, in fact, the areas that are sprawling are where the “right-sizing” most needs to occur.

Local Neoliberalism’s Role in Defining Transit’s Purpose [The TransportPolitic]

Must transit capital projects be construed either as for capitalist development or social welfare? Can the two goals be reconciled?

Cyclists clog Montreal bike lanes [The Gazette]

Bikers are wheel to wheel on the bike path on Rachel St. headed towards St. Denis St. in Montreal Tuesday afternoon. The creation of cycling infrastructure in Montreal has attracted so many cyclists, there are now bike traffic jams and it is on the point of no longer being adequate to ensure safety in some places.

“In the biking season, you probably have double the number of pedestrians and cyclists on this street than people in cars, yet cars are taking up 80 per cent of the street,” [Luis Miranda-Moreno, assistant professor at McGill University’s Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics] said.

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.


  • Just FYI, if you haven’t seen it: DOT has demolished the first proper section of the Providence River bridge – a part actually over the water.

  • You are so right about the sidewalk in the picture. Pavement speaks louder than paint.

  • One of the best things about these continuous sidewalks is that no handicap ramps are required … no stingy-scaled, mis-aligned, water-puddled, icy-slippery, ramps required. If only the money spent on handicap ramps in the city had elevated the crosswalks instead …

    So much talk about bicycles, but if you see wheelchairs in the road, you know there are sidewalk problems. Most people I know in wheelchairs in Providence, choose to ride in the road because it is better maintained, smoother, and more continuous, with fewer obstructions. That is an indictment of the public infrastructure and the misplaced power of transportation departments and traffic engineers to design the (so-called) public realm.

Providence, RI
Mostly Cloudy
5:11 am8:24 pm EDT
Feels like: 84°F
Wind: 12mph W
Humidity: 48%
Pressure: 29.53"Hg
UV index: 6
90°F / 70°F
90°F / 70°F
84°F / 59°F