Press release from Fix the 6-10:
Last night, August 30, over 100 residents, community leaders, business owners, and transportation and planning experts gathered for a public forum at Asa Messer Elementary School on the West Side to discuss the future of the Rt. 6-10 Connector.
Workshop participants gave voice to the many values other than just moving cars that are important to Rhode Islanders: fiscal sustainability; improved safety for people driving, walking, biking, or taking the bus; creating new opportunities for economic development and low-income communities that live near the highway; open space and beauty and innovation and climate change.
Many participants suggested replacing the highway with a connected network of boulevards and streets more like Memorial Boulevard in Providence or Blackstone Boulevard, or the Parkways in Boston’s Emerald Necklace; which would greatly reduce long-term maintenance costs and improve connections between neighborhoods.
RI Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and the City of Providence have been working for the last year to design a replacement for the aging interchange and its structurally deficient bridges. Earlier this summer, the State learned it would not receive a $175 million grant to support the reconstruction.
Fix the 6-10, a recently formed coalition of community groups, believes that there is much work to be done before the best design can be determined.
First, there is a lack of comprehensive data and analysis of current traffic utilization, origins and destinations, and alternatives. We call on the state to work with effected communities to design a comprehensive data collection and analysis process that is open and transparent.
Second, any future design must measure not just traffic flow but also fiscal, environmental, social, and economic impacts. How we will pay for the infrastructure now and in the future? How do we move people efficiently in the City and the region? How do we repair damaged neighborhoods and poor health? How do we reduce vehicle carbon emissions? How do we attract investment and grow jobs in Rhode Island? We’ll design for what we measure.
The hard work begins now.[alert type=”muted”]See also: ProJo: Providence workshop participants offer their vision of Routes 6-10[/alert]
Has anyone that suggested a Blvd approach looked at the traffic during rush hours in-bound?? Obviously not. Great idea tho !!
Anything besides a standard highway would be great, but I drive the 6-10 everyday and it honesty does not look like the supports can stand much longer. It’s scary.
I was at the meeting. I applaud the good intentions of everyone there, and maybe even believe that the planning staff would like to take the recommendations seriously. But I’ve been a good citizen through way too many of these sessions, from one laborious neighborhood planning process to another, without seeing any of them implemented or even begun. If there was a real desire to get informed and thoughtful comment, here’s what should have happened last night:
there would have been handouts or at least multiple sites around the room with demographic, traffic, economic, and other information so that we all share the same data and reality checks; someone could have been available to answer questions about the city’s economic prospects (we don’t seem to be able even to give away the I-195 sites, even with all the infrastructure prep we’ve put in — what makes us think the highway area will suddenly bloom with cafes, retail, and housing?); there would have been round tables so that everyone in each group could see each other; the location would have been chosen so we could actually hear each other (in my group, several people simply gave up because they couldn’t hear what was being proposed and couldn’t get a word in edgewise); there would have been places to lock bikes; and there would have been a commitment that the city would fight RIDOT’s clearly signaled intention to do what it wants to do. And finally, there would have been results of a survey or other instrument to find out what the residents of that area really want instead of having a bunch of us speak for them.
My sad expectation is that the planning will drag on long enough for chunks of highway to cause a horrible accident, at which point it will be decided that it needs to be rebuilt as is. Or even more likely — it will be a “temporary” parking lot.
Capacity for inbound traffic is limited by the signal at Memorial Boulevard and Francis Street. A surface boulevard with coordinated signals would meter the traffic and provide safer and more efficient traffic flow into downtown than the current free flow into the back of stopped traffic.
Goosd point mp775. Traffic going northbound on I-95 is already often stopped by the slow merge and that too might get better flow though RIDOT is considering spending even more $ millions on widening the merge in hopes of speeding it up.
If the city really wanted to block the redoing of limited access expressways with all the land that requires, the meeting would allow them to say the public there generally wanted something better for the city, but there was no real alternative road design offered and as for transit, it was mostly feel-good generic “better transit” wanted.
More likely the city will let RIDOT proceed and say they gave folks an opportunity for input.
To really trade in their political capital for blocking the expressway they city would likely have to come up with some carrots for the suburbs whose commute might be slower – park and ride lots before Olneyville? Enhanced transit on the commuter rail track with a stop in Cranston?
I drive on Rte 10 every day. The traffic is light compared to other cities in the region. Moreover, there are plenty of alternate routes to get downtown or to Rte 95. I can take Elmwood. I can take Eddy St., I can take Allens Ave. Coming from the west, I can take Plainfield or Hartford. This is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to upgrade our infrastucture, and with it, our economy and quality of life. Let’s not screw it up.