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How Providence aims to create "great streets"

The Rhode Island city’s initiative reflects community-based ideas for traffic calming and safety improvements for people walking and cycling.

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Providence wants to make "every street" safe, clean, healthy, inclusive and vibrant
Providence wants to make "every street" safe, clean, healthy, inclusive and vibrant

The Rhode Island city of Providence has unveiled its master plan for the Providence Great Streets Initiative, which will guide the city’s efforts to ensure every street is “safe, clean, healthy, inclusive and vibrant for everyone”.

 

The plan features input gained from a series of neighbourhoods meetings and reflects community-based ideas for traffic calming and safety improvements for people walking and cycling.

 

Interactive map

 

More than 275 comments were collected from attendees to the local meetings on topics ranging from traffic calming to street lighting to bike lanes. Comments and ideas were then translated into draft recommendations for projects that were available for public view in an online interactive map, where community members could vote on ideas and provide additional mapped comments. The interactive map will be available until late June 2019.

 

“In Providence, we’re continuously working to improve our unique quality of life and space that has made us one of the top mid-sized cities in the country,” said Mayor Jorge O Elorza. “The Great Streets Initiative will help better connect our residents and neighbourhoods by creating more walkable, mixed use public spaces while encouraging sustainable intermodal transportation options.”

 

The Department of Planning and Development has taken initial feedback collected at community meetings and combined it with a thorough analysis of crash data and previous traffic calming requests to develop the draft master plan.

 

“Based on Providence’s median household income, the average Providence household spends approximately 56 per cent of its total income on housing and transportation costs, well above what is considered to be affordable,” said director of special projects, Martina Hagerty.

“Great Streets will help better connect our residents and neighbourhoods by creating more walkable, mixed use public spaces while encouraging sustainable intermodal transportation options”

“Reducing household transportation costs by making it safer, easier, and more convenient for people to use lower cost transportation options such as walking, riding bicycles, and public transit is one strategy to help make Providence more affordable for residents.”

 

Aligned with this effort, the city installed traffic calming measures throughout Providence this summer as part of the City’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), a five-year programme of planned improvements to public infrastructure in the capital city that allocated $20 million toward roadway repairs in fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

 

In total, 26 permanent and 45 temporary traffic calming installations are being placed at locations identified through traffic calming requests with consideration for traffic engineering principles.

 

In order to achieve Great Streets in Providence, improvements need to be made to ensure city streets are: safe for all people; are clean, green and sustainable; vibrant and prosperous; and inclusive and welcoming for all residents, visitors and travellers.

 

Recommendations included in the draft master plan include:

  • specific infrastructure investments in each neighbourhood to build toward the community’s vision for a city-wide Urban Trail Network that is safe, intuitive and easy to navigate;
  • studying traffic calming interventions in key areas of the city to reduce speeding and make the streets safe;
  • changes to intersections to make them safer for people walking and riding bicycles;
  • changes to the city’s policies, procedures, and regulations to better align them with the principles of the Great Streets Initiative.

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