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Even More to Cluck (!) About.

By JAMES KENNEDY with photos by RACHEL PLAYE

Editor's note:  This is a collaboration with Eco Rhode Island, which has been a great supporter of our blog as it's grown.  Please check out their publication of this story at their website for additional bonus photos from Cluck! and other great news and opinion articles.  Eco RI recently launched Eco Mass, its Massachusetts website, which did a great article on storm water effects in the Narragansett Bay from our neighboring state.

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Cluck! has earned the exclamation point at the end of its name.

Today George Harvey of Ground Corp, a company specializing in depaving asphalt, came to Cluck! to remove a sizable portion of its parking lot.  Although Providence's backward zoning ordinances require Cluck! to have three off-street parking spots, Cluck! will not opt to have even more.  It will instead use the remaining now-unpaved space for storm water mitigation by planting several tupelo and shad trees.  

Close followers of this story will recall that Providence's parking restrictions were an obstruction during Cluck!'s initial zoning process, almost derailing the popular business, which had already done tens of thousands of dollars of improvements to the abandoned gas station at 399 Broadway.

Harvey's company has been doing similar work in Providence, Pawtucket, Woonsocket, and Central Falls due in part to funding from an EPA program that trains former prisoners in environmental management in order to fight recidivism.

"When my crew is done its training, it will have the ability to do storm water mitigation, asbestos removal, hazardous waste processing, OSHA 10 construction safety, CPR and basic first aid," said Harvey, who added that Ground Corp employs twelve to fourteen men and women at any time. Harvey said the program only offers temporary employment, but trains its interns in resume creation, and aids them in finding new and stable work.

Rhode Island, the country's second densest state after New Jersey, is currently 12% paved, between parking, roads, roofs, and concrete surfaces.  Much of the fish-killing pollution in the Narragansett Bay results from these paved surfaces, which usher huge amounts of rainwater into the combined sewer systems of the state's towns and cities, pushing untreated excrement overflow into the bay.  The problem has reached comic proportions.  A study published earlier this year noted that Rhode Island's top location for Craigslist "missed connections" was parking lots--putting it at odds with neighboring Massachusetts, where a plurality of missed connections happen on the subway. Although states like Nebraska Tennessee listed their number one location as Walmart--which is practically like saying a parking lot--many states, like New York, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia listed public transportation as their number one location.  States like Maryland named parks, certainly a more romantic locale than parking lots.

Cluck!'s owner, Drake Patten, who holds a masters degree in archeology, said the process of removing the asphalt reminded her of digs she had been on.  At the University of Virginia, she removed many layers of a road, seeing the various surfaces--concrete, asphalt, cobblestone--that had been popular at different stages in history.  She noted that macadam--a collection of gravel with a binder, similar but more permeable than today's asphalt--had held together the best through the years.  While other layers were destroyed in part or whole by the elements, the macadam layer was intact.  Patten mused about a day in which the on-street parking spots on Broadway might be simple gravel, with only the car- and bike-lanes paved.

Anything is possible.

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Update:  A small mistake listed Nebraska's number one missed connection location as Walmart, while it is actually "supermarkets" in general. Fourteen states did name Walmart as their number one location, including Idaho, South Dakota, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Montana, Missouri, New Mexico, Texas, North Carolina, Florida and West Virginia, and Ohio.  While not one of these states, Nebraska can boast of plans for these new protected bike lanes in Lincoln, which is to say that Providence, Rhode Island actually has a considerable amount of catching up to do to our friends in the center of the country.

1 comment:

  1. Eco Mass link glitch :
    "Massachusetts Plays Key Role in Keeping Narragansett Bay Healthy"  (eco Mass news blog post, 15 June 2013)
    [They moved it from "massachusetts" to "massachusetts-pollution".]

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