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Part 1: Mark Baumer Reflection: Impounding Vehicles & Immigrant Rights

This is part of a multi-part reflection I've been doing following the death of my friend, Mark Baumer . There's nothing graphic i...

The Good, the Bad, the Strange, and the Ugly.

The Good

The state is considering tolls on highways--although, only for trucks, so we shouldn't expect much of an impact on commute mode choices.

The Bad

The 6/10 Connector is going to get four out of seven projected toll dollars. Whoa! Expensive!

Read more about why we shouldn't rebuild this thing here.

The section of 6/10 that is "Rt. 6" has had a lot of work done recently, and probably won't be abandoned any time soon, but the section that's "Rt. 10" or "the Huntington Expressway" is the oldest in the state, and could realistically be replaced with a boulevard if RIDOT chose to do so.

The Strange

I'm getting retweeted by a lot of conservative-type people about not rebuilding this urban highway. Is there room to build a left-right alliance, with the left being concerned about climate and impacts on the impoverished neighborhoods around 6/10, and the right angry that they'll be "subsidizing Providence"?

Also strange, Barry Schiller has reported to me that RIDOT is strongly considering bus lanes on the 6/10 Connector, but in my experience this has not been a useful corridor for buses. Transit should be a part of any proposal, but remember: how bike and pedestrian friendly and area is, and what kind of development it gets are the determinants of whether transit is going to be useful here. A new raised/sunken highway with bus lanes is like transit decoration, rather than transit-oriented design.

The Ugly

Well, there's the highway itself.

A little reminder that Providence is the only northeastern U.S. city to make it to the top ten list for per capita highway lane-miles. That puts us in some bad company. 6/10 is one of those no-brainer projects where the state could decide to go multimodal instead of doing the same-old, same-old.

We should put extra effort to following up on details in the coming days, but so far this goes up top on my list of things to be angry about in Rhode Island.


You can always call your state rep or state senator. to let them know this is a waste of money. And though this is a state project, getting your city council member or the mayor up-in-arms about this would be worth a shot too.

1 comment:

  1. It's not as simple as getting better transportation by paving over Providence, any more than Providence's claim of having the world's widest bridge (they paved over the area now known as Waterplace Park) earned it any traction.

    The last useful highway construction in Rhode Island was the elimination of the Mixed-up Mile, connecting route 146 to route 95.

    They built a six lane interstate highway over the Seekonk River to nowhere. The planners' idea was to build one piece of the interstate and then force the rest down people's throats. Incidentally, the Henderson Bridge is down to one lane westbound. It's falling down even though almost nobody used it over its lifetime?

    They spent a huge amount of money to get the train station out of downtown, simply so that the railroad company could sell off the downtown land under the tracks at a huge profit. As a side effect they built the "spaghetti bowl". Traffic from/to 146 was already jamming up at this spot. The planners knew beforehand that the spaghetti bowl wouldn't help the jamups at all, but they had piles of money to spend on road construction, and boy did they spend it! Incidentally, the correct way to end a traffic jam is to remove the big weaves where cars have to fight across lanes in both directions. Extra ramps will do the job. The George Washington Bridge has such extra ramps.

    Next they moved route 195. This was known as the little dig. If I remember correctly, it cost half a billion for one mile? Again, it didn't actually relieve the 146 jamups.

    They could have fixed the 146 jamups this year too. Meh.

    Now they want to fix the 6-10 connector. For starters, give it a new name. No, don't name it after Curt Schilling - that name's taken. The obvious 6-10 problem is inbound. People are getting funneled into weaves, both southbound at the badly designed brand new 195 weave and northbound at the badly designed 146 weave. Again, meh. We might also build a figure 8 racetrack similar to the Seekonk Speedway and watch the demolition derby cars weave around each other at high velocities.

    Sorry to be anonymous but I don't get a choice.
    --Paul Klinkman