We have produced a number of maps and plans for the 6/10 Boulevard, and shared all of them extensively with Providence Planning Dept. and RIDOT. Providence Planning turns out to be a great ally to the boulevard plan, but so far RIDOT is stonewalling. Today, Dep. Director Peter Garino met with "ECRI" or the "Environmental Council of RI" which is the diverse group of environmental and community groups it is required as an agency to consult with for projects it works on. ECRI was consistent in its voice: the current plan is unacceptable.
The really galling point for me in the meeting was when Dep. Dir. Garino said that we've never shown him any plans. We've shown maps of the available land, and explained that by reducing the size of bridges so that they only cross the railroad corridor, we can make those bridges 80% shorter. We also told RIDOT on numerous occasions that that meant the agency could choose streets in the grid to reconnect. I feel as though unless we hold RIDOT's hand and show them the exact streets to be reconnected, they're going to act like they don't know what a boulevard is. So here are some suggestions.
Here are some inlays of it:
|Two-way Harris, some connected streets from Federal Hill to Valley, and a whole new neighborhood (where one once was).|
|Two-way traffic for Harris, a bike ramp reuse of the highway ramp, and some connected streets from Federal Hill to Olneyville.|
|Helping to navigate through Olneyville Square itself.|
|We could connect more of these, I suppose, but these seem like a good start.|
Light blue represents reconnected streets
Yellow represents new neighborhood streets (a city project)
Green represents two-directional traffic on Harris Ave., which currently is almost entirely empty, but could be a major component of carrying traffic
Red represents the reuse of the Tobey Street on-ramp as a bike on-ramp to the bike path, much like was done in Portland with old highway ramps during the revamp of the Harbor Drive Freeway
These are by no means definitive. The point of leaving the specific streets open to planners to make decisions about was to let the agencies at the city and state level make flexible decisions of their own. But in some cases, the streets to be reconnected are kind of obvious: they literally have the same names on one side as the other side. In other cases, I took leaps of faith that streets appeared to have a logical connection point, even though they may never have had a historic one.
Let me know what you think.
Prof. Jonathan Harris, also part of Move Together PVD has been working on a much more professional plan, which I have not yet seen. I am certain that when I do see it, it will be a lot more complete than this one. But I wanted to make sure the ball is rolling in getting ideas out to the public.
We shouldn't have to hold the crayon in RIDOT's hand and make them do this piece by piece, but if that's what we have to do, we will.