Sam Bell of the Rhode Island Progressive Democrats writes compellingly today in the Projo about why Gina Raimondo and RIDOT Director Peter Alviti need to change course on the 6/10 Connector (he includes a mild jab at Mayor Jorge Elorza as well, who, although a boulevard supporter, has been criticized by some for not pushing back hard enough against RIDOT).
From Sam's piece:
Urban highways always create massive traffic problems, and 6-10 connector is worse than most. Porous street grids are great for absorbing blockages, but the 6-10 interrupts Providence’s grid system, forcing traffic travelling through the center of our city through a few chokepoints. Across America, city after city has torn down urban highways and found improvements in traffic flow.
Some may remember that Sam's first mention on this blog was my tirade against his anti-Sakonnet toll piece (Sam views tolls as regressive; I tend to think we work really hard-- too hard-- in this country to make driving an accessible activity, and end up as a result having some of the lousiest public amenities of any Western country). In any case, Sam and I may not always agree, but I'm glad he's around fighting for progressive causes.More troublingly, these highways choke off neighborhoods and spread blight throughout our city. When the 6-10 was built, slicing through Olneyville, it destroyed Providence’s vibrant “second downtown.” Today, it continues to divide our city, walling off communities with swaths of urban decay. Unsurprisingly, it is Providence’s poorest communities that are hardest hit.
I hope Sam's letter will change some minds in Gov. Raimondo's office, and perhaps embolden Mayor Elorza to fight harder.