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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...

Old Ideas Revamped #2: Connect Highland & Camp

I'm revisiting old ideas that didn't go anywhere, and one of them is connecting Highland and Camp streets. I actually can't find the article-- maybe it was just a Tweet-thread?-- but at some point I suggested that these two streets should become one, and even went (I think?) as far as emailing the Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission about it with maps.
 
[Here's where I was going to put that slow R & B hit "When Two Become One", but damn it if I can't find it, and the Spice Girls song by the same name keeps coming up. . . Drats! Seems symbolic! By the way, who sings that song? Bonus commenter points for helping me figure that out.]

One of the ideas put forward  by neighbors multiple times in multiple different ways at last night's Ward Three Un-Debate was the idea that Summit and Mt. Hope are separated from one another, despite being close to each other physically and in the same ward. A lot of this obviously has to do with deeper systemic problems like racism that can't be fixed only by urban planning, and neighbors proposed some really smart solutions like having community dinners (Woot! Antonia Soares!) that intentionally put black, white, and Latino (etc.)neighbors in the same room together, and putting more onus on wealthier sections of the ward to help pay for services of less wealthy parts.

As a Mt. Hope resident, I also see room for physically connecting the neighborhoods better. The disconnection between Highland and Camp is a physical barrier, especially because the crossing there would be relatively flat, but going between them any other way means traversing a steep hill.
 
The idea is already getting some support from the Highland side. :-)
Yes! When I lived on Sixth I cut through there all the time. Hopped the fence if on foot, used the apt bldgdriveway if on bike.
— Thomas Nosal(@TomGNosal) June 16, 2017
 
I thought the little dead parking lot between the two streets was a Miriam property, but I've been informed that I was wrong. It belongs to the Army. So that could either spell death for the idea, or-- who knows?-- maybe the Army will turn out to be a great progressive leader (sometimes it does that).
 
Now c'mon, karaoke style! Everyone! When two become onnnnnnne. . .
 
In addition to desegregating a major walkway, we could also start thinking about transit connections. These streets are technically a block away from both the 1 and the RLine, but the hilliness has an impact on people's use of the buses if where they're going is uphill (and even it's downhill, it's uphill on the way back). Some of the neighborhoods that this bus could pass through are fairly dense, while others are less so, but Brown and Miriam are two major employment centers that connect the two.
 
An additional issue people brought up is the idea that Camp Street needs more business growth, and I think this could help a lot.
 
The lower part of Benefit Street has always struck me as a place that needs better transit. It is also up a steep hill, but because the buses usually use the tunnel to get to Brown, there's no connection for the lower half (the upper half could maybe backtrack off of the R-Line). So this bus route could actually avoid the snag at the Brown green by starting at Wickenden, going up Benefit, then turning up the hill (probably at Waterman) and turning again to follow Brown/Camp/Highland. I kept the route short because shorter routes are easier to "pulse" and create transfers, but we could also think of extending this route south into the South Side. If we ever decided to create Cyprus/Branch or Wickenden/Point bus lines, they could make useful interchanges with it.
 
I made a map.
 
I'd like to see Providence use filtered permeability to make Camp less of a through-way for cars, while prioritizing pedestrians, cyclists, and buses. Since the green on Brown is already a kind of filter for cars, we'd just have to add to the filters every several blocks. One at Olney, Doyle, Cyprus, Rochambeau, and then at the Army parking lot (which would be a street).
 
 
The fancier version of this with rising bollards would probably be needed for buses, but in the interim we could also try making this an acceptable bike route (again, for the ideal of helping people avoid hills). Using the lower-tech version of the filtered permeability, with the hand-gates, could help a lot at lower cost.
 
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