I agree with Dan Jones and Alan Barta that this article was a deeply disappointing dark spot in an otherwise nicely presented magazine full of useful content.
The Great Streets Plan was NOT invented by a bunch of planners who "drool" at the opportunity to fool around with transportation in Providence. On the contrary, this plan applies best practices that have already been implemented and evaluated in other towns -- not just in the Northeast, but around the world -- to improve the quality of life in our city. Now, as e-bikes are becoming increasingly popular and affordable -- including models with baskets and center consoles for carrying briefcases and groceries -- is a great time for other areas of Providence to make the leap to becoming walkable, cycle- and resident-friendly like Wayland Square, Thayer Street, and Wickenden.
We want people to feel comfortable moving into and walking around our city, frequenting shops and cafes. The more foot and bicycle traffic that prospective residents see, the more comfortable they will feel about moving in, occupying the mixed-use conversions and construction projects that are emerging. One common complaint about cities is the absence of grocery stores. Wouldn't it be nice if Trader Joe's became a magnet to attract residents who would like to be able to walk to the market? Do we really want people to have to hop in their car to drive 3 blocks to the store? Might more pedestrian and bicycle traffic also help us save Providence Place's retailers?
As planners and developers work to make Providence a friendlier place for pedestrians and bicyclists, let's not allow past habits to get in the way of a better future. Support the Great Streets initiative!
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