If you didn’t see J’s comment (that sounds familiar…), tonight’s City Council meeting (7pm, City Hall) will include a public hearing on the issue of returning the “200″ block of Main Street to 2-way traffic. There is evidence that some of the brighter minds in town will lobby for a larger, more inclusive assessment of the overall downtown traffic situation. Clearly, this section of Main Street is part of a complex traffic pattern that, if not FUBAR, is certainly SNAFU.

I must say that I am all optimism at this point. I have asserted for years that the almost maniacal complexity of Pawtucket roads is our #1 problem. Our reputation as the Getting Lost Capital of the Universe is very, very real, and represents a near-universal barrier to visitors. If visitors could simply trust that they could come to Pawtucket, reach their destination and leave again without getting lost, that would be a game-changer for retail businesses.

Public Hearing not Public Meeting

As with the Rosa’s liquor license kerfuffle, this is a Public Hearing at the City Council, not a more free-form public meeting. You need to arrive at least 30 minutes early (6:30pm) to sign up to say something.

Also, according to the agenda (PDF download, natch), simultaneous public hearings will also cover:

  • Zoning issues associated with the historic district, MBRD district, and use regulation
  • Pet services

So go figure.

A Plea for the Least (Motorized) of Us

Lastly, I’d just like to go on the record as saying that traffic does not equal cars. Traffic is everything that moves, like pedestrians and bicycles. I recently wrote the essay Complex, Adaptive NYC about the way three levels of traffic in New York mesh seamlessly in a highly anarchic but also highly efficient manner.

For basic economic reasons, less-affluent communities like Pawtucket tend to have higher-than-average numbers of bicycles and pedestrians. Yet our infrastructure is designed almost exclusively for cars. I’ve been blogging about this topic from the earliest days.

Please, if you’re going to speak, include something to the effect that all kinds of travelers should be taken into account, not just those in cars.

4 Responses to “Public Hearing TONIGHT: 2-Way Traffic on Main Street”
  1. John S says:

    It really is a shame that the only way to have known about this is probably a minimal ad in the Pawtucket Times, a deep review of the City Council docket through Clerkbase, or this blog.

    I’m shocked that we’re having a public hearing when the public has not been advised of any proposal. Is the letter from Mr. Cassidy all we have to go by? Are we to stand there and take a stab at what is proposed? Or, is the City requesting ideas from its residents? I find the idea of a public hearing without an agenda bizarre. At least with the other two public hearings scheduled tonight there’s an ordinance to review.

  2. J Hogue says:

    This will undoubtedly be the first of many informational meetings on the topic of traffic in Downtown. In fact, August 25th there is a scheduled meeting for business owners in the downtown, at which i will be giving a presentation about what we have been doing thus far about signage and what we intend to help the City to do. This meeting is also open to the public, and will be held in the Visitor’s Center theater at 8:30am.

    Let’s be clear about a thing or two, though. Mike Cassidy scheduled the City Council meeting mainly as a way to get in front of all of them and start to educate people about what the City will be facing from DOT. The City Council does NOT have to vote on anything Up or Down in order for it to happen/not happen. Something will happen. From these meetings, Mike and Jack Carney will ultimately make the decision. To their credit, they plan to come up with a few scenarios and then take it around to meetings, like the Council but also plan to go to the Towers on East Ave and go to some of the other complexes to make sure people will know about it and get some feedback. This meeting last night was really intended to educate the Council and let some of the public know about the impending plans.

    That said, Speck, we are with you. I walk downtown all the time, Jamie bikes to work, and we (our signage, as Highchair, and my input, as a business/building stakeholder) are hopefully part of the solution. The matter at hand is the aftermath and blowback from construction of the bridge, but the City is using this as an opportunity to reconfigure some roads. My thoughts are, we need to get this right, because the chance that they will make Main St two way, for example, and then change it back after the bridge is done are close to nil. What they do now will stay for a number of years, I’m sure. So, comments at this stage are very important.

  3. John S says:

    J, I agree with you that Mr. Cassiday and Mr. Carney were there to get the ball rolling. I’m not certain who paid for the advertisement, but Councilman Barry was dead set that only the advertised purpose be discussed. It was foolish to advertise the way they did if the intention was to talk about Bridge 55 construction and subsequent detours. If they wanted to advertise it should have been something along the lines of an information meeting to discuss possible detour routes.

    I was impressed with Mr. Mann’s research about the width of the lanes, the expected speeds with those widths and the need for parking to act as a pedestrian buffer and a speed reducer. He was definitely on to something.

    The biggest disappointment, as usual, was the lack of effort on public awareness and involvement. Somehow the Director of Personnel got a notice on the front page of the City’s website about police recruitment. Could that have been done here? Only if Mr. Cassidy, Mr. Carney, or the Council had asked. Perhaps they didn’t know to ask…or, perhaps they really don’t want input sometimes.

    Wonder what time that meeting finally ended. I left after 9pm and it had not yet officially moved into the business portion. I left during the Public Hearing on Zoning Ordinance changes.

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