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Lova

North Main St.

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North Main St, in my humble opinion, should be the Mass Ave of Providence. It should be an urban boulevard of 4+ story apartment, office and condo buildings sitting on shops of all sorts.

The decayed suburban sprawl that now occupies North Main is a mill stone hanging from the neck of that whole neighborhood. The new Honey Dew, a cinderblock gem in a ring of asphault, was a depressing addition.

The 95 overpass at Brooks Pharmacy / Blockbuster needs to become 2 way all the way to the light. As it is, drivers coming from 95 or Smithfield Ave are forced into an akward backroad parallel to NM. This is stupid.

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Indeed. This area should get special attention during the city's current rezoning policy.

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Indeed. This area should get special attention during the city's current rezoning policy.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The road itself is a state road and it maintains it.

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I think your point is right on. This also may be a dated Idea never pursued. The section of NM the heads in to the city has those wonderful condos on each side of the street. With the retooling of the plaza in Im very surprised more hasnt been done.

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North Main St, in my humble opinion, should be the Mass Ave of Providence. It should be an urban boulevard of 4+ story apartment, office and condo buildings sitting on shops of all sorts.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

YES! That would be awesome now wouldn't it. And it could have a light rail down the center, since its wide enough and could be just like the green E line.

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YES!  That would be awesome now wouldn't it.  And it could have a light rail down the center, since its wide enough and could be just like the green E line.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You know, with narragansett landing thing having a trolley line proposed, that would not be a bad idae at all...

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I unfortunately have to chime in and say that the state or RIPTA is in no position to start another line (rail or otherwise) when they are already operating at a loss. Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

And from the Conley Wharf posts, if Thomas Deller needs density, you guys are right. This place is ripe for it. Don't underestimate the power of the Summit Ave Neighborhood Association, though. They helped kill the idea of Lupo's moving to North Main. And they are opposed to the city looking at the larger zoning concerns of the entire city, they instead believe it should focus on DownCity until they "get it right". Whatever that means. They are against big box retail, which is ok with me, but they haven't been able to stop little "big boxes" liek the HoneyDew or that Super Laundrymat, and they are against high rises generally.

I'd like to see N Main built up, I'd like to see new density where it makes sense. It would be much tougher to get density in other parts of the city (like Broadway, or College Hill, where there is nothing to tear down [well, maybe not nothing]). I would also like to see the road undivided. I like the trees, but divided roads never seem to do well. A lot of congestion from U-turners could be avoided if the center were a turn only lane.

And in other news, the old Friendly Guys Pizzaacross from the Pep Boys will be a new branch of Empire Loan, a pawn shop. That'll be 3 pawn shops in less than a half mile.

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I know this is late, but the Summit Neighborhood Association held a meeting tonight at the Rochambeau Library to discuss Hope & No. Main St business district issues.  Procaccianti was to be there because they own the old Sears store & Anderson Little store.

http://sna.providence.ri.us/blog/

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Has anyone heard what Procaccianti's plans are for these properties?

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Since we're discussing failed retail areas in the RI Mall thread, I thought I'd bump this thread up too.

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As we're on the topic of North Main...Why shouldn't it be a big-box strip? The road is wide enough.There's easy highway access and there's plenty of people who hate going to Warwick or Seekonk to buy a TV ,washing machine, or computer. The street was home to big retail for decades and has rotted because of suburban sprawl.Now that there are more people moving back to the cities as ever before....why not create an area where city residents can go and pick up the hard-to-reach items that they would normally have to go to Warwick for? North Main is not nearly as long as Bald Hill or Rte.6 in Seekonk. It would never escalate to a sprawling disaster like there,but rather a redevelopment of an abandoned area that was always destined to provide retail services. The strip lies on the border between two very urban areas that have cried out for retail for many decades.( Providence and Pawtucket) What is the issue?

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YES! That would be awesome now wouldn't it. And it could have a light rail down the center, since its wide enough and could be just like the green E line.

That is exactly where the trolley's were before they were discontinued in 1946 to Pawtucket. The wide green area dividing North Main Street in front of University Heights(formerly known as Lippet Hill), was where the express trolleys would pass the locals.

Mark

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As we're on the topic of North Main...Why shouldn't it be a big-box strip? The road is wide enough.There's easy highway access and there's plenty of people who hate going to Warwick or Seekonk to buy a TV ,washing machine, or computer. The street was home to big retail for decades and has rotted because of suburban sprawl.Now that there are more people moving back to the cities as ever before....why not create an area where city residents can go and pick up the hard-to-reach items that they would normally have to go to Warwick for? North Main is not nearly as long as Bald Hill or Rte.6 in Seekonk. It would never escalate to a sprawling disaster like there,but rather a redevelopment of an abandoned area that was always destined to provide retail services. The strip lies on the border between two very urban areas that have cried out for retail for many decades.( Providence and Pawtucket) What is the issue?

I personally don't mind chain big boxes themselves, but rather their physical design. My problem, and I think most people here's problems is with the design of the big boxes on North Main, they do in fact look like Warwick or Seekonk and this shouldn't be acceptable in an urban area. Now granted North Main is nowhere near as bad as either Seekonk of Warwick (or Attleboro either), but it is still sprawl in an urban area and shouldn't be so. A strip like this so close to a thriving urban center is kind of sad in my opinion. I agree that people shouldn't have to drive to the suburbs to get basic necessities, however, I think that they should be able to get these necessities at big boxes with good urban design.

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As we're on the topic of North Main...Why shouldn't it be a big-box strip? The road is wide enough.There's easy highway access and there's plenty of people who hate going to Warwick or Seekonk to buy a TV ,washing machine, or computer. The street was home to big retail for decades and has rotted because of suburban sprawl.Now that there are more people moving back to the cities as ever before....why not create an area where city residents can go and pick up the hard-to-reach items that they would normally have to go to Warwick for? North Main is not nearly as long as Bald Hill or Rte.6 in Seekonk. It would never escalate to a sprawling disaster like there,but rather a redevelopment of an abandoned area that was always destined to provide retail services. The strip lies on the border between two very urban areas that have cried out for retail for many decades.( Providence and Pawtucket) What is the issue?

I already mentioned this in another thread. Everyone on the East Side has a car, so you aren't helping those residents, you are just creating more traffic for them. I am sure that nine out of ten people living in the Summit area would rather drive 10 minutes to one of the other big box meccas than have the added convenience of having one close at the cost of all of the additional traffic and suburnban blight (see below) If there is going to be a retail center it should be where the shoppers are that need it. Maybe the sourthern portion of Reservoir Ave - then you can use the big boxes to help clean up and improve infrastructure.

As for saving city residents from having to go all the way to Warwick...it's not just Warwick. It's Warwick which is 7 miles away, Seekonk which is 4, Attleboro which is 10, Smithfield which is about 12 since there's no direct way there, but which also has the best infrastructure and least traffic. The suburbanization of the suburbs themselves is bad enough. Washington St. in Attleboro is virtually indistinguishable from Bald Hill Rd. in Warwick which in turn is virtually indistinguishable from their counterparts in King of Prussia, PA or Paramus, NJ or Manchester, CT or or or or or or. I would rather we avoided something like that in the actual city.

If Providence were big enough to have light rail and actually have a way to get people to these big box stores without cars, you would have a good point. But since people are going to have to get into their cars anyway for the most part, I don't see what value this adds to the city or to the community.

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Light rail is a good eventual goal. But the 99 bus to Pawtucket already has the most frequent headways in the RIPTA system, that with almost nothing on North Main as a destination for passengers. If there were actual destinations on North Main, there would be more riders, and RIPTA would ba able to create even better headways. BRT could very easily be implemented from the Pawtucket line down to University Heights, and at least inbound, Canal Street has plenty of room for a bus lane.

The big benefit of light rail would be it's (perceived) permanence. People would be able to be confident that the service would not be going away and would be willing to invest in housing without parking. Said housing could be developed above big boxes along North Main.

In another thread the idea of artists colonizing the abandoned boxes was brought up. This would certainly mitigate the traffic concerns.

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I'm happily not convinced that there is enough land around N. Main to support today's big boxes. On the east side of the street there's a relatively thin strip of land before it begins to sharply elevate. And on the west side of the street, there's first the huge North Burial Cemetry, and then another relatively thin strip of land before it drops off precipitously. I'm not sure today's big box buildings would fit, let alone the parking needed to support them. In fact, the only contemporary large scale retail in the North Main Street area, is that problematic Shaw's-anchored shopping center which is located a good 100 yards west of N. Main and down that steep hill.

Am I missing something?

Jack

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In fact, the only contemporary large scale retail in the North Main Street area, is that problematic Shaw's-anchored shopping center which is located a good 100 yards west of N. Main and down that steep hill.

I was thinking about this. The Shaw's plaza is crappy but I assume that the bus runs down there. I wouldn't mind if they put a couple of big boxes in there. Although despite it's crappiness, the plaza does seem to keep itself almost fully leased, and I wouldn't want to drive out the small businesses there, especially given their appeal to the neighborhood residents. I don't think it's all that fair to displace the stores that the community likes to go to in order to put in big boxes to draw people from outside the community in.

How about this? Under the following assumptions:

1) Big box stores in this area are needed (I don't agree but I'll concede the point in order to make my proposal)

2) The neighborhood will continue to support the little stores (I don't think they really compete directly with big box)

3) The city puts some actual effort into the infrastructure to support some North Main revival.

Reface the Shaws and upgrade the plaza. Create a better intersection with Smithfield Ave. so there is better highway access to Exit 24. Add in 2 Big Boxes to replace the existing strip mall. I don't know if there is a need for more than that. Best Buy and Kohl's? Remember there is a BB&B in Providence Place so you don't really need another homewares type place here, and anyone who needs a HD or Lowe's is going to have a car to get to Branch Ave or down to Cranston. What other big boxes would people need?

Take the existing stores from the strip mall and make them the first floor retail of a new development along North Main that is more urban in nature with perhaps affordable housing on top. Put this along the Wast Side of North Main. Move the Pep Boys down into the plaza (it is pretty ugly in it's current spot) Then you can continue expanding that and hopefully get some small restaurants and what not.

This lets the plaza do what a plaza should do and have one place for the cars to go. Then you get ped traffic for all the little shops along North Main and also get some improvement. Last time I looked, that plaza was fully leased and I have to assume that those businesses are getting by. Would be displaced up to North Main kill them? All interesting questions.

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Remember the Walmart is going in just a quick jaunt down Branch Avenue.

That unfortunately is sickening enough.

put a best buy and sears in the mall, ala cambridgeside galleria, economy hardware on weybosset or washington or something, and call it a day.

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Remember the Walmart is going in just a quick jaunt down Branch Avenue.

That unfortunately is sickening enough.

put a best buy and sears in the mall, ala cambridgeside galleria, economy hardware on weybosset or washington or something, and call it a day.

What's that Walmart gonna look like? Just a re-do of what the Ames looked like (a la big box setback by asphalt ocean)?

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What's that Walmart gonna look like? Just a re-do of what the Ames looked like (a la big box setback by asphalt ocean)?

I am not sure what the facade will look like, but I believe Cotuit said awhile back that Walmart had agreed to bring the store front up flush with the street, a bit like Home Depot around the corner. That strip mall was a disgrace before, so even though I'd rather see something else there, this will have to do. With a hotel being built around the corner on Charles St., plus Pearl restaurant right there, Home Depot, and Wendy's at least the weird triangle of land won't seem so desolate anymore. Walmart has demolished the old Ames, and has spent most of the last few months repaving the parking lot.

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I am not sure what the facade will look like, but I believe Cotuit said awhile back that Walmart had agreed to bring the store front up flush with the street, a bit like Home Depot around the corner.

Yes, I'm sure I read that, but now I can't find where. This is the Walmart thread.

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With a hotel being built around the corner on Charles St., plus Pearl restaurant right there

Where exactly is Pearl's? I tried looking for it one night?

Well, we've got Jenkins covering the North end, Cotuit has Federal Hill & College Hill, AriPVD has downcity, Garris has Wayland Sq & anyplace where there's a restuarant :D , Liam's got the west end covered, The Ank has a stronghold on the South side & Onlyville, CTownMikey is on the Cranston beat, Recchia's got Southern RI (when he's not in school) and I've got the East Bay. WE'VE GOT THE WHOLE STATE COVERED BOYS!!!!!!!!!!!! :rofl:

PS: Elton & PDXStreetcar are at large!

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Recchia's got Southern RI (when he's not in school) a

Can I rescind my title as ambassador to South County because, well, I hate it?

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Where exactly is Pearl's? I tried looking for it one night?

Well, we've got Jenkins covering the North end, Cotuit has Federal Hill & College Hill, AriPVD has downcity, Garris has Wayland Sq & anyplace where there's a restuarant :D , Liam's got the west end covered, The Ank has a stronghold on the South side & Onlyville, CTownMikey is on the Cranston beat, Recchia's got Southern RI (when he's not in school) and I've got the East Bay. WE'VE GOT THE WHOLE STATE COVERED BOYS!!!!!!!!!!!! :rofl:

PS: Elton & PDXStreetcar are at large!

It's on Charles Street right after Home Depot on the right behind the tanning salon.

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