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AriPVD

Providence vs. Worcester

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I kind of liked downtown Springfield. I've never been in a New England city with such wide streets in the downtown area.

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Let me guess... you were driving, not walking. :rolleyes:

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sorry if you don't like it

:wub:

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But I do like it.

I like the variety of the people living there. It's nice to live in a neighborhood that's not homogeneous.

The food is excellent. A huge array of ethnic restaurants. Chinese, Russian, Middle Eastern markets - Middle Eastern delis - Sushi bars - Thai noodle houses. And of course the Italian places. (Still looking for good pizza in Cranston, though). I like that I can walk to these places.

I like that it's just a 15 minute bus ride to work in Providence.

It's just too bad that developments and plans have been cobbled together for so long without a unifying goal.

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I agree... is it tooo late to fix it?!!, lets walk over to city hall and talk with mr. ugly mayor.

I just love cranston because I had the best childhood ever :) NEVER FORGET!

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Maybe it was such a dump (from what I hear) that even the urban renewalist didnt want to touch it.

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Pretty much, basically Providence was too poor to destroy itself. The city had no end of urban 'renewal' schemes to tear down much of the city and replace it with mid-century concrete boxes and parking fields. However the city never had the money nor the political cohesion to pull any of it off (save for a few things like Cathedral Square). So our poverty and corruption is what saved us, along with the work of some strong preservationist up on Benefit Street.

Thank maude for political corruption:

ProvPlan1979.jpg

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Can you say California

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I was thinking of Tampa.

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I go to school at Clark U in Worcester, and i live near providence. Its true, there is so much more going on in Providence. Worcester is just a giant doughnut, everything is around the outside (malls, offices, sprawl, much less "culture") the downtown is a whole bunch of nothing. They are trying to change that though...

Worcester's development plan: http://www.worcestermass.org/development/

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What are you studying at Clark? I was a geography major there ('85).

I liked Worcester, but part of it was the fact that it's a little more spread-out, and I liked Clark, Mechanics Hall, and some other stuff. Downtown, then as now, wasn't much to write home about... but it's not as expensive (or wasn't), either....

Urb

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What are you studying at Clark?  I was a geography major there ('85).

I liked Worcester, but part of it was the fact that it's a little more spread-out, and I liked Clark, Mechanics Hall, and some other stuff.  Downtown, then as now, wasn't much to write home about... but it's not as expensive (or wasn't), either....

Urb

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I was orignally going to major in geography, but decided on international relations instead.

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What are you studying at Clark?  I was a geography major there ('85).

I liked Worcester, but part of it was the fact that it's a little more spread-out, and I liked Clark, Mechanics Hall, and some other stuff.  Downtown, then as now, wasn't much to write home about... but it's not as expensive (or wasn't), either....

Urb

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Worcester is a much smaller city and lacks almost all of the power of culture, urban action, history, business, government, education, science, recreation.

It simply can not be compared to Providence. It is closer to a Pawtucket or Manchester, NH.

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Worcester is a much smaller city and lacks almost all of the power of culture, urban action, history, business, government, education, science, recreation.

It simply can not be compared to Providence. It is closer to a Pawtucket or Manchester, NH.

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What exactly do you mean smaller city? In terms of a downtown its size is much smaller than providence. However population wise Worcester is the 3rd largest city in New England, and is very close in population size to Providence.

You are correct in your comparison to Pawtucket, in that its layout and style is greatly similar to that of Worcester. And yes, Worcester does also lack being a center of government, high powered businesses choose locations outside the city in office parks rather than downtown, and recreation wise there is nowhere near as much to do as in providence.

Other points you make, however, aren

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What exactly do you mean smaller city? In terms of a downtown its size is much smaller than providence. However population wise Worcester is the 3rd largest city in New England, and is very close in population size to Providence. 

You are correct in your comparison to Pawtucket, in that its layout and style is greatly similar to that of Worcester. And yes, Worcester does also lack being a center of government, high powered businesses choose locations outside the city in office parks rather than downtown, and recreation wise there is nowhere near as much to do as in providence.

Other points you make, however, aren

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Worcester also has (or had, when I was there) some nice neighborhoods, if you like your city a little less urban.  On the other hand, being 40 miles inland, it's COLD in the winter!

One big problem that Worcester had was the lack of an exit on the Mass. Turnpike -- I don't know the details on that, but when the turnpike was being built, the big-cheese state senator from Worcester was on the naughty list with the leadership on Beacon Hill, so they made sure to stick it to Worcester by making the turnpike basically useless for getting there.

The whole Galleria thing was a huge mistake.  Big, impersonal, and unwalkable is not something that works in urban design anymore -- and judging from the Globe article, they figured that out and are going to put it back the way it was.

Oh, well -- we're probably going to end up in Providence... Still, Wormtown holds some fond memories!

Urb

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You absolutely right theres some very perdy neighborhoods in worcester and as a college student in worcester its winters are much worse then those im used to in Rhode Island. About the mass turnpike. From the west at exit 10 you can take I-290 right into the city. And once the 146 interchange with 290 is complete, 146 will offer an even faster way into the city from the east and south. (290 also hooks up with 495 north of the city.) Plus the MBTA has trains that go to boston. So it pretty well connected. Finally concerning the galleria aka the common outlets, there apphently knocking it down and trying out a bit of new urbanism, which might actually make me go to downtown, for more than just the "guy screwing the turtle" statute.

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Didn't MA connect Rt 146 directly to the Mass pike? Or to Worcester? Or was it that they were going to make an exit from the pike to the Worcester airport? :wacko:

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Didn't MA connect Rt 146 directly to the Mass pike? Or to Worcester? Or was it that they were going to make an exit from the pike to the Worcester airport?  :wacko:

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yes the pike has an exit on 146. but 146 as a divided limited access highway ends soon after where it becomes a 2 lane road, there is constuction underway to continue the highway to 290 and create an interchange. See this PDF. http://www.wrrb.org/Reports/03-03transport.pdf

They wouldnt make a exit directly to the airport (at least now) simply because no one uses it.

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I'll never understand why Worcester Airport, which is centrally located in MA, never became a regional airport. I think Massport dropped the ball on this one.

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I'll never understand why Worcester Airport, which is centrally located in MA, never became a regional airport. I think Massport dropped the ball on this one.

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I wouldnt really blame it on massport. Instead i think its actually its location that has caused it to fail.

For one, there is no deticated access road to the site. Last year some friends and i drove up (litererally its a steep climb) to the airport, and while it is a clearly signed route, there are intersections, turns, low speed traffic, etc. Yet this is a catch 22 mass highway would have to justify building a road out to the airport therefore there would have to be a significat ammount of passengers to warrent this, yet the airport would need a highway to optain these passengers. Additionally, the roads that this highway could potenitally be connected to (I-90 or I-290) are a few miles from the airport, and from 290 it would have to cut through a urban area. Where as in manchester and providence main highways are only about a mile from the aiports they serve.

Secondly, i dont belive new england needs another major airport. Manchester, Providence, Bradley, and logan, are all between 1 / 1.5 hours from worcester, and worcester as by itself certainly isnt a destination for many passengers.

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I know that the last major airline to serve Worcester, US Air, pulled out most or all of their flights about 2 years ago because of a lack of business. They first added flights to Philadelphia to try to bring in new customers, but it didn't work. And yes, the Worcester airport is located way on top of a hill.

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You absolutely right theres some very perdy neighborhoods in worcester and as a college student in worcester its winters are much worse then those im used to in Rhode Island. About the mass turnpike. From the west at exit 10 you can take I-290 right into the city. And once the 146 interchange with 290 is complete, 146 will offer an even faster way into the city from the east and south. (290 also hooks up with 495 north of the city.) Plus the MBTA has trains that go to boston. So it pretty well connected.

Those are all fairly new, though -- none of them (except 290) were in place when I was in college, back during the late Pleistocene epoch. If you wanted to get to Worcester on the Mass. Pike, you had to take that 9-122 (?) exit, which was nowhere downtown Worcester. I-290 is a lot better -- but you have to go up 495, or go past the city on the Pike and double back. Either way, it was not very convenient. The politics I was talking about happened much earlier, when the Pike was first being planned.

But in any case, my wife wants to go to Providence instead, so who am I to say no? :whistling:

Urb

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What exactly do you mean smaller city? In terms of a downtown its size is much smaller than providence. However population wise Worcester is the 3rd largest city in New England, and is very close in population size to Providence. 

You are correct in your comparison to Pawtucket, in that its layout and style is greatly similar to that of Worcester. And yes, Worcester does also lack being a center of government, high powered businesses choose locations outside the city in office parks rather than downtown, and recreation wise there is nowhere near as much to do as in providence.

Other points you make, however, aren

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Oh, come on now...just take national reputation alone:

...

I did not say Worcester was bad...just not in anywhere near Providence's class.

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I wasnt saying worcester was a great city. I would choose providence hands down. But there is much more going on in worcester then you made it seem in your previous post, (esspecially much more than pawtucket) which was the point I was trying to make. (Not that it can compete with providence because i know it can't.) Worcester should be compared to and should compete more with other regional inland cities like Hartford, Springfield, and yes manchester, instead of providence.

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I wasnt saying worcester was a great city.  I would choose providence hands down. But there is much more going on in worcester then you made it seem in your previous post, (esspecially much more than pawtucket) which was the point I was trying to make. (Not that it can compete with providence because i know it can't.) Worcester should be compared to and should compete more with other regional inland cities like Hartford, Springfield, and yes manchester, instead of providence.

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When I visited Worcester for the first time several years ago, I remember being disappointed at how small the urban core was and how unattractive and run down that little area was...

When I ask people in NE about Worcester, the terms I hear most often are "ugly" and "unwalkable." If I were the Kings and Queens of Worcester, these are the two aspects I'd tackle first... It's like we've been discussing about Providence... How many great urban areas can any of us think of that don't have a great downtown core?

- Garris

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As long as were comparing, just what city in America with a population of 100,000 - 250,000 compares to Providence?

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Albany!

Don't worry I'm joking...

I'd have to say next to none by that criteria, since you really have to look at metro areas in order to compare Providence, since so much of its population lives outside the actual city limits of Providence in densely populated "suburbs".Really Providence should be compared to a city with around 300-400 thousand in its limits, since that is what Providence would be if it combined Pawtucket, CF, EP, NP and Cranston east of Reservoir Ave

If looking at similar metro areas, I'd say definitely Portland and at a far stretch (please nobody crucify me for saying this...) Salt Lake City.... I don't know any thoughts? We certainly do not (yet) have the urban policies, or should I say rural policies that Portland has implemented, but as far as downtown vibrancy I'd say the two can be comparable. Perhaps PDXstreetcar can enlighten me.

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As long as were comparing, just what city in America with a population of 100,000 - 250,000 compares to Providence?

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Off the top of my head, I can think of a few that are grossly similar in size and overall "feel." It's hard to match population, for reasons of how that's counted that we've discussed before...

But in feel, I'd say St. Paul, MN (especially the size and challenges of its downtown core) can be compared to Providence. Madison, WI would be a better direct comparison in size, feel, and characteristics (capital city, university town, slightly overshadowed by a nearby larger city, liberal politics). It's probably the best "twin city" I know of to Providence.

Recchia suggested Portland, which is interesting. I've only briefly been in Portland, but it felt much bigger to me than Providence and much more urban focused.

I've never been to Salt Lake City, but everything I've read suggests that it would be a great comparison.

It's been a number of years now, but I recall Norfolk, VA as being similarly sized with a similar feel.

There are few good comparisons in the Northeast... Albany I don't think is a good comparison. Rochester, NY and Buffalo, NY are probably better. As far as general direction and trends go, give White Plains, NY about 10 years, and it could feel similar to Providence.

- Garris

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