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Garris

Interstate 95

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Ok everyone, I thought I'd throw a topic out there...

Driving from New York State today back to Providence I was wondering if today in 2006 (not historically), is I-95 good or bad for the city of Providence as a whole? If we could divert traffic onto 295 around the city entirely and completely do away with the highway, would it be good or bad for the city? Is the traffic and economic benefit worth the detriment of it splitting the city and making the region as a whole more auto dependent?

Discuss...

- Garris

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95 is extremely important for the city of providence. 295 takes you too far out of the city. the only way to alleviate the splitting of the city is what cotuit suggested in that lab thing he did with the bridge/park over 95, something like what hartford did. or they could do a big dig, only learning from boston's mistakes.

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I think we're better off with 95 than without it. Diverting the traffic onto 295 would only generate more sprawl in places like Johnston and Smithfield (not that they need it).

Yes, the road certainly divides the city, but I feel that if we can create more connections between the two sides (i.e. pedestrian bridges, improved transit, decking over the highway, etc.) the negative effects of the road wouldn't be notcied as much. One area where this really needs to be done is between the mall and the Promenade area.

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95 is extremely important for the city of providence. 295 takes you too far out of the city. the only way to alleviate the splitting of the city is what cotuit suggested in that lab thing he did with the bridge/park over 95, something like what hartford did. or they could do a big dig, only learning from boston's mistakes.

In my completely unqualified opinion, I think decking over I-95 makes a lot more sense in the downtown area than trying to do a mini big dig. The highway sits lower or at least at ground level, as opposed to being high above on raised roads. There's the shaw's (or is it a star market) and a hotel that straddle the Pike on the way into Boston. Does anybody remember when they were being built and how it effected daily traffic on the highway? Seems it'd be fairly easy to build over 95 around the Atwells exit and add a park or building or whatever.

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Without 95 we would probably be just another Worcester. Springfield seems to be doing quite well for itself and having Rt 91 and the Mass Pike going through it dosen't hurt. Having both 95 & 195 running through the city is an asset. A sometimes annoying asset. -_- Hartford has 2, 84 and 91, which I'm sure works out well for them.

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Without 95 we would probably be just another Worcester. Springfield seems to be doing quite well for itself and having Rt 91 and the Mass Pike going through it dosen't hurt. Having both 95 & 195 running through the city is an asset. A sometimes annoying asset. -_- Hartford has 2, 84 and 91, which I'm sure works out well for them.

91 used to divide downtown hartford from the waterfront. they decked over the highway with a nice park and they're now connected to the river and it's really nice. there is absolutely no reason we can't do this.

worcester has the pike, 290, 190, and 146 going through it... i think worcester's problem is unrelated to lack of hghways. but you're right, we need 95. it's the best route into the city.

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In a perfect urban world, I'd be all about doing away with 95. But, reality is that without it NOBODY would come to the city from outside it. Ideally, yes, we could all take transit to the city but nothing in America is ideal when it comes to transportation.

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I have a friend who is in his 70s and remembers having to drive around the State when there was no I-95 and no bridges. Even though they took his childhood home to make way for the Interstate, he said that it still beats having to take local roads to get from one end of the State to the other.

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Id just like to point out that Ive notcied you all have I-95, a 295, and a 195. Down here in Richmond we have the same I-95 and the obviously different interstates of 295, 195, and 64. That makes 4 Interstates passing through or right around Richmond. It's a highway mess, but it sure does wonder for our city, as Im sure your interstates do for yours :)

mapofrichmond1er.png

mapofprovidence9gs.png

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Without 95 we would probably be just another Worcester. Springfield seems to be doing quite well for itself and having Rt 91 and the Mass Pike going through it dosen't hurt. Having both 95 & 195 running through the city is an asset. A sometimes annoying asset. -_- Hartford has 2, 84 and 91, which I'm sure works out well for them.

Worcester was never the richest city in the country, Providence was. The beautiful, ecclectic historic architecture we have here is what's made us one of the really great cities in a time where most places (like Hartford, and Worcester) have done away with a lot of it. Keep in mind that without 95, we would probably still have Cathedral Square

http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b241/Ana...au/ce325829.jpg

which served as a vibrant public place linking the downtown retail district, and the Victorian residential neighborhood between Broadway and Broad Street. A lot of the reason it took this long for it to be restored and redeveloped was because the "uptown" relationship it had to downtown was more or less destroyed when the highway divided the area in two. It lost its "livable" feel, and though it might not have mattered so much at the time because no one lived there, I think it resulted in at least a decade of delayed interest in restoring that neighborhood. The Cathedral Square renewal project of the early 70s, resulting in the razing of blocks of potentially valuable historic buildings, was also a direct result of the presence of route 95.

I think it's pretty clear that 95 has acted as an economic benefactor to the city, and that can't be denied, but it was outright horribly planned and inconsiderate of the community's fabric. I think if we want to look at our city as a single cohesive community ever again, the freeway system as a whole needs to be moved out to the perimiter. Since that will never happen (in any of our lifetimes, anyway), I think projects like creating a bridge/park system in key areas (like Cathedral Square) is a good goal, along with restoration of original street grids in areas that have become illogical due to tampering. I think, though, that the role of historic preservation and restoration needs to be considered very carefully in the subject. If we are to restore the original integrity of the city as a means of understanding how to better it, then we need to look at preservation from a cultural perspective, and not simply as a tool for fundraising and gentrification the way I feel it has been considered here for so long.

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I think, though, that the role of historic preservation and restoration needs to be considered very carefully in the subject. If we are to restore the original integrity of the city as a means of understanding how to better it, then we need to look at preservation from a cultural perspective, and not simply as a tool for fundraising and gentrification the way I feel it has been considered here for so long.

An excellent comment...

Edit: Thought this conference fits with the spirit of what Pseudo is saying...

Salve Regina University presents the 10th Annual Conference on Cultural and Historic Preservation:

Ritual Spaces and Places: Memory and Commemoration in 19th-Century America

September 14-16, 2006

Commemorative spaces and their accompanying rituals represent windows into nineteenth-century American culture. Religion, patriotism, and sentiment were integral components not just in the creation of National Parks, battlefields and landscape cemeteries, but also in contemporary movements in urban planning, interior design and architecture. Frequently, efforts to remember and perpetuate stories, persons or events resulted in competing versions of the same memories, creating contested and contentious debates that have reverberated into the present. Salve Regina's 10th Annual Conference on Cultural and Historic Preservation will focus on this intersection of memory and place as well as on the preservation of these places in the modern age.

For more information, a list of speakers, and online registration, please visit www.salve.edu/chp2006/ or email [email protected]

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Wouldn't it be nice if Providence had its own mini-Big Dig sending I-95 underground - minus the shoddy construction of course. Ultimately, I don't think the highways hurt Providence as much as they have hurt most cities. Prov still has a vibrant waterfront - or at least a riverfront- which Springfield, New Haven, and Hartford all lost (though cities like Hartford have made very admirable efforts to get at least portions of it back). Yes, the western neighborhoods are divided from the rest of the city, and the East Side is cut off from the bay by 195. But developments like ALCO and Rising Sun has proven that the western neighborhoods are still extremely viable, and 190 hasn't held the East Side back much at all.

So all in all, I think 95 will probably have to stick around. But that doesn't mean the city can't take steps to minimize 95's effect of dividing the city, like installing a pedestrian deck like jim suggested.

But the hurricane barrier's a whole different story. Has anyone come up with an underwater barrier yet?

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how would an underwater barrier work?? it would still need to rise above sea level to have any affect... no?

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how would an underwater barrier work?? it would still need to rise above sea level to have any affect... no?

Yes, of course. I wonder if there is such thing as a retractable hurricane barrier, which stays hidden underwater, and then can move up when needed. To me the barrier kind of seems to have the visual effect of cutting the city off from the bay, especially when you're say sitting on the deck at the Hot Club.

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Wouldn't it be nice if Providence had its own mini-Big Dig sending I-95 underground - minus the shoddy construction of course. Ultimately, I don't think the highways hurt Providence as much as they have hurt most cities. Prov still has a vibrant waterfront - or at least a riverfront- which Springfield, New Haven, and Hartford all lost (though cities like Hartford have made very admirable efforts to get at least portions of it back). Yes, the western neighborhoods are divided from the rest of the city, and the East Side is cut off from the bay by 195. But developments like ALCO and Rising Sun has proven that the western neighborhoods are still extremely viable, and 190 hasn't held the East Side back much at all.

So all in all, I think 95 will probably have to stick around. But that doesn't mean the city can't take steps to minimize 95's effect of dividing the city, like installing a pedestrian deck like jim suggested.

But the hurricane barrier's a whole different story. Has anyone come up with an underwater barrier yet?

don't know what we can do with the hurricane barrier, i think the point is to cut it off from the bay...

as for 95, decking above to make a couple parks and more bridges connecting roads.

new haven has a double problem... 95 and the train tracks. they recently built a bridge connecting chapel st over the tracks, but 95 is still an issue...

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Yes, of course. I wonder if there is such thing as a retractable hurricane barrier, which stays hidden underwater, and then can move up when needed. To me the barrier kind of seems to have the visual effect of cutting the city off from the bay, especially when you're say sitting on the deck at the Hot Club.

London has something like that on the Thames, but I doubt Providence could see anything like this without serious dredging of the river to provide clearance for the gates.

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Yes, of course. I wonder if there is such thing as a retractable hurricane barrier, which stays hidden underwater, and then can move up when needed. To me the barrier kind of seems to have the visual effect of cutting the city off from the bay, especially when you're say sitting on the deck at the Hot Club.

Given recent (and likely future?) weather trends, I think having a well designed, maintained, and visible hurricane barrier will be an important asset.

- Garris

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But the hurricane barrier's a whole different story. Has anyone come up with an underwater barrier yet?

You bet. London has one across the Thames River to control flooding. It rises from the bottom of the river to hold back the water. Wikipedia has a good article on it...check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thames_Barrier

EDIT: Darn.. just checked the rest of the thread and Gusterfell beat me to it!!!

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You bet. London has one across the Thames River to control flooding. It rises from the bottom of the river to hold back the water. Wikipedia has a good article on it...check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thames_Barrier

EDIT: Darn.. just checked the rest of the thread and Gusterfell beat me to it!!!

that looks cool, although they will ahve to dredge the river... but with how small it is, we could probably just have something on either side of it and nothing in the middle... at least from the looks of the thames one.

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You bet. London has one across the Thames River to control flooding. It rises from the bottom of the river to hold back the water. Wikipedia has a good article on it...check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thames_Barrier

EDIT: Darn.. just checked the rest of the thread and Gusterfell beat me to it!!!

Try Venice - they have plans to close off the lagoon entirely through underwater barriers to keep the city from permanently disappearing - that will be a big one!

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In Hartford, the highways have done wonders for the city.

84 cut the time it takes to get into the city, enabling commuters (and employers) to spread out further with more land. The interstates may have played a part in curbing potential population explosion in the city of Hartford.

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In Hartford, the highways have done wonders for the city.

84 cut the time it takes to get into the city, enabling commuters (and employers) to spread out further with more land. The interstates may have played a part in curbing potential population explosion in the city of Hartford.

interstates in every city have played a major role in curbing population explosion... and played a role in population loss.

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In Hartford, the highways have done wonders for the city.

84 cut the time it takes to get into the city, enabling commuters (and employers) to spread out further with more land. The interstates may have played a part in curbing potential population explosion in the city of Hartford.

I assume you're being facetious?

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I assume you're being facetious?

I'm not sure if he is or not, and we won't know until he tells us...

However, I do know a lot of people who feel this way in the NY metro.

Last time I was back visiting my parents in NY several months ago (which is an hour and a half from Manhattan), a new neighbor there was boasting of much this same thing...

"Yeah, it's so convenient being near the highway. I'm able to hop right on the Taconic, blast down to the city, and be at work in about an hour and 20. That's only a little longer than it was going to work by taking the subway from Queens, but now, for about the same money, we've got an acre here vs our little brownstone there and none of the noise, people, hastle, inconvenience, you know..."

He went on waxing poetic about all the great shopping (a half hour drive to all the big box Home Depot, Stew Leonard's, Kohl's!) and the "you know, good, nice people around here" (with a wink, wink, nod, nod style attitude).

It's all relative I guess. For this city from the city, the burbs felt like paradise for him, and the highway made it all possible.

- Garris

PS: With way more population growing up in the burbs than the cities now, I'm hoping the pendulum will swing back the other way, with the city being far more intriguing to folks as adults than the burbs they are so used to growing up in...

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"Yeah, it's so convenient being near the highway. I'm able to hop right on the Taconic, blast down to the city, and be at work in about an hour and 20. That's only a little longer than it was going to work by taking the subway from Queens, but now, for about the same money, we've got an acre here vs our little brownstone there and none of the noise, people, hastle, inconvenience, you know..."

I can hear that. I lived in Queens and worked in Midtown. Some of my coworkers in North Jersey and Fairfeild County had shorter commutes than me. Of course they were all commuting by train, not blasting down the Taconic. I'm sure this person will soon tire of blasting down the Taconic since the Taconic is rarely blastable, more like inching down the Taconic.

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