Big and Bold. Reduce Costs. Neighborhood Connectivity. Make It Green. Quality of Life. Economic Benefits. Transportation Choices.
These are just some of the goals highlighted at the City's well-attended 6-10 Connector Draft Plan Release meeting last Monday. These goals came directly from public workshops that the Providence Department of Planning & Development held with community members and stakeholders over the past several months, and were demonstrably incorporated into the City's draft design plan.
In fact, the WBNA wants to thank Mayor Jorge Elorza and the City of Providence for holding one of the most – if not the most – inclusive public processes around a civic project in decades. It is our belief that working together will produce a better plan and outcome for all, and we are grateful for the City's commitment to a meaningful collaboration with citizens.
Where the State has failed us in terms of public process, the City has stepped in and done a comprehensive job in very little time. Does the City's plan dismantle a highway and replace it with a boulevard? No, it does not. But it does offer a compromise while serving multiple goals gleaned from public comment.
SUMMARY OF CITY'S DRAFT PLAN
- Over 10 new and improved neighborhood to neighborhood connections (new roads, reconnected roads and pedestrian walkway improvements)
- Increased opportunities to exit and enter the Connector with 7-9 additional exits and 8-10 new entry points, thus decreasing congestion and improving traffic flow
- Reclaims more than 50 acres of land for new development and economic growth
- 2 miles of off-road bike and recreational trails created
- Connects Route 10 North to Route 6 West (nonexistent now)
- Creates opportunities for place-making such as public spaces and gateways
- Maintains parkway speeds throughout the Connector
- Increases City's tree canopy
- Reduces traffic congestion through Olneyville Square
- Makes connections with regional recreational and bike trails
The City's plan is a work in progress that is heading in the right direction. The Department of Planning is still looking for feedback from neighbors, and plans to present a more finalized plan with cost estimates in the near future.
While the City has met with Rhode Island Department of Transportation officials, it is entirely unclear whether the State is listening or will listen to Providence and community stakeholders and, more importantly, whether the state will incorporate the City's plan into its 6-10 rebuild project.
The Good News: The City has our interests at heart. The Not-So-Good News: Governor Raimondo and the State have asked for the 6-10 project to be fast-tracked, potentially excluding City and stakeholder input from this state infrastructure project. The Challenge: Getting Governor Raimondo and RIDOT to listen to us and incorporate our goals into the State's plan for 6-10.
The 6-10 Connector is relatively short, but the road ahead (in terms of advocacy) is still quite long. We encourage all neighbors and Providence citizens to stay informed about this issue, as it affects all of us, the health of our communities and of our City.
WBNA is working on this issue with the Fix the 6-10 Coalition, now 20 organizations strong and growing. Fix the 6-10 is made up of diverse geographical and issue-focused groups that are advocating for a redesign of the 6-10 Connector that supports fiscal responsibility, improved traffic, social justice, economic development and the environment.
If you are part of an organization that is interested in advocating for the best possible 6-10 design for all, please consider joining the Coalition. And for everyone, here are several ways to stay informed:
- City of Providence's 6-10 Connector Draft Plan Release
- City of Providence's 6-10 Connector Plan Summary Sheet
Related WBNA Posts
- 6-10: Time to Do the Right Thing
- Boulevard Now Being Considered by RIDOT
- Route 6/10: Losing the Dream?