2016-05-19 / Opinion


‘InComplete’ Streets

To the Editor:

Thank you for your tenacious and informative coverage of the Broadway Streetscape project.

The best thing about the new Broadway: It’s not the old Broadway.

But at the risk of stating the obvious, the complex design is dominated by multiple bumpouts and custom designed dining patios.

The multiple bumpouts may only encourage people to avoid crossing at designated crosswalks. And the dining patios give the use of public space to private entities without any meaningful compensation. It’s like eminent domain, but in reverse!

The right way for sidewalk dining was the former Tucker’s: discreet, aesthetically appealing, and next to the restaurant so servers did not have to cross the public right-of-way. The diners were as far from traffic as possible. The wrong way for sidewalk dining was the former Yesterdays: sidewalk sprawl where the public right of way was reduced to a crooked footpath.

Most dangerous in the new design is the lack of adherence to the Complete Streets concept, and the danger this presents to pedestrians and bicyclists. At this point there is one bike sign, yet there are no “share the road” signs, no painted “sharrows” in the pavement, and no bike racks, even though some parts of the project have been nearly completed.

The Rhode Island Complete Streets law requires that all federal and state-funded road construction equally consider motor vehicles, bicyclists, public transportation and pedestrians…the work must facilitate safe travel by all users…particularly pedestrians and bicyclists of all ages and mobility capabilities. (RI General Assembly Press Release, 6/12/2012)

What happened?

Judith A. Byrnes

Fort Adams Transparency

To the Editor:

I have been advised that there is a secret attempt, scheduled in early June, with the State Fire Marshal to expand the use of Fort Adams to accommodate in excess of 5,200 persons, which is a 100 percent increase over the present 2,500-person limit.

Last summer the neighbors were promised that they would be notified of any expansion or change in use of the fort. In violation of that agreement, not a single person in the neighborhood has been notified of this secret meeting. The Department of Environmental Management should kindly advise us in full of their actions or that of the board at the fort.

I have reminded the DEM that the deed of trust limits the use of the fort to strictly historical uses and any use in violation of the deed will be met with strong opposition and legal action.

Brian R. Cunha

Keeping Newport Green

To the Editor:

Old trees are cut down and more will follow, a topiary is destroyed and several residential front lawns are being removed to make way for off-street parking. While removing old and diseased trees is understandable, destroying a topiary and front lawns take away from our quality of life. There is a calm feeling walking along our tree-lined streets while admiring the well-kept lawns and gardens, a time to enjoy nature and appreciate the uniqueness of Newport. I hope those thinking of cutting down trees, removing hedges, lawns or gardens will also consider those of us who enjoy seeing them and act to preserve natural spaces, be they public or private.

John Drotos

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