2018-04-19 / Around Town

‘Talking’ Buses to be Muted

By Andy Long

At a session dominated by discussion of the future of the Armory, the Newport City Council approved an agreement on April 11 between the city and RIPTA on the issue of the so-called “talking buses.”

RIPTA buses have been making computer-controlled announcements at the Gateway Center late at night, awakening nearby residents. The buses have also been disrupting other neighborhoods with announcements.

Councilor Kate Leonard, who proposed tabling the resolution at the April 11 meeting after it had been continued several times earlier, described RIPTA’s new approach when she spoke to the council about an e-mail she received from Jamie Pereira, the agency’s director of security.

She said, “Some of us have been working on this talking bus issue for quite a while and the buses that are servicing Newport have, in fact, all been programed with geofencing not to announce during specific hours around the Gateway, and there are to be no announcements made in the Coggeshall Residential Zone.”

The sounds of silence will not take effect immediately, but it will come as each bus is taken out of service for routine maintenance, at which time digital geofencing will be installed. Geofencing is a term for a virtual perimeter, either a concept or a computerized recognition of a discrete area.

In other matters

. Received a communication from the state’s Coastal Resources Management Council and the RI Department of Environmental Management regarding an application from Scott’s Wharf LLC for RI Water Quality Certification for a storm water treatment facility at 4 Commercial Wharf, a proposal that is part of an application to build a hotel.

. Received a communication from the Department of Environmental Management for RI water Quality Certification regarding a Department of the Navy proposal to repair 55 feet of a seawall on Coaster’s Harbor Island.

. Received a communication from Jeremiah Lynch regarding proposed amendments to Newport’s Zoning Ordinances, which was referred to the Planning Board.

. Approved a contract of $203,898 to Rhode Island Truck Center LLC of East Providence to purchase a new catch basin cleaner/ combination Jetter truck to clean the city’s storm water catch basins, decreasing the flow of debris and sediments into Narragansett Bay after storms.

. Approved a contract of $133,828 to Axon to purchase 43 tasers and supplies for five years. Axon, of Arizona, is the sole source of tasers. Federal Forfeiture Funds will pay for the new tasers.

. Received with regret the resignation of Leslie Brooking-Elms from the Cliff Walk Commission.

. Appointments: Tara Feury and Bette Reed to the Hospitality Commission, Thomas H. Sullivan to the Tree and Open Space Commission.

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