Tag: Providence

Wherein the City of Providence drops the ball on snow plowing

The streets around me – namely Knight, Grove and Andrews – they did a terrible job of plowing. For having two days since the storm there’s not much room on the roads around here. It’s funny I was coming out of Knight onto Broadway and I see red flashing lights coming up behind us. Luckily he turned off onto Grove before – because if he’d come up Knight any further there wasn’t enough room for me to pull right, and nor room for the left turn and right turn lanes.

This is shameful – one thing that always bothered me about Rhode Island and Providence in particular is everything is done half-ass.

The rest of the city isn’t much better. And I note, Councilman Yurdin hasn’t kept up with keeping the overpass to I-95 sidewalks clear. Time to shoot him an email.

 

What the hell is Keolis and MBTA Commuter Rail’s Problem?

Ok – all this week the Boston to Wickford Junction or Providence train has been either a) late getting to South Station or b) and consistently late getting into Providence no matter what train I board at what time.

For example, I’ve taken the 2:30, 3:20, and 4:30 trains and all of them have been close to a half hour late.

Today for example, the train took 1.5 hours for a normal 1 hour and 10 minute trip. So 20 extra minutes because it parked at the Route 128 Station for about 10 or so of those minutes. And then making the extra stop at Canton Junction was special – they’ve done that a few times this week.

This is unacceptable. I’m strongly considering plunking the $400+ down per month and getting an Amtrak pass to be honest. The Acela and Acela Regional both do the trip in 40 minutes. That’s much better. Because Keolis and the MBTA are REALLY starting to piss me off.

Diana Ross 2016-04-14

Day before tax day (Mine are done already) and this evening we went to see Diana Ross. The opening act was Rhonda Ross, daughter of Diana Ross who btw if you didn’t know spent four years here in Providence going to Brown University and also has a six year old kid making Ms. Ross the elder a grandmother.

One notable thing – it was definitely an older crowd at this concert. Really older – for instance we saw one guy with a walker, one who was wheeled in a wheelchair, and I was fully expecting to see an oxygen tank or a stretcher at some point. Alas no such came to pass.

And girl sitting immediately to the right of us let one fly – god damned it’s true. They say women’s farts smell worse and this one was pretty ripe.

And Keyron swore he smelt Ben Gay on someone walking by us. Too funny. But I guess if you do the math if the elder Ms. Ross is 72, then some of the crowd might very well be in their 80’s. I feel like a fucking youngster in a crowd like that and I’m in my damned 50’s.

And you could spot the ‘sisters’ in the crowd – when a couple of what I’d call Ross’s gay anthems played they were up and dancing away, making spectacles of themselves. Keyron spotted it right away.

Diana-Ross-2016-Providence

And here’s the divine Ms. Ross in action – well a still of her.
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Got to say it, for 72 years old she puts on a hell of a show. Alas I wish I had seen her in the heyday of the 1980’s. But my musical tastes from them were more P-Funk and Jazz.

I must be in the mood to gripe today

First I heard about the fact that Mayor Elorza of Providence, RI wants to put 700 more parking meters in the city – but not Atwells Avenue – oh no, they’ll put them on Broadway and Westminster St. I shot an email to my city councilor, state representative and senator that basically said get the school budget under control and start tagging for quality of life issues like boorish driving. Boorish includes blowing through crosswalks with people in said crosswalk, failure to signal, things like that.

And then I this evening I swiped my 15 ride pass on a RIPTA e-fare box and it worked. Then after I’d sat down I noticed person after person swipe their passes multiple times before the forces aligned and the e-fare box could finally read the card.

So I shot an email to RIPTA telling them they have to maintain the e-fare boxes. Clean and align the read heads for example.

I guess that old saw about the squeaky wheel holds true. If anything it can sometimes stop stupid ideas from getting out of the gate.

Attention Providence Water Supply Board

if you’re going to dig up streets and sidewalks replacing water mains and lines using cold patch on sidewalks is sub optimal. And what’s more galling is you filled trenches where you laid new line with concrete but sidewalk cuts with cold patch?

It’s bad enough the PWSB has dug up half the city of Providence at this point. But if you dig it up , put it back the way you found it. Is that so hard?

A political epiphany about Providence

It has been percolating along in my head for weeks now. I call Providence a half measure or in the more common vernacular a half ass city. In my meeting with City Councilor Bryan Principe and Representative John J. Lombardi yesterday the focus became a bit more clear.

The All Politics are local meme emerged and that’s all well and good. But what emerged was that the east side of Providence is the ruling class simply by dint of being the biggest voting and most consistent voting block in the city. Meanwhile overall voting in the Federal Hill/Broadway/West End areas is pitifully low. And the south side is worse than that. All total only about 1/4th of the people in those areas votes consistently. I’m one of them.

But I wonder why there is so much voter apathy. Don’t people realize that by voting in their neighbors and make no mistake, my elected representatives are in fact my neighbors.

I guess people get turned off every time a sitting politician gets caught up in legal troubles. Or not knowing what it takes to run – the fundraising, phone calls, emails, etc. that comprise a modern campaign even for city councilor. The ones who did figure it out sit on the council or in the State House today. Or we worked on political campaigns. I’ve done two gubernatorial campaigns so far. Perhaps I’ll do a mayoral someday – maybe organize the south side of the city.That would be fun.

And I ask myself how did I end up knowing how the game works? It’s pretty simple – I recall as a kid I was exposed to it every election season. My grandfather and father were very politically active. So it’s no wonder I exercise the same right. I grew up in the 4th ward and recall the dinners and more to the point the schools I went to made sure we got exposed to politics at lunches and dinners. I recall the food being mediocre and the conversation being pretty dull. But all that gelled into my young mind.

It’s important that you at a minimum know how to reach out to elected officials. If only to make your life a little easier. In my case I walk to the train every morning and having uncleared sidewalks is a major pain in the ass. So I of course know a little email directed to the right target gets it done. As an example I noticed the sidewalks after the GTECH building on Francis street east were never cleared. I figured out who the councilor was, sent him and email and next day the sidewalks bordering Waterplace park were down to cement. And now every time it snows there’s a DPW crew out there clearing it at 6 in the morning. Now I know it wasn’t just me experiencing the problem but as I’ve posted before when I get put out I get vociferous. And I have the wherewithal to know how to contact those people. I prefer email because email at least keeps a written record in your sent folder.

Let’s put it this way – our local elected officials need to hear from us regularly. And around here particularly in election seasons you cannot help but to bump into those elected folks.

So what I think we need to do in every ward outside those on the east side is to break voter apathy.  Maybe encourage sitting Councilors, Representatives and Senators. Send them into the schools to do assemblies or visit classrooms and talk about their positions. And by golly hold a spaghetti dinner every now and again. Bring the kids. This is something they need to know.

Saturday Providence Traffic

So today – we grabbed a zipcar and were all over the place from South Attleboro, MA to Coventry, RI and a bunch of meandering in the Providence/Cranston area.

So one of our trips took us up to the east side of Providence. Down near Pitman Street to be precise. It was a mission to get a certain soap that I both love and that is really good for my skin. The Whole Foods on North Main doesn’t carry it all that often, the one deeper on the east side does. So we went over there. Now coming back you take Angel St. and come down the hill towards Exchange Terrace and from there connect to Broadway.

The issue was – traffic was a nightmare. The Home show is going on today. So I decide I’ll risk going up toward Francis St. which is all the mall traffic. Made it to Francis and Gaspee and decided I’d go AROUND the State House and come down the back side of Providence Place Mall then up the connector and onto Dean St. and from there it’s an easy shot home.

Get half way down and some asshole is trying to turn left to go into the mall. And nobody is letting him in. Finally he edged out a little, I went around and was on the way home.

Now for the gripe – the snow removal during this winter was pretty damned bad. There is ice everywhere and cars parked make it hazardous to drive down the street.

Combine those two things and it’s no fun to drive in the City of Providence on a Saturday.

The City of Providence DPW needs to be more proactive.

What I mean is that the drains must all be mucked out annually. Not the spotty cycle. And it’s not just Providence DPW but the State of Rhode Island that has to chip in.

Providence needs to become a more proactive city in general. I’d like to setup a sit down with Mayo Jorge Elorza and explain to him the value in having public schools, a fire department, police department and so on but that true quality of city life requires drains be unobstructed by plant matter, etc.

It also means stop chasing pie in the sky dreams of public broadband – it’s never going to happen. But do what you can to make life better for the residents of the city.

For example – the snow statutes were updated but the city doesn’t track what fines were issued? That needs to be fixed post haste. And I know a public education phase was supposed to be included in the updates to the snow removal statutes. We need to tell people that not only do they need to clear snow, but also ice.

And I’m still miffed that 311 Broadway – the sidewalks there STILL haven’t been cleared. Instead we now have compacted snow and ice. For example it took me less than 30 seconds to find out that the property is owned by:

Owner WAMPANOAG INVESTMENTS LLC
Co-Owner
Address 1177 GREENWICH AVE
WARWICK, RI 02886

The registered agent is:

JOSEPH J. DEANGELIS, ESQ.
1177 GREENWICH AVENUE, WARWICK, RI 02886

So that’s who should be served notice.

Here’s Mr. DeAngelis’ phone number: (401) 737-6877

Go get em’.

What I hate about winter

Is that from one hour to the next the weather can change dramatically. For example when I left the house at 6AM this morning it was 40F. But get to work and the temperature drops to 36F, then 25F and finally 20F during the course of the day. So you have to guess what coat to wear as weather forecasting is not yet at the point where they can accurately gauge temperature.

I also hate that when it goes above freezing the snow pack starts to melt onto previously cleared sidewalks and then freezes into a thin layer of very slippery ice. And people are too stupid to throw sand, salt, or de-ice on the ground. A nice slippery run.

And I had anticipated that – and ordered a pair of Stableicers from LL Bean. I should have had them two days ago but UPS aka Shit Wrapped in Chiffon cited “AN EMERGENCY SITUATION OR SEVERE WEATHER CONDITION HAS DELAYED DELIVERY.” for two days in a row. But here is what I find interesting: UPS had their emergency or severe weather thing, but the United States Postal Service had no such problem.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – UPS is shit. Even the trucks are shit brown with gold accent. They do say it’s out for delivery today but I got home just before 6PM and no package yet and checking status still says “out for delivery”. I dont’ know why I have the sneaking suspicion I’m going to have to go down to their facility to get my package. And I’m gonna raise a stink again.

But back to my rant on winter – people still don’t properly clear their sidewalks. But at least the city is starting to issue citations for it. That’s progress. And the property owners who receive said citations are in for a rude awakening if they simply discard and refuse to pay. The fines are now progressive and as last resort the CITY will clear the sidewalks and bill the property owner. If they still refuse to pay a lien will be placed against the property. Good luck selling with a lien in place.

 

Ok – so it got better in Providence

Other than the fact that 311 Broadway and 289 Broadway have sidewalks that aren’t cleared, and I notified my city councilor of that, the sidewalks are in fairly good shape. Amazing.

But the big offender – the City of Providence. I did see that the sidewalks around Waterplace park on Francis street and Finance Way are all cleared. So apparently my email to Councilman Hassett didn’t fall on deaf ears. Good!

And the overpass of Broadway over I-95  – sidewalks are cleared and salted. Imagine. I’ve got city councilors well trained.

But I did see this:

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As you can see all the islands and medians are completely buried. So I posted these photos on Facebook too and I tagged my city councilor plus shared the pix on his page. Let’s see what the result is tomorrow.