ANNOUNCEMENT: Ped-Friendly Business Program

FINALLY OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCING WalkPVD’s Ped-Friendly Business Program. This program is designed to help businesses be as pedestrian-friendly as possible while promoting the hell out of accepted applicants, as well as offering advice and assisting with infrastructure issues. It’s all totally free. Just doing what I can do to help keep businesses going. All local businesses are encouraged to apply! I’ll also be reaching out slowly to folks individually but want this opportunity to be out there right now.

Application link is right here.

Happy birthday to us!

WalkPVD is a year old already! Let’s celebrate by gathering, chatting, reflecting, & thinking ahead to what we need to do to enhance walkability in Providence.

We’ll gather starting at 4:30pm on Thursday, September 24th at the Trinity Beer Garden downtown.

Please make a “reservation” if you plan on attending, for contact tracing purposes:

We’ll do our best to chat & plan while we gather responsibly. Please be respectful & careful to socially distance.

Making Our Streets Something More

The following was submitted to the Providence Journal as a Letter to the Editor on September 8, 2020:

COVID-19 has brought an enormous amount of change in its wake, including an increase in traffic fatalities and serious challenges for small businesses. Among the adaptations to counteract these problems is temporarily blocking off streets to car traffic and handing it over to pedestrians, shoppers and diners. Or, in other words, people. 

We’ve seen it on Atwells Avenue on weekend evenings, with overwhelming popularity. We’ve seen it on a block of Westminster downtown on Saturdays and more recently on Richmond Street. Even individual businesses — Askew and Oberlin come to mind first — have had their adjacent streets temporarily converted to plazas.

Why limit this to a pandemic response? Streets make up 13% of Providence’s total land area. Let’s use some of that space for something better. Let’s make it normal to prioritize socializing, dining, shopping and walking — enjoying life — over moving and storing our vehicles. 

We’re hosting an urban bird walk!

WalkPVD is delighted to host Tanager Creative‘s Managing Director Greg Nemes! Greg’s an avid birder and will guide us in a walk from 10,000 Suns to downtown & back as we learn to slow down, look for, listen for, & identify the birds in our urban environment.

Date: September 15
Time: 6pm

Click here to register!

Group size is limited to 10. Please plan on bringing comfortable shoes, face masks, and binoculars (if you’ve got them).

The walk is free & open to the public.

Announcing: PVD Boundaries Project

PVD Boundaries Project is a collective action to walk the perimeter of Providence. It is a perambulation of the city’s geographical edge: a Providence fringe walk for the Providence Fringe Festival!

In May 2020, a small group of passionate walkers got curious about how each of us are relating to boundaries and borders.

These Fringe walks, about 2 miles long on the city’s western edge, will be guided and in small groups (15 or fewer). After Fringe, the Project will of course remain alive for anyone willing to make part of – or all of – the trek.

PVD Boundaries Project is an initiative of WalkPVD. Project organizers include C.J. Opperthauser, Traci Picard, and Sarah Zurier.

More details here.

Beg Buttons No More!

We have a bit of good news to share in the midst of this craziness: The City of Providence’s Department of Public Works, in order to reduce physical contact surfaces, made pedestrian signals temporarily automatic late last week. WalkPVD and its members, in response, wrote Facebook comments and sent in a formal letter urging the City to make this change permanent.

And here’s the kicker… they did it! Please see the announcement from the City below.

“Additional provisions, such as eliminating the need for manual activation of crosswalk buttons at city-maintained traffic signals, have been put in place to ensure safety and reduce contact with surfaces at high-traffic intersections and will be implemented permanently citywide. Moving forward, the pedestrian walk signal will be displayed automatically without the need to press the button at city-maintained traffic signals throughout the city.”

Thanks to everyone who helped write and edit. We’re glad our advocacy achieved a major goal and we’ll continue pushing for the cause.

Letter: Pedestrian Buttons

In response to the spread of COVID-19, the City of Providence’s Department of Public Works has recently converted a great many pedestrian signal buttons from manual to automatic, rendering the buttons themselves meaningless, and making the walk signal come with the green light.

In support of this, and in an effort to convert more of our signals across the city to be automatic, WalkPVD sent a letter to DPW voicing our appreciation of this move and our belief that it should be made permanent. To read that letter, click here.

Our members on Facebook also took the opportunity to respond to a post on this topic from the Department of Planning.