Over the past few months, we’ve had an increased volume and variety of conversations about the streets of Summit – traffic calming, parking enforcement, signage, and resident parking permits. Some of these (traffic calming Phase I) are done deals, and some (parking permits, further traffic calming) are long term discussions. But parking signage and enforcement are every day issues.

Several neighbors have reported problems with close-to-corner parking. Some folks have gotten tickets for parking too close to a corner, though it was not signposted. Others have complained that negotiating turns into and out of our side streets is difficult and dangerous due to vehicles parked right at the corner. Recently, a neighbor got into an accident due to an illegally parked vehicle “cramping a corner”.

 What corner hotspots do you know? What isn’t signposted or curb painted, but should be? Where do accidents or near misses happen? Comment on this post and lets see whether we have a big enough problem to take up with the powers-that-be.


Dan · August 7, 2006 at 3:56 pm

The reason people park on the sidewalk at at Seven Stars is becuase they can park partly on the sidewalk and partly in the parking lot and still leave room for people to park. I know Seven Stars has put up signs but some of their customers just don’t care. The city could put a parking enforcement officer on full time in the morning there and i think some people would still park there.

Seven Stars could easily nip this in the bud. Go to Home Depot. Purchase two (or three) five gallon buckets, three metal posts, an 80lb bag of concrete and some that yellow plastic chain. Every morning before they open they can put the concrete filled buckets and chain in place at the edge of the sidewalk and their parking lot. There would be no way that anyone would be able to park there without completely blocking the parking lot. A more beautiful approach might be some planters on casters that can be rolled into place and moved to their nice new patio when not needed.

Just eliminate the cause of the problem.

atear · August 4, 2006 at 4:22 pm

There are several groups that are in charge of ordinance enforcement in Providence. The ones which we’ve been discussing, traffic/parking and housing/zoning are the respective responsibilities of the Police dept and the Inspections and Standards (Building) dept.

The only “special force” example I know of are the Downtown Improvement District patrols, who address quality-of-place issues in downtown Providence. This force is funded by a contribution from the downtown retailers.

In general, I think the city has the mechanisms for enforcement, but not the resources.

I believe that speed bumps weren’t considered to be a desirable choice by the neighborhood when the first traffic calming project was completed, but I’ll let someone who was closer to the original project comment…

Karen · August 4, 2006 at 1:04 pm

Enforcement of existing ordinances–or lack thereof–seems to be a perennial problem in Providence. Maybe Providence needs a special ordinance and traffic-control force, separate from the police. It seems as though the revenue they would bring to city coffers through enforcement would pay their wages. Or does a group like this exist already?

The speed bumps (hills) on Smith Street seem to be effective in letting pedestrians cross between the State House and the office building opposite it. Would those work in the commercial area of Hope Street?

Karlo · August 1, 2006 at 2:33 pm

I concur with the four-way stop sign approach, particularly on 4th and Hope, an intersection I try to avoid, as it is hazardous for both drivers and pedestrians. Unlike police enforcement of parking violations, which may falter at some point, people tend to obey stop signs or at least slow down. The experience of Hope and Cypress is promising.

atear · June 1, 2006 at 9:53 pm

Email from John Bazik in response to traffic calming questions:

As far as I know, there is no plan to do any further traffic calming at this point. Our original study identified $2M in improvements, of which about a third have been completed. We always envisioned doing this in
phases, with a period of evaluation and public feedback in between.

When we chose our recommendations for the first phase, we deliberately left the commercial district out. Councilman Jackson funded the work with bond funds allocated to our ward. The Hope Street commercial district qualifies for other kinds of funding, so we felt, and he agreed, that
it’d be best to seek those out.

The bond funds are a remnant of the Cianci years, are twindling and unlikely to be renewed. Rita Williams just spent the last of hers on that island at the end of the Blvd.

Future traffic calming will depend on how well what we’ve done works, how much people like (or hate) it, and the availability of funding. Other neighborhoods see what we got, and are clamoring for projects of their own.

atear · June 1, 2006 at 9:52 pm

Neighbor email, posted for completeness:

I think that is a great idea. I realize the police can’t spend all their time ticketing, but if there is a pattern of strict enforcement at a particular location (such as 4th and Hope) the word gets out and maybe the merchant will post a sign to let people know the risk.

On the other hand, those of us who live in the neighborhood can also make the turn a block sooner; I know that corner, and I just don’t go that way.

atear · June 1, 2006 at 9:08 pm

Neighbor email, posted for completeness:

City Oridinance, Chapter 15, Section 15-2 states that parking within 25 feet of a corner is illegal. I don’t see the need to post a sign on every corner stating this law; it would cost a fortune to do so. The city just has to ticket these scofflaws mercilessly to get the point across. I might also add that the same ordinance prohibits parking on the sidewalk and parking with the left wheels to the curb (both common occurances at the bakery).

atear · June 1, 2006 at 9:06 pm

Neighbor email, posted for completeness: 

 I think in general parking too close to corner intersections is a problem. It impairs visibility. Every corner and intersection has the problem of cars having to turn blindly when parked cars block the view. If not being able to park so many feet (6? 10?) to corner isn’t a law, it should be. If it is, it needs to be better enforced, in my opinion.

atear · June 1, 2006 at 9:05 pm

Here are some comments received from neighbors by email, I’ve posted them here for completeness:

Here’s some feedback regarding traffic calming on Hope St. and in the business district.
It’s my impression — based on many morning dog walks — that the street narrowing at Hope and Overhill has not slowed down the traffic on Hope Street at all. If there were “Stop for Pedestrian” signs at that spot, the narrower roadway would make it easier for people to cross Hope Street, but even that is not in place.
A simple solution for some of the speeding on Hope Street would be to install additional 4-way Stop signs. One is clearly needed at 4th and Hope, as earlier postings have suggested. Another at Overhill and Hope or, perhaps better, at Eighth and Hope, would pace things.
The new one at Cypress and Hope is a good step and a good model to follow.
More prominent Stop for Pedestrian signs would be welcome at many intersections — and why not: we all love our cars, but one big advantage of living where we live is that we can walk to so many stores. It’s always a lark — not really — to get across Hope, and it’s very difficult for some of my elderly neighbors who can’t run.
Putting up clearer signs and marking the street accordingly would be a simple and not very costly step forward.

A less simple solution, which I found to be very effective on, for example, Lenox Ave on the south side, is speed bumps. They need not be the monsters like in front of the State House, but there are lots of speed bump options, including even temporary ones that could be moved from time to time to make motorists more alert to the need to
drive safely because of our side streets and pedestrians.

I hope some of those ideas can be put into the mix for the next round.

Elva Mathiesen · June 1, 2006 at 12:15 pm

It’s getting harder and harder for pedestrians to cross the street at the corner of Hope and Lauriston. I’m only 62 and nimble — I don’t see how elderly people do it. Drivers don’t stop for pedestrians any more. Anywhere. There’s no reason for people to stop (no teeth in the laws), so most of them don’t.

Once a car did stop for me, and as I was crossing, another car zoomed around to his left and almost got me.

Ben Hall · June 1, 2006 at 11:54 am

The intersections of Brewster and 4th and 6th often cause trouble. People coming up 6th and particularly 4th frequently assume they are coming to a 4 way stop, and make a short stop, then go on ahead. Coming along Brewster, I’ve been almost hit too many times to count.

Paul Aceto · June 1, 2006 at 6:27 am

Yesterday I was crossing Hope at Fourth to go to the CVS. When I was half way across, a car flew in front of me. I was standing in the crosswalk at the double median lines as the driver sped past. I was able to register my discontent with the driver as he passed withing inches of me. After getting my presecription, I recrossed Hope at the crosswalk. As I was at the halfway point, another car flew past me. He wasn’t even looking up. Had he bothered, he would have seen the large “Yield To Pedestrians In Crosswalk” sign.
Clearly, Yield and Speed Limit signs do no good. We need police presence to ticket these stupid b***ards before they kill someone. Hope street north and south of the commercial area are relatively open. This leads people to speed. The bumpouts on Hope have done nothing to slow traffic. I’d like to see several speed bumps on Hope between Rochambeau and Fifth.

Roberta Winkleman · May 31, 2006 at 6:22 am

I have a problem with people parking on the sidewalk in front of Seven Stars Bakery. Twice, I almost got knocked down by a car backing out of a parking space. Isn’t it illegal to park on the sidewalk? These people don’t care. We need signs up there that says no parking, the fine it will be, and policemen who drive up and down the street giving out tickets.

Roberta Winkleman

Thomas Schmeling · May 30, 2006 at 9:58 pm

The entrance to the strip mall. Cars get bunched up in the entrance and the problem backs out into the street. I’ve seen a couple of close calls there recently.

Moshe Golden · May 30, 2006 at 9:47 pm

Hi – I live near the intersection of Rochambeau and Hope Streets. I also wait for the bus each morning on Hope St. at Rochambeau.

3 of the 4 approaches to that intersection are marked “no turn on red from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM”. I’m not sure if all 4 are supposed to have the sign. It seems that many people either don’t see the signs – or don’t care. This can be annoying, but also quite dangerous when crossing at the intersection with small children.

Another issue are the people that park in the morning in front of the coffee shop – 727 Hope St. Many times while waiting for the bus, I see people park past the sign that says how close they can park to the corner. I have seen cars actually jut out into Rochambeau. I have seen many close calls due to people not being able to see over the illegally parked cars. I understand that people don’t want to walk 2 blocks to get a cup of coffee, but it does get dangerous.

One other unrelated item, many of the “road narrows” signs before the new curbs, are blocked by tree branches with leaves. This wasn’t an issue last fall and winter, but is now that there are leaves on the trees. I believe it is that way on Rochambeau going towards Hope Street going west (near Lorimer) and going east (near Summit).

Thank you

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