Blackstone rebuffs bumps

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Blackstone Boulevard, in Providence. (

Joan Slafsky sent me word this morning of a response by the city to the neighborhood’s expression of unified dismay at its plan to put speed bumps on Blackstone Boulevard. Here is part of the city’s letter:

The City Traffic Engineering Division studied a number of options to calm traffic on Blackstone Boulevard in response to concerns raised by community members. A public meeting was held on Monday, December 14, 2015 to solicit feedback and gauge public support for their recommendations.

After analyzing data and collecting feedback from community stakeholders during the public hearing, the City will not be placing traffic calming devices – such as ‘speed bumps’ or ‘speed lumps’ – on or around the Boulevard.

It diminishes the action by the boulevard’s defenders not a jot to note that the city’s very thin wallet probably had even more to do with the result than the work of the defenders. But no! The city is perfectly willing to waste money by the bucket; the very high level of civic activism probably notified the city that the expense would be measured not just in dollars but in aggravation and heartburn among the planners as well.

Good work!

This may be the quickest turnaround in policy since Napoleon invaded Russia. Congratulations to the boulevard’s many neighbors, who now have reason for an extra jaunt in their step this holiday season.

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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3 Responses to Blackstone rebuffs bumps

  1. This was the dumbest proposal ever proposed! I have a traffic speeding issue in my neighborhood in Cranston – I don’t think anyone ever thought about traffic “lumps” – and I’ll be sure not to suggest it! For now, we’re doing the citizen police thing and turning in license plate numbers….can’t wait to see what the next East Side proposal is – this is getting to be a bit humorous…


  2. barry says:

    So nothing will be done to slow traffic?? Some reason indeed for an extra “jaunt” since all will have to hustle to walk across the boulevard!
    Faster traffic, and stop and go traffic is noisier. Where I live we have a plague of stop signs, which also wastes gas and adds to pollution as well as disrespect for traffic controls.
    I think traffic noise is ugly and hope that is figured into the traffic design in hopes of minimizing it.


    • Ah, Barry! There was little evidence presented by the city that there is a speeding problem. That may be because of the traffic calming steps taken seven years ago. They seem to have worked, though not to the degree some would like. Maybe only electric cars should be allowed on the boulevard. That would reduce traffic noise considerably, but safety purists might demand warning devices, maybe “The Ride of the Valkyries” to be blasted continually by each car in stereo, though I would prefer the “Ode to Joy.”


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