Seventeen years ago, Providence Place mall opened up downtown, in the Capital Center District, where an exit ramp from Route 95 meets Francis Street and continues on as Memorial Boulevard. Ever since then, too many pedestrians have endangered their lives by crossing at the end of the ramp where there is no crosswalk. Planners expect them instead to cross Francis, then cross Memorial, then cross Francis again to reach the mall.
If I were a pedestrian I would feel dissed. Why make me go all that extra way around to reach the shopping mall? Why not let me cross from Point A to Point B instead of forcing me to add A-to-C, C-to-D and D-to-B to my itinerary? Even this intersection’s No. 1 fan (me) is not so enthralled by its curiously attractive architecture – except for GTECH, which is thankfully hidden in the view above – as to covet extra footsteps to look at it.
So now the planners are finally going to solve the problem. The Providence Journal’s John Hill, in today’s article “No Thru Here,” describes how. Not with common sense, not by implementing the solution that’s been staring them in the face for 17 years, but by trying harder to block the shortcut near Fleming’s Steakhouse with even more concrete planters.
It’s not as if the ramp is too short for drivers to stop in time. There is plenty of room. No problem. It is not squaring a circle but squaring a square.
This sort of thing wakens the inner cynicism that these days sends voters into the arms of Trump. Why use a can of paint to solve a problem that can be solved with several hundred thousand dollars worth of concrete and steel designed by my aunt’s daughter-in-law’s infrastructure-supply firm, built by my barber’s son’s fabricating company, and installed by a road contractor owned by the second cousin of the top legislative assistant to my favorite politician? Will the landscaper of the Omni Hotel, who must be nephew to somebody, tend to the flowering dogwoods in the planters seasonally? Or will that job go to RIDOT?
Ah, Rogue Island!