Open Letter to Governor Raimondo

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We’ve recently been hearing some positive signals from Governor Raimondo about the 6-10 Connector, and we’ll continue to work with her administration to advocate for the best solution for this multifaceted project. Today we sent her an open letter, drafted in collaboration with local elected officials who care about how this corridor interacts with the neighborhoods it goes through.

As stated below in the cover letter, the open letter was drafted before some of the more recent positive developments from the Governor’s office. The letter still reflects some of our perspectives, and a one-week delay of the project deadline is not much, but we do appreciate the extent to which the State and the City may be coming to consensus on an innovative and connective vision for this project.

Additionally, there is a petition at the bottom of this post that we still encourage you to sign onto if you have not already done so.

Cover Letter

2 November 2016

Dear Governor Raimondo:

Together with our elected officials, we present the attached open letter that was written on October 20 to you and to Director Peter Alviti. Since drafting the letter and gathering signatures from elected officials and neighbors, the Fix the 6-10 Working Group has learned that you have extended the timeframe in which the City of Providence and RIDOT may come to a solution-focused plan for reimagining and rebuilding the 6-10 Connector. We would hereby like to acknowledge our appreciation of this extension and your continued meetings that show your willingness to work with the City.

We are pleased to hear that the Rhode Island Department of Transportation and the City of Providence have been meeting regularly and that progress is being made on fine tuning the Utile plan. As you can see from the attached letter, our elected officials also support this collaborative approach.

We are grateful that the concurrent efforts of both the City of Providence and the State of Rhode Island are coming together and moving in a positive direction for the future of our communities and the region as a whole. On behalf of the Fix the 6-10 Working Group, thank you for your leadership and encouragement towards a collaborative process.

Sincerely,

Fix the 6-10 Working Group

Open Letter

October 20, 2016

Governor Raimondo:

This letter is submitted by elected officials* Senator Jabour, Senator Ciccone III, Senator Metts, Senator Lombardi, Representative Lombardi, Representative Williams, Representative Almeida, Representative Ajello, Representative Regunberg, Representative Diaz, Representative Blazejewski, Council Majority Leader Principe, Council President Pro Tempore Matos, Council President Aponte, Councilman Yurdin, Councilwoman Harris, Councilwoman Castillo, and the Fix the 6-10 Coalition. We, the undersigned, are writing to you regarding the future of the Routes 6 & 10 in Providence, RI. As you know, these roads are broken: both structurally deficient and failing the surrounding neighborhoods and regional commuters.

We understand your announcement last month to “fast track” improvements to the 6-10 Connector – public safety is a paramount concern for all involved. The 6-10 Connector, and its many bridges, have suffered from decades of neglect leading to the current situation where they are held up by temporary supports. However, we believe that rebuilding the Connector “as is” would be a major lost opportunity for the City and State to improve transportation infrastructure, reduce long-term maintenance burdens, enhance public health and the environment, and strengthen the low-income, minority communities which surround it.

As you are aware, at several of the RIDOT and Providence Planning Department-sponsored events this year citizens of Cranston, Johnston, and the Providence neighborhoods of Olneyville, West End, Federal Hill, Silver Lake, Hartford, Valley, and Smith Hill have expressed a strong desire for a change to the current design of the 6-10 Connector.

From a City-sponsored forum this Spring, we learned from numerous national and international examples what is possible when we re-examine our forgotten transportation corridors with people-centered urban design and an openness to innovation. Whether unearthing our lost rivers to re-ignite the heart of the city or moving a highway to open up opportunities for new economic growth, Providence and Rhode Island have a history of doing big, innovative infrastructure projects.

While the proposed solutions may vary, there is broad consensus that the 6-10 Connector can do far more for its surrounding communities while offering a more pleasing and effective commute for those who live farther outside the city. It can be reimagined as a thoroughfare that better integrates public life with the promise of dynamic urban spaces, new development opportunities, well-integrated and sustainable means of transport, and revitalized neighborhoods. The opportunity at this moment is not only to address immediate public safety needs, but–in the words of Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza–to “transform the heart of the City.”

Governor Raimondo – please stop the fast tracking of the 6-10 Connector! Please stop the current effort to replace the 6-10 in-kind and work with the cities of Providence, Cranston, Johnston, and their citizens to build a better future for the 6-10 and its surrounding communities!

As you know, the City of Providence and the Providence Planning Department have committed to facilitating a public process that includes an alternative design for the 6-10 Connector developed with the consultant Utile Design. We issue this public letter in support of these efforts:

  • The undersigned hereby fully endorse the public process begun by the City of Providence to meaningfully integrate the ideas and concerns of affected stakeholders and invite the State to more actively engage in that process.
  • The undersigned support the Utile Plan released on October 3rd and the commitment to continue to improve the proposed plan by incorporating public feedback from citizens in Providence and surrounding communities.
  • The undersigned also endorse a “multi-track” plan that allows the State to address immediate safety needs while replacing the connector with an improved design, within a defined, annual budget. Temporary shoring over the next year to ensure the State gets a positive return on investment is money well spent.

Make no mistake–this is a pivotal moment in the history of our state and its capital city. Any work on the 6-10 Connector will have a lasting impact on the City of Providence and the region. The question is whether this project will leave a legacy of divided communities, long-term maintenance costs, environmental injustices, depressed property values, and long-term health outcomes for those adjacent to the highway. Or could it help shape a future that includes fiscal sustainability, economically and socially vibrant communities, healthy, safe, and environmentally-conscious means of transportation, and dynamic public spaces?

The citizens of Providence and its surrounding communities, as well as the members of this coalition, would be delighted to work with you and your designated representative, as well as the City of Providence, to take advantage of this amazing opportunity.

Sincerely,

Senator Paul V. Jabour, District 5, Providence
Senator Frank A. Ciccone, III, District 7, Providence, North Providence
Senator Harold M. Metts, Deputy President Pro Tempore, District 6, Providence
Senator Frank S. Lombardi, Deputy Majority Leader, District 26, Cranston

Representative John J. Lombardi, District 8 Providence
Representative Anastasia P. Williams, District 9, Providence
Representative Joseph S. Almeida, Co-Chair Providence Delegation, District 12, Providence
Representative Edith A. Ajello, District 3, Providence
Representative J. Aaron Regunberg, District 4, Providence
Representative Grace Diaz, Democratic Caucus Chair, Deputy Chair House HEW, District 11, Providence
Representative Christopher R. Blazejewski, Deputy Majority Whip, District 2, Providence

Councilman Bryan Principe, Majority Leader, Ward 13, Providence
Councilwoman Sabina Matos, Council President Pro Tempore, Ward 15, Providence
Councilman Luis A. Aponte, Council President, Ward 10, Providence
Councilman Seth Yurdin, Ward 1, Providence
Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris, Ward 11, Providence
Councilwoman Carmen Castillo, Ward 9, Providence

And the Fix the 6-10 Working Group

Petition