6 Ideas That Have Emerged from The Comp Plan Meetings
There’s no Cranston Comp Plan meeting this week. Meetings about the Land Use element will resume on Wednesday, September 3. Meanwhile, here’s a short list of ideas that have emerged from the previous meetings. These ideas aren’t necessarily new, and some don’t necessarily fall within the structure of a comp plan, but here they are:
Acquire Contiguous Tracts of Open Space
Theoretically, the Pocasset River, Pawtuxet River and Furnace Brook area can be connected into a string of contiguous green space. These natural areas run in a boomerang shape across the entire city of Cranston, spanning virtually every ward. The potential is there to create city-wide bike and walking paths, as well as places to sit and enjoy the rivers.
Start Community Gardens on City-Owned Vacant Lots
A fantastic idea. This one met some resistance because of the amount of oversight needed to get a community garden program running. Many independent groups were identified as potential wardens. With the right people in charge, this could be a huge asset to the city.
Encourage the sharing of parking lots
If parking lots are shared by businesses, the minimum number of spaces needed to get Planning Department approvals can come down. This frees up space that can be used for greening the city’s asphalt deserts.
Enact a Demolition Ordinance
Apparently, not too long ago, the Sprague Mansion came close to getting demolished. Yeah, THAT Sprague Mansion. Since then, ordinances to enact a waiting period before the demolition of a historic structure have been proposed. I’m not exactly sure how old a building has to be in order to be “historic,” but in any case, all I can say is um, well, hello - pass this ordinance.
Develop the Pontiac and Elmwood Spur Bike Paths
Another fantastic idea. Bike paths are just great to have. They add immeasurably to the quality of life in the city and make neighborhoods more desirable. The comp plan calls for the “investigation” of the Pontiac and Elmwood spur abandoned rail corridors. “Investigation” sounds very non-committal for an action item. Hopefully the proper partnerships can be forged to move this goal forward.
Investigate a Commuter Rail or Light Rail Station and Associated Transit Oriented Development
A lot of “investigation” will be taking place in the coming years. This is a crucial part of an important state-wide transit initiative. The state has already conducted feasibility studies of a commuter rail station in the Wellington area. Rhode Island’s transportation needs to grow to meet the needs of today’s commuters, and the city of Cranston should do what it can to get cars off the road and provide commuting alternatives.