City, Brown University announce plans to improve Thayer district

A miniature park near the Brown Bookstore on Thayer Street and wider sidewalks are among the improvements slated for the area over the next six months, according to the city, Brown University and two neighborhood management groups. More

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economic development

City, Brown University announce plans to improve Thayer district

COURTESY CITY OF PROVIDENCE
PROVIDENCE MAYOR ANGEL TAVERAS and Brown University President Christina H. Paxson announced plans Tuesday to revitalize the Thayer Street district with a miniature park, wider sidewalks and landscaping. Above, a rendering of what the proposed 'parklet' could look like.
Posted 5/6/14

(Updated, 2:25 p.m.)

PROVIDENCE – A miniature park near the Brown Bookstore on Thayer Street and wider sidewalks are among the improvements slated for the area over the next six months, according to the city, Brown University and two neighborhood management groups.

Mayor Angel Taveras, Brown President Christina H. Paxson and representatives of the Thayer Street Management District Association and the College Hill Neighborhood Association announced the planned improvements Tuesday at a gathering on the southwest corner of Thayer and Waterman streets.

The city will spend $10,000 to build the “parklet” on the street in front of the bookstore. Funding for the rest of the projects will be shared by the city, Brown, and the Thayer Street Management District, Taveras and Paxson said in an embargoed press release.

Brown will widen sidewalks in front of City Sports and Blue State Coffee, properties the university owns, and plant trees along Thayer Street. The school also will place outdoor furniture in front of the bookstore and the Granoff Center for the Arts, and help clean up Fones Alley by making space for a trash compactor.

The Thayer Street District Management Association will pay to maintain the parklet and install new trash containers and a trash compactor.

Curb bump-outs and other measures aimed at improving the flow of pedestrian and vehicle traffic also will be put in place.

Although a rendering provided by the city appears to show the parklet taking up parking spaces on the street, a city spokesperson said the park and sidewalk bump-outs are “designed to minimize parking impacts” and that “five or fewer” parking spaces will be impacted by the plan.

Thayer Street, a popular commercial district, attracts tourists, visitors and area residents with its restaurants and retail establishments bordering the university campus. The planned improvements took shape following an 18-month analysis of the district by the city’s Department of Planning and Development. Brown funded the study, which was conducted with feedback from neighborhood stakeholders and institutions.

In prepared remarks, Taveras said the public and private collaboration will make the suggestions that emerged from the study “a reality.”

“Thayer Street is a thriving and attractive place that is full of potential,” added Paxson. “The university, the city and the Thayer Street merchants have been working together for a long time to keep it healthy and growing, and the future looks bright. We are all eager to see these new measures take shape.”

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