Come on down to Park and Gormley Ave in beautiful Island Park, Portsmouth. Spring is here, and Flo's is OPEN!
Once is circumstance, twice is coincidence, and three times — well, in this case, three heavy rainstorms and clear streets suggests that RIDOT has found a way to relieve the flooding problems that plagued Park Avenue in Island Park.
The photo above, taken this morning at 8am after hours of steady rain (and a few locally heavy downpours) shows the intersection of Park and Gormley with only minor puddles. I suspect this may have something to do with the backhoe I saw on the beach yesterday, clearing sand away from the outfalls.
Thanks to RIDOT, and to the folks who helped keep this on their radar by responding to my persistent nagging: Sen. Chris Ottiano, Rep. Jay Edwards, and Town Councilors Keith Hamilton, Mike Buddemeyer, and Jim Seveney. And kudos to the Portsmouth School District administration for relocating the bus stop to keep our kids safe and dry. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE!
OTOH, Paul "Transparancy" Kesson told me to file a complaint with RIDOT myself. And Council President Joe Robicheau, Vice-President Judi Staven, and Councilor Liz Pedro didn't respond at all. Neighbors here in IP should remember that next November.
The RI Dept of Transportation (RIDOT) will close the Escape Bridge (what they insist on calling the "Cove Bridge" until the second graf) in Island Park tomorrow, Friday, Nov 4, because "a recent inspection revealed deterioration significant enough to prompt RIDOT to close the span," the agency said in a press release today.
RIDOT had already awarded a bridge rehabilitation project for the Cove Bridge, which called for the total closure of the bridge during its rehabilitation. After consulting with the community, RIDOT chose to keep the bridge open during hurricane season as Hummocks Point Road is one of two roads that serve as evacuation routes for the Island Park area. Additionally, RIDOT did not want to close the bridge until all materials had been fabricated in an effort to minimize the duration of the closure. However, RIDOT must close the bridge earlier in light of the findings of the recent inspection.
With the early closure of the bridge, RIDOT will work with the contractor to commence construction operations as soon as possible. Through a $2 million contract with Cardi Corporation, RIDOT will replace the superstructure of the 50-year-old bridge. The bridge is expected to remain closed until late Spring 2012.
“Public safety is always our top priority,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. “We regret any inconvenience this early closure may cause. We will work to keep the community well-informed as the project progresses.”
Motorists will be directed to follow a detour using Park Avenue, Anthony Road and Boyds Lane. A detour map will be posted on RIDOT’s website (www.dot.ri.gov).
Those with questions can contact RIDOT’s Customer Service office at 401-222-2450 weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additional information will be available on RIDOT’s social media sites on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Blogger.
Editorial note: Written from a press release, mostly.
|Park Avenue looking normal.|
After last night's storm, Park Avenue in Portsmouth looks remarkably un-flooded. This is the second day of rain we've had since RIDOT cleaned drains and dug out trenches at the beach outflows, and, so far, it's two for two. Cautiously optimistic that we won't be trapped here once work on the Escape Bridge starts next month.
According to Rep. Jay Edwards (D-70) RIDOT Director Michael Lewis was personally informed of the Island Park flooding situation this morning by the head of Inter-Governmental Affairs Bernie Frezza. In a brief phone interview, Edwards said that Lewis has "committed to figuring out a solution," and understands the importance of Park Ave as an egress from Island Park, given the impending closure of the Escape Bridge for construction work.
Update 10pm: Sen. Chris Ottiano (R-11) reached out to let me know he would be in touch with RIDOT first thing in the morning to follow up. Thanks, Senator!
From: John McDaid
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Subject: Island Park flooding causing safety issues for residents and school children
Date: Tues, 04 Oct 2011 09:06:16 -0400
To RIDOT and the Portsmouth Town Council:
This morning, for the third time this school year, heavy rains flooded Park Ave in Island Park forcing some residents to use the Escape Bridge and making school buses alter their stops.
Here's a photo from today:
And a wider view for perspective:
Here's a set of photos with flooding incidents:
This situation was reported to the Council and DOT in September (http://www.torvex.com/jmcdaid/node/1708) and goes back at least two years (Channel 12 reported on it back in December of 2009: http://www.torvex.com/jmcdaid/node/1213). I know that DOT was in Island Park yesterday with the Town Administrator and Portsmouth DPW, but they did not see this situation.
Whatever the cause, I would appreciate it if the RIDOT could work to resolve this issue affecting the safety of Island Park residents and our children.
I'm cc'ing school Supt. Dr. Krizic and School Committee chair Cynthia Perrotti so that they're aware of the situation, and copying in local media and Rep. Jay Edwards and Sen. Chris Ottiano.
PS: To the press cc'd on this e-mail, all photos may be downloaded from Flickr and freely used; my contact information is below.
Update: 9:29 am Rep. Jay Edwards (D-70) e-mailed me saying he just called RIDOT and they said they are "on it" and will be providing an update by end of day. Thanks for the quick work, Jay!
Update: 9:50 am Town Councilor Keith Hamilton called to say that he had reached out to his contacts. He said he'd just talked with RIDOT yesterday when they were down on Park Ave assessing the situation and that they did see puddles left over from the rain on Saturday. Thanks for your help, Keith!
Full disclosure: I did something horrible to my car driving out through a puddle this morning, and I'm really annoyed.
Interim Town Administrator David Dolce sent an e-mail letting the Council and media know that he's working with the school department to move pickup and dropoff locations on Park Ave to avoid the flooded area.
Update: I received an e-mail from the Portsmouth School Department saying that they were working with the bus company to move the stop most directly affected by the flooding. Also got an e-mail from School Committee chair Cynthia Perrotti thanking me for the heads-up on the issue and saying that she would discuss with the Superintendent.
Rep. Jay Edwards (D-70) just sent an e-mail to report that he'd called his RI DOT contact, and they promised to check with the Portsmouth DOT facility and look into what could be done in the short term. Thanks, Jay!
Full disclosure: I am a member of the District 70 Democratic committee.
After my post this morning about flooding in Island Park, I received three communications from the Portsmouth Town Council. Keith Hamilton called me at home, expressed concern about the situation, and said that he had already called RI DOT to file a complaint and try to get some action.
Update: Councilor Mike Buddemeyer emailed to let me know he called a contact at RIDOT and sent him the the pictures so he could see the situation first-hand.
Update 2: Councilor Jim Seveney sent an e-mail after work saying that he was continuing to follow events. I didn't ask him to do anything, because by that point, I'd already received the note from Dolce saying that the bus location would be moved. But I appreciate — and suggest that my Island Park parents and neighbors remember — that we got support from Hamilton, Buddemeyer, and Seveney.
Paul "Transparancy" Kesson, on the other hand, replied by e-mail, attached below; my response to him follows.
Cc: Town Council
Subject: Re: Island Park flooding and school bus safety
Date: Thu, 08 Sep 2011 10:07:11 -0400
Thanks for your quick response and your suggestion; I have filed a complaint with RIDOT. Do I correctly infer from your e-mail that you expect citizens to deal with RIDOT without your assistance?
This seems out of character, given the Council's active role in other issues in Island Park where you have repeatedly stepped in between citizens and state agencies.
I must say that this response leaves me very dissatisfied.
Councilor Keith Hamilton, on the other hand, just phoned me to let me know that he had personally called RIDOT to file a complaint and try to get some action.
I'll let my neighbors in Island Park decide which of these responses they find more helpful.
On Thu, 2011-09-08 at 13:27 +0000, email@example.com wrote:
> This has been a problem at the area near the clamshack for over a year and
> I went to the RIDOT website and made a formal complaint. I also noticed RIDOT
> had their loader on the beach and dug out the Strom drains earlier this week.
> In the period after my contact RIDOT cleaned the manholes last spring there
> and at Sprague Street and. East Main Road.
> I would suggest you got to the RIDOT website under customer service and contact
> them again as another formal complaint.
> There was a formal complaint filed last week for the area at Dexter and East
> Main as all the water is going down I believe is Potomac and flooding yard
> and basements during a normal 3 day rain.