Thames & Spring Streetscape Improvements Project

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the definition of the project area?
What is this project going to result in?
Who should get involved?
How is my input going to be used for this project?
What if I can’t attend public events?
What happens next?
Who can I contact for more information?
Learn About Placemaking and Streetscape Design

What is the definition of the project area?

On Thames Street: Memorial Boulevard West to Morton Avenue

On Spring Street: Memorial Boulevard West to Morton Avenue

What is this project going to result in?

This phase of the project will create a conceptual plan for streetscape and transportation improvements along Thames Street and Spring Street. Specifically, this will include:

  • Corridor designs that enhance the image and experience of Thames and Spring Streets
  • Pedestrian safety alternatives at existing crosswalks
  • Improvements at the Wellington Avenue/Thames Street intersection
  • Historic lighting feasibility study
  • On-street parking for vehicles and bicycles
  • Bicycle improvements to make the two roadways more “bicycle-friendly”
  • Drainage improvements which could include green technologies like biorention swales, pervious pavement, etc.

Who should get involved?

Everyone! Meaningful and broad-reaching public engagement is a critical component of this project. The City has engaged two firms with extensive expertise in community engagement that allows everyone to participate, including: public workshops, innovative visualization tools, social media, virtual participation tools (EngageNewport). Please continue to monitor this website for important updates and resources related to this project.

How is my input going to be used for this project?

The consultant team will facilitate interactive exercises in-person and online to collect crucial information on assets and challenges along Thames and Spring street that they can then use to identify patterns of use and design that can be replicated in other areas, as well targeted places where there’s a need for change and transformation. In addition to identifying the assets and challenges, community members will be asked to begin developing solutions on design, programming, management and partnerships that can be put into place in the project area. All of this feedback will be used by the consultant team, City and Advisory Committee to create concepts that can be vetted by community members and stakeholders to determine the best overall conceptual plan and preliminary design for the streetscape improvements.

What if I can’t attend public events?

That’s ok! We recognize that not everyone can attend a public meeting due to work and personal commitments. This project was designed to have a strong online presence by using this website, social media and MindMixer. MindMixer is a virtual engagement tool that allows participants to have a two-way conversation about a project. Participants can react to topics that are posed, including interactive mapping activities, and then have a conversation with their fellow participants about their feedback. Each participant gets points for their feedback and interactions with others. Leave your feedback through the EngageNewport website.

In addition to holding public workshops, the consultant team will also be conducting targeted stakeholder meetings with residential and commercial property owners, local committees, City staff, and other relevant organizations. For more information about those meetings, please contact Sharon Penny, Department of Public Services for the City of Newport.

What happens next?

See project schedule for next steps and major milestones.

Who can I contact for more information?

Bill Riccio, P.E., Director of Public Services, 401.845-5841 ~ wriccio@CityofNewport.com

Learn About Placemaking and Streetscape Design

What is placemaking?

What is a streetscape?

The visual elements of a street including the road adjoining buildings street furniture trees and open spaces etc., that combine to form the street's character (Wiktionary)

What is a Complete Street?

According to Smart Growth America, “Complete Streets are streets for everyone. They are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. People of all ages and abilities are able to safely move along and across streets in a community, regardless of how they are traveling. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work. They allow buses to run on time and make it safe for people to walk to and from train stations.”

Stormwater Management

Stormwater, or urban water runoff, plays a significant role in our communities. Impervious surfaces created by buildings and pavement cause rainwater to flow over land and into our water bodies quickly, rather than soaking naturally into the soil or being absorbed by plants. This runoff carries pollutants like oil, heavy metals, pesticides and pet waste directly into our waterways or into the groundwater. This can impact them significantly by changing stream flows, increasing flooding, eroding stream banks and channels, and destroying fish habitat. It can also jeopardize private and public infrastructure, like our roadways and wastewater treatment plants. Stormwater is being managed throughout the country through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System stormwater management program. Rhode Island communities are implementing best management practices like reduced impervious surfaces, bioswales, and rain barrels to minimize and treat runoff at the source.  

Low Impact Development

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, Low Impact Development (LID) is an “approach to land development (or re-development) that works with nature to manage stormwater as close to its source as possible.” LID principles treat stormwater as a resource and work to mimic natural systems by allowing for rainwater to be treated and infiltrated where it falls. Principles include: bioretention facilities, rain gardens, green roofs, rain barrels, and pervious pavement.

Green Streets

Using the Complete Streets approach (see above) communities are applying ecological principles to make our transportation networks more sustainable. This approach is basically Complete Streets meets Low Impact Development.

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Project Contact

Sharon A. Penny, Executive Assistant - Public Services, City of Newport - Phone: 401-845-5840 | Email