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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Miles of New Sidewalks, and Empty Stores

Warren, Rhode Island, has new sidewalks from the center of town down Rte 103 to the Massachusetts border, almost two miles away.  Thanks to the Stimulus Plan.

I have driven that road hundreds of times, and also have cycled the route many times.

I never noticed any particular problem with the sidewalks.  I also almost never noticed anyone using the sidewalks, particularly once you leave the very center of town. 

The road is a local main road, not exactly a walk in the park.  But there are new sidewalks as far as the eye can see. 

I'm sure that the people who built the sidewalks are happy, as are the concrete companies.  The people who live on the road also must feel fortunate to be the beneficiary of federal largesse.

But now that the project is almost over, the jobs will disappear.  No long term economic activity was stimulated.

Warren, Rhode Island, also has plenty of empty storefronts.  The sidewalks will not change that, and neither will the Stimulus Plan.

Update:  A RI Dept. of Transportation stimulus proposal (at p. 6) from 2009 lists the total projected cost of the sidewalks as $600,000 for the in town portion (0.2 miles), and $2.5 million for the 2.2 miles to the Massachusetts border.
Related Posts:
Cash For Clunkers Rear Ends Rhode Islanders
Is Anyone Counting "Jobs Destroyed or Averted"?
Obama's Infrastructure Plan Is A Road To Nowhere

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  1. And the orange cone companies as well. They seem to have plenty to waste; all just sitting there long after the project is over.

  2. FWIW, on _Sunday_, July 4, there was a crew repainting that portion of Boston's Freedom Trail leading directly to the USS Constitution site. I don't begrudge the workers their double time+--but there did seem to be something wrong with the picture from the point of view of bang for the stimulus buck. . .

  3. The folks in town will be happy with the sidewalks until they have to start repairing them after a few seasons. That cost won't be insubstantial.

  4. lists the total projected cost of the sidewalks as $600,000 for the in town portion (0.2 miles), and $2.5 million for the 2.2 miles to the Massachusetts border.

    Good citizens can earn extra points by researching and publishing the final contract cost that was paid for those sidewalks. That's the only way to see how stimulated the community really got.

  5. Don't road/sidewalk construction projects in business districts tend to increase business for the road crews while decreasing business for the brick and mortar businesses? It seems to happen where I live that one year they redo a section of road, the next year redo sidewalks, the next year rebuild the bridge on the section of road repaired a few years ago. And to add to the established businesses woes, the local radio and tv stations advised motorists to avoid going through my small city because of the construction.

    In some areas we do need the repairs/replacements, but I wonder why they can't seem to do it all at once?

    Another example of the broken window, people focus on what is seen, and not what is unseen. Many sidewalks are not used as much as the time property owners spend maintaining them (snow removal, sweeping, picking up trash, repairing)

  6. According to the Contracts Awarded document (link below), the project was awarded to Narragansett Impr. for $551,767.58. So it's a little less than the projected cost of $600,000.

    Unfortunately they're just not a quick fix for everything. It's disappointing to hear that this is happening all over the nation, not just in Warren.