Greater City Providence

News & Notes

Mass. buys more South Coast rail tracks [PBN]
Gov. Patrick pledges to have rail service running between New Bedford/Fall River and Boston by 2016.

The UnCaucus schedules a series of one-on-one coffees with the mayoral candidates

Northeast Corridor High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Planning
Eleven Northeast states from Maine to Maryland, with close support from Amtrak and the Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG), submitted a multi-state proposal requesting that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) lead a planning effort to further define the role that intercity and high-speed passenger rail can play in helping improve the region’s transportation network, expand capacity, relieve highway and aviation congestion, and stimulate sustainable economic growth along the Northeast Corridor (NEC).

Spotlight on the World Cup: Transit in Durban and Pretoria [The City Fix]

New report shows biking and walking gains [The Fast Lane Blog]

What Would It Take to Fully Invest in the Northeast Corridor? [The Transport Politic]

Greater City Providence

Promoting the smart urban growth of the Greater Providence region.


  • The track purchase for the South Coast Commuter Rail line is great for Boston, Fall River, and New Bedford, although Fall River and New Bedford would be isolated by rail to each other.

    A Providence, Fall River, and New Bedford connection would have a greater impact on the immediate south coast region (Buzzards and Narragansett Bays). The links between the three cities, all very close together, are all too reliant on 195 and cars. As a metro region the three cities are conspicuously poor, which may in part be the result of a lack of public transit to connect them.

    A variety of reasons make it nearly impossible to re-establish the old Providence-Fall River rail line. A cheaper more contemporary approach might be to develop a rapid bus line using the center of 195 in Massachusetts. Stations could be periodically located in the suburbs in the wide island of 195 and in New Bedford and Fall River use city streets. On the Rhode Island side city streets could be used in East Providence, maybe route 6, and in Providence use 195 to the Wickenden Street exit to get to Downtown or alternately the East Side Rail Tunnel, though the tunnel would be better used for rail at a later time. A limited number of stops could be located in the three cities.

    Light rail would be preferable to rapid bus, but would be much more costly and likely take a decade or more to plan and implement. Rapid bus could almost immediately be established and permanent suburban stations could be added following an initial rollout of the system. Initially stops could be established at suburban exits. Suburban interchanges usually have a lot of land for surface or structured parking.

    Establishing an interstate transit authority could form the legal foundation to create a system. The Rhode Island and Massachusetts congressional delegation might find it easier to find federal funding because a rapid bus system is a pretty cheap transit system. The system would create a central transit spine that would unify roughly half of the 1.6 million people in the metro area. Later extensions could be added to the Cape and to New London or Norwich or later a Providence to Taunton line.

Providence, RI
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