Greater City Providence

Don’t repave Kennedy Plaza again

Kennedy Plaza Repaving Project

Kennedy Plaza, October 2009

ProJo reports this morning that new RIPTA CEO Charles Odimgbe has informed the RIPTA Board that parts of Kennedy Plaza will need to be repaved, again.


You may remember it was only the fall of 2009 that we last repaved Kennedy Plaza at a cost of $1.4 million. Odimgbe says the repaving was done wrong and there should have been concrete pads under the paving at the bus bays to support the weight of the buses. I agree with this and am glad that Mr. Odimgbe sees that this is the right way to do it. Too bad he wasn’t on the job in 2009 to tell everyone they were doing it wrong.

Odimgbe proposes redoing the paving at the bus bays, with the needed concrete pads, as they fail and as money is available. I say stop!

A lot of thought has been going into the future of Kennedy Plaza. How we should balance open space, transportation, and commerce in the plaza. These plans had some endorsement from the previous mayor and it remains to be seen how the current mayor feels about them. Certainly Mayor Taveras has a full plate and has likely not yet given too much thought to the Plaza, even though it sits right outside his office window. But let us not repave the plaza again before we know where the buses will be in 5 or 10 years.

The Planning Department is working on a downtown traffic circulation system that should see several major streets turned from one way to two way flow, including streets within the Plaza area, which will allow us greater flexibilty in moving buses out of the center of the Plaza. Let us finalize and then fund those plans, and then determine where, when, and how the area streets need to be built or rebuilt to support buses.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • Jef,
    Do you have any maps, info pages, etc… regarding the new/proposed circulation patterns. Curious and excited!

  • I keep not getting around to posting about it, but the Providence Tomorrow Downtown Plan has some maps:

    Weybosset and Empire are pretty much a sure thing to be switch to two-way. Sabin, Exchange Terrace, and Dorrance in front of the Biltmore are other streets that may be made two-way.

  • I was at the meeting, the CEO indiated the pavement failures will start requiring action within months, so perhaps there is not time to await KP final design.

    There are a lot of issues about the Plaza, one being the proposal to “disburse” buses all around the Plaza which may mean some passengers may have a harder time transferring, getting schedules and other info, being near security, a heated building, bathrooms, … My observation is that passengers were not much involved (never any notices) in all the “conversations” about the Plaza, and as far as I know, neither were the drivers. Thus will bear watching.

    Seems like more 2-way streets is a good idea, Pawtucket is considering this too.

  • I do not agree that we need to repave so soon after its recent revamp. However, the last disbursement of busses in and around Kennedy Plaza during the 2009 paving made for a better urban experience in adjacent plaza areas such as Exchange Terrace, Washington and Sabin Streets. It brought more life to these rather vacant city streets, slowed traffic and temporarily unclogged Kennedy Plaza itself.

    If we’re going to spend the monies repaving we may as well go forward with the plan to revamp the entire plaza as envisioned by Friends of Greater Kennedy Plaza, etc.

    If we want and/or need a bus terminal, then build a terminal somewhere near the train station or Jewelry / “Knowledge” District. Otherwise, I don’t think every stop needs its own restroom or to be fully heated.

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