The city and RIPTA have identified the West Route as the preferred Core Connector (aka Streetcar) route after public meetings and consultations with neighborhood groups and area businesses and institutions.
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A potential new transit route through Providence’s downtown core has been identified, connecting the Hospital District in Upper South Providence with Downtown and College Hill. Both streetcar and enhanced bus transit are now being studied as future modes of service along this route.
This milestone in the Core Connector study was achieved by evaluating a range of possible paths for their ability to meet project goals and key performance measures (see summary here). Members of the public were able to weigh in at a December Public Forum and at more than a dozen meetings with businesses, institutions and neighborhood groups along the corridor. Information continues to be gathered along three segments of this route:
- Along Dudley Street in Upper South Providence, where new streetcar or bus service could terminate in the vicinity of Women & Infant’s Hospital or closer to Prairie Avenue.
- Through the Jewelry District, where more engineering review is needed to identify the best way to traverse the narrow streets of this emerging Knowledge District.
- Between Kennedy Plaza and the Train Station, where a mix of modes will be considered to determine the best means of connecting rail passengers and others living, working and shopping in Capital Center.
After an initial screening process to compare the benefits and costs of three route options and hearing feedback from the public, the Technical Working Group, key institutions, and stakeholder groups, RIPTA and the City feel that the West Route is the best option for Core Connector service. This route will now undergo further analysis.
Why was this route selected?
This route was selected out of three route options that were initially studied because it:
- Serves the most attractions, activity centers, existing businesses, cultural destinations, and neighborhoods while promoting future development
- Serves the most redevelopable/currently vacant land (nearly 50 acres of vacant or underutilized land sits ready for development within the study area of Downcity, Capital Center, the Jewelry District, and the Hospital District)
- Is the most intuitive of all the route options, providing an easily understood transit service for residents, workers, and visitors to the area
- Provides the best options for future extensions west of Downtown
- Provides the best opportunity for the development of a Downtown transit corridor on Washington and Empire streets and the best connections to RIPTA’s planned Rapid Bus route
- Has the fewest potential environmental impacts for hazardous materials and historic properties
- Relatively narrow streets, on-street parking, and close buildings encourage pedestrian activity and relatively low automobile speeds. This type of street is conducive to the pedestrian orientation of a transit circulator.
- Provides the best opportunity to develop a downtown transit corridor along Washington and Empire streets, integrating with both Rapid Bus and local bus service
- Serves the most activity centers by reaching the western half of Downcity
- Provides a logical connection for extensions to the West End at the intersection of Washington and Empire streets
- Provides the most intuitive route, enhancing the passenger friendliness of the route
- A slightly longer travel path through the western part of Downcity may require slightly more infrastructure and may add one to two minutes to transit service between College Hill and Upper South Providence