The City of Providence and RIPTA released a joint RFP [.pdf] this week for enhancements to pedestrian amenities in four of the city’s commercial corridors.
The City of Providence, in conjunction with the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) is seeking to hire a Consultant to assist in conducting six major tasks in order to enhance the experience of those traveling through four of the City’s major commercial corridors – Atwells Avenue and Charles, Cranston, and Smith streets. The consultant will work with the City and RIPTA to create unique, artistically designed bus shelters and other pedestrian amenities – such as landscaping, public art, trash receptacles, and bike racks – along each corridor. The new bus shelters and associated pedestrian amenities will reflect each corridor’s design and cultural heritage and will ultimately contribute to a cohesive visual identity for each of the four corridors. As both an art object and a transit amenity, the shelters will help to encourage the use of the public transit system and celebrate the unique identity of these important commercial, cultural, and historical corridors. The associated pedestrian improvements will further beautify the streetscape along each corridor. The City will consider both individual consultants and teams of consultants for this project and reserves the right to select individual consultants for each corridor
RIPTA describes their categories of bus stops:
RIPTA has categorized all existing bus stops within the metropolitan Providence area based on average daily passenger boardings, as follows:
- Regional Transit Centers (500+ daily boardings)
- Key Downtown Stops & Local Hubs (200-500 daily boardings)
- High Volume Stops (100-200 daily boardings)
- Medium Volume Stops (50-100 daily boardings)
- Low Volume Stops (less than 50 daily boardings)
Within the four project corridors, low volume stops generally serve only one route and are identified by a RIPTA bus stop sign only. Ideally, overhead illumination is also provided at these stops. Due to limited resources and the large number of stops in this category, no further amenities or improvements are recommended for low volume stops other than lighting and a new bus stop sign. Medium volume stops will receive a basic level of amenities including a sign with bus route number and map, a shelter and seating area, and a trash can. High volume stops within the four project corridors will receive those amenities plus a current system map with schedule information, a bike rack, landscaping, and public art. There are no regional transit centers or key downtown stops along the four project corridors
And the number of each kind of stop in each corridor breaks down as such:
|Study Corridor||Low Volume Stops||Medium Volume Stops||High Volume Stops|
Obviously there are many more details on the RFP [.pdf]
Some thoughts. First yay, I love pedestrian amenities. The City and RIPTA have $1.2 million for this project and according to the RFP, they want stuff being installed by next August. Yay again.
What I would want the consultant and designers to be very cognizant of is not putting form over function.
We discussed the shelter on Angell Street near Wayland Square and others. A bus shelter needs to protect the bus rider from the weather, offer them a place to sit, and give them information about the bus service to the stop while allowing people who are not waiting for the bus to safely and comfortably pass by. Some of the TransArt shelters don’t tick all those conditions off.
The same with bike racks, simple is often best. If bike racks are over designed you may end up with people wondering, ‘is that a bike rack?’ Or worse, deploying poorly functioning bike racks for the sake of art.
Also, please steer clear of clichÃƒÂ©s. The city wants the designs to reflect the heritage of the neighborhoods, but if the infrastructure installed on Atwells is all red, white, and green I truly will just die.
What kinds of pedestrian amenities would you like to see on the streets of Providence?