For nine months now, Philadelphia’s awesome new public space “The Porch” has been flying under the nation’s livable streets radar.
Installed next to 30th Street Station as part of a larger PennDOT undertaking, the project reclaimed asphalt from cars and devoted it to people. The Porch provides a great place to meet up, and it shows what American cities can achieve at major transit hubs when they strive to create great public spaces.
The planners of The Porch looked to New York City’s Times Square for inspiration, and there might be something for NYC to learn in return as the city considers transforming parts of Vanderbilt Avenue outside Grand Central Terminal into pedestrian spaces.
Philadelphia’s experiment is worth checking out, I remember the main train station there just surrounded by lots of traffic. But I have seen the success of New York’s experiment narrowing Broadway and similar projects in Paris. What about Providence? Our main transit hub, Kennedy Plaza, does have a non-profit trying to make that area a great public square (thus beer garden, music, farmers market etc) but being a bus hub makes it tricky. Some plans for “disbursing” the buses around the area risk making it tougher for passengers for transferring, indoor shelter, information, bathroom access, and raises security concerns. But a few of us from RIPTA riders went to meet with the Greater Kennedy Plaza folks and they are open to suggestions on how to mitigate those potentially negative effects for passengers while building up the Plaza. I hope folks at GCPVD will pay attention to these design issues and offer suggestions.
Are there other suitable locations in PVD to take back from cars, even part-time? Thayer St? Roger Williams Park??
Thayer St or Westminster St come to mind. I can see either being like Burlington’s Church St. Allow cars on the side streets. At this point Thayer is probably more suitable.