Greater City Providence

Michael Bloomberg, New York City Mayor

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.


  • I like the site work you’ve done lately. This post type is like something you’d see on Tumblr (in a good way).

  • as an exprovidencian and current brooklynite, I have mixed feelings on bloomberg’s often authoritarian managerial status. However his commitment to public transit and public health are unquestioned. he is presiding over the first real expansion in the city’s transit options since the era of the second world war. some of the more subtle changes are building more transfer options between different lines, relieving stress at larger hubs and increasing the ease of travel.

    i love providence, i want the city you can walk across in an hour to have a legitimate, efficient, visually pleasing, and popular system. hearing stories of my family taking a trolley from their silver lake home to work in olneyville, or downtown make me jealous.

  • “Free” transit would save the cost of collection, and the worry about the security camera in the money room!
    The transit problem in cities such as Providence is that it is competing with so much “free” parking that choice riders who can afford cars find it easy to use them. Thus there generally isn’t enough demand to justify more transit service, thus making it even harder to get choice riders to use transit. It will take a politician with the will and resources of a Bloomberg to do much to break that depressing cycle.
    But that said, there is pretty good service on quite a few RIPTA lines, better than most non-users think it is, and perhaps advocacy efforts to get more people to ride can also help reverse that cycle.

  • Wouldn’t free transit put us right back where we started with regards to concerns over sprawl?

    I mean, imagine a world in which you could go anywhere on the East Coast and pay $0 to do that. What incentive do you have to elect to live inside a dense city, as opposed to hopping on a train and ‘riding until you qualify’ – going from stop to stop down the line until you end up somewhere you can afford to buy or build a house that’s walkable to the train station?

    Sure, it’s better than having people driving, but not by much.

  • “A house that’s walkable to the train station” out in the country, with reasonably frequent (free!) service to the city is unlikely to be more affordable than houses in the city itself. If commuter parking is limited and expensive, development will cluster at stations, and that is not sprawl.

  • Andrew: I disagree. Proximity to transit and nothing else, save perhaps the essentials of living (ie a supermarket) doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that would force prices up relative to cities. No, just the opposite, you’d get “Affordable Living at Wherever Station Village!” and a bunch of people flying out of the city to live there.

    I mean, if you could take $300 or $400 off the top of your rent and not have to pay that back in transit fares, why wouldn’t you?

  • Runaway Jim: I’d like to think so, but I’m not so certain that we wouldn’t ever see any kind of nearly-pure or even pure residential development crop up around a (free) frequent transit station, especially if it developed as I expected it to – where, like the current auto sprawl, emphasis would be placed on a 10/15/30/X minute hassle-free ride into the city.

  • OK let’s do it Ryan’s way. In-city buses, subways and streetcars are free but commuter rail is not.

  • Andrew: I’d be on board with that. That seems like it’d work pretty well, actually.

  • Here’s something to consider regarding RIPTA monthly passes. I recall 20 years ago I was paying $13 for a monthly pass. Now they’re $62!

    With the near ubiquitous nature of EZ-Pass there should be congestion charges for bringing vehicles into the city core.

Providence, RI
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