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RIPTA to relocate buses out of Kennedy Plaza to accommodate construction starting July 12, 2014

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From RIPTA:


RIPTA to Temporarily Relocate Bus Stops Out of Kennedy Plaza to Accommodate City of Providence Construction

All Routes Detoured Out of Kennedy Plaza Beginning Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) will temporarily relocate all bus stops out of Kennedy Plaza beginning Saturday, July 12, 2014 to accommodate City of Providence renovations of the Plaza. These renovations will create a large civic space, reorganize bus berth locations and improve pedestrian connections to and from the plaza. The work is expected to be complete Fall 2014. All routes will be slightly detoured to avoid entering Kennedy Plaza. Bus stops will be relocated to Exchange Terrace, Sabin Street, Exchange Street, Fountain Street and Steeple Street. Park N’ Ride service will be relocated from Exchange Terrace to Sabin St. but will continue to pick up passengers at other downtown locations. Peter Pan and Greyhound passengers will continue to load and unload at their current stop in front of the Kennedy Plaza Terminal.

Ticketing and other passenger amenities will remain open inside the Kennedy Plaza Terminal during the construction period. RIPTA’s Kennedy Plaza sales and information outlet will remain open during construction. Customers are advised to enter through the side door on the Fulton Street side, near City Hall.

RIPTA passengers can find information on temporary bus stop locations on signage in the Plaza, on RIPTA buses and on RIPTA’s website. Informational outreach teams will be distributing information in the Plaza to inform passengers about the changes and how construction will affect their bus service.

Specific detour information for Park N’ Rides and other major rerouting will be available online later this week.

For more RIPTA information, please call 401-781-9400 or visit ripta.com

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12 Responses to RIPTA to relocate buses out of Kennedy Plaza to accommodate construction starting July 12, 2014

  1. Mark Moreno July 8, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

    I am assuming that this is the plan for Kennedy plaza that Union Studio Architects helped design. I am very excited.

  2. barry July 9, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    It is sad that this anti-transit proposal is moving ahead after the Ripta Riders Alliance asked it be suspended until the next Mayor has a chance to evaluate it and we see if the supplemetal hubs (at the RR station and Garrahy Court House) are approved.

    It is anti-transit not just because passengers will be incovenienced during construction, but because of the resulting loss of 4 bus only lanes and 3 or 4 bus stop locations, thus slowing service. Many passengers will have their stops further away from transfers, indoor waiting, bathrooms, information, and security, apparently this will include the intercity bus passengers.

    There will still be 8 lanes for driving and parking cars, (including 3 eastbound auto routes across the Plaza as the city insisted on keeping Wshington St thru the center of the Plaza for through auto traffic, showing the idea of a pedestrian oriented zone is not serious) and there will still be just as many buses and bus passengers, though dispersed to all sides of Burnside Park. As a believer in cities, I might support all this if I thought it would help the city prosper, but I don’t see what good will this do for the city.

    A Channel 10 reporter on this story sugegsted removing ALL the buses from the plaza (apparently without suggesting an alternative or noting the need to pay back the Federal Transit investment in the Plaza), reflecting the view of the city power brokers that evidently don’t care about bus riders and see transit as an obstacle rather than an opportunity to capitalize on the one transportation advantage Providence has over all other RI locations.

  3. MP July 14, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

    This is dreadful. How does a transit agency call a location a transfer hub when a transfer involves up to a HALF MILE walk? It was bad enough when simply getting to the train station from most routes involved a quarter-mile walk or paying for a transfer.

    RIPTA has the opportunity to be forward thinking, yet takes great leaps backwards in implementation. The much-anticipated R-Line, touted for years as RIPTA’s first BRT, is really just the same route. No bus lanes, no prepayment, not even higher capacity buses. And it isn’t interlined through Pawtucket anymore, so those people have to pay a transfer. And the Pawtucket Avenue branch – the new “98” – has been gutted to the point of uselessness and will certainly be proposed for elimination soon, much like the Camp Street bus is facing now.

    The number 1 “super-route” is another fine example. After years of waiting for a waiver to cross state lines and serve the South Attleboro station, we get a schedule that doesn’t come close to matching the train schedule, and if you get on a southbound train from South Station any later than 5:00 on the nose, you miss the last bus. That doesn’t work at all for commuters. I suspect this too will be eliminated for low ridership rather than fixed to actually serve people.

  4. Mark Moreno July 15, 2014 at 2:31 am #

    MP, in regards to bus lanes on the R-Line route, for that to happen, either a lane of traffic or on street parking in both directions would be removed. The problem is that people in RI, including the state government are, unfortunately, too set in their car only ways. Car owners would cry foul if they lost 1 precious lane. Also, if im not correct, RIDOT owns most of N Main st. so they might needed or did not get permition, and the thing is, RIDOT is extremely (unfortunately) pro-car. In my opinion The median that separates northbound and southbound N Main st. Could be used for light rail, kind of like the green line on commonwealth ave in Boston. The thing is that I’m not too sure if that median is wide enough. Another idea, though excessively expensive could be putting an above ground light rail line on north Main st. Also, RIPTA is extremely underfunded. It really makes me mad how much compromise there needs to be in order to make drivers happy with a transit project. I truly find it absurd that there is no truly comprehensive metropolitan transit plan that is fast and frequent in the greater Providence area. I should be able to go to at least Bristol county, Massachusetts from Providence by transit. It is really hard to improve service on a tight budget, so blame the state government for being so pro-car and thinking that mass transit is a niche form of transit when it is clearly not. I’m sure everyone in RI would take mass transit if it were faster and more convenient than driving in RI. On a little side note, I hope transit oriented development will be encouraged on north main st as well as the many other major mass transit corridors in the state of Rhode island.

  5. MP July 15, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    Correct, North Main Street from Smith Street to the Pawtucket line is RIDOT jurisdiction. I wouldn’t go so far as to say RIDOT is pro-car; they are the ones spearheading expansion of commuter rail in RI.

    One lane in each direction on North Main would handle the volume of traffic (and bring speeds closer to the posted 25 mph), and curbside parking activity is virtually nonexistent given the suburban commercial type of development – not that that’s a good thing. Road diets are working well elsewhere in the state; an urban corridor seems like a no-brainer. This also should be a prime opportunity to implement a real rapid transit line and start transit-oriented development, but we’re looking at a gym with a 300 space parking lot instead.

    Also, good point about using the median. the it’s there in the first place is because that’s where the trolley used to run.

    Riding into Bristol County is possible; the #1 connects with GATRA in Pawtucket. GATRA used to have a Kennedy Plaza to Taunton route, but it was cancelled due to lack of ridership. I thought the 61X Tiverton Express was supposed to serve Fall River but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

    RIPTA – Rhode Islanders Prefer Their Automobiles.

  6. Mark Moreno July 15, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    I take my word back about being excited about the Kennedy Plaza renovation. I saw the final plan and everything that made the original design that Union Studios made is completely gone. The final plan consists of what looks to be a concrete surface with trees sticking out and minimalist bus shelters and that’s basically it. I might have to do with Union studios plan being too expensive, but that’s no excuse to create a absolutely terrible public space. I guess atrociously bad modernism is now the new hip thing in urban design and architecture.

  7. Jef Nickerson July 15, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

    The Union Studio design was never intended to be a literal blueprint for future development, but rather a roadmap for iterative design. The redesign of the central plaza and the introduction of a gateway at the corner of Exchange and Exchange with a pathway through the park (both projects launching this year) are first steps in a long range plan to reinvent the Greater Kennedy Plaza area. As those changes are introduced, designers will evaluate how the spaces are used, what is and is not successful about the interventions, and adjust designs for future interventions accordingly.

    The Plaza as it is now was redesigned and rebuilt all at once with no reflection on how various parts of the area would be used and impact other parts. The concentration of buses has shown to have a deleterious effect on surrounding areas and has not been adequately serving the needs of the transit users and RIPTA.

  8. MP July 15, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

    I don’t see how spreading buses farther and farther apart will serve the needs of transit users and RIPTA, either. If Kennedy Plaza is going to be completely vehicle-free and the existing “cross-platform” transfers are eliminated, then buses should stop at multiple “berths” to avoid quarter-mile or half-mile walks to transfer. The new plan reintroduces the problems that the last redesign was intended to correct. And the Park & Ride berth is located as far as possible from where most people work, almost guaranteeing low ridership and eventual elimination of those routes.

  9. Jef Nickerson July 15, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

    In the final design nothing is half a mile from anything, this current reconfiguration is temporary and due to the construction, when construction is done buses will return to 9 berths ringing the expanded Plaza as well as two berths across from the post office, two where the trolleys now run on East Approach, two on Exchange Street along Burnside Park, and one on Exchange and one on Steeple along the Triangular Parcel. There are currently 18 berths in the Plaza area, there will now be 17.

    Unlike today, each of the new berths will have shelters and none will be on a narrow traffic island. The distance between berths is well within federal guidelines and it is rare for a transit system of this size to even have a central terminal that nearly all buses enter. Spreading the buses out from the central plaza reduces congestion and allows RIPTA to untangle buses that have to loop around to serve the central plaza today.

    As for the park n’ ride, to be quite blunt, many of the riders who frequent the park n’ ride are the choice riders who are terrified (rightly or wrongly) of transit and the people they perceive to be in the Plaza. Moving the Park n’ Ride buses even further from the plaza could actually increase ridership. When I worked at RISD, all employees and students had free RIPTA via their ID. When I would tell employees this, they would without fail always say that they would never want to have to go to Kennedy Plaza. When I asked them where they lived and found the nearest stop for their line that was not in the Plaza, many decided to consider the option of taking RIPTA. The conditions or perceived conditions in Kennedy Plaza have long been a nearly insurmountable obstacle for RIPTA attracting riders to the system.

  10. Anne July 16, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

    Regarding RIPTA park and ride routes, keep in mind that almost all these routes circulate via a large loop through downtown (e.g. Sabin, Empire, Weybosset, Exchange). These riders have many opportunities to board/disembark close to their downtown destinations. Exchange St. is generally the last stop before these buses get on the highway for express service to their ultimate destination and thus, may prove attractive to those looking for a quick trip home.

  11. barry July 17, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    Don’t see how losing 4 bus-only lanes “reduces congestion” indeed buses having to compete with cars and their illegal parking at some of the relocated bus stop locations wil add to congestion as well as inconveniencing passengers.

    I still just don’t see what benefit the city, the parks conservancy, and nearby property owners get by adding to congestion and spreading the buses and passengers out to all 4 sides of Burnside Park, leaving 9 berths in the existing plaza. And I’m still not sure what will happen to the intercity buses. This is a giant waste of money that could have been used to make things better for transit instead of worse.

  12. Jef Nickerson July 17, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    It reduces congestion by not having to have almost every single bus in the state have to come all the way in to the center of the plaza. They’re only bus only lanes at the stops, coming into and out of the plaza they are not.

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