Greater City Providence

ProJo: R.I. begins moving on RIPTA bus hub project at Providence Amtrak Station

Rhode Island officials have taken the first small step toward building a multimillion-dollar bus hub at the Providence Amtrak Station, potentially as part of a larger real estate project with a private developer.

On Monday, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation Board approved hiring Chicago-based real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle to talk to developers, promote the project and help put together bid documents to seek private investment.


A memo from Commerce Corporation Senior Project Manager Michael Walker given to the Commerce board described Jones Lang Lasalle’s task as: “…to assist with the outreach to the developer community to identify and promote the development opportunity, structure the data requirements that a successful solicitation will require in order to be favorably received by developers, and to draft the Request for Proposals that [the Department of Transportation] will issue to solicit the private investment in this first-of-a kind transit project in Rhode Island.”

I’m all about public/private partnerships, the land around the station is far too valuable to be just a bus station. And bringing in a private developer to team up on this project is the definition of Transit Oriented Development. But boy do I fear concessions to the developer whittling away at the benefits to transit riders that this project could realize.

Please oh please Rhode Island, don’t f*ck it up!

[alert type=”muted”]See also:
Reimagining of Providence Station by Jonathan Winslow
REBOOT: Providence Train Station[/alert]

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.


  • What are the chances of ever seeing the station beautified for lack of a better word. Everyone seems to have loved the giant painting murals around downtown that were put up during the art festival, I’d love to see artists given a chance to work on that ugly slab of concrete that our train station is.

  • I’m a regular commuter via the Boston train. Watched for years as the station has fallen into decrepitude. Yes, the newly landscaped “plaza” out front is better than the crumbling mess it was but a direct bus-to-train connection would be much more efficient. Given RI’s record of f**king up public projects of benefit to people who actually live here, one can only hope that an imported private contractor will keep a closer eye on where the money ends up.

  • Maybe they’ll find the money to fix the escalator that’s been out of service for a couple of years. Corralling everyone into the narrrow stairway on tracks 3 and 5 is comically sad.

  • True. Last fall some hacker/artist placed a bunch of ceramic thingies in the stairwell to tracks 3 and 5. I was astounded when passengers walked right over them, kicking the shards towards fellow travelers. Some sick chit, alright.

  • I always thought that the scope of the Providence station should have been expanded. Two things stuck out to me… the first, why isn’t there a tunnel that connects the station to the Providence Place Mall? They already have a rail tunnel… this would be pretty easy. Boston has a tunnel that runs under the road between Back Bay station and Copley Mall. It makes a lot of sense, and even more sense when its raining. This would allow people to easily travel between the two structures and probably increase foot traffic overall.

    Second, why not build a small retail complex on-site at the station. There are plenty of nearby residents, people on capital hill, and visitors for it to make sense. Right now, all we have is Cafe France, and it’s just not enough. I am one of the unfortunate souls that spends quite a bit of time in that station and they could totally enhance it to actually be more of a destination. Rooftop seating for a restaurant overlooking the State House? Street level Retail along Gaspee Street? A connection to the Cove and North Main Street. Right now, it’s just miserable going to the train station… it can be a better experience.

  • Mary’s news and gift shop is in the station, too. She’s a very cool person with excellent taste in people. Drop in and visit her sometime. I agree that a tunnel to the mall would be a great idea but only if a pedestrian bridge over Memorial Drive is in the contract, too. Happy trails!

  • This would be fantastic, I’ve picked up my friend from here a few times on my way home and this station is so hidden from the rest of downtown. The area behind the water gate towers has virtually nothing going on, very quiet and bleak. It really needs more connections as other people have mentioned.

  • “potentially as part of a larger real estate project with a private developer.”…

    What ever came of this?

    It seems strange to me that no developer would be interested in co-locating residential units and retail at the Providence train station (on the northeast corridor).

Providence, RI
5:27 am8:16 pm EDT
Feels like: 79°F
Wind: 6mph SW
Humidity: 53%
Pressure: 30.06"Hg
UV index: 0
86°F / 68°F
88°F / 66°F
86°F / 70°F