Greater City Providence

6/10 Final Plan Released

Rendering of proposed Westminster Street crossing

Some commentary on the final plans released by the State for the 6/10 Connector rebuild.

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RI Future: 6-10 Connector plan is way better than it could have been, by Alex Krogh Grabbe Ellis

I’ve been talking up a progressive, urban solution for the 6-10 Connector almost as long as James Kennedy has. So I was excited and cautious and skeptical yesterday at the press event revealing the compromise plan for the corridor negotiated between RIDOT and the City of Providence. There were words from Governor Raimondo, Mayor Elorza, Providence Planning & Development Director Bonnie Nickerson, and RIDOT Director Peter Alviti.

As it turns out, I left the room more optimistic than I went in. If everything in the plan gets built as laid out yesterday, I will be pretty pleased. Here are some pros and cons as I see them:

Visit RI Future to read Alex’s full list if Pros, Cons, and Conclusions on the plan.

Transport Providence: Demand a Mile to Get an Inch

The governor used autocratic power to block the fully realistic aspirations of the city, not just to the city’s detriment, but to the state’s. She has failed to be a leader on climate change or racial justice, the two major struggles of our time. The Cheonngyecheon highway-removal in Seould was a success despite carrying 60% more vehicles than 6/10. Any statement on this agreement must acknowledge the ways that Gov. Raimondo has failed future generations of Rhode Islanders by being so obstructive.

I would have liked the mayor to fight a bit harder and more publicly, but that is a sin of omission. His administration, and especially his planning department, deserve more credit for working as hard as they did. I hope the mayor will consider state office someday.

RI Future: Build bridges, not walls, on Tobey Street, by James Kennedy

The 6/10 Connector plan agreed to by Mayor Jorge Elorza and Governor Raimondo calls for a bridge crossing between Tobey Street and Olneyville (it appears to be Grove Street, by my reckoning) on the other side. This is one of the better features of an otherwise lackluster plan. However, the Tobey Street bridge is currently envisioned as a new crossing for local car traffic. Instead, it should be a car-free bridge.

RIDOT plan for rebuilt 6/10 interchange


Also, the Fix the 6-10 Coalition released the following statement about the compromise plan:

The Fix the 6-10 Coalition thanks Governor Raimondo, Director Alviti, and Mayor Elorza for their hard work these last months, and congratulates them on reaching a new consensus plan for the reconstruction of the 6-10 Interchange. When this process began earlier this year, many residents from the surrounding neighborhoods and civic organizations were concerned with the possibility that the 6-10 would be reconstructed “as is” with all its many existing faults unaddressed. Through our campaign and the exemplary efforts of City staff over the past months, we are pleased to see that the proposed plan is much improved. While there are certainly aspects of the new plan which could be improved, we recognize the need for pragmatic compromise to help move our City and State forward.

Our Coalition formed to ensure that the many interests held by Rhode Islanders would be represented in the final design, including fiscal sustainability, neighborhood connections, environmental protection, balanced transportation choices, and economic and social development. These values came out loud and clear in the public engagement meetings hosted by the City this year and we are pleased to see that these values have positively influenced the proposed plan. The City’s process of public engagement, research, and creative design iteration is particularly commendable and we hope that it will serve as a model for improving future DOT public engagement processes.

The new plan features improved connections between neighborhoods, particularly at Tobey Street and around Olneyville Square, expanded access for people walking and biking in the City, creates the much needed connection between 10N and 6W, opens up new land for development and green space. With fewer overall bridges we also expect that the project will be less expensive to maintain in the long-run.

We thank Governor Raimondo for giving the City, RIDOT, and the neighborhoods time to improve the design of this important legacy infrastructure. We thank Mayor Elorza for sticking to his guns and demanding infrastructure that takes Providence forward. We thank Director Alviti and Director Nickerson again for the months of hard work and creative problem solving that went into this consensus plan.

We look forward to working with the City and the State in a collaborative, open, and transparent public engagement process this winter to further refine it and we will remain vigilant to ensure that the principles that have animated our movement continue to be reflected in the final plan through completion of construction.

Greater City Providence

Promoting the smart urban growth of the Greater Providence region.


  • I might be in the minority here, but I really like this plan an awful lot. (assuming it is built as planned). I am VERY psyched about the bike path extension, and I think this is a nice balance between helping to restore connectivity between the neighborhoods while improving the driving experience. Win/Win.

  • Its a compromise sure, but it also a huge missed opportunity. Ok maybe I’m extremely biased in the fact that I live on Tobey. The street is a basically a multiblock long off ramp the way people speed on it to get to the highway. I don’t think this is going to be helping us much at all because bafflingly it seems the only way for people in the west end to get onto 6 west is to STILL go through Tobey (or cut through Olneyville). Am I reading that wrong? I mean that little bridge from Westminster doesn’t connect local traffic to 6. I really don’t understand why they chose to do that.

    The silver lining is that I guess walking to Price Right for groceries will be more direct and take a few minutes less. It might even be a pleasant walk if they really do create those bike paths along the Woonasquatucket. Do you think its realistic to expect that to be really created or is RIDOT just going to focus on the bridges and throw the bike paths out once this project fades from memory?

  • I doubt they’ll throw out the bike paths, considering it’s basically the largest concession made to make it seem like a compromise. Overall, this is better than rebuilding the current layout, but only by a slim margin, and I don’t think we should be all that happy with “at least it’s better than what we have”, when what we have was a massive mistake to begin with. Honestly, I think the entire stretch of route 10 from 95 to 95 is done wrong, it mostly functions as “Highway B” for traffic.
    It seems like the battle is lost for now at this point, but man, let this be the fire lit under our asses. We should collectively make it a point to be WAY ahead of the conversation on future projects. This was a uniting conversation. The fiscal conservatives and the smart growth crowd make for a powerful union, and I think we should take advantage of that from now on when possible.

  • The takeaway, Providence should never hire Utile Inc again. Tim Love and his pack of scam artists came in, gave us crap, and left us with a hefty bill. “6-10” should be a new moniker for “I see your BS. and I say no” When Love & the scammers descend on another poor city, Worcester, Pawtucket, Springfield, Lowell, Haverhill, Lawrence, Brockton, Willimantic Norwich, New London, New Haven, Bridgeport; etc. the city depts can just say “6-10” and ask them to leave.

  • It gives suburban drivers everything they wanted and does very little to reconnect neighborhoods. In fact, the 10 north to 6 west ramp does the opposite – it looks nice enough in the rendering, but I don’t think a bit of public art is going to make walking along a sidewalk sandwiched between two roads pleasant. The only way to salvage this plan is to someday build on the air rights over the highway.

  • I’m having a hard time reading the map schematics (I usually do with these things). Maybe before and after renderings would help clarify what’s being changed?

    The full page renderings that are included, like the Westminster Street Bridge make the area look broader and more welcoming as a gateway (banners, potted plants, shrubs trees, etc). It appears the Route 6 off-ramp to Olneyville has been redesigned so that cars aren’t shooting off the highway and into the path of a crossing pedestrian, so that’s welcome.

    I suppose there’s room for improvement here, but after years of inattention and neglect, a move in the right direction is a promising sign. I sympathize with those who say it isn’t enough, but I believe the root of the problem is that the 6-10 was built where it was in the first place; through the middle of a city neighborhood.

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