In a joint application for a federal grant to advance planning for the “Providence Station Transit Center,” RIPTA and RIDOT highlighted how 15 acres of undeveloped land sit right next to the train depot.
Following a news conference that the coalition organized in October to promote Question 6, transportation director Michael Lewis walked to the edge of Railroad Street to point out the largely vacant land. A covered station could be built, possibly in tandem with commercial real estate, he said.
He envisioned the possibility of putting decking over the railroad tracks to allow for development overhead, much like the construction of Providence Place mall and the train station.
“You could have pretty substantial development here,” he said.
The City of Pawtucket Department of Planning will be holding a meeting to discuss potential alternatives to the existing Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) bus hub on Roosevelt Avenue. The Department has been working with a consultant, RIPTA and key stakeholders to identify potential alternative stop locations for the ten RIPTA routes that currently begin and end at the 175 Main Street location. The public is invited to attend the City of Pawtucket Hub Relocation Study meeting on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 6:00pm in the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center Theatre at 175 Main Street, Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
With a bid of approximately $6.9 million, J.H. Lynch & Sons submitted the lowest of five proposals for the construction work. Bids were opened Friday at the R.I. Division of Purchasing office on Capitol Hill.
State officials will take about two months to review the bids and certify the winning bid.
This project will address the deplorable conditions of the plaza areas around the station, repairs to the garage roof (which is the plaza), and improve pedestrian, bike, bus, and auto connections between the station and Kennedy Plaza.
We should likely expect work to begin in the spring 2015 construction season.
RIDOT recently was awarded a TIGER grant to design a new intermodal bus station at the train station. Voters will be asked to approve the purchase of bonds through Question 6 to further that project to reality.
At a Monday morning press conference at the decaying Amtrak Station Public Plaza, civic, business and labor leaders joined voices supporting Question 6, a $35 million transit bond on the Nov. 4 ballot that they consider critical to Rhode Island’s economic health.
By connecting downtown with regional and national transportation lines and making systems more attractive and useable, proponents are banking on trends that show that efficient, effective and reliable public transportation is used by increasingly larger segments of the population. It also improves air quality, cuts carbon emissions and reduces congestion.
Congressman Cicilline confirms on Twitter:
— David N. Cicilline (@davidcicilline) September 11, 2014
All regular RIPTA buses and trolleys, but excluding special services, will be free on Wednesday, August 27th , 2014.
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is predicting that air quality will reach unhealthy levels in portions of Rhode Island during the afternoon on Wednesday. A very hot and very humid air mass with west to southwest winds will be present at that time, which will lead to unhealthy air conditions. The poor air quality will be due to elevated ground level ozone concentrations. Ozone is a major component of smog and is formed by the photochemical reaction of pollutants emitted by motor vehicles, industry and other sources in the presence of elevated temperatures and sunlight.
Rhode Island residents can help reduce air pollutant emissions. Limit car travel and the use of small engines, lawn motors and charcoal lighter fuels. Travel by bus or carpool whenever possible, particularly during high ozone periods.
The Department of Health warns that unhealthy levels of ozone can cause throat irritation, coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, increased susceptibility to respiratory infection and aggravation of asthma and other respiratory ailments. These symptoms are worsened by exercise and heavy activity. The children, elderly and people who have underlying lung diseases, such as asthma, are at particular risk of suffering from these effects. As ozone levels increase, the number of people affected and the severity of the health effects also increase.
Over the past year, the City of Providence has been working on its Sustainability Plan. The City has released a draft of that plan and is seeking comment from the public. From the City:
From Mayor Taveras: Draft Sustainable Providence Plan Released for Public Comment
I am pleased to release for public comment a draft of the city’s first-ever sustainability action plan, Sustainable Providence.
In 2013, I released sustainability goals to move Providence forward in six key areas: waste, food, transportation, water, energy, and land use & development. Since then, more than 100 community leaders have worked with my staff to develop and provide feedback on this draft plan to achieve our goals.
Implementing this plan will help build a resilient and sustainable future for Providence as we protect our environment, rebuild our economy and strengthen our community. Thank you for working together with us to create a cleaner, greener city.
Please submit your comments by Friday, August 22, 2014 to Sheila Dormody, Director of Sustainability, firstname.lastname@example.org
Imagine if this street in Strasbourg, France was Route 2 in Cranston or North Main Street in Providence. Le sigh.
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.
I hope you didn’t have any plans this weekend, because if you click this link, you’ll spend it drawing bus lines all over the place.
Transitmix allows you to lay down your own bus lines, measure the length, set the headways, and determine the cost of operation. A dangerous tool for armchair transit planners like you and me.
As RIPTA prepares to introduce its new R-Line rapid bus service next month, and reroute some buses in September based on the recent Comprehensive Operational Analysis, the agency is also planning for how to operate in Downtown Providence in the future.
Ideas for the future include physical improvements to Kennedy Plaza and the creation of two new bus hubs, one at Providence Train Station, the other behind the Garrahy Courthouse off Dorrance Street.
Information from RIPTA on the recent studies they have undertaken:
RIPTA has commissioned several recent studies to seek ways to improve the transit experience for Rhode Islanders. Rising ridership and the need to provide service that best meets demand in our state has driven recent evaluations of RIPTA’s operations, including the Comprehensive Operational Analysis (COA). As almost all RIPTA routes access Kennedy Plaza, it is expected that operations at this location would be more closely studied. RIPTA, in partnership with the RI Department of Transportation and RI Statewide Planning, is conducting a downtown transit improvement study, Downtown Transit 2.0, to evaluate whether the introduction of additional downtown Providence transit stations could improve service for existing riders, enhance downtown accessibility and mobility, and resolve operational and passenger experience issues at Kennedy Plaza.
RIPTA’s new R-Line rapid bus service will replace and combine the current Route 99 service North Main – Pawtucket and 11 Broad Street services. The new service is set to launch on June 21st and RIPTA has published the schedules for the new service.
One notable service change is that North Main service will run via Providence Station, providing direct services between the station and Kennedy Plaza and serving communities along North Main Street to Pawtucket and south along Broad Street to the Cranston line.
Providence is encouraging transit-oriented development in two neighborhoods most residents may not associate with transportation or potential growth.
The Trinity Square neighborhood in Upper South Providence and the northern section of North Main Street at the Pawtucket line are singled out for the city’s first two transit-oriented development districts in its ongoing zoning rewrite.
The Obama administration announced a new round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants (known as TIGER VI) with an extremely short turn-around for submitting applications, they are due April 28th.
The City of Providence applied for a TIGER grant last year, RIDOT also submitted a bid for Apponaug which was supported by the Governor. The Apponaug project was awarded a TIGER grant, and while there isn’t direct competition built into the grant process per-say, it is thought that Providence’s streetcar bid lost out to Kansas City’s streetcar which had more secure funding in place at the time. Providence’s 2013 TIGER grant application included a funding plan, but unlike Kansas City’s successful application, steps had not yet been taken to implement that funding.
Capital costs for the project (costs incurred to build it) are estimated to be $117.8 million (2016 dollars). Funding will come from City TIF Bonds, Federal funds, Rhode Island Capital Plan funds, RIPTA CMAQ funds, and a RIDOT land transfer.
In the next month, Providence plans to work further toward implementation of funding by working with the Providence City Council Ordinance Committee to approve a TIF plan for the streetcar district. This funding represents 50% of the projected cost of the project and will be one of the sources for operations revenue after the project is complete.
The city is proposing to move the two “eastern-most shelters” to a sidewalk of vacant land owned by the Providence Redevelopment Agency, an arm of the city’s Department of Planning and Development, on Exchange Street. The triangle-shaped, grass area next to the downtown post office is bordered by Exchange Terrace, Exchange Street and Memorial Boulevard.
Jorge Elorza, Democratic candidate for Mayor of Providence, issued the following statement on Providence Public School Department’s busing policy.
Our city’s public high school students are not eligible for bus passes unless they live more than three miles from school. Students that fall into the far end of that range could be walking for as long as 45 minutes to an hour just to make it to their first period classes.
As a community, we have to do everything in our power to make sure our students are in their classrooms and learning. Our students face too many challenges for us to be creating additional institutional barriers for them. Denying students who live between 2-3 miles away from school bus passes impacts learning, impacts health, and impacts safety, and our low-income communities are disproportionately affected.
When I was a child growing up on Cranston Street, my Mother acted as the school bus for many kids in the neighborhood. Although we were lucky to have her there to bring us to school, not every student is as lucky as we were.