State transportation officials this week started accepting proposals from construction firms to design and build a new commuter rail station to serve Pawtucket and Central Falls.
The state expects to award a design-build contract in early summer, with ground being broken in late 2017.
Tag Archives | RIPTA
From the Mayor’s Office:
Mayor Jorge O. Elorza will be hosting a Citywide Conversation focusing on a long-term vision for Kennedy Plaza. The Mayor will provide remarks on his vision for the space and community members will be able to participate in working groups to provide thoughts, ideas, and feedback.
WHO: Mayor Elorza; Community Members
WHAT: Citywide Conversation on Long-Term Vision for Kennedy Plaza
WHERE: Joseph A Doorley Jr. Municipal Building, 444 Westminster Street, Providence
WHEN: Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 5:00PM
“Caution – bus is turning.”
That’s what pedestrians will soon hear whenever a nearby RIPTA bus begins to make a turn of more than 45 degrees. A series of strobe lights will also light up along the side of the bus.
The new technology is part of an effort by the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority to increase passenger and pedestrian safety.
I’m all for pedestrian safety, but I hope this system does not result in bus drivers feeling they can usurp the pedestrians’ (or cyclists’) right-of-way. When a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, the bus literally yelling at said pedestrian does not override their right to be there.
“We think this is going to be particularly useful in congested areas where people may be distracted by mobile devices or just the activity around them,” she said.
I do not like this victim-blaming coming from RIPTA at all. I don’t think there is any indication that distraction on the part of pedestrians has been responsible for any recent crashes (injuries, deaths) involving buses. Quite the opposite in some cases in fact.
I also continue to see Peter Pan buses using East Approach at Kennedy Plaza, which is where Michelle Cagnon was killed this past summer. Peter Pan is not supposed to be using East Approach.
RIPTA and the City of Providence to Hold Community Meeting on Downtown Transit Connector (DTC)
Meeting Scheduled for Tuesday, December 6th at 5:00 pm at the Joseph Doorley Municipal Building in Providence
The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) and the City of Providence are hosting a community meeting to provide an initial overview of plans for a high-frequency transit corridor in downtown Providence. The meeting is also intended to solicit ideas and public input on the project. The transit corridor will connect the Providence Amtrak/MBTA Station and the Hospital District with high-frequency bus service.
The corridor, which has the working name of the Downtown Transit Connector (DTC), will create six “station-like” stops between Providence Station and the Hospital District. These stops will be designed with a unique and highly-visible identity and will include bus shelters, real time information bus arrival signage, bike share stations and other passenger amenities. The project will strive to create attractive public spaces around each stop.
From the Department of Planning & Development Facebook page:
Please join us on Monday, October 3 at 6:00pm at 444 Westminster Street to review our draft plan for a better 6-10 Connector. The 6-10 Connector is an aging highway that cuts through several Providence neighborhoods and is slated for immediate replacement. Similar to the I-195 relocation, this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest wisely, reconnect neighborhoods, and improve our city.
Over 250 community members attended a City-led public workshop on August 30th.
At the workshop, community members were asked to help identify goals for the project and to begin brainstorming about ideas to improve the area surrounding the 6-10 Connector. Click here to view photos of the ideas that community members presented at the event. Click here to view the presentation that was given by City staff at the meeting.
More information on Facebook
September 21, 2016, 4:45 PM
Doorley Municipal Building, 444 Westminster Street, First Floor
Providence, RI 02903
- Roll Call
- Approval of June Meeting Minutes (For Action)
- Approval of July Meeting Minutes (For Action)
- Olney Street Restriping – College Hill, Mount Hope – Wards 1 and 2 (For Action) – The Department of Public Works intends to restripe Olney Street from Camp to Hope streets. DPW seeks comment from the BPAC regarding the preliminary plans, which include bike lanes along this 0.4-mile stretch and the removal of a limited amount of underutilized on street parking on the northbound side of Olney Street between Camp and North Main streets, adjacent to the University Heights Apartment Complex.
- Olneyville Square Pedestrian Safety Improvements – Olneyville – Ward 15 (For Action) – ONE Neighborhood Builders is exploring the potential installation of curb extensions at the two existing RIPTA bus stops on Westminster Street in Olneyville Square and a raised pedestrian refuge at the intersection of Plainfield Street at Hartford Avenue. The City of Providence DPD seeks comment from the BPAC at this initial scoping phase of the project.
- Smith Street Repaving, Restriping, and Sidewalk Replacement – Smith Hill, Elmhurst – Wards 5 and 12 (For Action) – The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has prepared preliminary plans for Smith Street from Lyndhurst Avenue to Holden Street. Planned improvements include pavement resurfacing, replacement of existing sidewalk and curb, ADA improvements, minor improvements to the existing drainage system, modifications to the existing signals, upgrades to the existing pedestrian facilities, and the installation of new roadway signs and pavement markings. RIDOT also intends to remove existing street trees within the project limits that have caused severe sidewalk damage making sidewalks inaccessible to those who are in wheelchairs or disabled. DPW seeks comment from the BPAC regarding the preliminary plans.
- Fountain Street Restriping Project Update – Downtown – Ward 1 (For Discussion)
- Announcements and Staff Updates (For Discussion)
The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) is currently developing bus stop design guidelines for use by RIPTA, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, municipalities and others, when roads with RIPTA bus routes are reconstructed or otherwise improved. Your input is valuable in helping shape a “complete streets” approach that enhances transit ridership through guidelines for urban, suburban and rural bus stops.
Three (3) open houses are scheduled in June to provide opportunity for input. Meetings are open to everyone from the general public, transit riders, municipal planning, engineering and public works departments, advocacy groups, A&E consultants, business groups, and developers. Meetings will include information on potential bus stop typologies.
Rhode Island is making its strongest push yet for a Pawtucket commuter rail station long-sought by the city and neighboring Central Falls.
The Department of Transportation late last month applied for a $14.5-million federal grant for the project, which would be built between Dexter and Conant Streets and cost an estimated $40 million.
According to the application to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “TIGER” grant program, the state would contribute $3.6 million to the project and the two cities would combine to chip in another $3 million. The remaining $18.9 million would come from Rhode Island’s annual appropriation of federal transportation dollars.
The station could be completed as soon as late summer 2019, more likely early 2020.
Press Release from RIDOT:
RIDOT Announces Public Workshops for 6-10 Interchange Design Options
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today announced a series of public workshops for the reconstruction of the 6-10 interchange as part of a process to reimagine this important transportation infrastructure.
The Route 6-10 Interchange Project has road and bridge elements that have been in design for approximately 30 years. Within the project limits there are seven structurally deficient bridges that need to be addressed immediately. The project, which is of regional significance, consists of addressing structurally deficient bridges and reconfiguring the interchange to accommodate local and regional travel for commuters and businesses.
The Department is committed to meet an April 14 deadline for submission to the Federal Highway Administration’s recently announced FASTLANE grant program. The program, announced on February 26, makes $800 million available for projects of national or regional significance. RIDOT is applying for a $150 million grant for this project.
RIPTA, the Providence Department of Planning and Development, Mayor Elorza, Governor Raimondo, and the State’s Congressional Delegation today announced an enhanced transit corridor through the capital city’s downtown. The corridor will feature RIPTA buses running on a 1.4 mile route between Providence Station and the Hospitals with 4-5 minute headways.
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!
In the report released Jan. 22, VHB estimated that between 7,000 and 9,000 people use mass transit to reach downtown Providence from an area south and west of the city and could utilize a 6-10 transit line. The higher end of the estimate, 9,193, came from adding the passengers of 13 current Rhode Island Public Transit Authority lines and the 7,014 figure came from extrapolated census figures.
The additional 3,500 to 4,000 riders VHB estimates would use a new transit line on Routes 6 and 10 was determined by taking these numbers and adding “several percentage points” of higher transit usage to the population within the catchment area.
That all sounds rather, take a guess from this column and take a guess from that column, but OK. It seems like RIPTA needs some input on this. Do existing lines from the south and west get re-routed? Does that allow for better time into the City? Does that attract more ridership? Is there a demand for riders from the south to reach Olneyville without making a transfer in Kennedy Plaza and vice-versa..?
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Although RIPTA still expects to create a bus stop or stops at Garrahy, transit planners don’t envision a “hub” or terminal there and actually see more potential for expansion farther south, near Rhode Island Hospital.
“Rhode Island Hospital is a huge ridership area for us,” said Amy Pettine, RIPTA’s executive director of planning. “Garrahy emerged as an opportunity, but with the hospital as a key anchor, we will probably need something further south.”
RIPTA is working with the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority, which is building the Garrahy garage, on determining what kind of mass transit presence makes sense, from a regular stop, to a “super stop” with passenger amenities and a place for drivers to take a break.
We need to consider the 195 Land and the Jewelry District as part of downtown. Operationally, I think it could work out better to have hubs on the periphery of downtown (Train Station Hub and Hospital Hub) rather than one on the edge and one kind of in the middle (Garrahy Garage). Hubs on the edge with routes from north and south converging at them allows for through-routing buses on narrowly defined corridors through downtown, creating corridors with high-frequency service.
Dogged by cost and ridership concerns since it was first proposed nearly 10 years ago by then-Mayor David Cicilline, the proposed streetcar has been abandoned in favor of an “enhanced bus” line along the same route, Providence Planning Director Bonnie Nickerson confirmed Wednesday.
In a list of future projects the city wants added to the state’s upcoming 10-year transportation plan, the Providence Enhanced Bus Circulator is estimated to cost $20 million.
The proposal asks for $7 million from the state to build the new bus line and uses a $13-million federal grant awarded for the streetcar in 2014 to cover the rest.
The enhanced bus plan would keep the streetcar’s most recent route: from the Providence train station through downtown and the Jewelry District to Rhode Island Hospital.
I’m sure I have a lot of thoughts and opinions about this which I have neither the time nor the energy to think about right now. However, I wanted to provide a place for others to discuss, one thing to consider when assessing this change in planning is what Providence is asking for in the TIP.
The Proposed 6/10 Interchange Reconstruction will address the deterioration of existing bridges and aims to reduce congestion and improve travel flow from north to west on the roads spanning from Route 6 to Route 10. The proposed project will include work to Route 6 from the Hartford Avenue interchange to north of the Tobey Street overpass, in addition to Route 10 from the Cranston Viaduct to Route 6. The proposed reconstruction will assess nine of 11 deteriorating bridges that are over 50 years old.
And the BRT gets value engineered out in 3… 2…
There were two important takeaways from last week’s symposium on making mass transit work for Rhode Island. The first, made by Grow Smart RI’s Executive Director, Scott Wolf, was that only 2.7% of Rhode Islanders use public transit, about half the national average, despite being the second most densely populated state. According to the U.S. Census, only 8% of commuters in Providence took public transit in 2010, compared to 33% in Boston, 27% in Cambridge, and 21% in Hartford – even New Haven has 50% more transit commuters than Providence does.
The second key takeaway, made by leaders from the Minneapolis, Denver, and Hartford transit systems, was that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to public transit. Here again, Rhode Island seems out of step, with a bus-only network that only meets the needs of a small percentage of its citizens. With nearly 80% of the state already living within 10-minutes of a transit stop, it seems unlikely that RIPTA will be able to really move the needle on ridership unless it is willing to consider other approaches.
Bus transit offers many benefits: up front costs for infrastructure are low, and rerouting bus routes in response to changing rider demand is relatively easy. But RIPTA’s single-hub bus network hasn’t worked well for Providence. Kennedy Plaza feels like a barren, bus parking lot, adding to congestion and discouraging downtown development, and it is nearly impossible to get from one place in the region to another without passing through Kennedy Plaza. Other modes of transportation have been considered, most notably a downtown streetcar system and BRT along the 6-10 corridor, but both of these are expensive for the limited benefit they provide. In addition to growing its ridership, RIPTA should be looking for new ways to reduce congestion and pollution, to stimulate and support targeted development, make the region more competitive for jobs, and improve the quality of life for all Rhode Islanders. It needs to seriously consider light rail.
In consideration of how to “make transit work,” the subject of the December 1st CTC conference which was to address the relatively low rate of commute-by-transit in Rhode Island, the RIPTA Riders Alliance distributed this list of challenges and possible strategies to deal with them.
Mostly it is about operational and promotional improvements rather than big infrastructure capital projects.
1. Lack of operating funds to implement key Strategic Plan goals including increased frequency, route improvements, real-time bus info.
Work with stakeholders, the Governor’s office, and legislators to really establish a funding stream that grows with inflation and need.
2. Very inadequate snow removal from bus stops and shelters after storms.
Convene stakeholder group including Governor’s Office, RIDOT, RIPTA, Lamar, municipalities, snowplow operators, police, DPWs, and advocacy groups to work out plans and responsibilities to address this issue.
3. Bus trips often slow.
Expand signal priority/green light extension to more key lines (e.g. Chalkstone, Elmwood, Cranston Street, etc); make preloaded smart-cards widely available to speed boarding, with discount incentives for their wide use; investigate BRT opportunities and new express services (e.g. Providence-Pawtucket, Newport limited stops)
4. A very significant 30% to 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in the northeast come from transportation, but this is slower to be addressed than energy and commercial sectors.
Addressing climate change is a reason to enhance and promote transit and should be part of the discussion at the task forces that address climate change. Legislation that proposes assessments or taxes on greenhouse emissions should provide funding for public transit operations or infrastructure.
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More than a year after Rhode Island voters overwhelmingly approved a $35-million bond for two new downtown bus hubs, state officials are only now beginning to fill in details of the projects.
The future of the transit hubs was a popular topic at a recent public transportation forum, particularly among Providence business leaders who pushed for them and questioned why so little information about them had been made available.
Bonding for a bus hub at the train station in Providence was approved by voters. The possible sub-hub at the proposed Garrahy Courthouse parking garage is being developed by the Convention Center Authority which has the power to raise its own bonds without voter approval.