Tag Archives | Transportation

Better Renderings of proposed New Pawtucket River Bridge

Earlier in the month I posted about the release of designs for the proposed New Pawtucket River Bridge on Route 95. At the time I was only able to track down the teeny tiny little image posted with the PBN article on it. Well, while looking on the RIDOT site for something else, I came across a page with better renderings.

Pawtucket River Bridge Rendering Day Shot

Renderings from RIDOT

Pawtucket River Bridge Rendering Long Views

Pawtucket River Bridge Rendering New Designs

Pawtucket River Bridge Rendering Night Lighting

There are a few more renderings and some information about the new bridge here.

Looking at the first rendering, it appears that there are three roadways on the bridge. Are they planning a reverse-able rush hour configuration like the Expressway in Boston? Wouldn’t that require a lot of work to make the rest of Route 95 reverse-able? Would that even work here, don’t we have a more or less two-way rush hour with traffic coming in and out of the city but also traffic coming through Providence from points north and south?


You can get there from here?


Could the Providence-Newport Ferry rise from the dead and return to service this summer? RIPTA is hoping to make it work. As the Journal reports, RIPTA has issued two RFPs. One asks ferry companies to bid for a no-subsidy service. Likely this would be fewer trips and a shorter season than we are used to. The other RFP asks ferry companies to quote what subsidy they would need to provide the previous level of service.

RIPTA announced last year that the ferry would not return this summer due to the end of a half million dollar federal subsidy. At the time I said it was rather short sited of RIPTA not to plan for the end of a subsidy that clearly had an end date. I also questioned how there could be absolutely no way to find a half million dollars to make up for the lost subsidy (of course this was before the economy ‘sploded).

I don’t know where RIPTA is hoping to find the funds for the subsidized RFP, but I hope they can make it work. The ferry was a vital piece of our tourist economy and it is madness for the Ocean State to not have a public ferry service utilizing Narragansett Bay.


$1.3 Billion for Amtrak


Providence Station platform | Photo by dpriddy from Flickr reports that Vice President Biden (VP Amtrak as I like to call him) announced today, a $1.3 billion investment of stimulus funds for Amtrak.

Biden said every passenger rail system in the world relies on subsidies, as do airports and highways, and that for too long Amtrak has been starved for cash.

I’m tired of apologizing for help for Amtrak,” he said. “It is an absolute national treasure and necessity.

I think I have a new favorite Biden quote to go with my favorite Obama quote.

Some of the projects slated to receive stimulus funding are:

  • $105 million to replace a 102-year-old drawbridge over the Niantic River near East Lyme, Connecticut.
  • $82 million to repair old rail cars and put them back into service.
  • $63 million to fix Amtrak’s aging power supply system on the Northeast Corridor.
  • Installing better signals that will help prevent train collisions and derailments
  • Repairs to dozens of aging rail stations, maintenance facilities and warehouses across the country.

Amtrak estimates that the infusion of cash will create 8,000 jobs. The agency currently has a backlog of $5 billion worth of unfunded projects. Despite the Bush administration’s disdain for Amtrak, revenue and ridership has risen for the last 6 years, to a record 28.7 million people last year.


Better RIPTA maps


I was looking up a RIPTA route online today and I found the above map on the page for the Route 31 schedule. As you can see, this is an actual geographically accurate map, you can see where the stops are in the real world. Not the annoying line maps they had before:


Thank Jeebus! I all the time had to have a Google Map open and the RIPTA map and try to compare the two and figure out which street was where… They seem not to be rolled out to all schedules yet, but I like the direction.

MBTA bus maps have been like this forever, but the MBTA maps still go one step further than the new RIPTA maps. The MBTA maps have other bus lines on them, so you can see which routes go nearby your destination. Looking at the the RIPTA map at the top of the page, you wouldn’t know that the Route 30 bus goes through the Brewery Parkade area.


But looking at this MBTA map, you can see that the 57 and 57A go to Oak Square, but so does the 64, 501, and 503.


Transit Cuts Across the Nation


Photo by Urban from stock.xchng

There’s a must read NY Times article titled “Downturn Forces Transit Cuts as Ridership Grows” detailing what we all know to be true – that a society that’s using and desiring more mass transit as the economy worsens is hitting a funding wall.

The piece describes the amazing cuts proposed for St. Louis’ system (a loss of 2,300 bus stops and 25% of its transit workforce) and the bizarre situation of the federal government simultaneously funding the purchase of new buses and rail cars for that city while, due to federal refusal to help fund operations in the stimulus plan, the municipality plans to mothball over 100 existing buses while it gets the new metal that it can’t use. Incredible…

Read the full article here. A telling quote is below:

Some people who worked on the failed campaign to raise the sales tax to pay for more transit said that their efforts were complicated because most local voters still do not regularly take public transportation themselves. But in the leafy suburbs west of I-270, which are slated to lose almost all of their bus service, many people will soon discover that even if they do not take buses themselves, they rely on them to bring workers to their strip malls and shopping malls and office parks and hospitals and nursing homes.

We very clearly need a change in society where more individuals are invested in mass transit, both for themselves and for their fellow residents. Will this recession help fuel that shift?


Bus Shelter Snow Shoveling Answer

Mary Ann Barbary from the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority generously answered a question I emailed her about a topic that came up several weeks ago here on the Greater City Providence…

When it snows, who is responsible for shoveling the bus shelters? Here is the answer:

Lamar Advertising owns and maintains THEIR bus shelters which are clearly marked with their name and the side advertising panel. Lamar generally removes the snow from their bus shelters in a timely manner. They do NOT remove snow from the sidewalks.

Thank you for the clarification Mary Ann!


Free T Tonight

MBTA Commuter Train, Outbound

Photo (cc) TalkingTree from Flickr

The MBTA has free service tonight (yes that includes Commuter Rail from and to Providence), and special services after midnight.

Meanwhile RIPTA is detouring buses all over creation, not free, and does not run until or past midnight to most (any?) areas. So that’s not really a transit option if you plan to ring in the new year without your car.

So drive-walk-bicycle-hop-pogo-ski-sled safe tonight!

Update: A DC area charity is providing free cab rides to anyone in Washington too drunk to get home tonight. Crazy, right!?


Demolition of the Pawtucket train station started today!


UPDATE: The Pawtucket Foundation has posted some updated information on their website.

PADS has the full story. Earlier today Bilray Demolition Co. started demolishing a portion of the Pawtucket-Central Falls Train Station after obtaining a permit from the city of Central Falls. This a day after an engineering firm hired by the City of Pawtucket determined that the depot was the best location for bringing rail service back to Pawtucket; and a day before a Pawtucket City Council meeting that will discuss the future of the station, and it’s possible seizure by eminent domain.

The city of Pawtucket has obtained a restraining order which will halt the demolition for 8 days.

Tomorrow, December 6th, at 7:00pm at Pawtucket City Hall there will be a meeting to discuss the future of the station. The Pawtucket Redevelopment Authority will request the City Council to amend the city’s Redevelopment Plan to enable the PRA to acquire the train station by eminent domain.

Residents of Pawtucket are strongly encouraged to attend this meeting and express their desire for the station to be saved, rail service be restored to Pawtucket, and sensible urban development to take place on the depot site and in the surrounding neighborhodd.

Call the Pawtucket City Clerk’s office at 728-0500 for councilor contact information, or email the councilors at: