Greater City Providence

StreetFilms: Seattle’s new Link Light Rail


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.


  • Yet here in Providence there’s a struggle to just build a single streetcar line. The metro area of RI hold a good portion of the population withing a 15 mile line. Why don’t we have a decent light rail system too?

  • Because Joey Paolino continues to scare people by making outrageous claims that we would have to remove all cars from the streets in order to install light rail.

  • Conspiracy theories are not constructive and necessarily accurate. Seattle is ahead of Providence because they started considering light-rail long before Providence and Rhode Island did. Seattle completed the “bus tunnel” in 1990. It was conceived as a mixed bus and light-rail tunnel. The tracks were installed when they built it. Its construction began in 1987, so the planning, design, and engineering had to have been started in the early or mid 1980s or roughly 25 years ago. They surely had a few bond issues along the way. It took Seattle 20 years to get it together to have any trains travel though its tunnel.

    Providence has had no bond issues to date and Cicilline only proposed the Transit 2020 group a few years ago. There are other American cities that have planned designed constructed and started light-rail service in less than 4 years. Hopefully Providence will use one of those as a role model and not Seattle.

  • Peter is right, although Seattle could have had light rail decades ago if they hadn’t continually voted it down. Hopefully Providence can be more progressive. It was frustrating growing up in transit-starved Seattle and having people again and again pass on light rail.

Providence, RI
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Wind: 6mph SW
Humidity: 53%
Pressure: 30.06"Hg
UV index: 0
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