Greater City Providence

CVS in Edgewood

Neighbors in the Edgewood section of Cranston are opposing plans for a 24-hour, drive thru CVS in their neighborhood.

Image from Respect4Edgewood

The proposed CVS would replace the existing Rite Aid on the corner of Norwood Avenue and Broad Street, Rocky’s Hardware would also be displaced from their current location. Directly across from the proposed CVS sits a suburban style monster of a Walgreens.

Image from Google StreetView

The current building housing Rite Aid and Rocky’s won’t win any design prizes, but at least it is built to the street with the parking screened behind/beside it. It is good urban form.

Image from Google StreetView

Tearing down a building properly built to the street to build a new building with a drive-thru situated in a sea of parking is so wrong-headed for this neighborhood that I don’t even know how to begin to write about it. Luckily, Cranston Style already has a great post about it, which you should go read.

From the comments on Cranston Style:

Update: The Cranston Planning & Site Review committee sent CVS back to the drawing board. The next Planning Cmte meeting is 9AM June 2, 3rd Floor, City Hall. THE PUBLIC IS WELCOME to attend & voice opinions. Respect4Edgewood is hosting a neighborhood meeting that evening, June 2, 6PM at William Hall Library on Broad Street.

Like I said, I don’t even know where to start on making the most urban part of Cranston more auto-centric. But really, how anachronistic is a drug store built in the middle of a parking lot with two drive-thru lanes at a time when gas is crawling over $3/gallon again?

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.


  • Thank you for spreading the word about the plight of Edgewood vs. the 24-hr CVS. There is currently a Facebook page up where anyone interested in the cause can get more information and also where we’ve listed ways to help garner support (writing letters and calling/contacting politicians, etc). Please visit Facebook and join the group: STOP CVS in the Historic Edgewood Neighborhood, Cranston RI.

  • You know… I haven’t been in a CVS since that whole thing with the train station in Pawtucket/CF. As much as I would like to support a RI-based company, their business plan is just terrible.

    Everything else aside, here’s what I want to know… what’s the point of opening a CVS directly across the street from a Walgreens? I never understood that about this state. Pretty much everywhere you see one chain drug store, you see another either across the street or a block away. I understand the whole point of competition, but wouldn’t it be more beneficial to open in an area that doesn’t currently have their drug store needs met?

  • Funny but I always thought the setup of the current Rite Aid was odd. The front door is rarely used while the ugly rear door is used. The proposed CVS makes much more sense.

    How is CVS managing to get RITE AID out?

  • Miguel, the front door is used (I walk to Rite Aid all the time and use it), at least when it’s open. I think historically they’ve had issues with crime, so they lock the front door (right next to the pharmacy counter) after 5 or something.

    This whole situation annoys me, with the City Council bending over for the corporate interests, to the detriment of the neighborhood & residents. (See also the forthcoming Stop & Shop just a mile down the street on Warwick Ave, abutting a residential area, diagonally across the street from Shaw’s, and opposed by area residents).

  • The CVS site plan is completely anti-urban within a historically urban part of Cranston. Not everyone drives in Edgewood. Even if they do drive they often choose to walk to stores in the neighborhood. The proposed multiple rows of parking along Broad Street and Norwood Avenue kills the corner and visual integrity of the street wall and neighborhood context. With no obvious walkway from either street foot traffic will be discouraged. Are people supposed to compete with cars walking along entrance drive aisles to get to the store? Perhaps that’s the intent or maybe just ignorance since CVS’s limited worldview appears to revolve around cars and suburbia not pedestrians and cities.

  • Obviously, if the current Rite-Aid (and previously brooks) is forced to lock the front door after dark, then this is not a practical design to a future building. I lived in Edgewood for a number of years recently. It’s definitely not “urban”, and is probably one of Rhode Island’s oldest “suburbs”.

    The CVS store is geared towards cars because that’s how customers will be arriving. By no means is this a “pedestrian-heavy” section of Cranston, unless you take into consideration the brief moments on Sundays when St. Paul’s parishioners walking to their cars or at 2:30 on weekdays when students are walking to their parent’s cars after school. Other than those times, the sidewalks are barren, sans the occasional dog walker.

    This whole trend of hiding parking lots behind buildings (ala Eagle Square in Providence) has negative impact as well, since it seems to lead to choke-points and it also make it difficult for local police to monitor the area effectively.

  • I lived in Edgewood as well. Perhaps you’re right that Edgewood is really a suburb. Even if this is so, there are multi-family buildings dispersed throughout the neighborhood. Edgewood was developed long before cars were in widespread use. It was developed as a streetcar suburb where people walked to their houses and shops, as well as, transit stops. Granted it is true that few people walk today though some still. You may have yourself, if that’s how you discovered the locked door. The main point is that the site plan proposed by CVS might be more fitting along Reservoir Avenue or Bald Hill or Post Roads than for the intersection of Broad Street and Norwood Avenue in a contextual historic neighborhood of early and late Victorian houses.

    If CVS’s building is constructed as planned it will diminish and degrade in part a portion of this neighborhood. This very same process has been occurring repeatedly over the last couple of decades in commercial corridors throughout Providence’s urban core cities. The effect is the same if not worse no matter where this occurs. Neighborhoods are undermined by this alien form of development. In less affluent areas the result makes neighborhoods less safe.

    I’m not advocating retaining the existing building. It’s a pretty forgettable structure. The only positive feature it offers is it holds the corner of the intersection by creating a street wall. The CVS building will not. The proposed is the same cookie cutter building that CVS might build in along Collins Avenue in North Miami or Aurora Avenue in Seattle surrounded by parking with no relation to the street, except there’s a regional façade treatment added for local “context.”

  • Disagreements aside, I can’t imagine the residents in those two huge Victorian homes (in the black and white design concept above) can be happy about having a 24-hour drive-thru on the other side of their rear fences!

  • Yea, that will be rough. Think of the bedrooms in the back of both houses. The city blew it by not requiring more “yard” separation for the new commercial building from the existing houses lot lines.

  • A message from Respect 4 Edgewood:

    CVS has informed the City that they will be submitting 2 new plans – one which the neighborhood would probably NOT like but would conform with all zoning requirements and the other which is more “neighborhood sensitive”. It is crucial that you attend the next Site Plan Review meeting at City Hall on Wednesday, June 2nd, at 9:00 A.M. and/or the neighborhood meeting at William Hall Library at 7:00 P.M. on June 2nd.

  • Nice tactic:

    Plan 1 – Here is what we can build and there is nothing you can do to stop us or…

    Plan 2 – Here is what we really want to build that you still may not like but you probably shouldn’t put up a fuss over or else…see Plan 1.

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