Greater City Providence

Pedestrianized Fulton Street Alley

Fulton Street Alley

Work wrapped up last week on pedestrianizing Fulton Street Alley. It was more or less pedestrianized already with a gate blocking vehicle access, however it was dank, dark, and unattractive. With new pavement treatments and lighting on the surrounding buildings, the street becomes a much more attractive pedestrian connection between Union Street and City Hall and Kennedy Plaza beyond.

Fulton Street Alley

In the warmer months, tables and chairs could be brought in to allow people a place to sit and eat and socialize during the day. There is also the possibility of activating the space with an outdoor marketplace.

Fulton Street follows the successful conversion of Lucie Way (formerly Martha Street) into a pedestrian street.

Martha Street
Martha Street during Gay Pride celebrations

Lucie Way features outdoor dining and drinking for Viva Mexico and The Stable as well as entrances for AS220 studios which are not accessible from the front of the building on Washington Street.

What other streets should be get this treatment?

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.


  • This is great to see! I would love to see a similar project on Middle Street from Dorrance all the way to Union (or at least Eddy). Also, giving the pedestrian treatment to Snow Street from Fountain to Washington would help tie the convention and civic centers to restaurants and businesses on Washington and Westminster.

  • Alon, the only street level retail is the Salon bar on the right from where the photos are taken. Those large windows are Salon. The green awning is the entrance to the Smith Building apartments.

    Foreground left is currently either office space, or vacant, I can’t remember which. There are a number of vacant or underutilized retail spaces along Eddy Street in either direction (there was a Subway sandwich shop until about a year or so ago).

    At the other end, on Union Street, each side of the alley is flanked by ground floor offices and there is no retail on that block of Union Street.

    The retail/restaurant options are lacking at the moment. I could see people from City Hall and other areas having lunch there if there were tables when the weather permits. Haven Brothers parks their truck outside City Hall, so diners from there could utilize the alley.

    Establishing the alley as a retail space itself (at least part time) is probably the best short term use we’ll see to activate the space. Longer term (which could be on the order of months rather than years) there are numerous retail spaces on the Eddy Street end of the alley which could become active and feed activity in the alley.

    Personally, when the weather is good, I long for more places to stop and sit Downcity, if seating is installed, I can see myself using it, it would actually be a nice place to get out of the sun in the summer. Winter programming will be more difficult.

  • I remember some of the first outdoor downtown movies were shown here, now ‘Movies On The Block’ at Union and Westminster is hugely popular in warmer months. Looking forward to some seating, markets, etc. this spring and summer!

  • I still wish we could go back and do this to all of Westminster, only this time with a dedicated ROW for the streetcar.

  • The City has been there, done that with Westminster Street. It killed all the retail and set Downtown back decades. It would be devastating to the often struggling shops to pedestrianize it again.

  • It’s far to easy and simplistic to blame Westminster Street’s pedestrian mall on Downtown’s retail decline.

    The 1973 oil embargo and subsequent recession coupled with free parking and late store hours at brand new suburban shopping malls all contributed to the demise Downtown’s retail. The closing of Shepard’s in 1976 began the real and steady decline.

    Similar to what you see at Providence Place today, through the 60s and early 70s there were hundreds if not thousands of shoppers walking on Westminster Mall every business day. Businesses weren’t hurting until the recession.

    The car not the pedestrian mall “killed all the retail and set Downtown back decades.”

  • How about some emergency police boxes? Hate to be walking thru on a dark and quiet night…….

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