Greater City Providence

PBN: Parking, bus plans ‘Link’-ed


The two projects carry estimated price tags in the neighborhood of $40 million each and one of the bus hubs will likely share a location with the parking garage at the Garrahy Judicial Complex on Dorrance Street.


As central as The Link [195 Redevelopment District] is to the state’s economic-development strategy, by itself the second RIPTA bus hub planned adjacent to the Providence Train Station could be a larger project than the combined Garrahy proposal.

That’s because the hub is being looked at as part of a public-private partnership including, potentially, expansion of the train station, more garage parking and mixed-use development of the vacant land next door owned by Capital Properties Inc.

Planned correctly, these projects could greatly enhance the city’s transportation system. It is good to see divergent players looking at all the pieces together and seeing how they fit.

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.


  • I too think the idea of the multiple hubs with buses still running thru Kennedy Plaza has potential to both really improve our transit systems and help the city redevelop, but there are many uncertainties that have to be faced. Already there’s some oppostion to the capital bonds by folks concerned with the state’s debt level, it is no sure thing the legislature will put the bonds on the ballot or that the public would support them. It is not clear to me who would have to pay the bonds back. Normally RIPTA has to pay back the state bonds for capital match (for buses, the garage etc) out of its operating budget (currently suspended temporarily this year.) RIDOT too is trying to get off bonding to free up their revenue for maintenance. Even more of a cost to Ripta operating funds is the extra cost (in fuel, labor time, managing 2 more hubs, and a possible need for more buses on some routes) of extending most of the lines thru the Plaza to another hub. RIPTA is still costing this out, I don’t see how they can go ahead with this unless there is some assurance of a long term funding to cover these additional costs.

    There may also be an issue of additional traffic congestion near the train station where it is already a problem. Finally, the next Governor and/or Mayor may have very different priorities.

  • I’m not sure why there’s so much enthusiasm for putting the bus hub under the parking garage. Like I said before, I think it’s admirable that we would try to think in terms of bringing people to a place in ways other than driving, but the perfect pair up for a bus hub is a center of commerce, jobs, and housing. It would make the most sense to put the bus hub directly under something that provides that. I feel like putting the bus hub onto this project makes sense the same way that tying a bird to a toaster does. The real connection seems to be cleansing the idea of spending public money on parking, by running it through a transit filter.

    I misreported that the parking garage would cost $45 million in another post, because the G.A. member I spoke to told me that that was the level of spending on that project. But there’s still going to be close to $10 million put to that garage, either way (188 spots x $50,000 per spot=$9.4 Million). I’m not sure how much of that is intended to be paid for by the state, and what methods have been proposed to regain the money (is the parking going to be free for visitors to the garage, or to employees? Or are people going to pay a market rate back to the taxpayers?). I also think that Jonathan Harris from the Sierra Club had a really strong proposal for making this project “parking neutral” by requiring the buy-out and removal of as many surface spaces as are added through the garage. I think that people getting behind this project have a responsibility to talk about our public expenditures on parking in this way.

Providence, RI
Partly Cloudy
5:29 am8:14 pm EDT
Feels like: 88°F
Wind: 6mph W
Humidity: 43%
Pressure: 29.97"Hg
UV index: 8
86°F / 70°F
81°F / 68°F
75°F / 68°F