Greater City Providence

ProJo: Route 195 panel seeks more park designs for former highway land in Providence

West Side Park Pavillion

Landscape architects and designers offered plenty of images to the Route 195 Redevelopment District Commission Monday night of what the public parks on the now-vacant former highway land might become, noting at times that they’ve made some changes over the last 8-1/2 months to reduce the cost to build the parks.

But as the commissioners viewed designs, they pushed back, saying they’d like to see other proposals before plans are finalized and questioned whether designers might develop other possibilities for a proposed pavilion. Commissioners debated whether designs should include public restrooms.

[Commissioner Mark T.] Ryan stressed it would be foolish to do more design work if the commission doesn’t like that design.

“I don’t like it,” commissioner John M. Kelly said.

“I think it’s beautiful,” commissioner Barbara A. Hunger said.

“I think the architect should come up with some options,” Ryan said.

What exactly are the 195 Commissioners’ (or RIDOT’s for that matter) qualifications for designing parks?

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.


  • The usually dependable commenting community hereabouts must all be on screentime-free vacation or terminally bored with all things Route 195 Panel.

  • I’m curbing my snark in honor of the short work week and impending holiday thunderstorms…8)

  • From a flight back from Haiti:

    I thought the designs were gorgeous and I’m baffled by almost everything the I195 Commission is doing.

  • The renderings I’ve seen are not terribly detailed, and I don’t know what materials are, etc., but they look like a nice direction. Certainly one could argue the merits of modern vs. classical design, but the time for that debate has well since past, if this is where the designs are now, this is the direction they should continue in and we should get these parks built already.

    We’ve known for a long time that the bridge would be modern, having ‘Victorian’ parks on either side of it seems silly.

    And I can’t even imagine who is advocating designing a space such as this without public restrooms.

  • And I know what people will say about public bathrooms, but:

    That is the public restroom at Bryant Park in New York City (more images). If there is a will to have nice things, there is a way to have nice things.

  • As much I want to agree with Jef’s support of public restrooms, my experience using the ones at Kennedy plaza is not encouraging. I’ve seen sewage on the floor, drug deals, and homeless people taking towel showers. This all happens under the nose of the police substation next door. I’m curious how NYC manages to keep Bryant park’s public restrooms so inviting and safe. I’m worried these proposed restrooms would more closely resemble the ones just down the street in Kennedy plaza and not Bryant park.

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