Providence Business News has provided both a map and a rather pertinent fact about the new transit service: Construction will begin in the
spring of 2018.
Mary MacDonald, PBN Staff Writer. 3/14/16 PROVIDENCE – An enhanced bus line to service downtown Providence will be initiated within two years, elected officials and transportation authorities announced Monday.
The new service, which will follow a 1.4mile route connecting the Rhode Island Hospital area, the Interstate 195 district and Kennedy Plaza, is a substitute for the recently scrapped Providence streetcar proposal.
The $17 million service, called an enhanced transit corridor, will include six new buses provided to the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. It will make use of $13 million in federal TIGER VI funds which had previously been awarded to Providence for
construction of a streetcar line. The remaining $4 million will be provided by the state, according to a news release.
The new route will run along Exchange, Dorrance and Eddy streets, running between Kennedy Plaza and the hospital district. The goal is to provide more frequent service, or a bus stopping at stops every five minutes. Bus stops will include curb extensions to accommodate waiting passengers, as well as bus shelters with seating, digital information signs and ticket vending machines.
The project is expected to be placed for public bids by the fall. Design plans should be completed by spring of 2017, with construction beginning in spring 2018, according to Emily Crowell, a spokeswoman for the city of Providence.
Elected officials, including Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, said the enhanced transit option would help strengthen economic development.
“Fast, convenient public transit will help make Rhode Island a more attractive place to live and work,” Raimondo said. “By building a new transit corridor connecting downtown, the 195 land and our world class universities, we’ll strengthen our pitch to businesses for why Providence is a great place to relocate or grow a business.”
Monday, March 14, 2016 PROVIDENCE, RI - Mayor Jorge Elorza today joined Governor Gina Raimondo, the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation, representatives from the Federal Transit Administration, RIPTA, RIDOT and community stakeholders to announce plans for a 1.4-mile Enhanced Transit Corridor in Downtown Providence.
"This project is an example of the mutually beneficial outcomes that are possible when all levels of government work creatively and collaboratively," said Mayor Jorge Elorza. "Together with partners at the state and federal level, we are building a tool that will encourage economic activity and help strengthen Providence's resurgence."
"Fast, convenient public transit will help make Rhode Island a more attractive place to live and work," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "By building a new transit corridor connecting downtown, the 195 land, and our world-class universities, we'll strengthen our pitch to businesses for why Providence is a great place to relocate or grow a business. At the same time, this project will help attract talent who want a city that is easy to access and get around. I am grateful to our Congressional Delegation, the City of Providence, RIPTA, and RIDOT for working together to bring these federal dollars to Rhode Island and make this project a reality."
The project will provide peak bus service, on an average of every five minutes, connecting Rhode Island's largest employment hubs and world-class institutions to the downtown core and adjacent neighborhoods, while passing directly through the LINK District, the City's key redevelopment area made available by the recent relocation of Interstate 195.
"We need to better connect neighborhoods and economic centers across the City and ensure riders can safely and conveniently get where they need to go. The project Mayor Elorza and the State have developed will have the feel and convenience of a street car, with dedicated shelters and stops, signal prioritization, and frequent service -- so if riders miss a bus across town during rush hour, they'll only have to wait a short time for the next one. This plan offers greater convenience and more flexible service, while also saving about $100 million in capital costs that would have come with laying rails in the ground for a streetcar. This is a smart and cost-effective investment in enhancing Providence's transportation system now and in the future, and I am pleased we were able to work with the U.S. Department of Transportation to make these federal TIGER funds available," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development (THUD).
"This new transit corridor will connect neighborhoods across downtown Providence," said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. "It will help workers, students, and shoppers get to some of Rhode Island's largest employers, our world-class universities and hospitals, and the soon-to-be-redeveloped former I-195 land. By investing this federal grant money in infrastructure and modernizing our transit options, we are laying the groundwork for long-term economic growth and job creation."
The project utilizes $13 million in TIGER VI funds which had previously been awarded for the construction of a street car. The revised proposal, which has been approved by the US Department of Transportation, is better aligned with the goals of the community, City, and State and can be delivered at an estimated total capital cost for the project is $17 million with additional funds provided by the state.
"A strong system of public transportation makes for a more accessible, livable community, and this enhanced transit corridor will make it easier for Rhode Islanders to live, work and play in our capital city," said Congressman Jim Langevin. "The City of Providence is open for business, and this transit system sends that message loud and clear."
"Robust transportation systems are the key to great cities and help make them more attractive to new residents and improve quality of life for existing communities. I am proud to join with Mayor Elorza and local leaders to celebrate the new Downtown Enhanced Transit Corridor," Congressman David Cicilline added. "Using federal funding, this exciting new transpiration model will provide better bus service to key destinations downtown and I look forward to working with my colleagues as this project continues."
Service for the Downtown Enhanced Transit Corridor will run along Exchange, Dorrance, and Eddy streets, providing quick and reliable transportation between Kennedy Plaza, two new intermodal transit hubs planned for the areas around the Providence Station and the Hospital District, and key office, retail, entertainment, and institutional destinations both within, and beyond the Downtown core.
"At RIDOT, we are laser focused on the needs of our transportation system not only today, but in the future," RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said. "Projects like this one will provide a unique transit feature for the city, and will mark another step forward for more transit choices and better transit utilization for Rhode Island."
"RIPTA is excited to be part of advancing the downtown Providence transit connector project, and we thank our federal delegates for their support throughout this application process," said Raymond Studley, CEO of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA). "RIPTA is looking forward to providing the City of Providence with this enhanced service as transit is key to economic growth. Furthermore, we are confident that RIPTA's statewide network and services will provide needed connections to the LINK redevelopment district and surrounding areas."
Bus stops along the corridor will include curb extensions to accommodate waiting passengers, bus shelters, seating, real time arrival information, increased signage, ticket vending machines for off-board fare payment, branding, WiFi, and integrated bike-share amenities.
South Street Parking Garage.
Down on Eddy Street, work on the parking garage has now begun in earnest. The magnificent pile driver has just about finished pounding real stakes in the ground. And a gigantic crane has appeared that can reach far above the roof of South Street Landing. Work has been has been going on inside all "winter" behind fabric covered windows. The giant crane seems to presage high altitude work — perhaps structural steel for the additional floors slated to go up there.
A few weeks ago, the pile driver arrived on site and since then it has been planting a forest of concrete pilings. As the picture at right shows, concretejacks are on their way to clear-cutting the pilings down to ground level to support the parking garage's first floor deck.
At Tuesday's JDA Meeting, Scott Dumont, CV Properties Development Project Manager, said that the garage should be finished in the late fall. At that point, cars from the One Davol Square lot will move into the garage, and work can begin work to fill the parking lot with a pair of residential buildings.
Speaking of Lumbering Operations
A while back, designs for the National Grid switchgear building and transformer yard were presented to the Downtown Design Review Commission. It was promised that everything possible would be done to preserve the screen of trees between the site and the adjacent pedestrian bridge and park. Well, the possible lost out to storm water drainage. The (skimpy) row of trees has been lost to the conduit that channels storm water from the site into the NBC overflow canal.
Hey, we didn't say it. The New York Times did. In their round-up of 50 places to go this year, they said the 195 land is sculpture-studded. And that's good enough for us.
See No. 33 on their list HERE. (And don't be led astray by the Ocean House photo that illustrates our entry; Watch Hill is not that far from Providence, if you're from Wyoming.)
To bring you up to date, here are the latest additions that the 195 Redevelopment Commission has commissioned for the Jewelry District's already sculpture-studded area.
From Rhode Island Monthly /January 2016 /Our Favorite Places in Rhode Island
A classic dive bar draws the true connoisseur.
By Ellen Welty
It looks like a little concrete box someone dumped off on a side street. If a glamorous person ever entered it by mistake, he or she would take one look at the patrons — and the jar of pickled eggs that’s sometimes on the bar — and run away, screaming. It’s a bar for the rest of us. No matter our age or day job, we — and our dog — are welcome. Last Kentucky Derby Day, white-haired women in somewhat fancy hats watched the race at the bar, while young dudes played pool, a professorial-type puffed on an e-cigarette contemplatively, and the great, great jukebox sent tunes to every corner of the room. Some nights, there’s live music.
Once, as a four-member band belted out Sam Cooke’s “Living in a Fool’s Paradise," I noticed that the trombonist was very pregnant. When she played an extended solo, I thought, “Man, her baby’s going to have amazing pipes.”
I love it at Nick-a-Nee’s, and I don’t even drink anymore.
See the article on line: Rhode Island Monthly
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We've known this all along. But it's always great when "outsiders" recognize one of the great places you can find in the Jewelry District. Congratulations, Nick-a-Nee's!
Rhode Island Monthly didn't mention it, but Nick-a-Nee's is a member of the JDA.
The founder of a renowned graphic design firm located in the Jewelry District passed away last month as reported in Channing Gray's obituary in the Providence Journal.
And in this appreciation from the Editorial Page.
Not mentioned, but should be, is the significant role Malcolm Grear played in the transformation of the Jewelry District.
The unofficial JDA archivist explains: In his design work and teaching at RISD, Grear was a pioneer. And he had the inspiration (and daring) to take the first step that would change the District from an area of defunct manufacturing buildings to today's busy mixed-use business/residential neighborhood.
As the location for his new graphic design studio, he undertook the “re-purposing” of 391-393 Eddy St. Once a bakery wholesale supply house, it became the headquarters for Malcolm Grear Designers, a world-class design firm with a blue-chip list of clients, including the Atlanta 1996 Centennial Olympic games. It was the very first industrial property in the District to undergo what used to be called "recycling". Grear showed the way for the building resuscitation that has followed over the years.
Malcolm Grear Designers remains on Eddy Street, just across from where the transformation continues as the dead power plant becomes South Street Landing, a massive residential/university-office/nursing school complex.
In a wide-ranging interview with Ian Donnis of Rhode Island Public Radio this morning, Chairman Joseph Azrack detailed development(s) in view on the 195 land. In his view, beginning with the signing of the Wexford-CV letter of intent for Parcel 42, the action has begun. And, as he notes, the neighboring South Street Landing project which is well underway will begin the transformation of the District, when it opens for business in 2017.
You can read the interview, or listen to it HERE.
When this magnificent machine showed up on the site of our future Jewelry District Park, one worried.
Had we missed something?
Was the Ball Park back in play? Were they starting work on Parcel 42? No to both and most other fanciful notions.
The Projo has the explanation which you can read about here. Seems the machinery is being staged there in preparation for driving the pilings to support the new parking garage that's an important part of the South Street Landing project.
To keep the public informed on progress and construction and news, South Street Landing has created an e-Mail UPDATE service. Subscribe and you'll receive updates as they are issued.
Just click: SouthStreetLanding.com On their site, look down to the lower center of the page and click on the blue GET UPDATES oval.
Of course, if you're more with it than we are, you can also Follow them on Twitter or Like them on Facebook.
To save time right now, here's the text of the latest Update.
Crossing Eddy/Dyer Street can be iffy at rush hour. South Street Landing has made some changes to take the excitement out of the experience:
January 28, 2016
When construction recently began on the South Street Landing parking garage, one of the two northbound lanes of Eddy Street adjacent to the project, along with the sidewalk and bike path, were closed. This closure will remain in place until construction is complete at the end of this year.
The lane closure required pedestrians walking along the east side of Eddy Street, closest to the Providence River, to cross over to the west side of Eddy Street using crosswalks. Thanks to a neighbor, it was brought to our attention that the mesh-covered fencing atop the jersey barriers used to close the Eddy Street lane was making it difficult for those using the crosswalk near Ship Street to see oncoming northbound traffic.
To help increase visibility of northbound traffic for pedestrians using the crosswalk at the intersection of Ship Street and Dyer Street, a section of the mesh material attached to the fencing was removed. (When heading north, Eddy Street turns into Dyer Street once you pass Ship Street). In addition, we have also placed a caution sign in the crosswalk so motorists are more aware of the possibility of pedestrians crossing the road. Additional pedestrian signs will be placed in the coming days.
We encourage all pedestrians walking along Eddy Street near the South Street Landing project to exercise extra caution when crossing Eddy Street and to do so only using crosswalks. If you can, please consider making the Eddy Street crossing at the intersection of Point and Eddy on the south end of the block and at Ship and Dyer at the north end.
To receive Updates, just click here: SouthStreetLanding.com When the home page pops on, look for the blue UPDATE oval in the lower center of the page.
With the announcement that they have signed an intent to purchase agreement, Wexford Science + Technology of Baltimore and CV Properties LLC, of Boston and Southport, Conn., signal the first major major move in the redevelopment of the former I-195 site.
Running through the middle of the District, the bare fields where once six lanes of traffic sped along (and not infrequently sat idling) may at last be coming to productive life.
The full details of how the development should proceed are contained in Kate Bramson's article from Sunday's Providence Journal. Read all about it HERE.
And, for a look at the proposal for the three-phase development project, click THIS.