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.
As the 2014 legislative session wound to a close, the long-planned/awaited Garrahy Courthouse parking garage came closer to realization. The lot, pictured at left, would become a multi-story garage with retail on the ground floor and a possible satellite RIPTA bus depot.
Things appear to be on the move all around that lot. The legislature enabled the joint Brown, Rhode Island College and University of Rhode Island re-purposing of the abandoned power plant on Dyer Street. That project alone will bring hundreds of new people into the district on a daily basis. Developers have expressed interest in several 195 parcels as the infrastructure work nears completion. That means more people coming into the area.
As development proceeds and daily activity increases, additional parking will be sorely needed. So will the improved mass transit capabilities the proposed bus depot would bring to the District.
One of the 195 parcels mentioned as a possible site for a "life science incubator" is just off-camera diagonally across the Clifford and Richmond intersection from the southwest corner of the current Garrahy parking lot.
In its issue for June 23d, Providence Business News provided background and full details.
Well, we waited and waited, but the streetcar still hasn't arrived.
The placard in the photo appeared magically this week strapped to a tree on Ship Street. It's worth noting that the tree is growing right down the street from the global headquarters of the Narrangansett Brewery.
Hey, neighbor, if "Gansett can come back, what's to stop the revival of streetcars in Providence. Proves that anything can happen if you believe. Streetcars and "Gansett? A confluence of two great things.
One step toward the revival of the streetcar was reported in the past week by Greater CIty Providence. GCPVD says that a grant proposal for funding one aspect of the streetcar was filed recently. Check it out at GCPVD.org.
The proposed streetcar line from College Hill to Upper South Providence and the hospitals is still moving fitfully along. While it makes its latest stop on the funding route at the Providence CIty Council Ordnance Committee, it may be useful to take a look at the proposed route through Jewelry District.
The map at left shows the route. You can read the complete proposal as it stands today by clicking on Providence Streetcar.
"The proposed Providence Streetcar is a local transportation circulator system that will serve to unify the neighborhoods surrounding Downtown as an interconnected destination for living, working and enjoying activities... a key component of a vision for a transit system of the future." City of Providence/RIPTA Core Connector Study January, 2012.