In 2020, Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) developed the Transit Forward 2040 master plan with recommendations on how to address short and long-term mobility needs of the state’s …
In 2020, Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) developed the Transit Forward 2040 master plan with recommendations on how to address short and long-term mobility needs of the state’s residents, workers and visitors.
With a proposition of a Park Avenue transit line, Councilman John Donegan’s goal is to work with RIPTA on a bus route, which would connect the eastern and western part of the city.
From its master plan recommendations, RIPTA found that while Providence has the highest demand for transit, Pawtucket, Central Falls, North Providence, East Providence, Warwick and Cranston are in great need. Key improvements include more frequent transit, longer operation hours and faster services.
In Cranston, the master plan calls for implementing crosstown services along Park Avenue; RIPTA recommended this route in three other locations within the state – all in the Providence area. Currently, eight RIPTA routes pass through Cranston, all of which travel north to south. Donegan has spoken with constituents about the line and posted about it on social media.
He said going off the online reaction, crosstown services seems like a popular idea.
Donegan mentioned that a RIPTA planner presented the crosstown services idea to the last city council and Maria Bucci (the current chair of the Cranston Democratic Party) discussed the idea in her campaign.
Donegan’s hope is to start taking small steps forwardto make this a reality.
Cristy Raposo Perry, acting public information officer at RIPTA said Donegan has not reached out to the authority but “ We always look forward to continued conversations with him and all of our elected officials on improving transit in Rhode Island.”
In an email Perry wrote, “RIPTA has not yet begun promoting service improvements to Park Avenue in
Cranston. This service improvement is one of many we are planning on implementing over the next twenty years.
The Transit Forward 2040 plan does not lay out a timeline for these service improvements, but we have begun strategizing how to best move forward with these implementations as resources allow.”
As Donegan points out, Parry said, “a new Park Ave. crosstown route would allow passengers to travel directly to areas in Cranston without having to transfer first in downtown Providence.”
Donegan said the line’s intended impact is to reduce dependence on vehicles, open up the economy and give more transportation access to people along the route. He said a sizable portion of people in Ward 3 depend on transportation and that increasing access to other areas of the city would only help people’s economic opportunities and ability to participate in public city meetings.
“If someone in the stadium neighborhood can get a job in Pawtuxet, they have to go through hoops and bounds to get there. If someone wants to come and testify at City Council and they live in stadium, they can’t get there if they don’t have a car. Increasing access opens up opportunities across the board,” said Donegan.
As for bus stops along the prospective route, Donegan said good locations might include a stop by City Hall, one near Reservoir Avenue, Hugh B. Bain Middle School, Pawtuxet and Warwick Avenue.
The route would potentially connect attractions, from Rolfe Square and Pawtuxet Village to Roger Williams Zoo. Donegan said there are climate and environmental ramifications to consider and that more individuals taking public transportation could lead to less fuel emission from personal vehicles. A more direct bus route could promote public transportation.
“When we hear exciting news about mixed-use development where Legion Bowl is, what’s going on at the Park Cinema, and Rolfe Square, having a line that goes down Park Avenue would help alleviate vehicular traffic, make a more walkable community and help the businesses that are there on that main corridor,” Donegan said.
Donegan said the route would take some financial investment from the city. If the line were to be included, it would be a combination of community engagement, input from different departments within the city.