Providence, RI — Streetcars Plan
Rail Transit Online, December 2009
The newly-released Providence Metropolitan Transit Enhancement Study includes a starter streetcar system with five modern cars costing an estimated $66 million to $86 million.
The line would be approximately
2.1 mi. (3.38 km) long and would start at Providence's Rhode Island Hospital, running north through the Jewelry District and downtown to a junction near the Kennedy Plaza Intermodal Transportation Center. One branch would continue to the railroad station, served by Amtrak and MBTA commuter trains, and another would run to Thayer Street near Brown University.
The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority anticipates completing the alternatives analysis and environmental assessment by the spring of 2011, followed by preliminary engineering and final design by the summer of 2013. The earliest date for revenue service is the late fall of 2015.
Future extensions could be built
along major streets southwest or south of downtown including Atwells Avenue, Broadway, Broad Street and Aliens Avenue. The study predicts "a huge economic benefit"
from redevelopment in the Jewelry District and downtown once the streetcar is in place. The report also calls for bus rapid transit to enhance existing service, a doubling of RIPTA park-and-ride lots to 56 and substituting four smaller transit hubs located just outside of downtown for the main transfer point now located at Kennedy Plaza.
The entire project, including the streetcar, would cost $127.6 million but no funding
has yet been identified. However, the report said Providence is an excellent candidate for streetcars and officials anticipate there will be federal money for the project under the Small Starts program.