Providence developments

jbray

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With the success of the Hartford Line, it seems the writing is on the wall for RI to develop commuter rail. It'll be a bizarre world for Hartford to succeed on the failings of Providence especially in the age of CT's fiscal dilemma, but here we are.

The proposal to connect Providence to Fall River and New Bedford through the tunnel seems like a smarter long term proposal than SCR.
 

PortlandArch

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Wow

“The Providence City Council ultimately overrode Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza’s veto, allowing the maximum height for parcel 42 of the former I-195 land to be raised by hundreds of feet so that New York developer Jason Fane can build the 46-story Hope Point Tower there.”
https://www.wpri.com/news/committee-votes-to-remove-providences-zoning-authority-over-195-land/










I have to say, while it looks like Miami meets the Aqua Tower in Chicago, dropped in New England, I really like this idea ... now if only those parking lots nearby could be filled in ...
 

Shawmut

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Hope Point Tower design was approved by the I-195 commission! Lets see what the next steps will be!
 

Lrfox

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Of note, the documents submitted to the city indicate that this is now taller than originally proposed with more units. From 420 units and 495 feet to 500 unites and 550 feet. 313 proposed parking spaces. Less than 1 per unit which I appreciate. GoLocal has cost estimates from Gilbane too: https://www.golocalprov.com/business/new-documents-unveil-key-facts-about-fane-tower-project-taller-and-more-uni?fbclid=
 

DZH22

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Turn away a big project like this and next thing you know you guys will be knocking down the Industrial Trust Building. Providence needs a shot in the arm before the city's most recognizable building deteriorates much further. It's a gem of the city, but not exactly a hot commodity for major investors. The Fane Tower, if nothing else, is a true litmus test for the future prospects of Providence.
 

Hubman

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Idk- I don't think those two are necessarily correlated. I could easily see this being built and then some moron with no appreciation of architecture or history waltzing into Providence and knocking down ITB to build some ugly box 20 feet taller- I think that was Hasbro's idea.
 

#bancars

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Per unit cost of $284,393? Does this seem insanely cheap? Like significantly cheaper than per-unit construction in Boston?

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nicanbot

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$400 million Pawtucket project includes pro soccer stadium:



Some welcome news for buds in Pawtucket. Fingers crossed!
 

Rover

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Turn away a big project like this and next thing you know you guys will be knocking down the Industrial Trust Building. Providence needs a shot in the arm before the city's most recognizable building deteriorates much further. It's a gem of the city, but not exactly a hot commodity for major investors. The Fane Tower, if nothing else, is a true litmus test for the future prospects of Providence.
Why does he need a $25M tax break from a cash strapped state to build a luxury tower? I'm a little confused on that point. Its not like he's building affordable housing.
 

kingofsheeba

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$400 million Pawtucket project includes pro soccer stadium:



Some welcome news for buds in Pawtucket. Fingers crossed!
I like the idea of the Commuter Rail stop. But as we speak, my Rhode Island friends are in full denial over the fact that they lost the PawSox and I got shut down for saying that you can blame BOTH your governor and Larry for this. No need to pick sides.

Meanwhile, taxpayers are footing somewhere between $70-80 million for this mea culpa of a project. It truly is “sorry about the PawSox. Here’s a USL team to fill the void. You’ll still be footing the bill whether or it it takes off.”

Gina didn’t want to write the PawSox a blank check, so she ushers in a USL team to Pawtucket based on the league’s success out in Phoenix. Got it.
 

DBM

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The proposal to connect Providence to Fall River and New Bedford through the tunnel seems like a smarter long term proposal than SCR.
I argued/advocated for this months ago on AB given my feeling (and I emphasize, mere feeling), that Fall River and New Bedford more "naturally" belong in Providence's hinterland than in Boston's, given that they're 20 miles away vs. 60 miles away, and therefore it's insane to do South Coast commuter rail when instead you could tether them to Providence like that.

But then F-Line, in his inimitable style, gave a typically comprehensive summary of why NB/FR commuter rail to Providence along the I-195 corridor is permanently screwed, for some very esoteric (as I recall) infrastructure reason.

Perhaps if he sees this post he can re-share it...
 

jklo

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Where would they go? There aren't much in the way of jobs in Providence.
 

DBM

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Where would they go? There aren't much in the way of jobs in Providence.
Well, there's got to be... something... causing I-195 westbound through Swansea, Seekonk, East Providence, to be badly jammed-up during the morning commute. Anecdotally, from the few times I've experienced it, it's quite congested.

They're predominantly using I-195 west to then drive up 95 N to head to jobs in metro Boston? Possibly--but then why don't they simply drive up 24 N?

FWIW, this site says a little over 820,000 jobs in metro PVD.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I argued/advocated for this months ago on AB given my feeling (and I emphasize, mere feeling), that Fall River and New Bedford more "naturally" belong in Providence's hinterland than in Boston's, given that they're 20 miles away vs. 60 miles away, and therefore it's insane to do South Coast commuter rail when instead you could tether them to Providence like that.

But then F-Line, in his inimitable style, gave a typically comprehensive summary of why NB/FR commuter rail to Providence along the I-195 corridor is permanently screwed, for some very esoteric (as I recall) infrastructure reason.

Perhaps if he sees this post he can re-share it...
There's no ROW available. The Warren Branch is obliterated after the state line by the entire Ocean Grove neighborhood of Swansea that built over it post-abandonment. And any/all attempts to try to find a graft-on trajectory to I-195 become an exercise in futility with all the wetlands, ocean inlets, and wretched insertion-angle geometry to contend with. Of all the Crazy Transit Pitches wishlist items that can be quantified with some tangible demand, this may be the most real-world physically impossible of the whole lot. Which is really saying something given the proposals we regularly toss around here. 😞


Unfortunately when the line was in-service it was handicapped by the extreme weight-restricted rail upper deck of the Slades Ferry Bridge, which could only take the wood-bodied ultralight interurban-like EMU's that the Old Colony ran captive to East Providence electric territory and not any type of standard RR equipment. All the steam trains hauling New York weekenders to Newport had to go the long way Providence-Attleboro-Taunton-Fall River, and no freight could ever cross the bridge. It was basically relegated to "the last unicorn" status of the whole pan-NYNH&H system equipment-wise, propped up through the 1920's only by pretty strong ridership. When the Great Depression wiped out the railroad's finances and hit ridership hard they had to immediately curtail the commuter-oriented EMU service to save money, leaving literal zero other traffic they were capable of running that way. With no excuse to keep the line open, it was immediately torn up. Had the bridge been able to take something/anything of standard car weight they would've easily been able to justify keeping it open because the NY-Newport trains would still be running through the late-50's and would save loads of time this way instead of the around-the-horn routing, while many freight routings could've been consolidated out that way providing further justification for its continued existence. Alas, no one had money to replace that flimsy bridge with something better until the failing road deck got condemned in 1970 and the state demolished the whole thing for scrap sans any planned replacement. The bridge was at the rotary-to-nowhere on MA 103 a stone's throw south of the now-derelict Brightman St. bridge, and connected on the Fall River side at the Remington Ave. dead-end. Excess retaining wall weirdness on Pearce St. behind the strip mall on Davol tips off where the Warren Branch met the Newport main at the old station entrance to Fall River Depot.

It doesn't help either that the Old Colony never filled the 3800 ft. gap separating the Newport main downtown from the stub end of the Wattupa Branch @ Plymouth Ave. precluding any direct thru-route connection to New Bedford, and that by the time the I-195 canyon and New City Hall air rights went into design in the late-50's the RR was too cosmically broke and eager to dump the Old Colony commuter rail lines that it didn't/couldn't make any design stand for a ROW reservation in the new expressway cut completing the missing link at long last (if for no other reason than freight-usefulness). By the time the first short segment of 195 opened downtown in '63 commuter rail to the South Coast had already been gone 5 years.

---- ---- ---- ----

In a parallel universe where the Slades Ferry Bridge wasn't such an achilles heel, you'd probably see the South Coast rail lines consolidated into something more like this:
  • fully preserved Warren Branch, and even if the East Providence tunnel still closed in '81 all the same at least some east-side freight out of Pawtucket still coming that way.
  • a Wattupa Branch that fully spanned the whole way from Fall River to New Bedford, acting as primary freight lane between both ports to this day.
  • a different Depression-era consolidation of the routes from Boston. As is, the Somerset Branch (a.k.a. south extension of the Stoughton Line straight out of Taunton) got truncated despite originally being the preferred passenger route so they could save coin retiring the Mallard Point drawbridge. Traffic got re-routed further east onto the *current* Fall River Branch (a.k.a. ex- Lakeville Branch) through barren Freetown State Forest at slight schedule penalty but much much easier maint costs and no drawbridges. Somerset Branch is full MassDOT-landbanked to within 1 mile of Mallard Point because it stayed in various states of use/semi-disuse until the 1980's, but the mile to the old draw is completely and utterly obliterated by rich housing. In the parallel universe where the Warren Branch stayed and crossed a newer/better bridge, they would've seen fit to re-route the Somerset Branch west of Somerset Reservoir for a few miles through (then) farmland along Route 138 to junction with the Warren Branch at a consolidated crossing. That is: all Boston OR Providence traffic crosses the river at the same place, and service to New Bedford vs. Newport branches at Fall River Depot dead-center downtown instead of way the hell out in Myricks.
  • Lakeville Branch (current route) in the forest between Myricks and FR Depot gets abandoned instead. New Bedford Branch (a.k.a. Old Colony mainline to Lowell) north of the airport probably stays after the dust settles as a secondary freight connector for the still present-day critical yards at Framingham and Middleboro...but never catches a whiff of passenger interest ever again because the FR Depot hub + Wattupa Branch are so much superior for pooling/distributing.
We don't live in a parallel universe, however, so all these pegs knocked out between 1938-1958 are utterly, totally nuked of any possibility of reconnection.
 

DBM

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There's no ROW available. The Warren Branch is obliterated after the state line by the entire Ocean Grove neighborhood of Swansea that built over it post-abandonment. And any/all attempts to try to find a graft-on trajectory to I-195 become an exercise in futility with all the wetlands, ocean inlets, and wretched insertion-angle geometry to contend with. Of all the Crazy Transit Pitches wishlist items that can be quantified with some tangible demand, this may be the most real-world physically impossible of the whole lot. Which is really saying something given the proposals we regularly toss around here. 😞


Unfortunately when the line was in-service it was handicapped by the extreme weight-restricted rail upper deck of the Slades Ferry Bridge, which could only take the wood-bodied ultralight interurban-like EMU's that the Old Colony ran captive to East Providence electric territory and not any type of standard RR equipment. All the steam trains hauling New York weekenders to Newport had to go the long way Providence-Attleboro-Taunton-Fall River, and no freight could ever cross the bridge. It was basically relegated to "the last unicorn" status of the whole pan-NYNH&H system equipment-wise, propped up through the 1920's only by pretty strong ridership. When the Great Depression wiped out the railroad's finances and hit ridership hard they had to immediately curtail the commuter-oriented EMU service to save money, leaving literal zero other traffic they were capable of running that way. With no excuse to keep the line open, it was immediately torn up. Had the bridge been able to take something/anything of standard car weight they would've easily been able to justify keeping it open because the NY-Newport trains would still be running through the late-50's and would save loads of time this way instead of the around-the-horn routing, while many freight routings could've been consolidated out that way providing further justification for its continued existence. Alas, no one had money to replace that flimsy bridge with something better until the failing road deck got condemned in 1970 and the state demolished the whole thing for scrap sans any planned replacement. The bridge was at the rotary-to-nowhere on MA 103 a stone's throw south of the now-derelict Brightman St. bridge, and connected on the Fall River side at the Remington Ave. dead-end. Excess retaining wall weirdness on Pearce St. behind the strip mall on Davol tips off where the Warren Branch met the Newport main at the old station entrance to Fall River Depot.

It doesn't help either that the Old Colony never filled the 3800 ft. gap separating the Newport main downtown from the stub end of the Wattupa Branch @ Plymouth Ave. precluding any direct thru-route connection to New Bedford, and that by the time the I-195 canyon and New City Hall air rights went into design in the late-50's the RR was too cosmically broke and eager to dump the Old Colony commuter rail lines that it didn't/couldn't make any design stand for a ROW reservation in the new expressway cut completing the missing link at long last (if for no other reason than freight-usefulness). By the time the first short segment of 195 opened downtown in '63 commuter rail to the South Coast had already been gone 5 years.

---- ---- ---- ----

In a parallel universe where the Slades Ferry Bridge wasn't such an achilles heel, you'd probably see the South Coast rail lines consolidated into something more like this:
  • fully preserved Warren Branch, and even if the East Providence tunnel still closed in '81 all the same at least some east-side freight out of Pawtucket still coming that way.
  • a Wattupa Branch that fully spanned the whole way from Fall River to New Bedford, acting as primary freight lane between both ports to this day.
  • a different Depression-era consolidation of the routes from Boston. As is, the Somerset Branch (a.k.a. south extension of the Stoughton Line straight out of Taunton) got truncated despite originally being the preferred passenger route so they could save coin retiring the Mallard Point drawbridge. Traffic got re-routed further east onto the *current* Fall River Branch (a.k.a. ex- Lakeville Branch) through barren Freetown State Forest at slight schedule penalty but much much easier maint costs and no drawbridges. Somerset Branch is full MassDOT-landbanked to within 1 mile of Mallard Point because it stayed in various states of use/semi-disuse until the 1980's, but the mile to the old draw is completely and utterly obliterated by rich housing. In the parallel universe where the Warren Branch stayed and crossed a newer/better bridge, they would've seen fit to re-route the Somerset Branch west of Somerset Reservoir for a few miles through (then) farmland along Route 138 to junction with the Warren Branch at a consolidated crossing. That is: all Boston OR Providence traffic crosses the river at the same place, and service to New Bedford vs. Newport branches at Fall River Depot dead-center downtown instead of way the hell out in Myricks.
  • Lakeville Branch (current route) in the forest between Myricks and FR Depot gets abandoned instead. New Bedford Branch (a.k.a. Old Colony mainline to Lowell) north of the airport probably stays after the dust settles as a secondary freight connector for the still present-day critical yards at Framingham and Middleboro...but never catches a whiff of passenger interest ever again because the FR Depot hub + Wattupa Branch are so much superior for pooling/distributing.
We don't live in a parallel universe, however, so all these pegs knocked out between 1938-1958 are utterly, totally nuked of any possibility of reconnection.
Thank you, as always, very helpful summary!
 

jbray

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There's no ROW available. The Warren Branch is obliterated after the state line by the entire Ocean Grove neighborhood of Swansea that built over it post-abandonment. And any/all attempts to try to find a graft-on trajectory to I-195 become an exercise in futility with all the wetlands, ocean inlets, and wretched insertion-angle geometry to contend with. Of all the Crazy Transit Pitches wishlist items that can be quantified with some tangible demand, this may be the most real-world physically impossible of the whole lot. Which is really saying something given the proposals we regularly toss around here. 😞


Unfortunately when the line was in-service it was handicapped by the extreme weight-restricted rail upper deck of the Slades Ferry Bridge, which could only take the wood-bodied ultralight interurban-like EMU's that the Old Colony ran captive to East Providence electric territory and not any type of standard RR equipment. All the steam trains hauling New York weekenders to Newport had to go the long way Providence-Attleboro-Taunton-Fall River, and no freight could ever cross the bridge. It was basically relegated to "the last unicorn" status of the whole pan-NYNH&H system equipment-wise, propped up through the 1920's only by pretty strong ridership. When the Great Depression wiped out the railroad's finances and hit ridership hard they had to immediately curtail the commuter-oriented EMU service to save money, leaving literal zero other traffic they were capable of running that way. With no excuse to keep the line open, it was immediately torn up. Had the bridge been able to take something/anything of standard car weight they would've easily been able to justify keeping it open because the NY-Newport trains would still be running through the late-50's and would save loads of time this way instead of the around-the-horn routing, while many freight routings could've been consolidated out that way providing further justification for its continued existence. Alas, no one had money to replace that flimsy bridge with something better until the failing road deck got condemned in 1970 and the state demolished the whole thing for scrap sans any planned replacement. The bridge was at the rotary-to-nowhere on MA 103 a stone's throw south of the now-derelict Brightman St. bridge, and connected on the Fall River side at the Remington Ave. dead-end. Excess retaining wall weirdness on Pearce St. behind the strip mall on Davol tips off where the Warren Branch met the Newport main at the old station entrance to Fall River Depot.

It doesn't help either that the Old Colony never filled the 3800 ft. gap separating the Newport main downtown from the stub end of the Wattupa Branch @ Plymouth Ave. precluding any direct thru-route connection to New Bedford, and that by the time the I-195 canyon and New City Hall air rights went into design in the late-50's the RR was too cosmically broke and eager to dump the Old Colony commuter rail lines that it didn't/couldn't make any design stand for a ROW reservation in the new expressway cut completing the missing link at long last (if for no other reason than freight-usefulness). By the time the first short segment of 195 opened downtown in '63 commuter rail to the South Coast had already been gone 5 years.

---- ---- ---- ----

In a parallel universe where the Slades Ferry Bridge wasn't such an achilles heel, you'd probably see the South Coast rail lines consolidated into something more like this:
  • fully preserved Warren Branch, and even if the East Providence tunnel still closed in '81 all the same at least some east-side freight out of Pawtucket still coming that way.
  • a Wattupa Branch that fully spanned the whole way from Fall River to New Bedford, acting as primary freight lane between both ports to this day.
  • a different Depression-era consolidation of the routes from Boston. As is, the Somerset Branch (a.k.a. south extension of the Stoughton Line straight out of Taunton) got truncated despite originally being the preferred passenger route so they could save coin retiring the Mallard Point drawbridge. Traffic got re-routed further east onto the *current* Fall River Branch (a.k.a. ex- Lakeville Branch) through barren Freetown State Forest at slight schedule penalty but much much easier maint costs and no drawbridges. Somerset Branch is full MassDOT-landbanked to within 1 mile of Mallard Point because it stayed in various states of use/semi-disuse until the 1980's, but the mile to the old draw is completely and utterly obliterated by rich housing. In the parallel universe where the Warren Branch stayed and crossed a newer/better bridge, they would've seen fit to re-route the Somerset Branch west of Somerset Reservoir for a few miles through (then) farmland along Route 138 to junction with the Warren Branch at a consolidated crossing. That is: all Boston OR Providence traffic crosses the river at the same place, and service to New Bedford vs. Newport branches at Fall River Depot dead-center downtown instead of way the hell out in Myricks.
  • Lakeville Branch (current route) in the forest between Myricks and FR Depot gets abandoned instead. New Bedford Branch (a.k.a. Old Colony mainline to Lowell) north of the airport probably stays after the dust settles as a secondary freight connector for the still present-day critical yards at Framingham and Middleboro...but never catches a whiff of passenger interest ever again because the FR Depot hub + Wattupa Branch are so much superior for pooling/distributing.
We don't live in a parallel universe, however, so all these pegs knocked out between 1938-1958 are utterly, totally nuked of any possibility of reconnection.
Am I not looking at the right of way being blocked by two homes and a cul-de-sac on Ronald Rd in Ocean Grove? I understand that eminent domain is a difficult decision (personally and politically), but you had me believing the entire neighborhood was in the way. What am I missing here F-line?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Am I not looking at the right of way being blocked by two homes and a cul-de-sac on Ronald Rd in Ocean Grove? I understand that eminent domain is a difficult decision (personally and politically), but you had me believing the entire neighborhood was in the way. What am I missing here F-line?
In this case it is every single parcel from the state line to Taunton River that has lapsed property lines, so there is no "ROW" anymore. Close physical encroachers are only a fraction of the issue as it's several hundred individual property owners who would have to be dealt with. Including, at Ocean Grove, all NON-encroaching adjacent property owners.

Put it this way: the whole of 195 in MA was built with less eminent domaining 55 years ago than the much shorter-mileage Warren Branch would require today. Mostly because sticking closer to the inlets/wetlands than the population density substantially consolidated the number of total property owners they had to deal with. No such luck here.
 

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