Providence RIPTA Services

That Mansfield and Sharon are only receiving three tracks means they lowballed estimation of the capacity needed between Attleboro and Canton Junction, not that four tracks between Providence and Warwick is an over-estimate. Mansfield and Sharon need a fourth track too, especially if express commuter rail service is ever to be implemented.

No, they haven't. It's been studied. Amtrak said triple-track was adequate even if South Coast Rail branched off at Attleboro instead of Canton. It's been traffic modeled to 2035 levels. There is no problem.

Again...who decides this? YOU? You above Amtrak's own traffic engineers who shoved the maximum most MBTA and RIDOT traffic down its gut...then padded it...then still said it was OK if there were 3 continuous tracks.

You, CBS, need to explain why you are the ultimate decider here.

A fourth track between Providence and Warwick buys us five-minute peak headways on an EMU service pinging back and forth without disrupting Amtrak's probable 2 + 2 TPH OR the 4 peak TPH of slower commuter service meandering back and forth between Westerly and Pawtucket. It lets us build stations at Atwells/Harris, Olneyville, Union Ave, Elmwood Ave, Park Ave and Norwood where otherwise there is only room for one station somewhere in Cranston, and lets us treat the core of the line like a true rapid transit service even as we allow the outer stretches of the line to behave like commuter rail.

And we can do that without waiting on 50 year hideously expensive propositions with questionable success chances like ripping out RI-10 to get the necessary ROW a different way, or going to exponential expense on alternate service patterns like streetcars/BRT up RI-2 and US-1 that by and large replicates the kind of service which would have otherwise been provided here.
5 minute headways is shorter than the Orange Line. There will never be an xMU service pattern with that kind of service level where you can wait on platform and there'll be a train going your way. Anywhere. Much less in Greater Providence's density vs. Greater Boston's. I can buy an extremely crowded downtown on the NEC having a train movement every 5 mins. or less because so many xMU's, 8-car Providence Line trains, 12-car Regionals, and Acelas are in constant motion around the terminal. But those are ALL trains, not YOUR train.

Who decides this? The people at RIDOT, the MBTA, and Amtrak who actually studied what service levels would sustain Rhode Island's maximum possible growth for the next 30 years. Or you?

Never is an absurdly unequivocal statement considering the density levels in relative no-mans-lands like Darien and Fairfield and Rye and assuming modest growth of the corridor.
And you decide this, not the multiple agencies or the home state itself who have been studying the demographic data, the traffic data, the everything data for decades. You decide this.

The symbiotic relationship RIDOT and MassDOT/MBTA have today in 2014 isn't necessarily the relationship they're going to have even in 2029, especially if RIDOT decides to start really ramping up service in-state. It's not impossible that the dynamic could shift to be more like what Metro-North is today.
And this is totally, utterly irrelevant when this service is commencing full-build in 5-8 years. What are you suggesting here? That they put everything on hold until 1 state re-charters its transit agency pan-region with input from all 175 member towns, and two states have their voters go to the polls. Maybe 15 years from now, but probably never?

Yowza. ==>

And you're forgetting that even if the relationship dynamic stays the same, MBTA's interests aren't necessarily best served by all-local trips especially if the express runs from a Kingston or a Providence are packed with RI revenue payers who were driving otherwise because of how slow the train was stopping everywhere in MA, or if it stops being standing-room-only on some peak trains where MA residents can't get a seat because it's packed full of people who got on further down the line.
And again...are you the one who approves/rejects all the thousands of man hours of officially-sanctioned study data that says everyone has all the capacity they need through 2035. You do. You think everyone is wrong about how fast RI is growing?

Can you try substantiating these claims with anything beyond your own fervent personal belief?

Actually, I would. If the shoe were on the other foot I'd be arguing that RIDOT pursue operation into New London because that's the next logical terminus after Kingston and building two halves of a line with an arbitrary changeover dictated by legislative (in)convenience makes no sense no matter which side of the border has the changeover point - but knowing what I do about how the state treats Westerly (the words 'red-headed stepchild' come to mind), I know that the end result would be the same; hopefully cross-operation agreements into New London and Kingston, probably no service between New London and Kingston.

The good news is, there's far less ground to cover between Westerly and Kingston as there would be Pawcatuck and New London, so it's accordingly far more likely that CTDOT will cooperate.
Actually, CT does have an interest in serving Kingston when rail to Newport is functionally impossible (the Sakonnet toll bridge fiasco has now taken Newport - Fall River off the table as an option for the next 100 years, Bristol - Newport wasn't an option since the East Bay Bike Path came into being and no other crossing opportunities actually exist) and the next best thing is rail to Kingston - bus to Newport, which connects NUWC to the Coast Guard Academy and more broadly connects Newport to all the pleasant little hamlets between New London and the state line. It's not ideal, but it's literally the best we can do at this point.
And now you are dictating to CTDOT what is in best interests of CT taxpayers, and dictating to the MBTA to enter into a mercenary agreement to operate two states removed from its district and district-oriented revenue sources. When CTDOT's own State Rail Plan spells out that they think Westerly and no further is their constituency.

Who decides what is in their interests. According to you...that is only you.

Even if rail to Newport wasn't functionally impossible, New London - Kingston - Newport is still much faster than New London - Providence - Newport and while we disagree that CT doesn't benefit from running to Kingston, I think we can certainly agree that they have no interest in running to Wickford or the Airport or Providence itself.
And you are the one who draws those arbitrary lines about where other states shall and shan't go.

Good God, CBS. I'm not even going to respond to your next message point-by-point, because it's the same exact response. And this has gotten fuckin' mental. You really need to take a step back, sleep on this, and read your own writing with a clear head. There is no discussion to be had here when the only answer is "I am Planning God, and I command you to build this to my image of perfection. And move heaven and earth for it to be so. Because only I know what's best for you." How does one have a discussion with that. There is no reasoning, no compromise, no empirical evidence, no search for a practical or equivocal solution with that. What you want does not exist on this earth, and you don't seem prepared to deal with that. At all. I don't know what to say.
Unfortunately old historic Pawtucket station isn't salvageable. The private owners (adjacent CVS, I think) let it rot for the last 30 years. In addition to being simply too expensive to restore and retrofit, there are serious concerns about its structural integrity. The Historic Register passed on its nomination because they weren't fully convinced it could be stabilized. Either somebody comes in and spends a fortune on a restoration/conversion to other air rights use, or it might have to get the wrecking ball to avoid collapsing onto the tracks below. Shame it's come to that because it's one of the few grand old tall New England stations still standing, but the state is making the correct decision starting fresh on a much more promising parcel.

The old Worcester station was in similar deplorable condition, and still managed to be restored, although I suppose it didn't have the complication of being built on air rights.
The old Worcester station was in similar deplorable condition, and still managed to be restored, although I suppose it didn't have the complication of being built on air rights.

They are using the condition of the station as a (lame) excuse, "nothing" is beyond restoration, it's just how much money it will take to do it. The real reason they don't like that spot for is bad auto access, not much opportunity for parking, and the area is not the safest. IMO, all terrible reasons. The station should be restored and the adjacent lots upzoned. It's in the middle of the city, parking shouldn't even be a consideration.
It's also on a curve far, far too tight for high-levels. The spots they're now looking at are on straight track with more platform space. The renovations at Worcester and now Springfield have been on wide viaducts with no or slight curve; thus they're okay for high platforms.

While the old station should be renovated - it's a beautiful historic building - it's not good for a 21st century railroad station.
Service start 2014

The R-Line is expected to begin service in May 2014.

Construction on Transit Signal Prioritization (TSP) is complete and will be fully operational by March 2014. This technology will allow buses to operate through signalized intersections with priority over general traffic and will result in significant time-savings for passenger trips.

RIPTA has finalized design for shelters and passenger amenities, and installation of this product will begin in March 2014. Shelters will be installed at 25 locations along the route to allow passengers to wait in greater comfort for their R-Line bus.

Art will be incorporated into many of the shelters along this route, a large majority of which is designed and fabricated by Rhode Islanders.

Scheduling changes will occur in June 2014, once passenger amenities are installed and TSP service is functional. Passengers can expect improved service on evenings and weekends while maintaining 10 minute service during the day and peak hours. Final schedule information will be released as it is finalized.

Buses will be painted in the upcoming months to reflect the R-Line livery that is in development. Expect these changes to go into effect for the opening of the R-Line.

Real-time data displays incorporated into each bus stop will no longer be included as part of the initial implementation of the R-Line due to budgetary constraints. Expect these improvements to occur as a separate project in the future.
The Providence R-Line has begun service (as of June 21 2014)

Has anyone seen this new BRT in action?

Features include:

Elements of the R-Line include:

- Line and bus stop branding
- High-frequency, fast, limited stop service at key passenger destinations
10 min headways at peak times
15 min headways on Sat Sun
20 min headways off-peak
- Traffic signal improvements (have they implemented priority as promised?)
- Real-time bus information (& shelters)
- Roadway improvements where appropriate, including clearly designated bus stop lanes and Intersection improvements to increase safety and minimize conflicts

The estimated cost for these improvements is $6m, and is funded primarily through a HUD Community Planning Challenge Grant and ARRA stimulus funds.
It's not true BRT - and it's intentionally branded as "Rapid Bus" not BRT - but it looks like a damn good system. No dedicated lanes (but it does have queue jumps at some intersections), but most other BRT aspects except pre-pay are there. Limited stops, high frequency, nice shelters (with brand-new public art) and good branding.

Once they extend it to T.F. Green, it'll connect the downtowns of Providence and Pawtucket with an intercity rail station, two commuter rail stations (just a block from the P/CF site), and the majority of the RIPTA network.

They made no hefty promises, but it looks like they delivered on what they did promise. This is the first properly designed rapid bus system in New England, and it only took two years to make it happen.
Real-time data displays incorporated into each bus stop will no longer be included as part of the initial implementation of the R-Line due to budgetary constraints. Expect these improvements to occur as a separate project in the future.
Any timeline for implementing this? Is it really that expensive to do?
Not necessarily true. There could be a legal barrier on the state level preventing RIPTA from operating outside of the state. If such a barrier existed on the Rhode Island side but not the Massachusetts side, it would explain this discrepancy.

More pragmatically, the bus line you're referring to connects Pawtucket to Attleboro station, so there's no need to connect South Attleboro station as well. Furthermore, the R-Line is going to run straight over the proposed location of the Pawtucket/Central Falls infill, which is going to connect South Attleboro and Pawtucket far better than a bus line between the Transit Center and South Attleboro station would.

Just an update on this subject. Two RIPTA lines now run to South Attleboro. One line every 30 minutes and comes through Pawtucket on Broadway and Benefit to Newport. The is the #1 bus which actually starts in Warwick. The second line is the #35 bus, it runs about every 50 minutes. It comes to South Attleboro directly down the length of Newport Ave from East Providence originating in Providence running thru the East Side.
Providence has settled on a final new bus-priority route through its core. I'm unclear on whether the R-1 Line (their first attempt at BRT/Priority service) will follow this new route or just run partly-on and partly-off it (anyone know?)

Called the Enhanced Transit Corridor, It will build the route using a $13m TIGER VI grant:


Article here:

The final route differs from the 2014 "Downtown Transit 2.0" draft by using Eddy Street to go all the way to Rhode Island Hospital, rather than stopping north of I-95/195 at Garrahy Judicial Complex as this earlier version did:

They will both be using the route between the train station and Kennedy Plaza. The intent is to give the train station every 5-6 minute service to Kennedy Plaza.

The new Amtrak and MBTA schedules will show nearly 40 round trips between the two cities.
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the following is a proposed fall change of service. it includes another line going into nearby Massachusetts. hopefully Gatra and Srta will start extending their services to meet up with Ripta service to provide a more regional transit system for the whole Providence metro area.

Route 32 (East Providence/Wampanoag): Two options are being considered for Routes 32 and 34. One option would be to merge the two routes into a single route with service every 45 minutes, resulting in the elimination of Route 32. The new combined Route 34 would travel to Providence via the Henderson Bridge, the East Side and the tunnel, as part of an East Side trunk route offering combined frequencies of every 11-12 minutes. The second option would be to preserve Routes 32 and 34, but redesign them as circulators within East Providence / Seekonk. Both scenarios could provide new limited access to Seekonk Square off Rte. 6 in Seekonk, MA.
Last edited: 2016 Service Changes.pdf?oref=e&n=276181479

Seekonk has no transit service within its boundaries except for a short run by Gatra along Route 152 in the northern part of the city. This route takes it to Benefit Street in Pawtucket, R.I. RIPTA service hopefully this will be a new beginning of expanded transit service within Seekonk and reaching eastward toward Fall River.
How is the R Line bus doing? 10 min headways weekdays and 15 on weekends should have given it a nice ridership bump. Did it?

$13.1M fed grant announced for the new Pawtucket commuter rail station between Dexter and Conant. Needs more funding but this will finalize design, land acquisition of the disused P&W freight yard, and partial construction starts.

Seems like a great project, well-situated in the "elbow" of I-95.
Application Docs look good too:

Other than that it is two platforms and 4 tracks have they settled anything else? The schematics/sketches seem inconsistent with each other. Are they side-for-now-islands-in-future (like Rt 128) or is this to "thru" center tracks and two side tracks with outboard platforms?
There's a public forum on the project this Wednesday (8/3) that should update things: MeetingFlyer - English.pdf

The most recent design under consideration are shown here, from the last set of public meetings: Public Meeting Presentation.pdf. 2 side platforms, 2 Amtrak passing tracks, and the P&W track to the side. Ability to convert the southbound platform sandwiched between the NEC and the freight track into an island platform for Woonsocket service if a freight gauntlet track were installed (though unlikely that extra track capacity will be needed unless the line went all the way to Worcester and had a nice fat schedule to boot). Anything can potentially change when they pin down exact siting. This prelim design is site-neutral and would still need to be refined.
Seems like a great project, well-situated in the "elbow" of I-95.
Application Docs look good too:

Other than that it is two platforms and 4 tracks have they settled anything else? The schematics/sketches seem inconsistent with each other. Are they side-for-now-islands-in-future (like Rt 128) or is this to "thru" center tracks and two side tracks with outboard platforms?

2 middle tracks to facilitate Amtrak
How is the R Line bus doing? 10 min headways weekdays and 15 on weekends should have given it a nice ridership bump. Did it?

Those headways were all ready in place. It was the reduction of stops that has made it successful. North Main Street had 12 stops and now has 7. Runs are much quicker now.
Starting 9/3/16 RIPTA will provide service to Seekonk along Route 6 to Commerce Drivce (Shoppers Square) on the 32 and 34 routes