Downtown Providence property owners sue over mass transit changes

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — A group of business owners in Providence is not happy about new plans to revamp mass transit in the area. So much so, they’re suing the city and the state over 3 different projects. Business owners say the changes will impact their quality of life and bring down property values.

There are three different projects in the works to improve and change transportation and they all collide here at Kennedy Plaza. Property owners say the problem is that they haven’t seen how everything will work together and even more, they haven’t been able to give input on how it will impact their neighborhood.

A group of downtown business owners went to the courts over improvement projects for Providence’s bus system they claim will hurt their quality of life.

The city is working on improvements to Kennedy Plaza, including changing traffic patterns and making Washington Street open to buses only.

Joe Mancini who is representing the “Concerned Citizens of Capital Center,” including former Mayor Joe Paolino tells ABC 6 News, his clients will lose access to parking and garage spaces and that the changes don’t address current issues and concerns in Kennedy Plaza.

At the same time RIPTA has started pre–construction work on the downtown transit connector a high frequency bus line between the Amtrak station and hospital district.

RIDOT is looking into building a bus hub on the State House lawn but a representative says final plans haven’t been made.

While improved transit could be good for the city, Mancini says with all 3 going on at once, the projects should have to be reviewed by the city planning department as a major land development project which would allow nearby property owners to weigh in.

None of the concerned property owners were willing to go on camera and the city and RIDOT say they can’t comment on pending litigation. RIPTA is reviewing the lawsuit although the government shutdown has kept them from being able to discuss it with the Federal transit Administration, their federal partner in the project.

© WLNE/ABC 6 2019