Upgrades to Providence Station plaza complete

By: Melissa Randall

mrandall@abc6.com

@MRandallABC6

The Providence train station serves as a gateway to the city for commuters and travelers, and now, the plaza at the facility once again looks the part. On Friday, U.S. Senator Jack Reed joined with Mayor Jorge Elorza and officials from the Rhode Island DOT and RIPTA to celebrate the completion of the project.

“I thank Senator Reed and our partners at the state for the work they have done to make these improvements possible and look forward to increasing the quality of public transportation throughout the city and state.

In addition to addressing water seepage in the station’s garage, the upgrades include enhanced navigation, the creation of a civic space, added amenities for bicyclists, updated signage and landscaping.

“The station is a critical hub and these upgrades make it more efficient, accessible, and a welcoming place for all,” said Sen. Reed. “Making the station cleaner, brighter and easier to navigate will improve service for passengers and visitors.”

The investments came with a $6.9M price tag. Most of that was funded through federal dollars, secured by Sen. Reed. The rest was picked up by the city, the Rhode Island DOT and RIPTA.

In addition to the physical improvements more service is also being added. That includes upping the number of RIPTA buses from 20 to 32 each hour.

While all of the upgrades are seen as a good start, city and state leaders agree more work needs to be done. They are pushing Amtrak to expedite additional upgrades, like fixing broken sidewalks and planters around the Gaspee St. station.

“As we mark 30 years since the relocation of the Northeast Corridor and the opening of Providence Station, we are reminded of its importance, not just for Rhode Island, but for the region,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. Said. “It has already been proven to be a magnet for development, and we look forward to the next chapter for Providence Station as we develop plans for unifying buses, trains and new development opportunities as part of the transit hub project.

More than 1 million people come through Providence Station each year, making it the 13th busiest out of 510 stations nation wide.

© WLNE-TV 2016