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Rhode Island Commuter Rail Proposals

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East Greenwich, R.I., Residents Generally Upbeat over Proposed Rail Station

By Alice Gomstyn, Providence Journal, R.I. Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

Feb. 20--EAST GREENWICH, R.I. - Residents last night got their first look at plans for a new commuter rail station and other development near the downtown area.

Roughly 40 people attended a public meeting at which town officials and consultants presented information on the proposal for the property bordered by Rocky Hollow Road and the Maskerchugg River. Besides the station, it includes residential and commercial buildings. The station would be built on the Amtrak rail line bordering the property.

The 16-acre property comprises parcels belonging to four different owners -- American Legion Post 15, Green Industries, Narragansett Improvement Co. and developer Joseph Zenga. Officials described the potential development as a "public-private partnership."

Residents expressed guarded support for the proposal.

"At this point, it's an acceptable possibility," said Susan Hammond, who lives on Greenwich Boulevard, near the proposed station site.

Hammond said the station would benefit residents seeking to travel to Boston and Providence.

But Hammond and others raised concerns that traffic into and out of the station would cause congestion on roads in nearby neighborhoods.

Engineering consultant John Ball responded that most commuter rail riders would arrive and leave the station outside typical morning and evening rush hours. But he conceded that additional traffic studies would have to be done as plans for the station develop.

Residents also questioned how the station's construction -- currently estimated to cost $7.5 million -- would affect local property taxes. Town Manager William Sequino Jr. said the state and federal governments would probably foot the bill for the entire project.

On the off chance that the town does have to contribute some money, Sequino said, the issue would be decided by voters through a bond referendum.

In addition to the rail station, a two-level parking garage, office or commercial space and 80 units of apartment-style housing are proposed for the Rocky Hollow Road site.

Sequino said that some of the new housing could be priced at moderate rates, thus helping the town meet the state's 10 percent benchmark for affordable housing stock.

The idea of developing the Rocky Hollow Road site first surfaced in 2001, when the town was updating its "Downtown Revitalization Plan."

The commuter station, town officials said, would bring additional business to nearby shops and restaurants in town.

"Having a commuter rail stop in town is nothing but a plus," Sequino said yesterday.

A final report on the commuter rail station plan is expected be completed by late next month. The state, with the town's consent, will ultimately decide whether or not a commuter rail station will be built in East Greenwich. If it does meet the town and the state's approval, town officials said the station would open sometime within the next five to 10 years.

The state is moving forward with plans for two other commuter stations -- one in North Kingstown and another near T.F. Green Airport, in Warwick -- which are scheduled to open by late 2006.

From The Providence Journal

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Guest donaltopablo

Does Providence operate it's own commuter rail system, or is this part of Boston's sytem?

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Does Providence operate it's own commuter rail system, or is this part of Boston's sytem?

The T's Commuter Rail runs to Providence. It is the only stop in Rhode Island, and has a very commuter schedule. Meaning trains only operate to/from Providence during the rush hours.

There are plans for at least 2 more stops, one at TF Green Airport, and another at Wickford Junction, near a former military base which is being redeveloped into a business centre. The station in East Greenwich would be in addition to those proposals. There's also talk of restoring service to Pawtucket.

If/when These new stations are built, it is most likely that the trains would continue to be operated by the T.

Scott - Amtrak takes about 11 minutes to run from Providence to North Kingstown, that's fast trains with no stops, I'd say service from Greenwich to Providence would be around a half hour, and the current run from Providence to Boston is about 45 minutes to a little over an hour depending if it is an express or local.

There was an article in last months Rhode Island monthly about commuter rail (it didn't mention the possiblilty of this station). They said the T would send 8 trains a day to Wickford Junction, and the fare from Wickford Junction to Providence would be $6. I'm not sure if the T would bring back Zone 9 for Rhode Island service or not (in the fare restructuring they dropped Zone 9 and Providence became Zone 8). It also said the Wickford Jct. Station would have 1,000 parking spots. People from Wickford and East Greenwich would likely only be travelling as far as Providence for the most part.

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ricrail.gif

Theres not too much new stuff in the news recently about the commuter rail extension.

RI Commuter Rail Thread at Railroad.net:

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=12682

Most Recent Projo article on Pawtucket Station:

http://www.projo.com/blackstone/content/pr...mn.24a2db6.html

East Greenwich Commuter Rail Station Thread:

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=2447

____________

Cranston hopes to become rail destination

Monday, April 18, 2005

BY DANIEL BARBARISI

Journal Staff Writer

CRANSTON -- Someday, those sleek Amtrak Acela trains may not just breeze through the city on their way to Boston and Washington. If the city has its way, a conductor in the future may call out "Cranston, RI."

The city has petitioned the state to study building a station in Cranston, as a stop for Amtrak trains and the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority commuter rail trains that will serve the planned Amtrak station near T.F. Green Airport, in Warwick.

In its proposal to the State Planning Council, Cranston targets a site along Route 95, in an industrial-zoned area between Elmwood and Wellington Avenues.

The city asserts that the site, nearly halfway between the Warwick station site and downtown Providence, would be an excellent depot location.

"We're going to push this very hard. It's very important to us," said Mayor Stephen P. Laffey. "If it's going to stop somewhere, we think it should stop here."

The study area, comprising 155 acres, contains 125 small businesses and some housing.

City Planning Director Kevin Flynn said that the train station project could breathe life into the area, bringing multi-story office development and high-density residential properties.

"We think a train station here could revitalize the whole area," Flynn said, and "change the face of the city" at one of its most visible points, its frontage on Route 95, often the only chance the New York-to-Boston travelers have to see Cranston.

The city estimates that a feasibility study would cost about $250,000.

Rhode Island's long-range transportation plans have included Cranston as a potential station host, according to the state chief of intermodal planning, Steve Devine.

East Greenwich and Pawtucket have also submitted plans to explore the possibility of hosting a station, Devine said. It's possible, he said, that all three proposals will be considered in a single study.

In the state's long-term plan, the Warwick and Wickford stations are considered a first stage, and communities such as Cranston are naturals for expansion.

"We now see them as a phase two," Devine said.

The state Transportation Advisory Committee will review Cranston's proposal over the next few months and is expected to decide by October whether to commission a study.

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Anybody know why they chose Wickford as a stop over Quonset? Doesn't it seem like Quonset would be a better choice given all the development thats supposed to happen there? The Wickford site is just a Walmart and isn't even within walking distance to Wickford itself.

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I'm sorry, but I disagree with the Cranston officials. Cranston should certainly be a commuter rail stop, but not an Amtrak stop. Not if there is going to be a stop at Warwick, where I think Amtrak trains should stop due to the airport being there. And there is still the existing stop in Providence.

I also think the CR line should go as far as Kingston and serve URI. I also think some of the service should be intra-state service between Kingston and Providence.

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I agree that Cranston doesn't need the Amtrak stop. We can't have Amtrak stopping every couple miles in Rhode Island. If we were to add any Amtrak stops besides the Airport, I'd add Pawtucket/Central Falls. It's believed that the arts community in Pawtucket could benefit from the direct connection to New York that Amtrak would bring.

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But they could just take a commuter to Providence and leave from there.  I don't really think we need more Amtrak stops.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I take the Amtrak to Boston from PVD every day.. There is no need for more stops.. If anything, the airport.. That would be excellent for TF Green business..

Anything else would be MBTA only.. The MBTA ride from PVD ot BOS is already like 1.5 hours... Anything longer becomes not feasible..

Or possibly a RIPTA route??

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I take the Amtrak to Boston from PVD every day.. There is no need for more stops.. If anything, the airport.. That would be excellent for TF Green business..

Anything else would be MBTA only.. The MBTA ride from PVD ot BOS is already like 1.5 hours... Anything longer becomes not feasible..

Or possibly a RIPTA route??

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think a RIPTA rail route service ought to be considered - one that runs between South County and Providence. It would oriented more toward commuters headed for Providence, as opposed to an MBTA service, which would be more oriented toward Boston.

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I think a RIPTA rail route service ought to be considered - one that runs between South County and Providence. It would oriented more toward commuters headed for Providence, as opposed to an MBTA service, which would be more oriented toward Boston.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree, looking at the times for service from Wickford Junction on the proposed commuter rail extension, they're much more oriented toward Boston commuting, not to Providence (the last train wouldn't leave Prov for Wickford until after 545pm), plus, who wants to pay six dollars to go from wickford to Providence, which is supposedly gonna be the fare, when you can take the bus for 1.50?

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I agree, looking at the times for service from Wickford Junction on the proposed commuter rail extension, they're much more oriented toward Boston commuting, not to Providence (the last train wouldn't leave Prov for Wickford until after 545pm), plus, who wants to pay six dollars to go from wickford to Providence, which is supposedly gonna be the fare, when you can take the bus for 1.50?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

But I think commuters would want a faster route, which is why I suggested a RIPTA train service. Maybe it should cost a bit less than $6, which I believe is the one-way fare for the T commuter rail service from Boston to Providence. RIDOT should expand RIPTA's budget so it can handle a commuter service, rather than create a completely separate division and allow for bus-train coordination.

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So if I understand correctly, you think that RIPTA should run its own commuter rail system, separate from the Attleboro/Stoughton line that will be extended to TF Green?

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So if I understand correctly, you think that RIPTA should run its own commuter rail system, separate from the Attleboro/Stoughton line that will be extended to TF Green?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes, because I don't think the MBTA will want to - I recall reading that it too a Herculean effort to get RI and MA to bring the MBTA just to Providence. I just think there have to be some intra-RI trains that are convenient to RI - and MA -residents whose destination is Providence.

OTOH, if the T is willing to run intra-RI trains, then they should. And if they are going to extend their existing Attleboro/Providence CR service to TF Green, well, the sooner the better!

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I just think there have to be some intra-RI trains that are convenient to RI - and MA -residents whose destination is Providence.

OTOH, if the T is willing to run intra-RI trains, then they should. And if they are going to extend their existing Attleboro/Providence CR service to TF Green, well, the sooner the better!

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Couldn't agree more. Something like the map that was posted on a forum here before (Providence Transit or something like that) would be excellent, with service to East Bay/Fall River, Blackstone Valley and down the Amtrak main line of course.

Service to TF Green needs to hurry the heck up. They've been talkin about it for how long now? There's a thread on it here somewhere... Hopefully this summer I can get up close to the project at my internship, last year they had one of the interns doing conceptual studies for commuter rail stops at Pawtucket and Kingston.

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I cant find any info on when construction on the TF Green station begins.

The T contracts out operations of the commuter rail system so it shouldnt be too difficult dealing with operations for a RIPTA rail line since they would likely use the same operator.

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Extending the T to T.F. Green is actually mandatory Big Dig mitigation. Although the T is trying to get out of a bunch of other mandatory mitigation projects right now.

I agree with getting RI it's own rail line. I think the T should run to T.F. Green with stops in Providence and Pawtucket in RI. Then RIPTA could run a more frequent local service from the West Kingston Amtrak station north to Attleboro (maybe as far north as Canton Jct.), with perhaps a spur to Woonsocket (this is a realistic plan, the fantasy would be to tie in a Fall River line somehow, but that is very difficult engineering wise).

RIPTA could run DMUs or EMUs (DMUs would mean that the Woonsocket and Quonset spurs don't need to be electrified) which would allow the flexibility of changing the size of the trains to suit commuting patterns and allowing to expand service as needed (i.e. when development follows the new transit system). The RIPTA trains would have more frequent stops than the T and Amtrak could by-pass via the current 3 track configuration (expansion to four tracks where possible would be ideal). I would envision stops in the Attleboros, Pawtucket, 2 or 3 between Pawtucket and Providence Station, several along Routes 6/10 (Atwells, Onlneyville, Brewery Parkade, Elmwood, Roger Williams Park), Park Ave. in Cranston, T.F. Green, East Greewich, Wickford Junction, A spur into Quonset Point, and a final stop at West Kingston, with express bus service from there, over the bay to Newport.

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I agree with getting RI it's own rail line. I think the T should run to T.F. Green with stops in Providence and Pawtucket in RI. Then RIPTA could run a more frequent local service from the West Kingston Amtrak station north to Attleboro (maybe as far north as Canton Jct.), with perhaps a spur to Woonsocket (this is a realistic plan, the fantasy would be to tie in a Fall River line somehow, but that is very difficult engineering wise).

I would envision stops in the Attleboros, Pawtucket, 2 or 3 between Pawtucket and Providence Station, several along Routes 6/10 (Atwells, Onlneyville, Brewery Parkade, Elmwood, Roger Williams Park), Park Ave. in Cranston, T.F. Green, East Greewich, Wickford Junction, A spur into Quonset Point, and a final stop at West Kingston, with express bus service from there, over the bay to Newport.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Now I understand why the spur to Woonsocket is feasible (it could use the P&W freight line alongside the Blackstone Bikeway correct?), but why would a Fall River line be tough, just cause theres no rail to connect there now? It'd be cool if it could follow 195, but then of course it would bypass Barrington, Warren and Bristol, not that they'd want it anyway. I don't think the East Bay Bike Path ROW would be wide enough to use that either, it seems very narrow in some spots.

Between Pawtucket Station and Providence Station, where do you think good stops could go (Smithfield Ave, Branch Ave?). Not to digress here, but if a system like this were to be implemented, it'd be great if the state gave its workers some incentive to use it, or even an incentive to use RIPTA buses now. The state is RI's largest employer (or so I've heard), so why not do something like a parking allowance for each employee and then parking fees to park on Capitol Hill, that way there'd be incentive in it for you to instead take RIPTA and keep that parking allowance for yourself.

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Now I understand why the spur to Woonsocket is feasible (it could use the P&W  freight line alongside the Blackstone Bikeway correct?),

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Correct.

but why would a Fall River line be tough, just cause theres no rail to connect there now? It'd be cool if it could follow 195, but then of course it would bypass Barrington, Warren and Bristol, not that they'd want it anyway.  I don't think the East Bay Bike Path ROW would be wide enough to use that either, it seems very narrow in some spots.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The best way to connect to Fall River would be to do so via Route 195. However there is no rail line along there, and there is no rail crossing of the Taunton River at Fall River. Any crossing would most likely have to be a high level crossing, it could be a lift span, but the Coast Guard doesn't really like those, especially since it would have to be down most of the time to provide for frequent service on the rail line. Also at the Providence end there is no real good way to connect it to the current Amtrak mainline at Providence station without major disruption in the North Main Street and Capital Center area. It could be done via the abandoned East Side tunnel, but the last stretch from the tunnel to Providence Station would be expensive, and terribly NIMBY-ed.

There is a connection that leaves north out of Fall River and joins the mainline at Attleboro, so trains could be sent north out of Providence and loop around to Fall River, but it's a very circuitous route which would have trouble competing with automobiles going direct via Route 195.

Rail could be sent down the East Bay bikepath, but the East Bay NIMBYs would go insane about city-folk invading them. There are also so many environmental and structural issues at that end (not the least of which would be a crossing of the mouth of Mt. Hope Bay), that it seems almost impossible. The most realistic option for Fall River rapid transit may be a BRT route along 195, it would have to be true BRT with with seperate travel lanes and rail like stations however, and that still poses routing obstacles at both the Providence and Fall River ends.

Between Pawtucket Station and Providence Station, where do you think good stops could go (Smithfield Ave, Branch Ave?).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes, and Charles. Any stops between Providence and Pawtucket should have the area zoned for high density residential development so that transit villages would be allowed to spring up around them. I could especially see air rights over the rail line being developed around Charles to make a very attractive residential and business area.

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Correct.

The best way to connect to Fall River would be to do so via Route 195. However there is no rail line along there, and there is no rail crossing of the Taunton River at Fall River. Any crossing would most likely have to be a high level crossing, it could be a lift span, but the Coast Guard doesn't really like those, especially since it would have to be down most of the time to provide for frequent service on the rail line. Also at the Providence end there is no real good way to connect it to the current Amtrak mainline at Providence station without major disruption in the North Main Street and Capital Center area. It could be done via the abandoned East Side tunnel, but the last stretch from the tunnel to Providence Station would be expensive, and terribly NIMBY-ed.

There is a connection that leaves north out of Fall River and joins the mainline at Attleboro, so trains could be sent north out of Providence and loop around to Fall River, but it's a very circuitous route which would have trouble competing with automobiles going direct via Route 195.

Rail could be sent down the East Bay bikepath, but the East Bay NIMBYs would go insane about city-folk invading them. There are also so many environmental and structural issues at that end (not the least of which would be a crossing of the mouth of Mt. Hope Bay), that it seems almost impossible. The most realistic option for Fall River rapid transit may be a BRT route along 195, it would have to be true BRT with with seperate travel lanes and rail like stations however, and that still poses routing obstacles at both the Providence and Fall River ends.

Yes, and Charles. Any stops between Providence and Pawtucket should have the area zoned for high density residential development so that transit villages would be allowed to spring up around them. I could especially see air rights over the rail line being developed around Charles to make a very attractive residential and business area.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I dont understand why you would want to tear up the east bay bike path to place a rail system. The bike path an embedded part of that region. Not to menton often duplicated throughout the state. A rail system would never be allowed in barrington for sure, passing through warren would be hard as well only becouse warren is worse then providence when it come to a sprawl index. The best solution would be underground, or mono-rail along 195

Since both are unfesable i dont see them happening. Pitty. But those who no RI politics no that barrington is one of thois fights you just dont fight.

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I dont understand why you would want to tear up the east bay bike path to place a rail system.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I wouldn't. If we could somehow get over the NIMBY hurtles in the East Bay and build a rail line there, I would want it to run with the Bike Path. But I don't really think it's possible to do that, and we'd never get over the East Bay politics anyway. That's why I think 195 is the best route, but as I said, that provides huge engineering challenges.

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I wouldn't. If we could somehow get over the NIMBY hurtles in the East Bay and build a rail line there, I would want it to run with the Bike Path. But I don't really think it's possible to do that, and we'd never get over the East Bay politics anyway. That's why I think 195 is the best route, but as I said, that provides huge engineering challenges.

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I see now, this is deffinitly a difficult issue consideing the magnatude of such an Idea. I think the biggest hurdle would be the issue of need. Im sure that most of the EB- NIMBY's would fight becouse they dont see the need. Just look at how far ripta penatrates, and the use of it. I wonder if there would be some sort line for the new ep waterfront district, the lines are there and it will be the bissgest thing since cresent park in these here parts??? Im getting way off topic...

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