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TheBostonian

Day trip to Providence

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I'm thinking of taking the commuter rail down to Providence and just strolling around downcity at whim for a few hours. Is there anything I must know before I do this? I haven't been to PVD in years.

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Is there anything I must know before I do this?

Yes, the commuter rail doesn't run on weekends. :lol:

There's lots of new shops popping up on Westminster Street that you should check out. Wickenden and Thayer Streets are probably the other places to go on a short stroll.

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Yeah. It will be nice if the MTBA starts up weekend service again since amtrak felt it kind to jack prices on Fri. and Sun to $18 and $21 mid day.

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I'm thinking of taking the commuter rail down to Providence and just strolling around downcity at whim for a few hours. Is there anything I must know before I do this? I haven't been to PVD in years.

Hi -

You'll definately want to walk Benefit Street - "The mile of History". I frequent Providence, and I always detour up College Hill to take it in. It's a streetscape you'll never tire of seeing. "When" you go, take a detour up Angell Street (walk, don't drive as it's a one-way) then take the 1st left on Cogdon Street, and walk up to Cogdon Park - that's where a lot of the photos are taken of downtown, and where Roger Williams remains are interred.

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I'm thinking of taking the commuter rail down to Providence and just strolling around downcity at whim for a few hours. Is there anything I must know before I do this? I haven't been to PVD in years.

If you take the MBTA down I would suggest stopping off first at the Providence Place Mall since it's a stone's throw away from our Amtrak station. You could have lunch there or at a downtown restuarant. Most of the good ones are on Federal Hill (Atwells Ave) which is just a short walk from downtown. Across from PPM is Waterplace Park which is the location of two major development projects that are happening here. Construction continues on the GTECH building and Waterplace I & II (condos). Also some fine dining can be found on South Main St which borders downtown and College Hill. There is plenty of construction downtown as you probably already know so expect detours and inconviences. The Arcade on lower Westminster St might also interest you as it is the first indoor shopping mall in America. Slide over to Kennedy Plaza to see skaters fly on the ice over at the Bank of America Skating Center. Across Exchange Terrace from the skating rink who'll find a five brick building complex which formerly housed the old Providence Amtrak station, but is now home to several resturants. There you'll find the Ri Ra Irish Tavern and Union Station Brewery which will give you a chance to wet your whistle before you board your train. :D Providence is/was the perfect city for First Night/New Year's eve since everything was within walking distance. This was cancelled last night because of budget/monetary problems. -_-

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I'm thinking of taking the commuter rail down to Providence and just strolling around downcity at whim for a few hours. Is there anything I must know before I do this? I haven't been to PVD in years.

Years? BWP (before Waterplace )? First thing to do is get the new perspective of the city with a quick walk thru WP. Then get a view from above it either at PP or near the restaurant. Take a walk thru Westminister Street and think back when that was king of R.I. retail and compare it to it's present resurgence as a retail and living neighborhood. Then walk to College Hill and either north or south on Benefit street. I prefer south toward Wickenden Street because of the multiple choices for food. The historic homes on and just off Benefit Street are second to none in the country. Again visualize this area as the borderline slum area it was 45 years ago and thank the heavens that Providence did not act hastily and knock down this area as other mid sized cities did to their historic neighborhoods.

Mark

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So I had my afternoon in Providence. I was very impressed with the city. The downtown area is great with narrow streets, attractive buildings and parking generally out of the way in garages and on side streets. Providence Place is not your average mall, since it is in a beautiful setting and not surround by a sea of parking lots. I took a trolley through Federal Hill and was dropped of at Shaws! I walked back through "Restaurant Row" only to end up eating at Subway. I strolled all along the river, which is just gold. I went barely into the East Side with all these streets begging me to walk down them. The city looks like a wonderful place to live--or shoot a movie. It was nice to see all the construction you guys are talking about. Is that dirt lot diagonally across from the Providence Performing Arts Center the 110 Westminster site? And beggars in Providence have a distinct way of asking for money. I didn't see anyone shaking a cup asking for "spare change," but rather people approaching me and asking specifically for a quarter, including when I was eating at Subway. There was another guy who waved me down like he needed medical help only to ask me for a dollar. Kennedy Plaza was mobbed with shady people (I fit in well). Are buses reserved only for the poor? And what is intermodal about Kennedy Plaza?

If anyone spotted a twenty-something awkwardly unfolding a map and looking always a little lost, that was me.

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I love your reaction to the city.. especially your mentioning of Kennedy Plaza.

Fixing KP up should be a top priority for Providence pro-growth polititians... but it isnt :(

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Is that dirt lot diagonally across from the Providence Performing Arts Center the 110 Westminster site?

That is the Grant's Block site, we're waiting for updated renderings on that one.

OneTen is further down Westminster toward the river.

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So I had my afternoon in Providence. I was very impressed with the city. The downtown area is great with narrow streets, attractive buildings and parking generally out of the way in garages and on side streets. Providence Place is not your average mall, since it is in a beautiful setting and not surround by a sea of parking lots. I took a trolley through Federal Hill and was dropped of at Shaws! I walked back through "Restaurant Row" only to end up eating at Subway. I strolled all along the river, which is just gold. I went barely into the East Side with all these streets begging me to walk down them. The city looks like a wonderful place to live--or shoot a movie. It was nice to see all the construction you guys are talking about. Is that dirt lot diagonally across from the Providence Performing Arts Center the 110 Westminster site? And beggars in Providence have a distinct way of asking for money. I didn't see anyone shaking a cup asking for "spare change," but rather people approaching me and asking specifically for a quarter, including when I was eating at Subway. There was another guy who waved me down like he needed medical help only to ask me for a dollar. Kennedy Plaza was mobbed with shady people (I fit in well). Are buses reserved only for the poor? And what is intermodal about Kennedy Plaza?

If anyone spotted a twenty-something awkwardly unfolding a map and looking always a little lost, that was me.

WOW!!!!!!! I didn't realize that your trip to Providence was going to occur so soon. And I didn't realize that you were so young. Just out of curiosity, did you go into and explore Providence Place Mall? You traveled through Federal Hill and ended up eating at Subway!? You gotta be kidding me!? Well, if your on a budget, your on a budget! I guess there's nothing really intermodel about Kennedy Plaza except the buses, both Greyhound and RIPTA. Also Peter Pan/Bonanza and GATRA. Oh yes, Taunton, MA transit also services downtown Providence. And even though the buses are usually empty the state of MA provides a subsidy to Bloom Bus. http://www.bloombus.com/

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I only walked through the mall briefly. I walked over the "Skybridge" and exited through the hotel. It didn't feel right for me to take a train to another city only to hang out at a mall, as nice and atypical this mall may be. I was traveling solo on this trip and I don't like dining alone. So I'll hopefully sample a restaurant or two during guided tour of Providence that a RI friend has promised me. Oh yeah, I did notice all the intercity buses at Kennedy Plaza. Despite my complaints about all the riff-raffs hanging out there, it looked great as a transit hub. I noticed the bike racks on the buses, which is something the MBTA is only now starting to add. I also noticed the bus tunnel on the East Site. That looked cool. Where does that go?

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I only walked through the mall briefly. I walked over the "Skybridge" and exited through the hotel. It didn't feel right for me to take a train to another city only to hang out at a mall, as nice and atypical this mall may be. I was traveling solo on this trip and I don't like dining alone. So I'll hopefully sample a restaurant or two during guided tour of Providence that a RI friend has promised me. Oh yeah, I did notice all the intercity buses at Kennedy Plaza. Despite my complaints about all the riff-raffs hanging out there, it looked great as a transit hub. I noticed the bike racks on the buses, which is something the MBTA is only now starting to add. I also noticed the bus tunnel on the East Site. That looked cool. Where does that go?

The RIPTA bus tunnel that you mentioned traveles throught the hills of College Hill only to exit out to Thayer St near Brown University. This is the hip section of Providence, which was several good restuarants and retail outlets. But not quite as hip and happening as Harvard Square. Providence is one of only a few US cities that have a mega-mall in a mid - large city downtown. The only ones that I know of are Indianoplolis, IN and maybe one or two cities in Florida. Maybe there are more, if someone want to post them.

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The RIPTA bus tunnel that you mentioned traveles throught the hills of College Hill only to exit out to Thayer St near Brown University. This is the hip section of Providence, which was several good restuarants and retail outlets. But not quite as hip and happening as Harvard Square. Providence is one of only a few US cities that have a mega-mall in a mid - large city downtown. The only ones that I know of are Indianoplolis, IN and maybe one or two cities in Florida. Maybe there are more, if someone want to post them.

MacArthur Center, downtown Norfolk. Nice mall, but no pedestrian traffic at all. Unlike PP there is one major pedestrian access and several small(door only) entrances. Mainly auto accessible and nothing enticing around it to walk to or through. It is not tied into the rest of the city which becomes deserted after 6 pm. There is activity along the water, but that is blocks away.

Mark

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MacArthur Center, downtown Norfolk. Nice mall, but no pedestrian traffic at all. Unlike PP there is one major pedestrian access and several small(door only) entrances. Mainly auto accessible and nothing enticing around it to walk to or through. It is not tied into the rest of the city which becomes deserted after 6 pm. There is activity along the water, but that is blocks away.

Mark

I must be losing it!!!!!!!!!!! :wacko:

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So what's your point, exactly!!!??? What are you saying!!!!??? I'm talking about a 160+ store mall with three anchor stores in the middle of a metropolitian city.

Did I miss something? MacArthur Center, Norfolk, is similar in size and age to PP . But unlike PP it does not interact with the rest of the downtown area. PP, IMHO, is fully intergrated with down city Providence. Its success is part of the stimulus that is improving the historical retail center, Westminister Street, of the city. I offered MacArthur Center as an example of a downtown mall in the middle of a metropolitan center other than what you mentioned.

I can not think of any other downtown mall that has had this type of success. Worcester and New Haven are recent local failures.

Mark

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I can not think of any other downtown mall that has had this type of success. Worcester and New Haven are recent local failures.

Certainly, PP is probably the biggest success I can think of, although I would also put Copley in Boston on the list of downtown successes.

White Plains, NY has several malls in their downtown, some of which do very well, although they historically took business away from the more traditional retail streets (although this has been changing of late).

Rochester, MN has a Galleria in the center of town, which has very much been suffering of late.

Minneapolis, MN has several mini-malls along Nicolette Ave (their bigger version of Burlington's pedestrian retail walk), some of which do well, others not so much...

I'm trying to remember if the Peachtree Center in Atlanta has a mall component (It's been a while), and it's been a loooong time, but is the Galleria still there in downtown Houston?

- Garris

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