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citationx092

Providence Station Thoughts

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I just would like to hear people's thoughts on the train station here in Providence.

First of all I am a big advocate for public transportation and Amtrak. I frequently ride amtrak from Providence and Springfield, MA to New York Penn Station. Let me tell you, Providence really has it great in terms of Amtrak service. During the school year I ride from Springfield, MA to NYC. The service between Springfield, Hartford and New Haven is terrible. It's not the main line so there are very few trains that originate in Washington, Dc and terminate in Springfield, so you must switch trains in New Haven to get on a shuttle that does not have a cafe car or a quiet car. The line is only one track in many places so just about every time I ride, I find myself stopped on a track waiting for another train to clear the way ahead because there is only one track. Its terrible. 75% of the time the trains from Springfield at 40+ minutes late.

Back to Providence. I really view the train station much like I do the airport. People come to our city and need to be greeted to a welcoming atmosphere. With the way our station is layed out, I think it would be pretty tough to turn the underground dungeon platform into anything too special. But I do feel something could be done. Lighting could be improved in places (especially the MBTA side). I also think some signs or advertisements would go a long way to spruce things up down there. Advertise our new condos? Or do what boston does and paste Ipod stuff everywhere. Back Bay station in Boston has signs on the platform highlighting some of the city's and station's history.

I recently noticed that the infamous escalator is out of service again. Don't know what the problem could be since the whole thing got replaced not too long ago.

Overall, I think Providence has a great station...better than Hartford or Springfield, thats for sure

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This AM there was one stairwell open and operating.. That means out of four stairwells, and two escalators only one passage was open.. Fire hazard? I think the best job on the planet might be escalator repair man.. You don't even need a union, cuz there always work.. Those things probably work like 36% of the time, no exageration..

Other than PVD station where they blocade them off, I think Mitch Hedberg said it best: "I like escalators because an escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You'll never see an Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order sign, just Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience."

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This AM there was one stairwell open and operating.. That means out of four stairwells, and two escalators only one passage was open.. Fire hazard? I think the best job on the planet might be escalator repair man.. You don't even need a union, cuz there always work.. Those things probably work like 36% of the time, no exageration..

Other than PVD station where they blocade them off, I think Mitch Hedberg said it best: "I like escalators because an escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You'll never see an Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order sign, just Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience."

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I don't see the platform as an "underground dungeon." Just the fact that the tracks are underground makes it seem like a serious station. Much is right about the building. The dome and the clock tower give it a touch of grandness despite is modest and bland building materials.

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Physically, I have no big issues with the station. The cleanliness, upkeep and maintenance is a real concern though (pick up the trash, do some landscaping, have the clock show the correct time, etc.). I'd like to see a new package of concessions (food and retail) in there too. Cafe LaFrance might be OK, but we need a brand name, all 3 meal and coffee type offering (something like a pinera bread?). An MSNBC news stand or similar would be great as well.

Is there a shoe-shine?

Simply putting in better lighting could go a long way in making the platform areas look better. They could use directional lighting on the support columns, maybe even some colored lighting? You guys are much more architecturally inclined than I am, but I'm sure you get my drift. Some benches/seating on the platform, MBTA and AMTRAK route maps both in the terminal and the platform would be cool too.

One other thought is a combo MBTA/RIPTA/info booth. The information booth attendant would take over selling the MBTA tickets and also be available to 'welcome' visitors to Providence and provide transport and tourist related information and directions. This could ease the introduction of RIPTA having a bigger presence at the station.

Lastly, use the 'plaza' area (after they repair the crumbling concrete - did RIDOT test that??? lol) as a summer "open air market." Vendor carts with light fare (hot dogs, sausage, etc.) and RI touristy trinkets, etc. AMTRAK could gain lots of revenue by charging a daily or monthly fee to the vendor folks, better sales at the inside food/retail/news/gifts, and any rent money from the info booth (probably State money) to help pay for the better upkeep and lighting improvements.

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Physically, I have no big issues with the station. The cleanliness, upkeep and maintenance is a real concern though (pick up the trash, do some landscaping, have the clock show the correct time, etc.). I'd like to see a new package of concessions (food and retail) in there too. Cafe LaFrance might be OK, but we need a brand name, all 3 meal and coffee type offering (something like a pinera bread?). An MSNBC news stand or similar would be great as well.

Is there a shoe-shine?

Simply putting in better lighting could go a long way in making the platform areas look better. They could use directional lighting on the support columns, maybe even some colored lighting? You guys are much more architecturally inclined than I am, but I'm sure you get my drift. Some benches/seating on the platform, MBTA and AMTRAK route maps both in the terminal and the platform would be cool too.

One other thought is a combo MBTA/RIPTA/info booth. The information booth attendant would take over selling the MBTA tickets and also be available to 'welcome' visitors to Providence and provide transport and tourist related information and directions. This could ease the introduction of RIPTA having a bigger presence at the station.

Lastly, use the 'plaza' area (after they repair the crumbling concrete - did RIDOT test that??? lol) as a summer "open air market." Vendor carts with light fare (hot dogs, sausage, etc.) and RI touristy trinkets, etc. AMTRAK could gain lots of revenue by charging a daily or monthly fee to the vendor folks, better sales at the inside food/retail/news/gifts, and any rent money from the info booth (probably State money) to help pay for the better upkeep and lighting improvements.

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The convenience store there certainly exfoliates your wallet for that convenience...

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The convenience store there certainly exfoliates your wallet for that convenience...

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