From: RI Transit Riders

RI Transit Riders is not yet able to endorse the Dorrance Street Transit Center plan presented at the public meeting last night (February 24) while it remains so uncertain, and we are not yet willing to take Kennedy Plaza off the table.

Although bus riders, on the whole, believe it would be better to stay in Kennedy Plaza, we are ready to help as more work is done on the Dorrance Street plan. We would like to see it improved and fleshed out, in a process of ongoing consultation with riders and groups representing riders, where RIPTA is clearly the primary governmental agency running and funding (and eventually owning) this transit center project.

Members of the transit community attending last night’s public hearing on the Dorrance Street hub liked much of what they heard from RIPTA’s Greg Nordin about the new bus center: a temperature-controlled, enclosed waiting area; bathrooms and other amenities; all transfers within the building; security; affordable housing; buses remaining in Kennedy Plaza until the new building is completed; and the opportunity for passengers to weigh in with their advice and opinions as the project progresses. Admittedly, these features are still at a conceptual stage.

We must point out, however, that the rationale given in this public presentation for moving to Dorrance – that Kennedy Plaza has too little space for expanded service – is unconvincing. We also believe that, in terms of transit principles, there is a strong argument for the hub to remain at Kennedy Plaza. But if a more decisive case is presented that Dorrance would actually be an improvement, with firm guarantees for committed funding and the amenities sketched in yesterday’s meeting, we may well support it in future. At the end of the day, better service is what will support transit riders the most – and we urge state leaders to fully support RIPTA’s Transit Master Plan.

There is no reason to give up on improving Kennedy Plaza as a transit center, but we retain an open mind and could be convinced to support Dorrance if the case were stronger.

RI Transit Riders can be found at https://www.ritransitriders.org/ Their Mission Statement: “We are an independent, grassroots group fighting to preserve, expand, and improve public transportation in Rhode Island.”

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