Governor Raimondo: Why are bus riders getting kicked out of Kennedy Plaza?

Governor Gina Raimondo

Kp_petition_copy

The Raimondo administration and RI Department of Transportation have announced plans to break up Rhode Island's central bus hub at Kennedy Plaza, as some downtown business interests have wanted. This would involve multiple hubs, forcing riders to make more transfers to get to their bus. We, the signers of this petition, urge Governor Raimondo and her administration to withdraw this plan, so that transit riders and the general public can be adequately involved in developing a plan that benefits the many, not just the few.

For reference, here is a letter on this subject from the RI Transit Riders:

Dear Governor Raimondo,

We write to voice our serious objections to your administration's latest plan to relocate most bus riders away from the central hub at Kennedy Plaza, and we call on you to suspend further planning for now.

While we welcome your stated intention to expand transit, as mentioned in your State of the State speech, we believe that the effective implementation of that goal requires working collaboratively with all stakeholders, especially those who actually use public transit.

Indeed, the State’s Transit Master Plan now under development has been a model for engaging successfully with stakeholders as was the City of Providence’s 2017-2018 process for re-envisioning Kennedy Plaza. RIPTA too has held many hearings and workshops on its various plans, most recently, for the Downtown Transit Corridor. On the other hand, RIDOT’s new proposal was developed without public input, and while we appreciate your staff assistant Nicole Verdi inviting us to a Zoom presentation of the plan, it is slated for implementation on an accelerated schedule without ever having a public hearing or workshop. This should be unacceptable to your administration, and we are sure you value accountability and want projects done right.

What we are asking for at this time is to suspend planning for the Dyer Street hub until such time as there is an opportunity for a robust public process that includes all stakeholders, including the business, environmental, planning, social and racial justice communities, and of course the transit riders. We don't yet know what the post-Covid world will look like, and this is not the time to make changes in Providence’s public transit system that will remain in effect for decades. There is no reason to rush to spend a lot of our limited transit funds on major changes that may prove to be harmful to transit riders.

We do believe a strengthened mass-transit system can help reinvigorate the downtowns of our core cities, strengthen Rhode Island’s economy, fight climate change, and improve the mobility of the many Rhode Island residents who cannot or choose not to drive. But for public transit to help realize these goals, transit users must be fully in the loop as the plans are developed and be allowed to be heard in public hearings.

Petition by
Rhode Island  Transit Riders
Providence, Rhode Island

To: Governor Gina Raimondo
From: [Your Name]

Governor,

Please call on RIDOT to withdraw their multi-hub bus plan and engage transit riders and the broader public in developing a plan that benefits the many, and not just the few.

Sincerely,
The Rhode Island Transit Riders