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Pawtucket-Central Falls Transit Center opening with train ride from Providence

Photo: RIDOT

The opening of the Pawtucket-Central Falls Transit Center will open Monday, January 23rd, with festivities starting at 9am as dignitaries ride the train from Providence Station to the ribbon cutting event which begins at 10am.

They will join federal, state and local officials to celebrate the opening and first day of service for the new Pawtucket-Central Falls Transit Center.

Prior to Monday morning’s celebration, Governor McKee will ride the train from Providence Station to the Pawtucket-Central Falls Transit Center. Expected on the inaugural ride will be Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, Central Falls City Council President Bob Ferri, members of the Congressional delegation, and statewide officers – Lt. Governor Sabina Matos, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Congressmen David Cicilline and Seth Magaziner, Federal Transit Administration Region 1 Administrator Peter Butler, Federal Highway Administration Rhode Island Division Administrator Derek Torrey, Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Peter Alviti, Jr. and Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) CEO Scott Avedisian. A private car on the train is reserved for elected officials as well as the press.

Timing of the event:

Monday, January 23, 2023 – 9:00 AM: Governor, Congressional Delegation, General Officers, and Mayor arrive at Providence Station

9:15 AM: Train departs Providence Station, 100 Gaspee Street, Providence

9:21 AM: Train arrives at Pawtucket-Central Falls station, 300 Pine Street, Pawtucket

9:25 AM: Opportunity for interviews with media

10:00 AM: Ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by RIDOT begins at the station

Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera said, “You’ll be able to easily take the commuter rail or bus to Providence, Boston and beyond right from our backyard. This transit hub has been decades in the making and is the amazing result of cooperation between our two cities, along with state and federal leaders. This new transit center is a win for residents, businesses, and our economy! I look forward to seeing Blackstone Valley’s continued growth as more affordable housing is built and our workforce continues to strengthen.”

View the new MBTA commuter rail schedule here.

Why the Pawtucket-Central Falls Commuter Rail Station Project?

  • The original station was built in 1915-16 with two island platforms and four tracks
  • In 1959, the station building was closed and Rhode Island stopped funding service past Attleboro 1981
  • The new station and bus hub will provide significantly improved transit connection for residents living along a corridor where 72 trains pass each day but to which these residents currently have no access
  • Improve safety by reducing vehicle miles traveled
  • Promote development and activate two million square feet of new development opportunities
  • Improve quality of service and quality of life for a large population of transit dependent individuals
  • Promote economic and environmental sustainability in Pawtucket and Central Falls
  • Commit transit investment for a community that has a 20-30 percent poverty level and 33 percent minority population

Gianna Stewart, who specializes in public art across New England, has a prominent hanging globe-like piece called “Spun” prominently featured at the train station. It is in recognition of the history of the textile industry in the area.

The Pawtucket-Central Falls Commuter Rail Station and Bus Hub was constructed and is being operated by a collaborative partnership that includes the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA), the City of Pawtucket, and the City of Central Falls. Ridership studies estimate this station will attract 520 daily boardings.

Parking ?

RIDOT is encouraging users of the train station to visit www.ridetherailsri.com for directions and schedules. They are also encouraged to leave their cars at home and avoid highway traffic and downtown parking for their daily trip to work, to catch a flight, or to visit Providence or Boston, using train services between the Wickford Junction, T.F. Green, Providence, and Pawtucket stations.

In Pawtucket there is surface parking according to the MBTA for 200 cars – 10 of which are “accesssible”.

First train out

The Monday morning first train at 4:21am was ridden by about 12 people who did so “just for fun” and to be on the very first from the Pawtucket station.

Check back for updates – this is a developing event

2 Comments

  1. Michael Zarum, BSCEE, MBA on January 23, 2023 at 9:59 am

    To: Brian Bishop

    Please learn how to do mathematics for long term capital projects. Your math doesn’t add up.

    Mike Z.

  2. Brian Bishop on January 22, 2023 at 3:16 pm

    one has to have a love hate relationship with this kind of transit spending. As of 2019 the cost had ballooned to $51 million and I bet it was pushing 60 mil or more by the time they finished it. Assuming the published figure, for 520 predicted daily boardings that is $100,000 per daily rider. Some of the cost benefit is claimed in terms of relief of highway congestion and there is legitimacy to the concept although I doubt it can justify the expense–but these days government doesn’t care about expense. Until they do, there will never be any incentive to bring down these costs or to build the projects that get you the most bank for the buck. A complete lack of attention to cost/benefit is the only way to explain the wickford junction station where not only the absurd expense including a boon doogle of a parking garage because the swells in wickford blocked parking on their side of the tracks and the state was smart enough to put in the station with limited surface parking and see if a garage was needed. I’m not opposed to public infrastructure spending, I’m opposed to wanton and unjustified expenditures. The Wickford experiment should have been put out of its misery long ago as it not only continues to cost gross operating sums compared to its benefits (to be fair, give Alviti credit for ending the padded maintenance contract) but it significantly extends the commuter run affecting the efficiency of the whole system for little gain.

    Maybe transit planners have learned to dampen expectations but the pawtucket/central falls ridership projection (520) are the same as the claimed peak of ridership from the Wickford Junction where the projections were 3386 by 2020. What’s to worry, it’s only money–and the folks who make these projections are the ones warning us about future climate. . . .

    Now Pawtucket/Central Falls looks more like an actual possibility for so-called “transit oriented development” and I don’t know what the out projections for ridership are but you can actually imagine affordable housing and (gasp) gentrification in the station area. The is probably way better for Pawtucket than the soccer stadium but my confirmation bias for the other kind of football may intrude there (although I wouldn’t have spent the money for the Pawsox either, it isn’t really picking a sport, its the idea that they ought to pay for their own stadiums).

    South Attleboro (before it was closed almost 3 years ago because the pedestrian bridge was deteriorated) was boarding 1200 a day! Now there isn’t the parking to make the Pawtucket/Central Falls station and option, nevermind that no wunderkinds could figure an alternative to keep south attleboro open until Pawtucket/Central Falls came online. You gotta wonder about our commitment to infrastructure when it will take 4 years to get around to replacing that pedistrian bridge at a cost of like 20 million (to be fair some of the costs associated with commuter rail on the northeast corridor are related to the electrification which gets to wondering about the benefits of electrification to begin with). But given the constraints, they could have built a couple of sets of stairs to the south side of route 1A and a guard rail for the sidewidewalk in a month and had the place back up and running. Zero vision or initiative for this transit they claim will save us. So I’m not holding my breath for resounding success, but this may be the least worst transit project to come along in a while.

    If they are wringing their hands over only being

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