Greater Kennedy Plaza

Kennedy Plaza Community Meeting Power Point

CONSTRUCTION UPDATE: Kennedy Plaza is currently under construction. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience and understanding during the City's construction period. The Kennedy Plaza Passenger Terminal is OPEN during construction; the RIPTA Ticketing & Sales Window, public restrooms, schedule information, and RIPTA Photo Identification Office are fully accessible. Please enter through the side door on the Fulton Street side, near City Hall. For updates on this and other RIPTA news, click here to sign up for our e-newsletter.

Improved Passenger Amenities
– New and improved bus shelters
– Improved bus stop signage
– Additional bike racks
– Grouping of routes to make it easier for you to find and catch your bus
– Increased space for waiting passengers
– Better integration with surrounding area

Safety and Security
-Elimination of interior roadways to create a larger pedestrian area
-Upgrades to RIPTA’s security system for the safety of our employees and passengers

Technology Upgrades
-Real Time Information: See when your bus is due to arrive at your bus stop so you can plan your journey more accurately
-Ticket Vending Machines: A fast and easy way to purchase RIPTA fare products before you board

RIPTA has been working closely with the City of Providence, the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy, and other local stakeholders to reinvent and redefine Kennedy Plaza. The goal is to transform Kennedy Plaza into a safe, beautiful, usable space that will be appreciated by both our passengers and visitors to the City. We look forward to continuing to partner with Providence and others to meet our commitment to our riders to provide safe, attractive and reliable transit for Providence and Rhode Island.

Transforming the Plaza comes at a time when transit is growing. RIPTA is excited to see investment in a space that is so important to our system- making Kennedy Plaza a safe, attractive, welcoming place is a good thing for RIPTA, and will help us both retain and attract new riders.

Kennedy Plaza is the focal point for RIPTA’s statewide services. If you ride RIPTA you have undoubtedly spent some time in the Plaza. It is served by most of RIPTA’s bus routes, is located in the heart of downtown Providence, and offers customer information, ticketing and an indoor waiting area. Ridership growth in recent years presents RIPTA with increasing challenges to the delivery of efficient and attractive service at this location. Since Kennedy Plaza was last rebuilt in 2001, the number of passengers using this space has grown significantly. The outer berths are narrow and don’t easily accommodate those waiting for buses at peak times. High numbers of passengers boarding mean buses are in the Plaza for longer periods and can fall behind schedule. RIPTA recently conducted an online Customer Satisfaction Survey where many riders expressed their concerns about the Plaza, including safety issues.

For the last several years, RIPTA, the City of Providence, along with the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy and other partners have been working to improve both the transit experience at Kennedy Plaza and to make the Plaza and the adjoining Burnside Park a greater civic place. Progress is currently underway with the City leading efforts to complete these major changes by the end of the year. RIPTA is hopeful these changes will allow us to provide great service in a comfortable environment in a manner that allows the surrounding area to reach its full potential. Improvements recommended as part of RIPTA’s Comprehensive Operations Analysis (COA) will allow us to reduce the overall number of bus berths needed in the Plaza, not by reducing service, but by improving scheduling efficiencies. Full implementation of COA improvements is anticipated to attract new riders and increase, not decrease, the number of passengers using public transit, making these overall efforts to improve the Greater Kennedy Plaza even timelier as we aim to increase ridership.

RIPTA’s role in the reconfiguration of Kennedy Plaza includes efforts to upgrade passenger amenities and ensure effective and safe pedestrian access and circulation. RIPTA worked with a consultant to identify the location and design of necessary and desired passenger amenities, including new shelters and signage, and to make sure that all transit elements fit together as part of a cohesive package. Development of the design of passenger amenities included consideration of shelters, seating and lighting. The new Plaza design will also include real time information at all bus stops and the introduction of several Ticket Vending Machines in the Plaza to reduce bus boarding times by providing more opportunities to pre-pay your fare. Stay tuned for more updates on how we are working to improve the Plaza, you can sign up for our e-newsletter here.