Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Mayor Jorge Elorza today joined Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Peter Alviti and Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) Chief Executive Officer Scott Avedisian to announce plans to move forward with the Providence Multi-Hub Bus System and launch an extensive community engagement process.

“Our Multi-Hub System, which was developed after years of stakeholder feedback and input, will be good for riders, good for the environment, and good for jobs,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “With this project, we will not only improve the experience for existing riders but encourage many more Rhode Islanders to use public transportation in the years to come.”

The Multi-Hub Bus System proposal builds on the vision state leaders and voters had in 2014 of developing an intermodal network that improves connectivity and expands access to transit throughout Rhode Island. As downtown Providence expands south towards the Innovation District and north towards the Capital Center, it will require more than one central hub to meet the needs of riders. As proposed, the Innovation hub, along with the Kennedy Plaza hub and the Providence train station hub, will connect riders working and living within this developing corridor. Rehabbing the historic structure at the Innovation Hub will transform this corner of the City into a vibrant transit center with an expansive network of transit options, including scooters and bicycles for last mile connections.

“This plan which has evolved over six years provides a number of very important benefits for both riders and citizens,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. said. “It spreads out the heavy concentration of buses and pedestrians from a congested Kennedy Plaza to strategic satellite locations at the Innovation District, the Providence Train Station and along the edges of Kennedy Plaza. This configuration gives riders access to their jobs, educational institutions, entertainment and key intermodal transfers to major northeast metropolitan areas.”

As a part of today’s announcement, Mayor Jorge O. Elorza announced the engagement of a consultant team to advance the City’s plans to create a unified vision for Downtown Providence’s public spaces to guide a significant investment in infrastructure and place-making in Greater Kennedy Plaza. After a worldwide search, the City hired Arup, the creative force at the heart of many of the world’s most prominent urban design and engineering projects, to work with stakeholders to create a cohesive vision that connects Downtown Providence’s public space network while maintaining an easily accessible, transit-rich environment. As part of the design phase, the City and Arup will launch a robust public engagement process through regular consultations with stakeholders and community members.

“Successful cities are transit-rich cities,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “Investing in both robust transit systems and dynamic public spaces will transform Greater Kennedy Plaza into a true civic hub. With active and meaningful input from community stakeholders, I look forward to advancing the plan for downtown transit investments with our statewide partners as we collectively develop a vision for a more active, vibrant and safe Downtown.”

The Multi-Hub System will bring employees closer to jobs while eliminating crowding. The system will link major existing and future employment and residential centers such as Wexford, Garrahy Courthouse, Johnson and Wales University, Brown School of Professional Studies, City Hall, Convention Center, federal courthouses, the Financial District, Capitol Hill, commuter rail to Boston, Providence Place Mall, and area restaurants. It will also provide necessary charging infrastructure to support an all-electric fleet—something that is not currently possible at Kennedy Plaza.

The new hubs will be designed to provide amenities, including restrooms, indoor waiting areas with real-time boards, benches, ticket vending machines, bike racks, and bike/scooter share areas at Innovation District and Providence Train Station hubs. Direct bus to rail connections linking downtown employment centers.

“We are listening to our passengers and we will work with our partners on this project to ensure that it provides the maximum benefit to transit users, and to the public,” RIPTA Chief Executive Officer Scott Avedisian said.

The project will be funded by the $35 million bond approved by Rhode Island voters in 2014.