All Aboard! Pawtucket-Central Falls Transit Center On Track to Open January 23
The state-of-the-art transit center will provide a robust combination of commuter rail and bus services operated by the MBTA and RIPTA.
Calling all Rhody commuters: you might just have good reason to switch up your morning routine. Governor Dan McKee, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) and the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) recently announced that the new Pawtucket-Central Falls Transit Center is on track (pun absolutely intended) to welcome all travelers starting Monday, January 23. Located at 300 Pine Street in Pawtucket, the state-of-the-art transit center will allow riders a smooth transition between the commuter rail operated by MBTA and RIPTA’s statewide bus network. It includes dedicated platforms for northbound and southbound service, connected by a glass-enclosed pedestrian bridge, elevators, ramps and stairs. The elegant design utilizes composite panels with covered waiting areas, and the station also has a separate drop off area and set of stairs and ramps to the platform on the Barton Street side of the rail corridor.
“This new station will not only add to the quality of life in Pawtucket and the Blackstone Valley but it will also dramatically expand transit options for Rhode Islanders and those visiting Rhode Island,” says Governor McKee. “With easy connections to and from Boston – the opening of this station continues our momentum, breathing new life into Pawtucket and Central Falls.”
The rail-bus transit center aims to create an easier and more convenient passage for Rhode Islanders traveling to and from Boston, as well as other destinations in Massachusetts. It also is projected to assist in mitigating highway congestion and reducing local greenhouse gas emissions.
“These connections are vital as people are encouraged to leave their cars behind and use mass transit,” says RIPTA CEO Scott Avedisian. “Our service to this new transit center is robust and includes our R-Line, our highest frequency route. We encourage people to see how seamless bus-to-rail travel can be.”
The Pawtucket-Central Falls Transit Center marks the Ocean State’s fourth station — joining the established ranks of Providence, T.F. Green and Wickford Junction — serviced by the MBTA, with many Massachusetts stops along the route to South Station in Boston. The MBTA plans to make forty weekday stops and eighteen weekend stops at the new commuter rail station. The full schedule is available on mbta.com.
Furthermore, the a new bus hub built adjacent to the station will serve many bus commuters in northern Rhode Island. Starting opening day, RIPTA’s 1, 71, 72, 73, 75, 76, 78, 80, QX and R-Line’s will add stops at the transit center to their routes. Arrivals and departures are expected every two to five minutes during peak hours. The hub includes five berths with covered shelters for passengers, and it connects to a transit emphasis corridor with dedicated bus and bike lanes along Exchange Street and Goff Avenue. Bicycle storage racks are also available in the plaza area.
“Whether from Quonset Point to Quincy Market or from Boston back to Broad Street, Rhode Island transit riders are better connected starting January 23,” says Lt. Governor Sabina Matos. “This rail station, in conjunction with RIPTA’s outstanding service, will offer new economic and recreational opportunities for Pawtucket, Central Falls, and all of Rhode Island — plus new opportunities for our visitors to discover the food, art, and culture that make our state unique.”
The mayors of the two cities for which the transit center is named see it as an amazing opportunity for their communities. Pawtucket Mayor Donal R. Grebein says it “will truly show that our two cities are desirable places to live, work, and play,” while Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera adds they, “are committed to integrating Central Falls residents into our regional economy and continuing the transit-oriented growth in the Blackstone Valley with workforce and affordable housing.”
As for the parking sitch, RIDOT will operate a secure, well-lit 200-car parking lot. RIPTA, meanwhile, will operate the restroom facilities. Radar-enhanced pedestrian detection crosswalks link the parking lot, bus hub and train station.
The Pawtucket-Central Falls Transit Center is made possible by RhodeWorks, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Improvement and Jobs Act. For additional information, including directions and schedules, visit available at ridetherailsri.com.