The RIPTA Riders Association has passed along information about a press conference it will be having to oppose the current design of Kennedy Plaza.
SAVE KENNEDY PLAZA NOW!
VOICE YOUR OPINION BEFORE KENNEDY PLAZA IS RUINED for BUS RIDERS!!!
5 PM, Tuesday, August 5th, the Ripta Riders Alliance is holding a press conference on the plaza between the RIPTA terminal building and City Hall.
The event will call attention to the problems the Kennedy Plaza redesign and construction is causing bus riders and other Plaza users.
Despite the hype from officials and private developers, RIPTA's $2.4 million redesign will make conditions worse for passengers! Permanent bus stops will be moved to less convenient locations, half of the bus lanes at Kennedy Plaza will be permanently relocated, congestion for buses and cars will increase, and the heated system that automatically melts snow in the Plaza's bus stops will be eliminated.
Officials ignored the rights of the public to have real input in the redesign of Kennedy Plaza. After this year's construction, there will be worse changes later if we don't speak up now. Please join us at this press conference so the voices and opinions of RIPTA patrons will be heard!!
Join us - at 5 PM, Tuesday, August 5th on Kennedy Plaza across from City Hall!!
I personally have mixed feelings about the KP Design. The initial plans to enliven the space looked like a mixed bag to me. I did like the sidewalk extensions, the idea of people sitting in a public square, the addition of trees, moveable chairs and tables, etc. The architecture critic at the Projo wrote a good piece talking about how this initial design by Union Studios was dropped (full disclosure, Union Studios helps work with us on Park(ing) Day, but my only in to the Union Studios drop was having read the Projo. I haven't heard anything directly.)
I don't necessarily think it's the end of the world to put some buses on Exchange Terrace, although I do think the current set up during construction, where the buses are all over downtown, is onerous.
However, I think in order for it to make sense to have the buses around the whole square, Washington Street at KP has to go car-free. Otherwise bus riders trying to cross are going to have to make a choice between being safe crossing traffic and being able to make their bus. We also, more than anything, need to consolidate a lot of our routes into simpler ones that are more frequent, so that transferring becomes a convenience to help us connect to all points, instead of being the chore that it is today.
I also worry that having so much money put into capital improvements for KP without thought into maintenance is a problem. We have basic things that are not taken care of at Kennedy Plaza that wouldn't cost much to fix, but which are not handled because of the fact that funding boosts tend to be structured towards capital needs rather than operational ones. For instance, the building closes early everyday. The bathroom is closed for at least two hours at lunch time for cleaning, but when you go to it post-cleaning, it's not clean. There are no soap dispensers in the men's room (can't speak for them women's room, but I imagine the same). The bubbler finally got cleaned after I asked and asked and tweeted embarrassing photos to RIPTA staff, but the mouthpiece is still stained, giving an uninviting image to those who want water. It's these little things that make using RIPTA either nice, or unpleasant. I don't see how we're going to fix these things this way.
Anyway, I would say I'm probably more supportive than not supportive of the RIPTA Riders' views, but I'd like to offer those caveats.