RIDOT Cancels Transit Hub

The State of Rhode Island reconsidered its plan to build a Transit Hub at Exit 1 in Hopkinton. On Monday, March 20, 2017, RIDOT announced that it will cancel its plans.

Director Peter Alviti is quoted, “This was the right decision to make for several reasons. First, we wanted to do what was best for Hopkinton. We understand that the residents treasure the rural nature of their town and they want to keep it that way.”

It’s a great decision for Hopkinton, and a great decision for the State.

There are many people who had a role in convincing RIDOT to change its course.  Thanks go foremost to the people of Hopkinton for their commitment to their town. There’s a patriotic spirit here that runs deep — it’s a special thing — and I, for one, am pleased to witness it.  It’s also important to thank the Hopkinton Town Council, Representative Brian Patrick Kennedy, Senator Elaine Morgan, and Senator Dennis Algiere for their efforts in opposing the Transit Hub, and of course to Governor Gina Raimondo and RIDOT itself for ultimately cancelling the project.

It’s important to also thank Cynthia Drummond and The Westerly Sun. The Transit Hub plan may have gone unnoticed if not for coverage in the newspaper. Indeed, there is more detailed coverage of the story in Cynthia Drummond’s article in The Westerly Sun. We can all be grateful for the attention that local news coverage brought to the issue.

Richmond?

Richmond’s Town Council asked RIDOT to build its rest stop in their town, at Exit 3. Richmond wants the traffic to get off the highway and stop at its businesses.

There are negotiations that’ll go with that, of course. RIDOT has stated that they’re researching it, but Hopkinton is still the intended build site.

I maintain that the plan is not good for RI at either location, but I don’t have much of a voice in Richmond.

I will agree that Exit 3 is a better location for such a project, but it’s not nearly as good a location as Pawtucket or East Providence. That said, here are a few advantages to building in Richmond:

  • It intersects with 138 traffic headed to/from Newport and URI.
  • It puts motorists in Richmond where there are retail options for them to use.
  • It’d be directly adjacent to the existing welcome center, so facility and maintenance would presumably be more cheaper and more accessible.

RIDOT remains silent, however. There is nothing on their website about this plan. The Governor is equally silent. A dialog in this State is sorely needed.

The State knows that a rest area doesn’t make sense. Let’s not waste $12 million on building a new rest stop. Contact your representatives and tell them to stop plans to build their rest stop.

Get Involved

In the Westerly Sun

I’d like to thank the Westerly Sun and Cynthia Drummond for running an article on this initiative. It’s important that the people of Hopkinton are aware of the State’s plans for the town and that Hopkinton has a voice in the planning.

I’d also like to point out that instead of a $12 million welcome center, the state might use the funds for other area infrastructure and transportation improvements. Such as: Improved commuter rail in Westerly or safe bike ways.

Bike paths would attract eco tourists, connect the western part of the state for cyclists, and reduce Rhode Island’s reliance on automobiles/gasoline. Did you know that a bike path from Richmond to Westerly beaches would only take about an hour to ride? Imagine riding to work! Or imagine bypassing the hour long ride in traffic to visit Misquamicut in the summer!

Also, if the state decides against seizing the Exit 1 property, the land could be used for small business. Like the HTP Meds operation that runs a clean shop and employs local people, or provide space for outfits like B2B Global to move their corporate office to Hopkinton. The property at Exit 1 is valuable not only to the Town for tax revenue, but to the State for job growth and economic development. High paying professional and technical jobs can be developed on that land, but not if it’s taken by a rest stop.

Let’s not waste an opportunity for strong economic development in Rhode Island. The State knows that a rest area doesn’t make sense that’s why it closed the one a few miles away. Let’s not waste $12 million on building a new rest stop when we already have one that we aren’t using.

Contact your representatives and tell them you want to invest in good jobs and a strong economy. Not another highway truck stop.

Get Involved

Non-binding Referendum

On July 18, there was a victory for democracy in Hopkinton. The Town Council resolved to place a non-binding referendum question on the November ballot. Residents of the Town of Hopkinton will have an opportunity to express their feelings regarding the RIDOT rest stop.

I applaud this movement by the Town Council, it’s important that residents have the opportunity to speak for themselves.

We still need your help. Get Involved! Tell your representatives directly that you oppose a Hopkinton rest stop / travel center / welcome center.

Will It Stop Drowsy Driving?

Will a Hopkinton Rest Stop fill a 100 mile gap? No.
RIDOT attests that a Hopkinton rest stop will fill a 100 mile gap between food and fuel stations. The actual size of the gap is closer to 10 miles.

“Drowsy driving” is repeated frequently in RIDOT‘s Hopkinton rest stop proposal. RIDOT claims that a Hopkinton rest stop will fill a 100 mile gap between stops, provide travelers with a place to rest and therefore reduce the rate of accidents related to fatigue. But the fact of the matter is that RIDOT isn’t proposing a typical rest stop, it’s proposing something different. The actual gap is fewer than 7 miles.

Continue reading “Will It Stop Drowsy Driving?”