Commuter Rail Station In EG? State Plan Says Maybe

The draft state rail plan refers to possible expansion of commuter rail station to the land at Rocky Hollow.

Location of a potential East Greenwich commuter rail station. Credit: RIDOT
Location of a potential East Greenwich commuter rail station. Credit: RIDOT

The Rhode Island Division of Planning released its draft 2014 Rail Plan last week and East Greenwich was mentioned as a possible site for a future commuter rail station. However, town officials were hesitant about such a outcome.

The study, which can be found here, looks at all rail in Rhode Island. Once adopted, it would replace the 1993 rail plan.

With regard to commuter rail, the study notes the “feasibility and costs of extending commuter rail service to five additional stations.” Those locations would be the existing Westerly and Kingston Amtrak stations, and sites in Cranston, East Greenwich and West Davisville (Quonset).

The Massachusetts MBTA expanded commuter rail service to Warwick and Wickford Junction in 2012. However, the draft plan notes that the Massachusetts MBTA would probably not be involved in the expansion.

“Phase II service would most likely provide intrastate service to the existing and added stations within Rhode Island and not MBTA service to Boston,” the report reads in Chapter 6. “The study is also looking into potential connections to Connecticut’s Shoreline East commuter service.”

MBTA spokeswoman Kelly Smith said the transit agency had not been approached about expanding service in Rhode Island.

“The Phase II study they refer to is the current effort to assess potential ridership, cost-effectiveness, physical constraints to station and parking development, etc., for possible rail stops in Cranston, EG and West Davisville,” explained East Greenwich Town Planner Lisa Bourbonnais. “I don’t know what the timeline on that assessment is or when the final report will be done but I frankly don’t expect great outcomes for EG. Without any additional investment from MBTA, if Rhode Island is left to its own resources, I’m not sure we could stack up on a priority list with West Davisville, which would serve Quonset, the State’s largest employment hub.”

Town Council President Michael Isaacs said any move to put a commuter rail station in East Greenwich would need to a complete review before going forward.

“It’s something that’s been studied and recommended in the past and it’s something we should continue to look at to see what the benefits would be to the town,” said Isaacs. But he added, “I think it’s so far off I’m not sure as a practical matter there’s anything to be done.”

Ed. Note: Here's an earlier document from the state DOT: http://www.dot.ri.gov/documents/intermodal/EGexistingconditions.pdf
The station outlined there would be bounded by Rocky Hollow Road to the north, the Maskerchugg River to the south, Greenwich Blvd. to the west and Amtrak to the east.
nonpc January 07, 2014 at 06:38 AM
What a great idea! I'm all for giving company to the desolate and underused commuter rail stations in Wickford and Warwick. I'm sure they're lonely and could use a companion. When stupid people stop trying to create demand where none exists... wake me up.
EG January 07, 2014 at 07:11 AM
I lived in a wealthy town in a different state. People there were against rail station. It was said behind the door that the public transportation would bring poorer people into the town. I hope the people in this town would be better...
Rose January 07, 2014 at 08:15 AM
And we sure don't want any poor people in this town, right? Their money and their skin color and their language is so inferior to us lily white folks. You @&^$ snob!
nonpc January 07, 2014 at 08:43 AM
Try to contain yourself Rose. I believe EG was making the case that they hoped East Greenwich WOULDN'T pose that argument, but we all know how the liberal knee-jerk reaction kicks in so no issues. And interesting how you equate poor people with skin color and language. Seems racist to me...
Wendy Fachon January 07, 2014 at 08:57 AM
I grew up in wealthy suburbs of both Boston and of Chicago, where my father was a commuter. In Wellesley the highlight of our day was piling in the car with mom to go pick up dad at the train station. Outside Chicago our town had three small train stations in our town, distanced 1-1/2 miles apart. My father walked a mile to the train station everyday. Sometimes I walked to the station at the end of the day to meet him. During my college years, I worked summer jobs in banking and became a train commuter. I also remember driving to the train station with my mom on Monday mornings to pick up our cleaning lady, who commuted 1-1/2 hours from the South Side of Chicago. The huge Wickford Station garage stands empty, however, I can understand why. Overbuilt with a grand waste of federal funding. I think rail service to EG would be fantastic, but designing such a service requires a practical assessment - accessibility.
EG January 07, 2014 at 09:06 AM
nonpc's understanding is correct. I believe "all men are created equal"...
sue lewis January 07, 2014 at 10:54 AM
would have been nice if a viewable photo had been attached instead of this postage stamp ! Where can we obtain a photo of the proposed site that we can actually see ?
EG Mike January 07, 2014 at 11:09 AM
Speaking of "grand Waste of federal Funding" ie the New EG Post Office, Police Station etc......Why do we not re-purpose the existing train station on Duke St??
Elizabeth McNamara (Editor) January 07, 2014 at 11:11 AM
Sue Lewis, Here's an earlier document from DOT: http://www.dot.ri.gov/documents/intermodal/EGexistingconditions.pdf The station outlined there would be bounded by Rocky Hollow Road to the north, the Maskerchugg River to the south, Greenwich Blvd. to the west and Amtrak to the east.
bwg January 07, 2014 at 11:51 AM
I think its long overdue that RI looks seriously at a commuter rail system. Anyone who has commuted anywhere along Route 4, 95, 295, or 195 into or out of Providence during rush hour will surely agree that the need is great. The reason Wickford and Warwick stations are underused? The commuter rail only stops twice a day during rush hour. Not a very commuter friendly schedule.
Eric Carpenter January 07, 2014 at 02:55 PM
As long as it can take me from EG to Track 84 by the airport and back, nights and weekends, I'm all for it, no matter how it gets funded. Maybe put in a stop at Doherty's on Jefferson Blvd., too. Pub crawl!
Wendy Fachon January 07, 2014 at 06:17 PM
A very large area is designated on the EG map for this project. Let's begin with two simple questions. How many people who live in East Greenwich actually work in downtown Providence? How many of those who work in downtown Providence would be able to walk from the Providence train station to their place of business... or get there readily via bus? Maybe renovating the existing station on Duke Street would be adequate and would help maintain our small town charm.
@Home_in_EG January 09, 2014 at 10:26 AM
Totally amazed that anyone would be against this. For several Years I worked in Boston. This would have been a godsend. The parking is non-existent in Providence and when you could find it, costly. When you left each morning to drive to Providence, you never really knew if you were going to find a spot. Now that they have build condos on all that extra parking around the waterfire basin, I can only imagine how bad it is. And it really didnt make sense to drive 15 minutes south to North Kingston when you could drive 20 minutes to Providence and be closer to your final destination and catch the actual train you wanted to be on.... Not every train from NY to Boston stops in NK, and in fact very few did back then.
@Home_in_EG January 09, 2014 at 10:28 AM
Lest I remind you all how difficult it is to find jobs in this Godforsaken state. This would open up the Boston market to those who might want a real job with real pay. The commute from Providence to Boston is quite do-able and actually quite pleasant.
Wendy Fachon January 09, 2014 at 11:57 AM
This makes total sense for Boston commuters, and for students getting back and forth from Boston. Traffic into Boston is a nightmare. This would save time and allow commuters to read paper or do work while riding and make more productive use of their time.
Mutato January 09, 2014 at 12:34 PM
I think it's not a good idea for this location: A better area is on the NK/EG border where JT's Riverhead Building Supply is located. That area is close to highway access, and has a large vacant lot for a parking garage. Proposed site is a long narrow strip that will not accommodate a large number of vehicles. The story indicates that this would not be a stop for the MBTA. In-state commuting only. That is not good. I think this EG station is just too close to either the Warwick Airport and the Wickford Junction. MBTA has too much on it's plate financially and we are not in any position to create our own rail service.


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