RIDOT’s “bewildering” response to Kennedy Plaza plan TITLE VI civil rights complaintRIDOT’s written response to the complaint is superficial and flimsy and disregards the significant, disproportionate and negative impacts that RIDOT’s plan will impose on people of color, disabled and low-income populations across Rhode Island. RIDOT’s trivial response took 85 days, 25 days longer than the department’s own Title VI response guidelines. Also: Newly minted lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos responds to question about the plan.
Published on April 14, 2021
By Steve Ahlquist
In response to the plan by RIDOT plan – which is fully supported by Governor Daniel McKee – John Flaherty, deputy director of GrowSmart Rhode Island and Dwayne Keys, President of the South Providence Neighborhood Association filed a TITLE VI civil rights complaint against the plan. RIDOT recently responded to the complaint, and Flaherty and Keys respond to that response here:
“The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT)’s plan to break up the central transit hub at Kennedy Plaza and scatter the bus stops and transfer points across downtown will mean more hassle and confusion for transit riders, longer travel times, more transferring and more waiting for buses without access to basic amenities such as public bathrooms. With less than five months to planned construction, RIDOT has not proposed an alternative where all transfers can take place in a single convenient location with access to amenities.
“RIDOT’s written response to the complaint is superficial and flimsy and disregards the significant, disproportionate and negative impacts that RIDOT’s plan will impose on people of color, disabled and low-income populations across Rhode Island. RIDOT’s trivial response took 85 days, 25 days longer than the department’s own Title VI response guidelines (page 8).
“The conclusions in the 5-point response are bewildering. For example, it states that “a final plan has not been identified for this project” and “therefore there is presently no Title VI violation”.
“However, according to RIDOT’s own RFP for design-bid-build services, a Construction Contract Advertisement Date is scheduled for June 11, 2021 with “shovels in the ground” by August 27, 2021. And last November 5th, RIDOT participated in a press event stating that the multi-hub project was moving forward.
“The response by RIDOT is an affront to all those who will be negatively impacted by this deeply flawed plan and is wholly inconsistent with President Joe Biden’s Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities.
“It’s approaching seven years since voters approved a $35M transit improvement bond with nothing to show for it but $2.1M spent on bond issuing costs, legal and consultant fees. RIDOT’s inability to move this bond project forward is outlined in this 3-min presentation by House fiscal staff to the House Finance Committee on April 7, 2021.
“We call on Governor McKee to turn the project over to the Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority (RIPTA). RIPTA has the requisite expertise to skillfully develop an alternative plan with transit riders at the table so that we can finally get on with making needed improvements to the public space in Kennedy Plaza while also improving vital transit connections through Downtown Providence. And at the same time, let’s get on with implementing the broader Transit Master Plan that RIPTA developed, with significant public input, to get more Rhode Islanders where they’re going, quickly, efficiently and affordably. For more background and media coverage about this controversy, click here.”
Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos
UpriseRI was at the first press conference of newly minted Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos of Wednesday morning. As Providence City Council President, Matos led the unanimous effort to pass a resolution against the RIDOT / McKee plan to dismantle Kennedy Plaza. Now that she is Lieutenant Governor, a position McKee sees a a partner to his role as Governor, what is her position on the plan?
See her answer below:
- RIDOT’s “bewildering” response to Kennedy Plaza plan TITLE VI civil rights complaint
- House Finance considers budget amendment to save Kennedy Plaza
- McKee budget fully funds Raimondo / DOT plan to dismantle Kennedy Plaza
- Raimondo’s multi-hub bus plan violates principles in the Transit Master Plan her administration just approved
- Title VI civil rights complaint filed against RIDOT/RIPTA plan to break up Kennedy Plaza
- American Planning Association of RI says RIDOT/Raimondo multi-hub bus plan is harmful to people of color and people of lesser means
- Tech and procedural problems plague PVD City Council hearing on multi-hub resolution
- Raimondo and Elorza push ahead with multi-hub bus plan despite the objections of riders
- At RIPTA Board meeting, bus riders testify against the planned destruction of Kennedy Plaza
- Opponent’s march against Raimondo’s plan to break up Kennedy Plaza
- Community groups rally to oppose RIDOT’s Multi-Hub Bus Plan and the deconstruction of Kennedy Plaza
- RIDOT faces strong opposition to multi-hub plan at public meeting
- Local transit advocacy groups and other orgs oppose RIDOT bus hub plan
- With climate change looming, why is Rhode Island making public transportation less convenient?
- Governor Raimondo’s Multi-Hub Bus System plan
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