Reading Between the Tracks in Wickford


More than a few Rhode Islanders, no doubt, have wondered why anybody thought putting the end of a rail line in Wickford was a good idea.  North Kingstown’s a decent size for a suburb, but it’s dispersed and in a part of the state designed more around villages than whole towns.  The site is out of the way for anybody traveling Route 95, and approaching by Route 4 from the south is a pain, with lights and traffic.

Now that the state is taking over management of the station, some of the pieces start to fit together.  Here’s Patrick Anderson in the Providence Journal:

Making current RIDOT employees clean bathrooms, shovel snow, cut grass, make repairs and watch over the Wickford Junction station and parking garage will cost the state $112,200 each year, the agency said, instead of the $488,984 it was paying the owner of the surrounding shopping plaza. …

The Wickford Junction maintenance contract grew out of the public-private partnership with North Kingstown developer and station advocate Robert Cioe that saw it built on a corner of his shopping plaza.

So, the Dept. of Transportation and its contractors got some federal money for a nice big project a few years back, and a developer in North Kingstown got a drop-off point near his shopping plaza and a regular contract for maintenance.  Yup, that sounds like the Rhode Island Way.

  • dave

    Why didn’t they put the station at URI so they would have 17000 potential riders. (Man, there are a ton of old stations in bad locations, why renovate this one?)
    Instead they subsidize the URI bus with the “savings” from this new plan. Of course, there are no savings. that station runs at a deficit because we have to pay more to the MBTA than what it takes in.