Planning & Development

Fixing Rolfe Square: Intro

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by Josh Wood Wednesday April 29, 2009

A Prominent Corner in Rolfe SquareThis corner marks the center of the city of Cranston. It’s at the heart of Rolfe Square, one of Cranston’s business districts, a weiner’s throw from Cranston City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce. It should welcome you to the city. It should say “Hey, I’m Cranston, Rhode Island. You’ve arrived.” Well, maybe it does say that, but just not in a way the city might hope.

Billboards on One of Cranstons Most Visible CornersRight now that corner is just a parking lot, barely big enough for 6 cars, and a series of billboards that dominate the views to the south and east. Telephone poles and wires add to the clutter. Generous Curb RadiusThe radius of the curbs are cut to maximize the speed at which cars can navigate the intersection. It’s pretty clear that this space is just for automobiles, and it really deserves better. There are some great businesses in the Square that justify giving this corner some attention. The European Food Market, The Jerusalem Deli, Chinese-American Mini Market, Durfee Hardware, to name a few. Not to mention the residents of Auburn and Eden Park.

Districts like this around the city need to be scrutinized for their failings as places for pedestrians and bikers. An effort should be made to think creatively to liven up the city’s streets, to encourage nearby residents to explore and use public spaces and to shop locally. The more pedestrians frequent their local business districts, the more money will funnel back into the local economy.

To be continued.

[where: Cranston, RI 02910]

[where: 02910]


  1. Don’t forget King’s Garden. The square definitely has a lot to offer (check it out on a typical Saturday morning if you don’t think so) and some accessibility improvements and beautification would make it even more attractive. Do you think the Park Theater renovation, when (if?) it completes, will help the square become a more appealing destination?

    dhodge · Apr 30, 07:45 AM · #

  2. King’s Garden, Ruths, the candy store… lots of good places. It’s true, the place is hopping on Saturday mornings. It’d be nice to be able to extend the crowds through the whole week. And I think the corner pictured at the top is perfect for an “anchor” of some sort. Retail spots on the first floor and office space upstairs.

    I think the Park Cinema (if/when it’s done) can only add to the Square. And I think the Artists’ Exchange is an overlooked gem. Not many folks seem to know that it’s there.

    Josh · Apr 30, 05:43 PM · #


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