Street Stories: Bean

Street Stories is an interview series with Providence residents about how they move around the our city by local photographer Brittanny Taylor. Would you like to share your story? Get in touch

Name, age, any personal identities you feel like sharing, neighborhood where you live, who you live with/care for, the school you go to, type of work you do or hope to do. 

My name is Bean, age 40, RI native, I’m a mom of two great boys, a business owner, community advocate, and I’m queer. I was born in and still live in the West End of Providence. I’m currently back of house supervisor for a doughnut company, and I also own my own business called Black Beans PVD. I serve from scratch soul food/comfort foods.

How do you typically travel around Providence? Is that working for you? How does it affect your life, your job, your family? 

I almost exclusively bike since COVID and before I was solely on bus and foot since I don’t drive. Having a bike hasn’t been bad since, in modern times, I’m able to get groceries and all other needs delivered. For appointments and things far away, I just bus, schedule a ride with someone or pay for a car service.

What are your views on how the elimination of Kennedy Plaza as the Central Bus Hub will affect you and the people you know?

I think the moving of KP is a gross attempt by those with a vested interest and political pull to hide the poverty of the city, which they see as an eyesore, but do nothing to make it better. They don’t want to see homeless folks and black and brown faces downtown because they are trying to build their version of a downtown Boston business-wise. They want to move it away to attempt to attract the customers they want down there. It will affect them more because the reality is that although they don’t want us as patrons, they overwhelmingly have us as staff who mainly depend on public transportation. Eliminate that, and they eliminate their workforce’s access to get to work.

How would you ideally like to get around Providence, and what would need to happen to make that a reality? 

Continue on bike, foot, and bus. The biggest thing is access to better sidewalks. The sidewalks on the West End and South Side are TERRIBLE! I can’t imagine being in a wheelchair or using other devices to be mobile. You would have to go in the middle of the street.

Do you feel safe when traveling around Providence? Where do you feel safe, and where do you not? 

I feel safe aside from the sidewalks being a safety hazard. I feel safest in the West End and South Side and downtown because those are neighborhoods I grew up in and around.

How could the City or RIPTA improve your experience getting around? 

Keep KP where it is. And fix the sidewalks before someone gets seriously injured. There is no reason why the same sidewalks have been cracked and broken for over ten years. Whoever is in charge of that needs to come out and see these sidewalks! While some sidewalks have been fixed and redone, these same ones have been damaged so long some have whole gardens growing in them now.