Memorial Boulevard Bike Lane:
Yesterday, the State House announced that RIDOT has four proposals for road improvements in Newport before the State Traffic Commission:
1) Reconstruction of the railroad crossings at Elm and Poplar Streets.
2) Installment of a crosswalk on America’s Cup just south of the Brick Market
3) Installment of a crosswalk on Memorial Blvd at Thomas Street.
4) Redesign of Memorial Blvd following a fatal bicycle accident in June.
These recommendations are excellent news for ALL users of our roads – agreeing in spirit and in practice with Complete Streets resolutions passed by both the City of Newport and the State of Rhode Island.
As we’re moving forward carefully and steadily, major strides are being made here in Newport - in particular for the cycling community.
In April, our City Council passed a resolution to work together with Bike Newport to become a Bicycle Friendly Community, potentially the first certified Bike Friendly Community in Rhode Island.
In June, we celebrated the first bicycle road marks in Newport, when the City marked a route from Bellevue to Fort Adams in time for the America’s Cup World Series. The payoff was more than 600 people trading cars for bikes to attend the event, contributing to a significant reduction in traffic congestion. That success is now the model for the upcoming Newport Folk and Jazz festivals, from which a larger bike turnout is expected.
Weeks later, we’re facing the second road mark, a major road improvement, potentially the first bike lane on Aquidneck Island.
By marking Memorial Boulevard, we’ll dramatically improve the understanding of road sharing on one of the busiest thoroughfares in the City. We’ll establish rules and protocol for road sharing that will help establish better practices throughout the City. We’ll provide a road sharing structure for our police officers to support and enforce. We’ll have our first efforts be a joint effort of city and state. And we’ll have a model in place that we can continue to replicate.
Because the Memorial Blvd project will be limited to road markings, it can potentially be completed by the end of August. RIDOT will come to town very soon (stay tuned for the announcement) to present their plans to the public. Meanwhile, the City Council is reviewing the plans to render their official opinion.
Thank you to Representative Peter Martin, to RIDOT and to our City Council for moving things along efficiently and deliberately.