On Monday, March 13, 2017, Governor Gina Raimondo announced the award of a $750,000 grant to the Town of Narragansett to build a portion of the final segment (Phase 4) of the William C. O’Neill South County Bike Path. (Read the March 13 announcement.)
A week later, Narragansett took the first step in the process when the Town Council members voted 5 to 0 to instruct town staff to draft a request for proposal for design services.
The grant is part of the $10 million allocated for bikeway completion and connections in the Green Economy Bond approved by Rhode Island voters in November 2016. Nine other projects will also receive Green Economy Bond funding, including a bike path connection between the University of Rhode Island and the South County Bike Path. The funding, which is administered by the R.I. Department of Environmental Management, will be available in July.
The funded project, dubbed Phase 4A, includes three components:
Provide a safe crossing at Mumford Road where the South County Bike Path currently ends at Mumford Road in Narragansett.
Construct the first 1,375 feet of the proposed off-road route through Canonchet Farm to the Narragansett Town Beach. This portion begins at Mumford Road and travels on town property behind the Narragansett Elementary School schoolyard and the adjacent athletic field to a point where the remainder of the Phase 4 route turns northeast to travel on the grade of the SeaView Railroad and through Canonchet Farm.
Construct a 375-foot bike path along the east side of the athletic field to the Narragansett Community Center parking lot.
With the loop around the school property, bicyclists and walkers will have a safe entrance to the bike path, enjoy the convenience of public parking spaces and avoid the dangerous vehicular traffic in front of the Narragansett Elementary School. In the meantime, funding for the balance of Phase 4 remains in the 2017-2025 R.I. Transportation Improvement Program as described in the January 5, 2017 post.