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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.
On January 7, the Friends of the William C. O’Neill South County Bike Path submitted an application to R.I. Statewide Planning to have Completion of the South County Bike Path via Canonchet Farm in Narragansett placed on the Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) for the ten-year period beginning September 1, 2016. Placement on the TIP is the first step in securing Federal and State funding for transportation projects. The Friends of the South County Bike Path proposed the same plan as the Town of Narragansett did in its multi-project TIP application. Public hearings on a draft of the full TIP will be held in May.
Currently, the South County Bike path extends from Kingston Station in the north to Mumford Road in Narragansett. Users then take a variety of often-busy, on-street routes to reach the Narragansett Town Beach, Pier area stores or other Narragansett locations. The proposed path starts at Mumford Road, traverses through Canonchet Farm, and ends in the parking area across Boston Neck Road (Scenic Route 1A) from the Narragansett Town Beach. This proposed bike path is more expensive and requires more permitting than on-road alternatives evaluated by the R.I. Department of Transportation, but it provides the safest route to the beach, a superior recreational experience, and the best return on investment for tourism and economic development for the Narragansett Pier area, South County and all of Rhode Island. The proposed bike path extension through Canonchet Farm represents an opportunity to complete a vital transportation alternative serving Narragansett and South Kingstown and will enable the South County Bike Path to achieve its full potential as a major recreational asset for Rhode Island.
The Friends of the William C. O’Neill Bike Path invite you to attend the ribbon cutting of Phase 3 of our bike path. Join Governor Chafee, DOT Director Michael Lewis, the Town’s officials and other dignitaries.
Wednesday July 27th at 1:30 p.m.
The event will be held at the railroad tunnel entrance just off MacArthur Blvd., about 1200 feet from Kingstown Road (Rt. 108) in Wakefield.
For additional information, please call 401-783-8886
The construction of this phase of the bike path has been on schedule. Undoubtedly winter plays a factor in how long construction can continue. The schedule called for putting down the first of two coats of paving. Due to this extreme cold weather, this will be postponed until next spring. However, gravel will be place over the packed fill, and weather permitting, some of the fencing will be installed. We will keep you posted as the progress continues for a scheduled completion in late spring 2011.
The Rhode Island Chapter of the Sierra Club hosted a South Kingstown Community Meeting at URI Monday evening in support of the Complete Streets movement. Read the full article by Frank Mastrobuono of SouthKingstown.Patch.com here.
Providence was recently host to a lecture honoring the late Senator Claiborne Pell that focused on “Cities, Bicycles and the Future of Getting Around”. The symposium explored how bicycling can transform the urban experience, and featured several panelists, most notably David Byrne of the Talking Heads. While Byrne–who has recently been on tour promoting his new book Bicyle Diaries–was certainly the most prominent speaker of the night, it was Rhode Island’s own Barry Schiller who gave the most inspiring speeches regarding the future of bicycling in the state. He summed it up quite simply, giving us the top 10 ways we can help bicycling in Rhode Island. His suggestions are as follows:
Top Ten Ways to Help Bicycling in Rhode Island
10. Help combat dangerous driving by driving carefully, supporting laws and enforcement against drunk driving, distracted driving, red-light running etc
9. Teach your kids to ride a bike, and to ride safely, so we get the next generation of bicyclists
8. Help use our bike infrastructure to market RI as geo-tourism destination where auto use can be minimized
7. Ride transit when appropriate as biking and transit complement each other in providing an alternative to auto travel, especially with our bus bike racks. RIPTA service on key routes is much better than many non-users think it is, and soon we will have expanded commuter rail.
6. Join, support, or become active in one of many bike advocacy groups – such as the NBW, the RI Bike Coalition, East Coast Greenway Alliance, Recycle-a-Bike, US Open Cycling Foundation, or Friends of the various bikeways
5. Help ensure that roadway shoulders are properly swept, have bike-safe grates, potholes are fixed, and institute and maintain appropriate bike lanes, traffic calming, various kinds of share-the-road signs and other “complete street” features
4. Help us complete our bike path network including the north and south end of the Blackstone, the South County, Washington Secondary, and Woonasquatucke paths, as well as possible projects in Tiverton, Aquidneck Island, Jamestown, the Pontiac branch, Hope Spur etc.
3. Support an increased revenue stream for transportation as we will need that to fix our roads and bridges, maintain and improve transit, and have the bicycle infrastructure we want
2. Maintain an atmosphere of communication, collaboration and cooperation between the bicycle community and the various municipal and state agencies and other stakeholders
1. RIDE YOUR BIKE – and have doing so – as we need this to help build a “critical mass” of riders and building a statewide bicycle culture