PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge Elorza today joined City officials, downtown developer Arnold B. “Buff” Chace, local bicycling advocates including Eric Weis, Chair of the Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission and Alex Krogh-Grabbe, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition, as well as community members for a ribbon cutting ceremony for Providence’s first parking-protected bicycle lane on Fountain Street. The ceremony also marked the completion of Phase III of the Providence Downtown Circulator Project and ended with an inaugural ride down the lane led by Mayor Elorza.
“This is big news for our bike community and evidence of Providence’s commitment to supporting alternate modes of transportation. The recent improvements to Downtown, including the addition of our first innovative parking-protected bicycle lane, are bringing new energy into the heart of the city,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “These are the investments we must continue making to ensure a safe, inviting and thriving city for all of us.”
As part of the bicycle lane project, vehicular space on Fountain Street has been narrowed from three (3) to two (2) lanes, a bus island has been installed for the safety and convenience of Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) riders, and a parking-protected bicycle lane has been striped to provide a safe and convenient route for those traveling through downtown on their bicycles.
The recent work is part of the Downtown Circulator Project, a multi-year, multi-phase project that has brought several improvements to the public realm throughout downtown. The project has allowed better mobility for drivers through the conversion of one-way streets to two-way streets, made pedestrian improvements possible such as widened sidewalks and shorter crosswalks, and introduced new public spaces, landscaping and public art to the area.
The implementation of these changes aims to improve traffic circulation and safety for all modes of transportation, while creating more attractive public spaces in the process. The project embodies the concept of “complete streets”- that streets are for everyone, and that an outstanding public realm is critical to a great urban environment and for economic development.