Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today joined Councilman David Salvatore (Ward 14), Providence Police Chief Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr., Providence Streets Coalition Organizer Liza Burkin and community members to sign the Green and Complete Streets Ordinance, making safe, clean, healthy, inclusive, and vibrant streets the default in road design rather than the exception. Providence leaders also urged public adherence to road safety after several recent traffic incidents.
“The Green and Complete Streets Ordinance builds on our commitment to ensuring all City streets are designed with intention, creating safe and equitable streets,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “While the ordinance is an important step towards deeper community engagement and a thriving city for all of us, it is only part of the solution. We must care for our friends and neighbors by obeying speed limits and sharing the road responsibly.”
The core purpose of the Green and Complete Streets Ordinance is to standardize road design to make Providence streets safer for all users, as laid out in the Providence Great Streets Plan. It implements safety interventions at the outset of design proposals, prioritizing infrastructure such as bike lanes and healthy sidewalk space, and requiring formal exemptions where said infrastructure cannot be included in a design. The ordinance also permanently establishes a twelve-member Green and Complete Streets Advisory Council to review significant construction or repair projects in relation to Green and Complete Streets. Members of the Advisory Council include three Mayoral appointees, four City Council appointees and five ex-officio staff members. The ordinance was introduced by Councilman David Salvatore in December 2020, modeled after a similar ordinance in Central Falls.
“The passage of the Green and Complete Streets Ordinance is the beginning of an exciting new period for Providence. I am pleased that Mayor Elorza and my council colleagues have joined me in the effort to improve the accessibility, safety and beauty of our city streets,” said Councilor David Salvatore, “Green and Complete streets will enhance neighborhood quality of life and promote environmental justice. I look forward to working with Mayor Elorza to implement this legislation and get our streets looking and functioning better than ever.”
While the Green and Complete Streets Ordinance supports safer road and sidewalk conditions, public adherence to speed limits and mindful travelling is still paramount to the safety of residents. In recent weeks, disregard for road safety practices has resulted in several traffic incidents, causing bodily harm to those involved.
“We need travelers – whether by car, motorcycle, bike, or foot – to obey the rules of the road so that people stay safe and avoid injury,” said Providence Police Chief Hugh T. Clements. “Tragedy can be avoided if travelers obey speed limits, observe stop signs, and avoid distracted driving. We must come together for the safety of all who use our streets.”
The City of Providence has acted in recent years to mitigate street hazards for all users. Beyond the Green and Complete Streets Ordinance and the Providence Great Streets Plan, the City is funding traffic calming via the Capital Improvement Plan, and is considering infrastructure investment opportunities using funds allocated by the American Rescue Plan Act. These measures were crafted with ample input by the public, including road safety advocates.
“The deep and broad support for this ordinance shows how Providence residents are ready for safer streets and more mobility choices, and we applaud the City Council and the Mayor for taking swift action,” said Liza Burkin, Organizer of the Providence Streets Coalition. “While the City is making progress on our physical street infrastructure, this ordinance will change our legal infrastructure to incorporate and normalize Green and Complete Streets designs into each new road construction project. This is literally how we design a safer, healthier, and more sustainable future for our community and future generations.”
For more information about Great Streets in Providence, please visit the City’s website.