Monthly Advocacy Meeting, Feb 13 in Narragansett

The next general advocacy meeting will be held on February 13th @ 6:30pm at the Narragansett Library, Narragansett, RI.  In addition to our our usual round of topics, we’ll be talking about projects and issues specific to Washington County and Southern Rhode Island and learn more about organizations working to improve bicycling conditions.  Anyone interested in discussing bicycle advocacy or other issues facing cyclists in Rhode Island is welcome and encouraged to attend.  Thanks to Karen Votava for working with us to bring the RIBIKE monthly meeting to Washington County.

On the agenda for this month’s meeting:

  • Officer Reports (Pres, VP, Treasurer, Secretary)
    • Pres – Membership appeal update
    • VP – 2013 TIP status
    • Treasurer – Current Financial picture
    • Secretary -
  • Committee Reports
    • Legislative — Vulnerable Roadway User Legislation Update
    • Membership/Technology update
  • Project Reports/Activity
    • BikeToWorkDay Providence Status
    • Road Project involvement (Elmwood Ave-Providence)
    • PVD Biking group activity
    • Pawtucket
    • Commuter Guide
  • Washington County and Southern Rhode Island
    •  Projects, Issues and Organizations

The meeting location for this months meeting is:

Maury Loontjens Memorial Library
35 Kingstown Rd.
Narragansett, RI 02882 (map)

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25 comments on “Monthly Advocacy Meeting, Feb 13 in Narragansett

  1. barry says:

    I note that South County has 2 off-road projects that made the first cut of the wish-list for RI bike projects advocated for in the next TIP – one of them is a route thru URI property connecting the South County bike path to the campus and extending thru part of the campus, and the other is Phase 4 of the South County bike path that is supposed to take it all the way to the shoreline. Though there is a bit of an "earmark" remaining for the latter project, there is still uncertainty about its route, and cost, and it seems it will need considerable additional money for completion.

    However, funding of all bike projects could be jeopardized by the transportation bill moving thru the US House of Representatives where Republican leaders seem opposed to these programs, as posted elsewhere on ribike.

  2. Biker says:

    Use Ministerial Rd. There is already a wide treeless shoulder from the bike path to 138…… and it crosses 138 at a red light onto Plains rd. Quit wasting money….

  3. MattMoritz says:

    Ministerial/plains does look like good routing, and given land ownership, probably is the only option available for such a connection. Signage and stenciling are probably the most that would be required to make the connection obvious, and maybe an upgrade of the light to ensure a bicycle user can trigger a change to cross safely, depending on how it is controlled already.

  4. Biker says:

    Matt a few feet of pavement on both sides of the road would make it ideal for bikes. Right now you can ride on the dirt but a lane on each side would greatly improve the journey. How hard can that be? It's all there just waiting. Makes you wonder if the "planners" ever ride bike?

  5. Labann says:

    What planners? City, town and state barely accommodate motorists. The sad state of bridge and road maintenance flows directly from governments nearing bankruptcy. Cycling infrastructure should be superior to motoring. It should glide through communities on flattest ground, especially unused train rights of way. It should appeal to everyone as an attractive, better, safer, simpler transportation alternative.

    What infrastructure we do have gets used, but it would be far more popular if it were continuous, lighted, patroled and swept. Eventually there'd be cycling traffic jams, so be careful what you wish for.

  6. Biker says:

    Yes Lanann very sad state indeed. A cyclist inability to safely navigate around Narra Pier is witness enough. Look at the all state and local parks in the town. Tons of pavement. The first thing I would as Mayor (ha ha) is connect them all with a bike path. Black Point, Scarborough, Lidos, Fort Greene, Fishermen s Memorial, Galilee, Sand Hill Cove, Camp Cronin, lighthouse etc… and loop back to Scarborough…Its all there. We need younger active people. Case in point. How in the world did they erect a new Jamestown Bridge without a pedestrian or bike lane? That pretty much sums up the RI mentality . Maybe I'm off?

  7. Labann says:

    Jamestown Bridge was built with federal money with a promise that they would allow access to cyclists. You actually can use shoulder legally. However, RI-138 from and to is closed to cyclists and pedestrians, and they've erected chain link at points where you once could enter/exit onto, for example, Plum Point Road. This is an old sore worth picking from time to time. Newport Bridge is sort of beyond hope. Only a ferry or suspended cable car would make sense. Jamestown, though, could have had an enclosed 2-lane bike-ped facilitiy to one side, just like the new Brightman Street Bridge in Fall River. As a consequence, the detour from North Kingstown to Newport is 75 miles through Providence, although infrequent bus rack&ride is available (mid-afternoon, mid-morning) during the week for retirees and unemployed, not us commuters or weekend riders. Of course, there are plenty of unemployed in RI, over 50% of population. I don't know where they get the money to cruise around all day; roads are always jammed with traffic.

  8. Across the Pond says:

    Hello to all…….There is hope. Take a look at this and look at the Netherlands. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17881865

  9. Biker says:

    So what is the goal of this blog? To raise awareness? To make changes to comp plans? is this even possible? Convert all sidewalks to multiuse paths? Do the members meet? What can I do besides complain or speak out my frustration? I did look at Holland (POND)…1/3 of all ride bikes for daily chores.

    • MattMoritz says:

      The goal of the entire site is to inform people interested in bicycling in Rhode Island of events of immediate relevance, such as meetings to discuss road project planning,legislative hearings, transportation infrastructure planning and funding. We also try to post information that would be helpful for those considering riding and notices about disruptions caused by road work.

      This particular entry was to notify that we were holding a monthly meeting in Narragansett to discuss items that RIBIKE as an organization had going on, as well as for us to become more familiar with specific issues and projects relevant to the southern part of the state, and increase accessibility to our meetings by not always being in Providence. I expect that we will do so again in the latter half of the year. I haven't transcribed the meeting notes as yet, but we had a long discussion about how the path could be continued from its current terminus through Canonchet Farm to the beach while being sensitive to residents and environmental concerns.

  10. dave says:

    A friend told me about this and she knows how I feel about this debacle so I’m here to throw in my two cents. Town Council President Glenna Hagopian was the only council member who voted against routing Phase 4 of the bike path through Canonchet. She said Narragansett taxpayer’s shouldn’t be held responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the path. The council, to my knowledge, never discussed installation cost? The Narragansett Planning Board never brought up the subject either? They all kept saying it’s up to the DOT. Right now $1.2 million is earmarked but not enough to get (the path) through Canonchet.
    Mike Deluca, planning director said something to the effect of, ‘usually the paths follow the old railroad beds but with the Canonchet route and with the removal of trees and other wetland issues another $1.5 million was requested (2.7 million to get through). To me this was Mike’s politically correct way of saying, ‘are you people nuts.” Meanwhile back in reality the town owned dead end streets are not being utilized. Right now riders are dead ended on a blind corner on Mumford. No local rides that way. They use Schoolhouse Rd, a quiet dead end street parallel to Mumford. Go down and look. The path is beat down and heavily used. It connects the bike path to town. Politics at its worse! Schoolhouse Rd puts you right across from the parking lot of the elementary school and goes straight into Sprague Park. How could a bike path not go into a park? There’s a playground and bathrooms etc……A simple path on the south side of the parking lot would do it. People are riding that way anyway. They use Schoolhouse Rd, not Mumford and go into Sprague Park via the old railroad bed ie…Narragansett Pier Rail Road (NPRR), where there is already an existing causeway over the wetlands in Canonchet.
    None of this matters because every day more people ride this way and regardless of what direction the bike path takes the only way to the Pier is straight down Schoolhouse Rd, and into Sprague Park. It’s already paved.

  11. barry says:

    Its not a debacle yet! How about someone (Dave, above??) who knows the area volunteer to lead a ride that is advertised to the bike community, town residents, and state planners so that avariety of stakeeholders can see for themsleves and make a more informed decision.

    From what I was told, if the path goes into Canonchet Farm, it should exit via the South County Musuem access road. Is this a good idea??

  12. dave says:

    I don’t mean to come off angry, negative or think I know everything. There are many opinions on how to route the bike path to the beach. You have to understand my frustration. There are many people born and raised in the Pier who think Sprague Park is the heart of the town. And to see a bike path end 500 feet away and not go through there is something I have a hard time getting hold of. Too me this is another example of what happens when you veer off the original railroad bed. MacArthur Blvd is another prime example. A complete disconnect of the two sections. The elevated bed (path) is still in the woods behind the houses on MacArthur Blvd. I hope, in the back of my mind, the state knows what it’s doing and has a 50 year plan to buy that land and use that elevated bed to connect the two sections. It’s heavily wooded back there and very beautiful.
    Anybody that knows me can contest I’ve been an advocate to continue the bike path using the old Narragansett Pier Railroad to Boon St and beyond to Monahan’s Dock. But then the question arises on how to acquire the land (5 feet on each side) from the 12 or so property owners who own the old right of way. No discussions were ever brought up and no investigation was ever conducted on the feasibility of using that route. Strangely enough it has come to my attention that the deeds along that route have clauses that allow for conversion back to a right of way. In addition times are tough and many people might sell. This might be a 100 year plan but in my opinion you have to get this thing to Boon St. the bike path should connect to the town not the beach. Thank you and remember rails to trails.

  13. Labann says:

    @Dave: There's a town? I mean, apart from Gallilee fishing docks and Pier beaches? Wakefield has a town center. You could easily ride down Prospect Avenue to High School, provided you can cross main road, if road from Schoolhouse Road by Sprague Park ballfield was improved for cycling. But a fork towards Pier makes perfect sense, too. I don't much get the point of disturbing wetlands or swinging way up toward Canochet Farm.

  14. dave says:

    To me, a town is more than just a place to buy plastic crap from China or to get takeout from McDonald's. It’s a place where people live and people visit. There are parks and playgrounds, ball fields, schools, trees, war monuments, and if harmony and common sense prevail, a series of interconnected trails and pathways designed to encourage non-motorized use. Exactly what would happen if they used the old Narragansett Pier Railroad bed and connected the three Narragansett public schools, the town parks, the ball fields, picnic area etc…etc.?
    In a historic perspective, Rowland G. Hazard, president of the Peace Dale Manufacturing Company had his own ‘destination vision’ and in1876, commissioned Reynolds Downing to build a railroad from Kingston to Narragansett Pier. Part of Hazard’s motive, aside from hauling tourists to the Pier, was to land coal at South Pier and use the resource to power his manufacturing complex in Peace Dale. Always the entrepreneur, Hazard knew the economic advantage of having coal delivered by schooner rather than by using a more expensive route north by rail. And once the coal made landfall (at South Pier), it was Hazard’s own rail cars that hauled the fuel the last four miles to the mill.
    My point is this. Everything had a purpose; the dock, the train, the railroad bed. There might be a day when all that is needed again, the dock, the train and the railroad bed. That opinion though, future use of a railroad, is probably viewed as cynical and gets about the same apprehension today as the fellow who insisted on installing a tunnel under Route 1 or putting a curb cut in (which is still there), where the old bed crosses Kingstown Rd? Which begs the bigger question? If it’s private property then how could the state install a curb cut on the old line where it crosses Kingstown Rd?
    Regardless; Hazards insight shouldn’t allow our current vision to be clouded by making a new path to the sea, but rather to use an existing old railroad bed; a route that’s already undergone major (disrupted) landscape changes based on a design of feasibility and practicality. Remember rails to trails.

  15. dave says:

    SEAVIEW RAILROAD THROUGH CANONCHET

    If you’re dead set on going through Canonchet and you don’t want to connect the bike path to town then go first rate. And if you have the money use the old bed of the Seaview Railroad. The Seaview Railroad was an electric line that came to Narragansett from East Greenwich. Passengers rode to Narragansett on an electric trolley which followed a route that today parallels Route 1A. The Seaview crossed Boston Neck Rd in the vicinity of Envine Estates in the north end of Narragansett. From there it went west, across fields, through the woods, to the shore line of Pettaquascutt Cove. It hugged the coast south to a water crossing over Narrow River west of Sprague Bridge. This particular section, short of the water crossing, is currently under study by the RI DOT to determine the feasibility of using that route again as bike path. Logistically speaking, the section of right of way under consideration, begins on the north side of Sprague Bridge, cuts through the Chafee Wildlife Preserve, across Middlebridge Rd, to the neighborhood of Mettatuxet; a few miles ahead to the northeast. This is a very beautiful ROW that follows along Pettaquascutt Cove and is used today as power easement by National Grid.
    In its day, the Seaview, in Narragansett, had two water crossings both on pilings, the first mentioned over Narrow River (west of Sprague Bridge), and a longer span over Pettaquascutt Cove to a landing on the north edge of what is today Canonchet Farm. Once on the Canonchet property, the bed came along the marsh riding on an elevated bed of fill. The last stretch travelled through a heavily wooded area, parallel to Riverside Drive, before the line terminated behind, what is today, the Narragansett Community Center, but was back in the day, the junction of the Narragansett Pier Rail Road. You can’t make this stuff up? Remnants of the Seaview Railroad are still visible throughout Narragansett, in the old pilings west of Sprague Bridge and in sections of undisturbed rail bed that still lie in the woods from the Narragansett Community Center to the North Kingstown town line.
    In Sprague Park, where the Seaview joined the NPRR, was a switch or some kind of other contraption to turn the trains around so the Seaview could head back north to East Greenwich. There were other trains coming and going, a busy railroad intersection, so a section of track had to be built to allow trains to park and wait out locomotives that continued business as usual. That section of ‘parking track’ is still there, an elevated bed behind the Sprague Park playground. You can still see the old bed from the west end of Wanda St. The power line goes straight ahead along the edge of Sprague Park, behind the playground, to the dirt road (Right of Way) adjacent to the Sprague Pond. This is very confusing and I’m just saying there are elevated beds all over that property. Unfortunately there was no direct route, by rail, to the beach. But before the Seaview line crossed Pettaquascutt Cove, it did skirt, 20 feet away, a high piece of upland ground in Canonchet. This can easily be connected to the beach by using the old farmer’s road behind the South County Museum. We are talking ¾ of a mile of ice proof boardwalk, $1, 200,000 +/- and excavation of a section of trail from the edge of the marsh to the museum. From the museum Ann Hoxie Lane can be used, which is a gravel roadway chained off nine months out of the year? It’s hard to believe that Ann Hoxie Lane isn’t used today by bikers? It’s a beautiful road by the museum that begins at the town beach and comes out on the end of Strathmore St, less than ¼ mile from Sprague Park. You should remember that Wanda or Strathmore Streets might not be the first choice but it could be a route that is in overnight to at least give riders an alternative route to the beach from the end of Phase 3?
    There’s also the issue of getting across Lake Canonchet, (Pier Pond), using the small bridge that’s across the street from the Narragansett town beach. You have to understand that on a summer day the bridge is filled with two way car traffic, people on foot, all crowding that access point trying to get to the beach parking on the west side of 1A. The bridge is 15 feet wide. All I’m saying is that for three months this area is a real mess and the lack of bike parking and the increase in traffic over that bridge shouldn’t be ignored by planners. But there is not a more beautiful route through Canonchet with unobstructed year round views of the cove. Once again this is a route that allows you to use an area that already undergone, in the past, a high degree of disruption to the landscape. Whether it’s possible to continue the Seaview north over Pettaquascutt Cove and onward to the North Kingstown Line is for time to decide. At least the option would be in place for the next generation to continue the bike path north. Did I mention rails to trails?

  16. dave says:

    Take any number I wrote. This could include head count, distance or cost. Multiply those references by two. That might give the reader a better estimation of my sums and figures. I would also like to clarify the word Pettaquamscutt. Thank you.

  17. dave says:

    Informed decisions are only made by being informed. The historic value can’t be ignored and that’s the reason I bring it up. These routes were laid out using calculated decisions. Installation was based on cost, feasibility and logistics. Roland Hazard himself spent ten years planning out the Narragansett Pier RR. Once construction began it took six months to get the thing to the sea. There were no regulations or restrictions. Today it’s different with private owners, wetland issues, cost, and a hundred other nickel and dime setbacks.
    Like I said if you’re determined to go through Canonchet and want to avoid connecting the bike path to town, then go in the opposite direction of town and use Riverside Dr. to the Seaview Railroad line. Go east, through the phragmites, across the marsh, to Electric Pole # 562.1/2. Turn SSE toward the museum. No trees on the old Seaview line and no private property issues either but; erosion, tide, telephone poles, rising water levels, ice and more ice are factors. (I have an aerial photo that I’d like to share?) There are other ways through Canonchet, but more trees to cut and wetland conversion issues to deal with. Regardless; the real spending starts behind the Narragansett Elementary School.
    On the other side of the spectrum are the dead-end streets and quiet town roads. A relief in maintenance and offer instantly availability. In my opinion the money should be used to strengthen and beautify the existing infrastructure. This includes beefing up the dirt road (right of way) along Sprague Pond, where there is buried; a sewer line and using the earmarked money to fix up Sprague Park so its biker friendly and more esthetically pleasing. I hate to see this last phase stalled for another 10 years. There’s no need of it when all the pieces are in place to use town owned roads and public land. At least come up with a temporary plan to get riders safely to the beach and to Crazy Burger. Think economics when thinking about Boon St.
    Maybe a new plan should be advised? Connect the dots. Work backward from the beach to the parking lot of the Narragansett Elementary School even though the current route of the bike path avoids a direct connection with the school? And Labann you are absolutely correct in your assessment of Prospect Ave, which is a road parallel to the old NPRR, and connects the High and Middle schools to Sprague Park. I just thought a priority would be to install a short section of bike path that connected all three Narragansett Public Schools? In case most people don’t know. There are four hundred parking spaces at the middle and high schools that go unused most of the summer. You have to use what’s already in place. So that’s the $2.7 million dollar question? The other question I have? Which way do you go if you’ve only got $1.2 million? There are options.
    Other than that there are a few other announcements. The discrepancies have to do with direction. Lesson learned. Don’t write in haste. I mentioned the Seaview line. The trolley crossed Narrow River on the north side of Sprague Bridge. It ran more east to west after it crossed Boston Neck.
    In the end, I’ve got nothing else to say, I’d be happy to show anybody my thoughts. I’m not for bringing a group, through the woods, down the old train lines this time of year. Lots of Deer Ticks and Lyme is one thing you don’t want. Of course there are precautions but personally, I don’t want to be thought responsible for leading anyone to the source of infection. Thank you for your time and good riding.

    • MattMoritz says:

      Dave, I must admit that I am ignorant of the specifics of the lay of the land and Right of Ways in Washington County. Largely RIBIKE has been engaged with Bob Votava on items relating to the bike path, and at the meeting this post announced, a representative of Friends of Canonchet Park was showing a proposal for a slightly different routing of the path along the Seaview bed through Canonchet park and to the beach. Part of their proposal was to cross the marsh further south than currently proposed at a narrower section, but would bring the path closer to the South County Museum, which is apparently somehow contentious. It sounds like other options exist.

      Do you have the ability to mark up a google map or other such with your suggestions? It sounds like based on your writing above that you know all of the details of the various routes, but without a map, I'm having trouble holding it in my head. Would you be willing to take your comments and mark up a map such at we could post it here publicly?

      I assume that you have been involved, as much as public involvement is possible, with the existing processes for extending the path, but it sounds like more could be done. How can we help?

  18. dave says:

    Ok Matt…thks for the feedback. This ain't rocket science? Stay on the railroad beds. My uncle owned all the land of the last phase and it was through his inheritor, Tom Beatrice that Phase 3 was completed. The hold up came on the dead end — Schoolhouse Rd. Lived here forever and don't know this Bob but nobody seems to listen to any of these ideas anyway. In all the meetings I never did hear of anyone going down to actually look at what's already in place? In defense of Jimmy Durkin and Clarkson Collins, the 'good ole boys' presented them with a problem and they solved it. None of this matters though because Schoolhouse Rd will always be the most direct route to Sprague, the town and to the beach; but maybe not as scenic, but a lot cheaper.
    But to keep things positive two routes are needed. One to the beach and the other to town and I'm all for getting one (out of two) to start off with. I think we need to think economically. Thanks for the time to rant.
    Hope this works. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1015032956

  19. dave says:

    Notice ‘good ole boys’ in quotations; whatever that means. I read that last week in a comment about firing the town manager. I thought it hysterical. My Uncle Jim could’ve been one of the original, ‘good ole boys,’ himself for his part in the delay of installation. For years when asked if he would donate his land to a bike path he’d only say, “Yes if I can drive on it.”

  20. dave says:

    Nobody listens. I’ve been trying to get an audience with the King for years. You’re talking about private property. Or is it? Today, in 2012, a lot of Pier families I knew are gone; like the Rayta’s and Grandolfi’s. Rental property and out of state owners might make the route to Monahan’s more conceivable. The DOT should at least put a number on the table.
    Notice ‘good ole boys’ in quotations; whatever that means. I read that last week in a comment about firing the town manager. I thought it hysterical. My Uncle Jim himself could’ve been one of the original, ‘good ole boys,’ due to his part in the delay of Phase 3. For years they asked him if he’d donate his land to a bike path and he’d only say, “Only if I can drive on it.”

  21. dave says:

    This is gettin’ embarrassing. You have my permission to edit or delete as needed. Please tell the computer? I’m out.

  22. dave says:

    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150329

    this might show the whole album instead of one photo..

    .What happen to the comment I posted four days ago?

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