Letter to the Director of RIDOT
RIDOT is currently in the process of trying to hire a replacement Chief Engineer. This position can have a huge impact on prioritizing RIDOT projects and, in some ways, the future of cycling in the state. PBC decided to use this vacancy as an opportunity to introduce ourselves to Jerome Williams, the Director of RIDOT, and impress upon him the need to hire someone to fill this position that can see beyond just the needs of automobiles. The following email was sent on behalf of PBC:
Dear Director Williams:
Attached is a letter introducing our organization — the Providence Bicycle Coalition — and identifying suggestions to elevate bicycle use in the state’s transportation planning. We recognize that Rhode Island and RIDOT enjoy deservedly high marks for our wonderful network of recreational bike paths. Our concern is that bicycles are seen primarily as recreational, and that too little focus has been given to expanding their role as an equal transportation mode for commuting and other kinds of trips. An immediate example of this recreational bias is the lane restriction planned shortly for the Henderson Bridge. Henderson is now the only access to Providence for cyclists coming from the East Bay while the Washington Street Bridge is under construction. The timing of the Henderson work suggests it was scheduled without considering the increased danger and difficulty to be imposed on commuter cyclists.
Although bicycling and other transportation modes are represented on the TAC, that body does not seem to be involved in decisions affecting immediate users; including our organization and other stakeholders in planning and scheduling would help to avoid these kinds of situations, as well as build a strong cadre of supporters to advocate for needed resources.
A hard copy of this letter is also in the mail. We look forward to working more closely with your department.
Thank you for your attention.