Navy to announce disposal of Aquidneck Island land



Navy to announce disposal of Aquidneck Island land

According to a Projo article in today’s paper, the

U.S. Navy [is] poised to dispose of nearly 400 acres of prime real estate — much of it on, or with views of, Narragansett Bay

I’m guessing this land is all in the Middletown or Newport areas.  I was glad to see that

the visions include a bike path, nature trails, a waterfront park with a fishing pier, windmills, a mixed-use commercial/residential development near the Claiborne Pell Bridge and an expansion of marine-related businesses at Melville.

Bikes are actually mentioned, but I’m really concerned about what might come of Burma Road, a great ride for those trying to make their way down Aquidneck Island.  Right now, it’s a beautiful, quite road where you can enjoy an ocean view and a great pedal.  But the second half of this paragraph states that

the visions also include promoting intermodal transportation through better access to the Newport Secondary rail line and an alternative north-south automobile corridor to help relieve traffic congestion on the western side of the island.

Uh oh… cars being routed along these roads to relieve traffic congestion?  I have little faith that without pressure from cyclists that these roads will be built with bicycles in mind.  For those who live in Portsmouth, Middletown, and Newport, I’d strongly encourage you to reach out and start letting them know there are cyclists in the area.  Those of us outside the area can do some, but the most strength comes from advocates that live in the affected areas.


  • Mar 25, 2009 at 4:52 am

    From our friends at RIDOT:

    In 2002 RIDOT completed a site assessment study of the Newport Secondary Rail corridor for a possible future shared-use of a commuter rail line & bike path.

    You can check out the results of the 2002 consultant study on the Intermodal web page:…. & scroll down to Other Recent Railroad Studies.

    While I'm glad to see the consideration for bike paths, this still doesn't answer the on-road question.

  • Apr 10, 2009 at 4:27 am

    According to a Projo article, there are also two indian tribes interested in the land as well. It will be interesting to see what ends up happening with this.

  • Bill Lewis
    May 9, 2009 at 11:31 am

    The Aquidneck Island Plannig Commission wrote this into their plans for the Burma Road. The real need is from Melville school to Cory's Lane(Portsmouth Abbey). The cost of putting in a bike path(MUP) is as much as a roadway. A path between the boatyards and the end of Cory's Lane would allow a connection to the old section of West Main Rd. down the hill and across to Freeborn St. and up to Turnpike ave. The cost would be easier to defend if the roads are used as much as possible. As far as the tribes go they aren't going to get the land.

  • Alan Barta
    May 9, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Tribal reservations are just another impediment to bicycling in a state full of unnecessary impediments.

    Any infrastructure that allow you to transit Portsmouth N-S that bypasses Turnpike and West Main would be welcome, particularly from the Mt. Hope Bridge to Middle Road.

    Middletown and Newport are less formidable to cycling than Portsmouth. Portsmouth is the Providence of Aquidneck Island.

  • Bill Lewis
    May 10, 2009 at 11:16 am

    I don't think that Providence or Portsmouth is that bad, I grew up and my family has owned property on Turnpike Ave. for a hundred years. Turnpike is now traffic calmed and has a shoulder to ride on. I agree only that to get up Quaker Hill one must be brave and take the lane until Town Hall.There the choice is Middle Road to Union St. and down Mill Lane to Melville. I've riden this Route since the Seventies. I understand that some people will never be comfortable riding in traffic but the cost to accomodate the few is pretty high. One could just wait for a bus and take it for the hills and get off where they are comfortable either at Sandy Point Rd. or Stringham Rd. depending on which bus one takes.

  • Alan Barta
    May 11, 2009 at 4:18 am

    To rack and ride is to capitulate to motoring. It's Portsmouth responsibility under law to provide equal access to roads for bicycling and motoring. Equal access does not include having to carry or walk your bike, ride over dirt, sand or unpaved stretches, or wait for public transport. East Main and Turnpike Roads violate this law unless a nearby alternative is provided, not necessarily alongside. For Newport, Pell and Sakonnet Bridges, the only alternative is to open a lane, as already done on I-95 over the Connecticut River. Anything less must be judged outrageous and unacceptable.

  • Bill Lewis
    May 12, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Easy there tiger, I'm not ready to give up my acess to the roads that the League of American Wheelmen( founded in Newport ,RI 1880) lobbied for. Your right to use a lane is already guaranteed by state law. There is as far as I know no law requiring seperate infrastructure for bikes. There is no problem in Portsmouth, you are just into segregation for whatever reason. The AIPC plan has a path the whole way down the right of way of the Newport secondary line. The cost of this path would be around a million dollars a mile as it means rebuilding the entire railbed for ten to eleven miles. My suggestion to Rep.Peter Martin Newport formerly of the AIPC was that the real need is that two miles between Melville and Portsmouth Abbey. Quaker Hill(East Main Rd) from Turnpike to the town hall is only a half mile. Be a man take the lane it's your right. I have been car free all my life and do not feel the need to have seperate infrastructure for my use I would rather have the use of any road in the state. I agree that the Newport bridge((Pell) is the biggest obstacle to free travel. The new sakonnet bridge will have a dedicated bikeway. Maybe the Jamestown bridge sidewalk will be opened someday if the richy riches of Saunderstown relent on their NIMBY stance about fishermen and bikes in their 'hood. I think your shrill attitude will not get anywhere it's better to have a little than nothing at all.

  • May 12, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Tribal reservations are just another impediment to bicycling in a state full of unnecessary impediments.

    How so? I don't see any logically connection between tribal reservations and a negative impact on cycling. We have relatively little tribal land in this area, but out in the Southwest there is plenty. I would hope we would be able to come to some sort of agreement between cyclists and tribal elders on cycling. It is a very low impact, and I would argue, respectful way to travel.

  • May 12, 2009 at 9:52 am

    To rack and ride is to capitulate to motoring.

    I disagree. I think there is a very natural synergy between cyclists and public transit. There have been a fairly large number of people who I have convinced to try bicycle commuting, for the simple fact that they could toss their bike on the bus for the morning commute and then ride home. This process gets them around one of the first big hurdles of how do I deal with cleaning up at work. I see nothing but a growing relationship between RIPTA and portions of the cycling community.

  • Alan Barta
    May 12, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Because you aren't aware of a law doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I consider roads without shoulders a tacit ban: bans are legal if state provides an alternative. I ride in the lane, but shoulder is an escape valve that allows cyclists to let vehicles running up to 10 times faster go by. This new map insists you ride within 3 feet of curb, which, of course, if stupid. There isn't usually a curb, and you can't be compelled to ride in the gutter with the grates and trash. I'm only advocate alternative bike lanes if that's how cities want to meet their obligation to provide something, if only a shoulder.

    I'll never forget riding in the shoulderless lane up Quaker Hill to Middle Road, and Portsmouth finest school bus drivers found it fun to hook me off the road, then follow behind each other close to curb to block me off from regaining lane. Great when you can't clip back in uphill; marginalized, just have to take it.

    Ask any cyclist who's been detained for riding on tribal land what they think about reservations. They don't want you there, unless to gamble. This makes huge detours.

    There is no synergy between waiting to catch a bus across the bay and cycling there directly. Pick your day and time carefully, because they don't offer this service on weekends. Rack and Ride is a band aide for infrastructure flaws; trains with bike cars, yes. Then there's the drivers themselves: rude, unsafe. I was nearly taken out yesterday, in fact, when I looked, eased out of a sidestreet into an nonexistent shoulder and RIPTA screeched to a halt while passing at high speed a line of stopped cars in the single lane of Manton Avenue. The amount I ride, the more I see, and more likely I won't be around much longer given such lawlessness. I'm sure everyone will be glad to read my obit, but until then…

  • Bill Lewis
    May 13, 2009 at 11:29 am

    I don't know if you are aware that there are no reservations in RI. And the land the tribes want doesn't include the road or the train right of way, just the Navy Hospital and tank farms form Greene Lane to Melville.

    As far as being run off the road by a school bus you were at the police station why not go in and complain? Plus the school dept. offices are across middle road from the town hall at Anthony School. I believe that Laidlaw runs the Portsmouth busses their office is right down East Main well.

    I've never seen anything stating that you have to be three feet from the curb although I know there is bill going around calling for a three foot passing distance. I ride in Newport and tend to stay in the middle of the street most of the time.

  • Alan Barta
    May 13, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    There is a reservation in RI, and several in CT and MA. I'd rather complain in public. The offense was public. Police don't act upon complaints, at least not in my experience. And I'm supposed to spend my short time left tracking down their HQ to do them a favor?

  • May 13, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    I claim complete ignorance when it comes to reservations in RI, but I'm curious, do you know for a fact that bicycles are not allowed? Do they specifically single out bicycles as not being permitted? Alan, it would really help me when you post comments if you could point us towards online facts that back up your comments. I do this whenever possible, link to online news stories and I think it helps build a better reputation for both the site and when necessary, me.

    Police don’t act upon complaints, at least not in my experience. And I’m supposed to spend my short time left tracking down their HQ to do them a favor?

    Actually, yes. You aren't doing them a favor, you are doing cyclists a favor. Your right, it's highly unlikely that the police will act on one single complaint against a motorist. Would you really expect them to? If, however, they get multiple complaints against the same motorist, then they will eventually do something about it. Reporting such offenders is crucial to build a case against a misguided motorist.

  • Alan Barta
    May 13, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    You're not going to find a website that corroborates mistreatment of cyclists in RI except my own. I speak from considerable personal experience. I'm an authority on this topic. Take it or leave it. IT'S AN EXCLUSIVE. Or run to Forester with whom I disagree. Berhman, Brown, illich, Kifer and Morissette are dead, but they'd tell you the same thing. They left better books to read.

    Ages ago I urged a hotline to report motorist hate crimes against cyclists. Frankly, I think cyclists here would abuse it. There aren't that many really good cyclists given the bad conditions; I know most of them. They don't complain publicly, prefer it when someone else does, too busy riding their 10,000 mile/year quotas. The weak weekend riders are more displeased, even with bikeways; well, they do have some downside, as does everything. The WSBP has several gaping holes due to erosion, plus there's a homeless village at the Crawford underpass. Lovely.

    It's not always the motorist's fault when they door or hook you. More often it's infrastructure failures and poor urban planning. The sudden elimination of shoulders kills not only cyclists and pedestrians but motorists, too. The fact they don't have adequate free parking or monorails/subways are serious problems. You can only pack in so many people without.

    In my lifetime I saw a huge free parking lot at Lafayette Square disappear; it even had a sidewalk underpass connecting to bus stops, city center, and train terminal; replaced by a convention center, elite development, paid parking, and water park nobody wanted, except a handful of developers who made many millions of dollars taking it away from you. So much for "sharing the road". As Jerry Garcia sang, "We've done shared all of mine."

  • Bill Lewis
    May 14, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Not to derail this thread but Alan there is no reservation the Narragansett indians own land in Charlestown(`1800 acres) that was given to them with the stipulation that they would abide by state and local laws. There was a big US supreme court case about it recently. Do you read or watch the news? I guess shooting from the lip is more your style. The Pequot and Mohegan tribes in CT. have had reservations since the 1600's that is why they could have casinos without state approval.

    As far as the Portsmouth police station goes, if you were right hooked on Quaker Hill the station is right there next to the firehouse you can't miss it. It is every citizens right to report bad drivers. There have been serious accidents on this hill and the cops might be more inclined to listen.

  • Alan Barta
    May 14, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Portsmouth has had horrific accidents. You'd think they'd try to improve the infrastructure to avoid them. About 30 years ago I witnessed one, multiple deaths resulting, on East Main Road. Yet EVERY YEAR someone else dies there. They don't care to hear any more about it.

    Worst places to ride in RI:

    5. Newport (disappointing since tourism is their main industry; edges out Pawtucket, which at least has a plan for a bikeway)

    4. Westerly (same rant, no bikeways or blue roads)

    3. Portsmouth (bedroom community for commuting from and cutting through, no industry, no tourism)

    2. Warwick (sadly, because much of it is very flat)

    1. Providence ("The Vortex", need I say more? More streets than everywhere else combined, still major impediment to cycling)

    If Providence CLOSED a lot of side streets (with bike pass throughs), and WIDENED main streets, roadnet would improve considerably. They can't keep up pavement anywhere with trucks pounding both to rubble.

    Best places to RIde:

    5. Cranston (considering it's city, 40 miles of infrastructure including EGGS, neighborhood routes, and signed lanes)

    4. North Kingstown (okay on side roads; some impediments, varied terrain)

    3. Coventry (practically all roads are bikeable, but watch out for chip seal and flats)

    2 Gloscester (like Coventry, but hillier, more miles of blue, and pride for keeping surfaces pristine)

    1. Little Compton (pastoral elitist's delight, but no services to speak of)

    If you can't crisscross a town without riding on shoulderless highway or sidestreets, town violates FHWA and state regulations. Nobody enforces laws, except parking in Providence, from which they draw $2.5 million/year. I read that in the Providence Journal, I think. Or was it at one of the many city and state meetings I attend (didn't see you there). I'd forward you my recommendations to RIDOT's Blue Ribbon Transportation Committee, but you wouldn't read them either.

  • Bill Lewis
    May 15, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Could you tell me why you think Newport is so bad? I have been riding here for the last thirty years or so and I don't have a problem.I am and have been car-free all my life. My experience has been tempered with a few assshats but overall I don't get harrased but once in a great while. I think you are just a big crybaby. I take the lane and will fight any attempt to put a door-zone bike lane in Newport. Although I advocate for biking and green principles, I want the right to travel on any street without segregation. I'm sorry to tell you but there is just no room for seperate infrastructure in a built-out area like ours. I see plenty of bikes on cars coming into town and have not heard of any major injuries to anyone. In a city where the speed limit is 25mph and there are many stop signs traffic is slow enough to use the road without a problem.

  • Alan Barta
    May 15, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I don't have any problem riding anywhere. I've literally ridden on every single road in Rhode Island, banned or not. Just because I'm a grizzled veteran of many hits and near misses doesn't mean most people are as fearless.

    The likes of namecallers and other vehicular cyclists have put bicycling on the back burner for FHWA, RIDOT, TAC and USDOT. Eight years of Dubya and Mary Peters didn't help, either. So tired of their specious arguments. Bad infrastructure keeps newcomers out of the saddle. Bike bridges, corridors, lanes, paths or sharrows DON'T MEAN cyclists are forced to use them. All they indicate are some measure of restriction for MOTORISTS and a public safety valve. It's ALREADY THE LAW! Of course, you can always take travel lane to pass or turn while expecting motorists to avoid you more often. This encourages the timid to ride, which alleviates some traffic congestion, which flows everyone better. It actually saves motorist lives, too. Allowing too many narrow lanes just kills people.

    Newport has pothole filled Breton Point and Ocean Drive, and that's about it. Wouldn't give you two cents for Coddington Highway, Memorial Drive, Thames St… can't think of anywhere in Newport I do like to ride. Sorry, Ten Speed Spokes. Where are the analogous, parallel accommodations? Who can we throw in jail for breaking these laws? Still, it IS better than 4 other communities, I grant you. Otherwise, it's a lovely place full of interesting architecture and history. Middletown? Sure. Go there to ride. Why am I bothering to repeat myself? Just read the same thing in previous posts. Oh, that's right, you don't read.