Washington Bridge Open to Bikes, Finally!



Washington Bridge Open to Bikes, Finally!

Bike-to-Brown and a RIDOT new post are reporting that the Washington Bridge Pedestrian/Bicycle Way is finally open again.  After closing in October 2007, it’s certainly been closed for long enough!  RIDOT is stating that

The path will eventually be closed again when the Department is ready to begin construction on a project to convert the remaining portion of the old bridge into a wider bikeway and linear park.

But I think it’s well within the cycling community rights to demand better.  They’ve shut down the Washington Bridge, seriously deminished the ease and safety of using the Henderson Bridge, and made riding over the Division Street Bridge a task only to be attempted by experienced cyclists.  If the roadwork required to complete the Washington Bridge Linear Park were being completed for automobiles, they wouldn’t completely shut down the bridge and I think it’s only right they treat cyclists the same.  The PBC will do what we can to encourage RIDOT to do the right thing, can we count on your support?


  • Ken
    May 3, 2009 at 8:04 am

    From RIDOT post…

    "RIDOT does not have a firm timetable for the commencement of the construction project to widen the bridge and the original path’s closure. The Department is reviewing the design for the new bikeway and linear park.'

    Pathetic! I thought RIDOT said that two years ago.

    • May 5, 2009 at 4:29 am


      I share your frustration over the pace of this project. The upshot, however, is that cyclists now have a voice in the process. I'll be sitting on the Value Engineering study that is charged with reviewing the project. If you have input about what priorities RIDOT should have for this project, please let me know.

  • Alan Barta
    May 7, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Frankly, state could have saved millions by simply fixing the Bold Point RR bridge between East Providence and India Park. There is nothing at all historic about the Washington Bridge. I remember crossing the Red Bridge, which was RT-6, in my day. I'm not historic either.

    With all that granite, they could have made a dandy marina at Bold or India Point. Could have been a money maker for either city, both strapped for cash. They would have gotten more tourism value from a $500K bike-ped bridge as a $30 million one, and cyclists wouldn't have had to climb 3 stories to cross the Seekonk River.

  • May 14, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Frankly, state could have saved millions by simply fixing the Bold Point RR bridge between East Providence and India Park. There is nothing at all historic about the Washington Bridge. I remember crossing the Red Bridge, which was RT-6, in my day. I’m not historic either.

    You know, I've thought this same thing myself a number of times. The only explanation I've been able to come up with is that lowering the bridge would affect boat traffic. I assume it would be expensive and a royal pain to keep operating it as a lift bridge.

  • Alan Barta
    May 14, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    There are many alternatives to a lift bridge, especially if only cyclists and pedestrians cross. a) cable car, b) center pivot bridge swings close on demand, c) ferry, d) floating pontoon guided on submerged cable, e) tall arched, f) tunnel. Of course, there is no river traffic to speak of, perhaps an occasional kyack or skull. They left no more headroom for traffic into Waterplace than necessary for gondolas, either.

    Any one of these would have cost a small fraction of the $15 million original projection, more like $30 million to complete.

    I advocate cable cars for all bridges as a bike-ped, especially the Newport, which otherwise would be difficult to fix a surface lane. Besides which, it would be a huge tourist attraction easily paying for the small investment and probably more reliable than existing intermittent ferry service.

  • diane passantino
    May 16, 2009 at 5:14 am

    How do I access entrance to the Washington Bridge bicycle way from east bay bike path. thanks


  • Alan Barta
    May 17, 2009 at 3:11 am

    You continue North on EBBP past Fort Hill down the hill until it ends. Take left onto 1st St, which leads you to the end of Warren Ave. There is a path directly across that snakes up onto Bridge.

  • Alan Barta
    May 17, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Not to validate what I said but to get across the River, used the Washington Bridge sidewalk again for the 1st time today in a long time.

    Not only was it was pleasantly swept for a change – since it's now separate from the roadway, there are no broken bottles, debris and sand – you get a glimpse of what the new linear park will look like (on Ea. Prov. end). There's a big plaque there that I never had a chance to read before (even took a picture). Says the existing bridge dates from 1930's (not historic) but traces historic route of preexisting bridges that go back to 1700's, which apparently Washington himself (gadabout that he was) may have actually used. Whoever painted graffiti over this aging delicate bronze ought to be horsewhipped.

  • Jun 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm


    At the North end of the EBBP, take a left onto 1st Street. This will T into Warren Ave. Look directly across the road and you will see a ramp heading up the side of a hill. This will lead you up to the Washington Bridge Pedestrian Walkway.

    If you want to have some company during a ride into town, I'd encourage you to join one of our Monday Bike Trains