Guide to Bicycling in the Ocean State



Guide to Bicycling in the Ocean State

NBW Infoside Bike mapThanks to a generous donation from the Narraganset Bay Wheelmen (NBW), the 2009-2010 version of the Guide to Bicycling in the Ocean State is now available.  The PBC will be handing out bicycling maps along the bike trails, once the US Open Cycling Foundation cranks up their summer program.  If you just can’t wait for your copy, you can complete an online request on RIDOT’s site and have one mailed to you.


  • Alan Barta
    May 12, 2009 at 5:06 am

    Big disappointment. Many changes forwarded never made it in, although grateful for some small corrections that did. Old version of Providence Plan illegibly shown is already outdated and represents too little actual progress in infrastructure to warrant. Does show how badly Providence ushers cycling through, more impediments than accommodations.

    Wanted some defining mark, as in state's Trail Map, that separated unpaved from paved roads, such as a dotted line. Gave all that info 8 years ago and just prior to help mtb'er find suitable ride venues and roadbikers avoid. Didn't happen. You'd be surprised to find how many roads here still aren't paved. Bans have increased, too, such as the Jamestown bridge (formerly open) and Davisville overpass (not shown on map). At least 25% of state's roads are prohibited or practically banned. Among them only RI 146 has requisite parallel, Rt 246, until you get to Rt-116 and its long detour.

    Statement that NBW was and now is solely responsible for input is blatantly and disreputably false. But it doesn't much matter, since getting your hands on one of the few printed copies will be like finding a hen's tooth.

  • jack
    May 12, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Wow thanks Alan for your fresh perspective. You're always good for a positive comment.

    Thanks NBW for picking up the State's slack on this important map. It is not a perfect guide to suit everyone's needs but then again maps are like that. The reader needs to take all information with a grain of salt based on their own prior knowledge and cycling ability. Use it in combination with all of the growing mapping resources out there and you should be able to piece it all together to grow your understanding of getting around.

    See everyone on Friday.

  • May 12, 2009 at 9:19 am

    We will have a significant stock of bicycle maps available for free at the bike-to-work day festivities.

  • Alan Barta
    May 12, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Perspective you should get:

    – State too cheap and uncaring of bicyclists' needs to print themselves.

    – Club claims credit for contributions of independent activists.

    – Map reveals giant flaws in State's bicycling infrastructure.

    – No bikeway or blue recommended road shows where cities, state and towns are illegally negligent.

    – If highways suddenly stopped or roads didn't line up between cities, nobody would drive either.

    – Do grab one; besides being helpful, they are a valuable glimpse at what's wrong with Rhode Island.

    – Sarcasm aimed at such criticism doesn't serve interests of bicyclists.

  • May 13, 2009 at 5:57 am

    Count me as a fan of Alan. Most things he says need to be said.

    A movement for social change is a spectrum. Unbecoming as anger may be, angry people are part of the spectrum. That is why blow dried right wingers and predatory corporate operators do not step up to shush talk radio no matter how crackpot it gets.

  • jack
    May 13, 2009 at 6:05 am

    My meaning was not to shush Alan. I too believe that those shortfalls of our planners and politicians need to be fixed. However, being familiar with how things work in reality, nothing gets done in government by pointing fingers and calling those with the authority stupid. The goal of proper advocacy should be to make friends with those people, build trust, and then influence decision. Lone cranks like Alan only serve to make us as individual cyclists look like crackpots. By joining together as a unified group, we can build cred and make change happen. Its a process.

  • Alan Barta
    May 13, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Thanks for that crackpot crack, Jack. You're just a political potted plant. We ought to fry just about everyone in the State House for their self absorbed misdeeds, and I'm wrong?

    What you don't seem to get is that motoring is a barely tolerable EVIL responsible for most of the ills that befall society. The 3 worst health scourges claiming lives: Cardiovascular disease, cancer, and traffic accidents. Wars for oil. Need I go on? Time to reign in automotive. Nobody's buying cars anyway.

  • jack
    May 13, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Actually Alan, I do get it. We get it. Why spend time and energy beating us over the head with it?

    NBW did a good thing by printing that map. Please focus your criticism at more deserving targets.

  • Alan Barta
    May 13, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Okay, let's analyze this. Beating you over the head? Only if you're guilty.

    What's my motivation? Only want what we're entitled to under law. Don't get paid secretly by lobbyists; don't make my living off club dues or transportation dollars. Resent your slander. This "lone crackpot" has done more for bike advocacy in RI than all these so-called non-profits combined, according to the desires of hundreds of avid cyclists I've surveyed.

    Non-profits dispense "awareness". To whom? Bicyclists? So marginalized by bad infrastructure they're afraid to ride. Should be dispensing MOTORIST and RIDOT awareness. Your "get on the same bus" message has done nothing but accelerate decay, let city, state and towns off the hook for decades, meanwhile castigates cycling disobeying traffic laws. They've twisted the very laws enacted to protect you against you, so then they don't have to give up their wanton spending.

    Doesn't much matter. I'll ride wether or not they ban cyclists from all roads. They will, eventually; at the rate were losing infrastructure, that'll be sooner than later.

    Why is metaphysical. Someone has to speak for the roadkill. I'll rant at least once for every dead bird, cat, deer, possum, raccoon, squirrel I've passed mashed in gutters. I'm not even close to fulfilling that promise. 700 cyclists killed every year deserve more, along with 44,000 motoring fatalities. They've been sacrificed to automotive greed. "Shushing" only kills. Get indignant… your life depends upon it.

  • May 13, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    All… I want to step in and remind everyone that all opinions are welcome on this site, but please be civil. We can express differing opinions without resorting to name calling. It reflects poorly upon yourself, this site, and cyclists in general when discussion degrade to a point of name calling.

    I think it is safe to say that we all want similar results, safer cycling conditions and better equality and respect for cyclists. How we approach this goal can be different, but I do believe we are all working towards the same or at least similar results and one method has yet to be proven the most effective.

  • Alan Barta
    May 22, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Providence isn't the only black hole in the cyclonet. Here's a link from RIDOT's web site that shows proposed improvements to the Apponaug Circulator; as you may know, the construction contract is now underway:

    Although I do see a bike lane by City Hall, in general, rotaries are notoriously bad for cycling, and all intersections in slide show seem rather anti-bike.

    Correct me if I'm wrong: How cyclists approach Apponaug is, more or less, limited to Greenwich Ave., Long St (West Shore), and Post Road (South). Cyclists seldom come in from Centerville Road or Post Road (North) due to lack of bike lanes and shoulders there.

    I often come from Tollgate Rd, though I suspect most riders don't. Even I use Kettle Rd (which they want to close) to bypass intersections of 115, 117 and Post Rd.

    Greenwich Avenue is a lot less friendly since they've eliminated its shoulders.

    I mean, really, they are just making Apponaug completely unbikeable, aren't they? This is not only criminal and unacceptable, it's outrageous, since there's really no alternative to get from the existing BIKE LANES of Post Rd to neighborhoods to the East (Buttonwoods) and North (Greenwood).

    They could put a bikeway alongside Apponaug River and both Gorton's Ponds to meet FHWA standards of a nearby alternative for cycling. This would provide a E to W crossing, since the City Hall bike lane would only offer W to E.

    Apponaug will never become a bikeable village, since it's the transit hub of a city built on motoring. It used to be all farmland until cars came along and turned it into a bedroom suburb.

    I've forwarded these comments to RIDOT's Intermodal Chief. The following is a letter I personally hand delivered to Mayor Avedisian last year before construction was finalized. They never took me up on my offer. I sound cranky. Why shouldn't I after a decade of waiting? I actually want to ride my bike safely. People throughout this state have mostly given up trying. You only have ~3,500 avid riders among a million residents, 6.0% of population of all 5 boroughs, because DOT there enables it. Otherwise, they couldn't handle the extra vehicular traffic. If you make streets whole, it will happen.

    Honorable Mayor Scott Avedisian

    City of Wawick

    City Hall, Apponaug

    For a decade I've been RI's leading independent advocate for bicycling. I used to live in Norwood Section until moving to Eden Park.

    Nationwide, there's a growing trend away from an environmentally harmful and unsustainable automotive paradigm. In response, many cities, such as Portland and Minneapolis, have up to 300 miles of bike lanes. The nation's capitol has Wash Cycle, a combination of bike lanes and paths.

    My local bicycling activism has been fourfold:

    1. Change RI motoring code to acknowledge not discriminate against and overly regulate bicycling;

    2. Force roadnet improvements that favor; stop trend to eliminate shoulders and squeeze out other rightful road users (including pedestrians and wheelchair users);

    3. Create an unbroken statewide infrastructure; everyone should be able to bike/walk/wheelchair in relative safety anywhere in this small state;

    4. Encourage versus polluting, wasteful forms of transportation.

    Over the last few years, I've concentrated on Providence, which is state's biggest challenge, since you must transit it to get from East Bay to West Bay. Changes are unlikely under its current mayor and his fiscal crisis.

    The second biggest is Warwick. Warwick is losing bike friendly roadnet faster than anywhere else in Rhode Island. After repeated pleas not to, Greenwich Avenue was just restriped without shoulders in direct violation of FHWA, State and USDOT standards. Greenwich Avenue was even done inconsistently, varying from 3 lanes to 1 in spots. Any traffic planner knows that 4 lanes, undivided, without shoulders is where most accidents occur. There's no need for it; 2 lanes would have sufficed, much like the bike route that continues south on Post Road into East Greenwich, a so-called "complete" road. Because of this, there's no longer any route cyclists can take North-South through the city. Motorists wouldn't stand for such an imposition. This exposes to city to legal liability. Surely, painting lines correctly will never be a budget buster.

    Warwick is potentially one of the best places to ride a bicycle in all of Rhode Island. It's mostly flat throughout. Unfortunately, most of its major arteries already suffer from "Greenwich Avenue syndrome". Even worse, planners decided to take one big hill and place several schools on it (Tollgate Complex). There are no sidewalks or bike lanes for children to use. Childhood obesity is an epidemic. No wonder.

    Bicycle friendly planning starts with a watershed model. Flat stretches must be designated as biking corridors, and, by zoning ordinance, any development along these stretches must not impede bicycling or walking. Commercial development in particular (for example, the new Lowe's Store on Rt 5), must include a dedicated bike lane linking with other biking infrastructure. It's very easy to add such improvements when new construction is underway. It also invites a new client base when there are alternate ways to arrive and bike racks, things both malls are sadly lacking with a major bikeway only a few blocks away.

    Obviously, much needs to be done to bring Warwick up to current thinking. Progressive leadership in RI's largest city gives me cause for hope that Warwick will adopt a pilot program that reverses this trend throughout state.

    I volunteer to meet with planners and work together to attain workable solutions as soon as possible.

  • Elise
    Aug 26, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Alan, tell us how you really feel. It is a bicycle and a path, whoa, ya know?