Broadway bike lanes: saved! (?)



Broadway bike lanes: saved! (?)

Good neighborhood meeting tonight on the Broadway streetscaping project, though sparsely attended (despite heavy promotion by the city, West Broadway Neighborhood Association, and Providence Bicycle Coalition). Most comments were related to heavy truck traffic and speeding. Not one beef about the bike lane component of the project. Councilman Lombardi appears to favor it. It looks like a go. (Sound of knocking on wood; nothing’s absolute until we see it on the ground.)

A few points of interest:

1. The project extends from the Rt 6 offramp to Dean Street, a bit shy of a mile.
2. There will be bike lanes for nearly the entire length. That portion without dedicated bike lanes will have shared-use lanes, complete with “sharrows”, aka shared-use lane arrows, stenciled onto the street. Sharrows are a nice reminder to motorists that they are sharing the road with cyclists. These will be the city’s (and state’s, I think) first sharrows, and it sets a great precedent for getting sharrows elsewhere in the city in locations where we think motorists need that little reminder to share the road. Kudos to the Planning Department and the City Engineer for incorporating this.
3. We’re probably looking at a September start for the overall project.
4. There are the 3 PDFs that show the project plans, and here are their links: 1, 2, and 3.
5. The metrics of the lanes: 8′ parking lane, 5′ bike lane, 11′ motor vehicle lane.
6. The electromagnetic loops embedded in the asphalt at traffic lights, which trigger a light change when an auto is detected, will be altered so that they can tell when there is a cyclist waiting. Nice.


  • May 13, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Does this mean someone actually went to the trouble of getting an exemption for sharrows? If so, we should get in gear and start suggesting that RIDOT and Providence to start putting them down in other areas.

  • May 13, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    I don't know if they applied for an exemption or simply decided to plow ahead. (The latter seems more likely.) Regardless, it is a precedent that we will be sure to take advantage of…

  • Alan Barta
    May 13, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    North and South Main Streets should be sharrowed immediately, even before Broadway.

    I was blasted by a Lexus last week by RISD who seemed to think she owned the road. I have hardly any trouble riding on Broadway, although I'm sure DASH and our Westend fixie activists will enjoy sharrows.

    Paint is cheap. So why not all the way into Olneyville? Oops. They might mean some actual engineering, and we all know what engineers get paid. Or they could simply close some lanes to motoring altogether and divert traffic. So easy to have bicycle boulevards. They do it everywhere, including Broadway in NYC.

  • May 14, 2009 at 3:29 am

    There is no sense rocking the boat. Let's have them put the sharrows on broadway first, set a precedent, and then we can really put the pressure on. I've been trying to wait patiently for the next edition of the MUTCD to come out, but if Providence is willing to jump the gun, let's go for it!

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