Linear Park Update



Here is the latest correspondence I’ve received from RIDOT concerning keeping the Washington Bridge open during construction.  While RIDOT is certainly due credit for completing the projects that they highlighted, I think it’s hard for them to argue that a fair share of State transportation dollars are being spent on non-automobile projects.  I was very interested to see that they completed a traffic count on the bridge.  This is something we spoke about doing internally in the next month or so and I’ll see what I can do to get my hands on the raw data.

In the mean time, I plan to reply to this letter, but would like to hear your thoughts.  So let’s have them, where did RIDOT score points with you and where did they miss the point?


  • Aug 6, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Jeez, where to begin? "The plans themselves are already 90% completed." In other words, "Well, we've gone so far down this stupid path, it's too late to turn around now."

    "This marks our 55th completed mile of statewide bike and pedestrians paths across the state." In other words, "Aren't we wonderful for building a few paths for you to ride back and forth on."

    "…the estimated cost of the Washington Pedestrian Bridge is about $20 million dollars." Would it have been less if you had done it at the same time as the road bridge?

    That's my biggest issue with another 2 year closing. Why didn't they renovate the thing when it was closed for the last 2 years? Why are they 90% done with the planning process when they announce that they're going to close it again?

    In an odd coincidence, I was on the Henderson Bridge today. The pictures in my most recent post show how viable an option this bridge is. It would need regular street sweeping of the bike lane to make it more functional.

    Thanks for writing the letter, Mark. And thanks for posting their response.

    Henderson Bridge sand trap:

  • Pingback: Washington Bridge Update (from RI Bike). « Car-Free in PVD

  • jack
    Aug 7, 2010 at 6:10 am

    Not seeing the complete picture of their design process, most of us cannot comment on the validity of their argument about the extra cost of keeping the bridge open and phasing construction accordingly. I do know, however, that the "90% plans" are hardly the point of know return as far as how close they are to sending the project out to bid. It really comes down to the convenience of the contractor in staging the work, and the belief that "aren't our suburban bike paths enough for you people?" I would be interested in seeing the data of their counts: when they were conducted, during what time periods, for how long, etc. I think they simply do the minimum in such things to show due diligence, but clearly Mark your vigilance on this issue is getting their attention. It may be worth pushing back a little harder.

  • Barry
    Aug 7, 2010 at 7:20 am

    I too thank Mark for bringng this to the attention of the entire bike community.

    I feel the tone of the above posts are somewhat too negative about RIDOT, which is generally doing what they can to help despite being pressed by many problems of seriously deficient roads and bridges, debt service that negatively impacts their ability to fund maintenance, and presssures to get the commuter rail expansion up and running. I note they are giving priority to getting funding for the project to connect the linear park to a new bike/ped crossing ovee the Providence River on the old I-195 right-of-way, hardly just "suburban" biking.

    That said, I hope we can convince them to work with the contractor to minimize closing time (perhaps a financial incentive to finish faster?) and to do more than minimal maintenance on the Henderson Bridge during closed periods. I also call attention to crossing via RIPTA bus lines, 32, 33, 34, which provide access to K Plaza from various points on the East Providence side of the Washington Bridge a combined total of 66 times each way every weekday, all but 5 trips express via Route 195. Perhapa bicyclists can be offerred half-fare for bringing a bike aboard during the closure!

  • Ghetto Diamond
    Aug 7, 2010 at 8:49 am

    My understanding from the bid description is that the concrete arches that carry the structure must be recast. This entails removing and replacing the existing roadway and supporting columns. The stone facade and buildings must also removed and then reassembled. I just don't see how this teardown/rebuild could be accomplished while maintaining public access. This could be done cheaper and quicker if not for the historic preservation aspects… but we love our history. What we can make a stink about is the schedule. A two-three year closing would be unacceptable. In the meantime we get some bonus miles.

  • Matt
    Aug 7, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Sad news. The Henderson route is such an unpleasant and dangerous alternative. And for two years! When is construction scheduled to start? Keep pushing, Mark. And thanks for all your work so far. So frustrating to see the city again cut off from that path.

  • Labann
    Aug 8, 2010 at 5:37 am

    Yeah, really sad, when a permanent reconstruction of the Bold Point to India Park RR Bridge for bike/ped use would cost no more than $500,000, even as a cantilever that remains open until users push a button to close. It's not like the Seekonk River gets any commercial navigation use. And such a project could be absorbed into construction of an expanded marina.

    So, if they have to reconstruct the George Washington Bridge, what of its "historic" nature? Bogus, specious argument.

  • barry
    Aug 8, 2010 at 9:12 am

    I also thought of using the old railroad bridge right of way for bikes/peds and asked about it years ago, I heard that the Coast Guard and Brown U would object, but I never checked this out.l Lets think about putting that idea on the radar again (how?)

  • MattM
    Aug 9, 2010 at 4:56 am

    In my mind there is a Quantity vs. Quality issue on the use counts. Just counting number of crossings each way to get a picture of how many users there are is not very informative. It is also useful to know the purpose for each of those crossings and if the amenty weren't there if the trip would happen at all. And as has already been mentioned, what was the methodology on the count collection, when was it done, (day of week, time period), etc.

    Hopefully they'll be forthcoming with their data and methodology and we'll be made more comfortable that this won't be as disruptive to East Bay/Providence bike/ped connections as we fear.

    If they are going to close that for 2 years, RIDOT definitely needs to step up their efforts at maintenance on the bike lanes on the Henderson and get rid of those cover plates on the expansion joints. I find them to be more dangerous than the joints they're meant to protect us from. An A for thought, a C for implementation.

  • Labann
    Mar 16, 2011 at 8:15 am

    So it's Spring next week. Where's the construction crew? Beginning to sound like Cicillne's bike lanes on Broadway… empty promises. A temporary bridge between Bold and Fox Points or ferry, even if only for bikes and pedestrians as done in many places including Aquinnah and Chappaquiddick on Martha's Vineyard, would be acceptable and preferable to a long detour over the dangerous Henderson.