Bike Path Video Survey, Week of June 6th



RIDOT announced this week that another round of video surveying will be conducted on 4 of the state’s bike paths the week of June 6th.  Similar to last years surveying on the East Bay Bike Path, while the path is not closed, RIDOT is recommending that path users stay off the paths on the day of the survey, as there will be a vehicle travelling the length of each path, obstructing it.

During the survey operation, video images will be captured every 50 feet. A 7’2” wide vehicle will be traveling slowly down the bicycle path restricting most of the path’s width and making it difficult for users to “share the road.”

Too bad RIDOT doesn’t have a partnership with Google to get the Google Street View Trike onto the bike paths, it would be less disruptive and some of us would actually make an effort to go see the thing riding down the path.

Each path is to be surveyed between 9:30AM to 4:30PM on the following schedule:

  • Monday, June 6:
    • Blackstone River Bikeway: Cumberland to Woonsocket
  • Tuesday, June 7:
    • Washington Secondary Bike Path, including the Coventry Greenway, from Coventry to Cranston
  • Wednesday, June 8:
    • William C. O’Neill (South County) Bike Path: South Kingstown
    • Fred Lippitt Woonasquatucket River Greenway from Providence to Johnston

Full Press release from RIDOT.


  • Victor
    Jun 4, 2011 at 5:21 am

    Yes!!! Lets ignore bike lanes and sharrows and keep expanding useless bike paths for those recreational cyclists!

    and yes I know there are cyclists that ride paths to get to where they want to go, but 99.9% that ride paths are recreation.

  • barry
    Jun 4, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I don't think recreation is "useless" and plenty of people drive for recreation – to movies, restaurants, parties, bars, why not value biking for recreation too.

    There is no conflict between advocating for sharrows and on -road improvements and for bike paths, indeed the success of the lbike paths makes it both easier to advocate for better on-road conditions as well as building up the critical mass of actual bicyclists that help make motorists more aware and sympatheotc to needs of on-road bikers.

    I hope the ri bike community will get beyond this old issue and support measures to encourage all the uses of bicycles

  • Victor
    Jun 4, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I've visited many of the bike paths in RI only to find that literally 99% of the cyclists on there were recreational.

    In my opinion, advocation for bike paths is bad. It just shows to RIDOT that bike paths are fine, and we do not need bike lanes or sharrows.

  • msmoritz
    Jun 4, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    It depends. Check the EBBP during commute times weekdays and I'll guarantee there are a not insignificant number of non-recreational commuters using that path. Same for Washington Secondary. It isn't a simple either/or proposition for off road multi-use path development versus on road changes to increase safety for all. The paths function well as recreational facilities AND as transportation opportunities. While more expensive than a stripe of paint and signs, they have a purpose for everyone. for both EB and Washington Secondary, they provide much better options than the local roads do for destinations at or near their ends and in a narrow band near them, much like a limited access artery.

    I'll not deny that a very large percent of usage for bike paths is "recreational", but that doesn't make it without value. I can tell you that a certain bagel shop in Bristol sells $10-65 of coffee and bagels almost every Saturday morning for the last several years to people I know and ride with taking the trip down from Providence to enjoy a morning out. They'd not do this if the path weren't there because for a morning pleasant, social ride, the streets aren't the right place to be. Big picture, that path creates an opportunity for not just commuters, but also for local businesses and recreation that a street with a bike lane can't match with.

    Bike paths aren't the enemy of developing bike infrastructure everywhere. I don't think they're "stealing" money from other projects that could lead to more on street accommodation.

    And at this point, RIDOT is doing a visual survey/inventory of the asset's it manages and built, this particular project isn't about any sort of development or use reporting.

  • Victor
    Jun 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I've been to hearings and such for bike paths, and RIDOT seems so happy, and even brags about the bike paths.

    Bike paths are extremely expensive compared to bike lanes and sharrows. RIDOT continues to focus only on bike paths, and I think we need to start looking more into sharrows and bike lanes.

    I have to disagree, most people who use paths are for recreation. Thats just from my experience.

    So instead of bike paths, why don't we build safe bike lanes and complete streets? Why must we focus on over expensive paths?

  • msmoritz
    Jun 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    I never said that recreation wasn't the primary usage. I said that they have a use for non-recreational riders, and that even recreational use creates economic value, which helps to justify the government spending tax dollars on it in the first place.

    Sharrows, bike lanes, signage, all have their use and place, and we could certainly do to see more of both throughout the state, but that means being persistent and tackling a street, a repave project, a town council and championing that project for as long as it takes, and not taking no for an answer. Sharrows are coming between EBBP and Blackstone Bikeway because that was someone's mission to do for years. Bike lanes are coming on broadway because the Providence Bike Plan calls for them to be installed.


    Why have paths been built to date? I'd guess all of the following:

    1) Because they've been given money to build paths via earmarks in federal spending bills.

    2) Because people genuinely want them and they are used, irrespective of the cost per mile and in the grand scheme of road projects, they are cheap.

    3) Because RIDOT is principally responsible for Highway and Bridge construction, not local streets in most cases. RIDOT engineers may be consulted on local street projects, but it's up to the towns to manage their own street needs and decide what signage and markings belong where, except on state designated highways, which are RIDOT issues.

    4) Advocates of biking, walking, etc aren't able to keep up with every road project there is to make sure that designs address their safety.

    Why be proud of them?

    Because they have been successful. They are used and valued by the public and they aren't an "easy thing" to build. They have to work just as hard at permitting and getting community approval as they do for any other project.

    I still think you are seeing this as an either/or proposition, which it isn't. Why aren't their more streets with bike lanes, sharrows, etc? Because no one is asking each and every town to develop a bike plan and a schedule for implementing it, and towns aren't looking for more work and asking for this this sort of input very much.

  • Labann
    Jun 4, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    @msmoritz… 4) many advocates, but not me. I get all around RI and adjacent states by bike all the time, have been for decades, and notice everything.

    If called, I would truthfully testify in court that cities, state and towns have focused on bike paths and purposefully and systematically cut on-street bike use. The evidence is overwhelming; I've continually mentioned examples here, because there really isn't any other forum. When I brought this to the attention of the TAC a decade ago, their chairperson's response was, "What do you expect us to do about it?" Well, if they weren't automotively oriented, that would never have been said.

    Not that I have any qualms about bike paths: safe bunny slopes for supervised kids, sure, but also akin to bicycle highways. Because they use train beds, they're pretty flat, less than 3% grades, which speeds you along and saves time. What needs to happen is to connect them, construct access to and exits from, improve transitions onto streets (merge lanes). Long overdue is a overall plan for a bikenet that restores access to flat streets with bike lanes, good shoulders, and signed roads, especially in urban areas. Such infrastructure is a lot cheaper to install, just paint on the road. But that's its shortcoming, not much money to be made.

    I spent years trying to convince officials to adopt "bike corridors", macrosystems that ensure bike pass through, on a watershed model, where zoning prohibits any restriction of bicycling, as per federal law. Most outright defy, since there's no apparent penalty except fines that public has to pay or loss of federal funding. Really, a cursory examination of RIDOT's "Guide to Cycling in the Ocean State" map shows some massive holes in bikenet where they ought to concentrate upon improvements. It's the usual suspects: airports, AMTRAK, bays, bridges, coves, cloverleaves, interstates, malls, and traffic plagued intersections (which ought not exist except retailers profit off them so prefer bad routings).

    As it turns out, >90 of the 5,000 pedestrians deaths each year happen where there's no crosswalks or sidewalks to protect them from motorists. Poorly designed parking lots are especially bad; most don't have sidewalks to use once you park. I would argue that bicyclists trying to "bridge" holes in RI's bikenet endure similar hazards. Many accidents occur where motorists "don't expect" cyclists, and why should that be, except on highways? The answer is plain: RIDOT and towns try to flow more motorized traffic by stealing shoulders for additional, narrower lanes. Motorists cant seem to adapt from turnpike to secondary speeds.

  • Jun 6, 2011 at 4:09 am

    "…why not value biking for recreation too." Plenty of people do. I am an anecdote, not data, but bike paths have definitely helped me reduce my carbon footprint.

    Through the years I have used a bicycle for much of my commuting and errands in town yet weekend trips out of town would be taken by car. Since the bike paths were opened, I often spend a quiet day in the woods, by a waterfall, or at the beach without a car trip. If those recreational trips had to be made on streets and roads, even reasonably bikeable ones, I would probably use the car more often.

    Nevertheless, much needs to be done to make on street bicycling more appealing, as indicated the number of people who find it necessary to carry their bicycles via car to the bike paths.

  • Ray
    Jul 4, 2011 at 9:35 am

    The eastbay bike path, particularly the Barrington end adjacent to Brickyard pond is turning into a washboard surface from the treeroots with the occasional sink hole to go along with it..does anybody plan on addressing this in the near future??!!

  • Labann
    Jul 5, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Lately typos; just don't care enough to proof. "As it turns out, >90 of the 5,000 pedestrians deaths each year happen where there’s no crosswalks or sidewalks to protect them from motorists. " That stat should read >90% [percent], more than 4,500. About 65% of accidents occur in urban areas, although 80% of roads are rural, which is why advocates should focus attention on cities. It's working in NYC. Of course, this stat varies year-to-year; with economy flagging, less motored trips are regularly being taken and more people are choosing to bike. Yet this is only in the USA, where roads are safer than ROW. 1.3 million bicyclists/pedestrians die annually worldwide from collisions caused by motorists. You can expect this to get worse with China's and India's 2 billion hell bent to build auto infrastructure at the expense of self propulsion.