ProJo features Bike Newport in Thrive, 9/26/11



ProJo features Bike Newport in Thrive, 9/26/11

ProJo’s Tom Meade tells the story of Bike Newport, working to improve and encourage bicycling in Newport.  Thanks for the great story, Tom and beautiful photos, Frieda Squires. Read the story here. 


  • barry
    Sep 26, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Good work Bari, a fine story that helps the cause of bicycling not just in Newport but everywhere.

    Related, in the Sunday Sept 25 Journal, the Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien also had a pro-bicycling op-ed "Taking bike path to a better city" about how Pawtucket was welcoming both short -term on-road bike routes thru the city to help connect the Blackstone and East Bay paths, and long-term goals of completing a largely off-road path along the river. And on Saturday, at the Woonsocket "Moving Planet" event, both the Director of the Heritage Corridor Jan Reitsma, and District 1 Congressman David Cicilline, spoke for completing the Blackstone Bikeway and for a Blackstone Corridor National Park.

    Further good publicity: CBS news had a story about the "happiest" city, Somerville MA, and one major reason people there liked their city was the bike/pedestrian corridor thru that city.

    All this is all the more reason for diappointment with the leaders in Johnston, Smithfield, Jamestown, and North Kingstown that have resisted bicycle projects in their towns. We need a Bari in all those towns!

  • Labann
    Sep 26, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Beat me to congrats. Newport definitely needs improvement. These "resistant leaders" ought to know they may be targeted with lawsuits for violating federal law. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. If you don't have a parallel/separate bike path, you damn well better have bike accommodations at intersections (bypass bike lanes and signal controls) and wide shoulders everywhere else.

    Was poking about in Wickford. They do have a short bike path out to Mill Cove that abruptly ends in Wilson Park. What would be nice is if it connected to Newtown Ave, so you could get downtown without going too far out of your way. There's an existing right of way between.

  • bgeorge
    Sep 26, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Hi Barry. I couldn't agree with you more – the more stories, the more attention, the more progress. I'm so happy to hear all the movement on connecting and completing the beautiful Blackstone and East Bay paths. Hard to believe with our progress as a state on bikeways that there is not one state path on Aquidneck Island. At the dedication of the Blackstone connector, Sen Reed asked "Why can't I ride from here to Newport?" I so hope that he can one day very soon. I just love that the report on Somerville connects happiness and their bike/ped corridor – we always talk about 'the happiness factor" and it's significant! It's all that oxygen and activity and endorphins and just plain not being in the car 🙂

    We're heading into a big week here in Newport – we've got a Bicycling in Traffic class for Community Leaders tomorrow evening and then on 10/5 we've got Bike to School Day as well as the dedication of our business-sponsored Steelyard-produced nautical-themed bike racks, AND (insert hallelujah chorus here) a Community Workshop on Bicycling sponsored by the City Council. The workshop will be an open forum, but we're hoping to collect a fair bit of community insight via an online survey in advance of the workshop. I'll post more info. It's coming together a bit 11th hour, but we'll make the most of it. And we'll hope that all the modeling in Pawtucket, Woonsocket, Providence and Newport will help move those resistant to see the light. Thanks for all you do, Barry. I hope to see you at the Summit. Cheers 🙂

  • Bill Lewis
    Sep 30, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Oh my goodness how did I ever ride from Warren to Fall River and then from Fall River to Newport? Oh ya that's right I used the road! There is no problem at all. I wasn't harassed at all no one ran me over and the view from the Mount Hope is always worth the stop at the top. I'll admit that I would have enjoyed a shorter ride over the Sakonnet bridge but that will have to wait until the new span with a wide bikeway is finished.

    There is no problem riding anywhere in Newport or anywhere on the island I have done it all my life.

    My GF who is not a fast or confident rider does it too. We've even riden over the Jamestown bridge last month.

    So all this malarky about biking on Aquidneck Island being unsafe and requiring special accommidations that are too expensive or just impossible because of space limits is just some newcomer blowing a little tin horn saying "look at me".

    The Newport police are not enforcing any bicycle laws at all. I have yet to see one of the little pads being used by a police officer or even seen one of the "rules of the road" on the ground where the local clowns who ride the wrong way or on the sidewalk would throw them.

  • Labann
    Oct 1, 2011 at 7:04 am

    Brightman Street Bridge stands in the way of Warren-Fall River-Newport…
    Neither Braga nor new Brightman improve situation. Mt. Hope Bridge in no way meets complete streets definition under federal law; although I've used it many times myself without dying, that's no guarantee you will. Fortunately, standards aren't developed around a single individual's knowledge or skills or lack thereof.

    Then there's East Main Road in Portsmouth, arguably the state's least safe road for both bicyclist and motorists, and that's saying something. I ride on Post Road and Warwick Avenue without using sidewalk, except to occasionally pull over and let a knot of motorists pass, but traffic speed on East Main is twice as high and visibility at intersection much worse with those stone walls.

    All that law requires is some accommodation of bicyclists, walkers and wheelchair users in parallel with motorists. It's where they forget to do so that ignores this simple principle of decency and violates existing law.

  • Oct 1, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Bill, this isn't about me or about you and it's not about some newcomer blowing a little tin horn. The Bike Newport Committee includes 26 representatives of stakeholders in all sectors for the city. The Community Survey that posted yesterday already has more than 200 responses including 110 descriptions of their vision of bicycling in Newport. This is about a society that sees the benefits of bicycling to health, economy, environment, preservation and quality of life – and wants to enjoy those benefits as a community. I'm happy for your ability to navigate all of the roads around the state and beyond. But there are many more people who have different needs than you in terms of safety, access and boundaries. We are working to improve and encourage bicycling for all. If you don't need or want improvements, more power to you. Travel safely.

    ps I don't want to exchange in a nasty back and forth. I really do wish you well and hope you can say the same. Please consider attending the City Council's Workshop on Bicycling this Wednesday, 630pm at City Hall.

  • barry
    Oct 1, 2011 at 11:38 am

    In my 50 years of bike advocacy (since being a student at UC Davis) I have seen countless variations of the debate where an experienced, confident bicyclist has little need of any infrastructure accomodations and thus disparages such investments. If we followed this advice, bicycling would be done by a miniscule proportion of the population, as is the case where there little bike related infrastructure.

    However, for health, environmental, and economic reasons I want to see much more bicycling, and not being that great a rider (for example I would never bike over the Mt Hope or new Jamesrown bridges as they are now) I want more opportunities to ride myself. Anyone can see that those places that invest in bike infrastrructure have a lot more bicycling – not just Davis or Portland OR but even more so, Amsterdam, Copenhagen etc. There is also statistical evidence that the more people biking, the safer it is per rider. Go Bari!

  • Oct 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Well said, Barry. Thank you! I look forward to sharing the Community Survey responses with you – where we are hearing the very same from residents of all ages – including 12 over 70 and one 81+.

  • Bill Lewis
    Oct 1, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    I'll stand by my response in that the Newport police are not doing any enforcement that I can see and I am on my bicycles every day. Again today I was observing on Washington Square and Thames Street for at least two hours and I saw many wrong way and sidewalk riders and no police reaction what so ever. I have lobbied city councilman Duncan long before you showed up in Newport about the NPD apathy to bicycle law enforcement..

    I don't think that door zonne bike lanes are the answer to any percieved dangerousness instead they are dangerous in that it marginalizes riders in the eyes of motorists.

    And Barry with a y I think you should have stayed in Davis if you are so afraid of cars. We aren't going to tear down the Mt. Hope bridge and build a divided roadway for chickens.

  • Labann
    Oct 2, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Takes no thought whatever to analyze the change-resistant nimby. a) Don't know that 70% of bike sales come from having a nearby bike path, which lowers retail costs to them even if they don't use them. b) Don't want to share, even if it means an influx of federal dollars and no local tax increases. c) Fear having infrastructure forces them to use it, even though state law entitles them to use all of the road as needed. d) Have no idea how bike infrastructure increases property values. e) Haven't heard that state pays a penalty for NOT having adequate bike accommodations. f) Won't listen to reason.

    I wouldn't use Cranston-Warwick-West bike path if paid during certain hours. Fortunately, you can go on-street late at night when traffic is light. Some steady flow of cyclists makes any venue safer. Newport is more like Amsterdam than most places in America, except for cycling resistance and desire to flow motor traffic through to nowhere. If they were smart, they'd encourage SLOWER enjoyment (biking, train/trolley loops from external lots, and walking), which would stimulate tourist meals and sales. You can't park anywhere close anyway.

    I'm reminded of Corncob Bob up at MassBike. He fought against any expenditure for bicyclists, which, since recently raised under Obama's appointee LaHood, is still only 1.5% of the $1 TRILLION they spend on motorists. Come to find out, Bob real objection was his love for antiquated, coal burning, smoke belching trains, which he hoped would resume in people's back yards on the rights-of-way that were being snapped up by cycling path builders. You know, they could install state of the art monorails above bikeways, which, when you think about it, have preserved these rights-of-way wherever they've been installed. A lot of homeowners along the P&W in Cranston have illegally installed composters, fences or sheds. It's a land grab, desperately squatting to wrest privacy, but land belongs to public, to you, not them. What a cheat! They should be glad bikes might come instead of trains returning, or, worse, motoring lanes.

  • Labann
    Oct 2, 2011 at 6:55 am

    While I'm thinking about such things, I certainly hope they are going to improve bikeability of Warwick around the airport, since FAA granted state's petition to expand. Maybe an underpass, or at least approaches to air and train terminals and racks.

    It did not happen with Q-way into Quonset, because organizations such as this raised no objections proactively. You have to stay vigilant with developments around airports, highways, industrial parks, RRs, shopping malls, and wherever you live so you're not cut off, hemmed in, or forced on long detours. They NEVER EVEN THINK about how cyclists or walkers will be inconvenienced.

    To risk complete curmudgeonly, this reCaptcha spam blocker is getting increasing bizarre with it Chinese, Cyrillic and Greek characters and punctuation you can't even type.

  • MattM
    Oct 3, 2011 at 6:17 am

    Labann – I'd agree that ribike and others who live and work within the project boundaries needs to be involved, however, RIDOT, Ports, Town DPW, etc. don't come beating down our doors to get our input. Since this organization currently runs on the efforts of volunteers, projects in the pipeline inevitably get missed or are brought to light too late in the project planning/design cycle to have any meaningful impact and even when we do participate, its difficult to determine if we've had an impact e.g.: Wickenden Street Interchange or been ignored, e.g.: Elmwood Ave. Most often, we, as you, become aware of the project about the time that implementation is announced. Instead of saying we've failed, how about telling us where the opportunities exist to bring our collective voice to bear to get changes that will encourage and enable bicycle and/or enhance safety?

    Bill – Your comments in this thread reminded me of a a Bike Portland article from last year. Every rider has a different tolerance level. Yours, Labann's, and even mine are relatively high, but I think that most of us would like to see more people riding bicycles, and in order to see that, we're going to have to implement changes that answer other community members tolerance levels.

    Commuter Tolerance>Commuter Tolerance

    there is the oft-cited hierarchy of cyclists in Portland that has the fearless category, the interested but concerned, and so on. I'd suggest another way to understand cyclists: it's about tolerance.

    I work with ecologists and we often frame species in terms of what they will tolerate in their habitat. I think the same can be said of cyclists, they will tolerate a certain mix and level of stresses before they give up. A cyclist already has to tolerate certain stresses no matter what; things like safety, weather, and so on. But a rider also needs to tolerate the infrastructure.

    I think many of us will put up with certain deficiencies, but from the tolerance perspective there comes a point when it simply becomes too much.

    I tolerate most anything – and that's me. But I worry about other cyclists where these risks and hazards are the final straw. One little thing is all it takes to reset their whole consideration for cycling.

  • Bill Lewis
    Oct 3, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Ok first things in order. labann or who ever. It's nice to live in a fantasy world where you quack and the farmer feeds you.

    Where does this comment 70% of bikes sold near bike paths come from?

    You can scream about seperate bicycle infrastructure and this little bit of a law says we get it.

    Even in good times we get little of the transportation pie. I have no problem with converting railbeds to Multiple Use Paths. We do not have bike paths or bikeways, everyone can use them.

    I ride on railtrails in Connecticut and Rhode Island and the trails I use in Ct. are crushed stone and used by horses instead of skaters.

    It appears that some people do not read about cycling anywhere else or LAB maybe.

    There are places where you are required to use bike lanes if present., Oregon Hawaii, California and Alabama. Who's to say it the General Assembly would'nt do it here? They watered down Franks Law.

    I will not use door zone "bike lanes" as they are just a warning track of SUV door swing.

    I don't like the mis-use of Sharrows, unless it means you can take the entire lane.

    I will not ride in gutter and since I stopped riding in the gutter I have very few flats.

    If you really think anything is going to change for the better in Newport i.e. widening colonial streets or removing parking downtown to accomidate you, you need your head out of the clouds.

    You complain about Newport but I ride here everyday. It's people like me that are visible all year round.

    Newport is a a good a place to ride as anywhere I have been. The traffic is slow most of the fair weather seasons. I would say I get harassed about once every two months, but it's mostly hornblowers.

    Do you enjoy riding oe do you just get mad that you can't have a yellow brick road ?

    I think you just like to be a crybaby and can't work on what's possible. Because what's possible means work.

  • Bill Lewis
    Oct 3, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Matt, As I wrote my girlfriend who is not a fast or very confident rider has no problem with riding with cars around her. She rode from downtown Providence to Newport including Bristol Ferry and EAst Main road up the hill to Middle Road. And from Kingston Station to downtown Jamestown over the bridge.

    She and I ride in the hills I Eastern Ct. on surface roads with steep grade and no shoulders. No one has ever been an asshole to us there and we ride about 20 to 40 miles in a weekend.

    Two years ago she was afraid to ride because an old boyfriend tried to teach her drafting on a MUP and she crashed hard and tore her ankle up.

    It takes a little time to get used to being in traffic, but should we treat people like some little children who won't eat new foods.

    Let's be honest about bicycle use and projections of future use, it is dismal and it's not infrastructure. It's obesity and a sedentary lifestyle and need to drive everywhere because biikes are toys or bikesare what bums ride. Ride share even in Davis California declining as ride share dropped ovver 10% since the heyday.

    There are many people who ride in Newport and it has one of the highest commuter rates mostly because of the summer workers. And they do it "on the street" and no one was kiiled because of no stripe on the street.

  • Labann
    Oct 4, 2011 at 5:06 am

    Impressive stats for bike path versus retail sales (took 3 seconds on Google)…

    The only one living in some fantasy is the person who thinks a) Everyone must be like him, b) Newport and state are above federal law, c) Nobody knows you're just so lonely you feel the need to embarrass yourself, and d) We're going to tolerate crime and neglect forever.

    On average, 2 people die in automobile crashes on East Main Road every year. That's the worst statistic for any state road. Bad segments of Metacom Ave, RI-44, US-1, and Warwick Ave don't come close. A cyclist should never have to feel safer taking to sidewalks with bad sight lines and crossing driveways. Motoring causes almost all the death surrounding you: cardiovascular disease, cancer, crashes (40,000/year fatal), and wars over oil. Outrageous.

    Door zones can be eliminated by closing streets to motor traffic, eliminating parking, or pairing bikeways with sidewalks inside parking area. Bike lanes are only necessary when there aren't decently wide shoulders. Good urban planning doesn't neglect but invites cyclists and pedestrians. Newport was unplanned, steamrolled by automotive and corporate interests. For a supposed World class attraction, treats visitors horribly. Even Providence has made more of an attempt to comply than Newport, and since has seen a tremendous increase in both bicycling and tourism (Waterfire). Well that and $4/gallon of gas.

    Matt: My door was open and phone awaited calls for a decade (1999 – 2009). I kept a list of where state violates law and where changes were necessary, looked over plans (i.e., Apponaug), pinpointed deficiencies, raised an alarm at every meeting attended, spoke to mayors, and voiced objections. I've actually biked on every single road in RI (repeatedly) and most of nearby CT and MA. By way of example, still attend meetings by bike, last night in fact, only to return alone in rain (but not on dark, littered bike path, where, after the hurricane, I marked all root upturns in paint). There's a 2000 page list of my other acts of proactive activism since I wrote 2 books of 1500 pages published for free. After all these selfless acts I'm dismissed as some loud crank by crooked officials and quiet mouse by slumberers who are just awaking to these new realizations. About the only thing that Bill is correct is that people are lazy obese lumps, suckers for booze, ciggies and convenience, uncaring for next guy's choice or contributions.

  • Bill Lewis
    Oct 4, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I usually ignore you because you are so strident over things that are impossible to change like the width of a 372 year old street.

    Let me get this right,Newport was laid out by corporate and automotive interests in 1639? Hell I'll give you until 1899. Nope what you said is still stupid. Sorry whoever you are but Newport developed as a walking city 372 years ago, the streets are narrow because they were laid out by men on foot walking with carts and wagons.

    You are delusional to the point of comic relief..

    No one is going to remove parking or close streets to cars because you can't or won't take the lane on an 11 foot roadway.

    Traffic in Newport is slow most of the times when people use the streets like in daylight from April to October on the weekends.

    You keep harping on East Main Road but there are alternatives, use a map or read my post carefully.

    The island is only a few miles wide and you can get all the way to Newport with a total of two miles on either main road East or West.

    My girlfriend does it with me and she is no bike nut or super woman although she may have more balls than some of you men on here.

  • Labann
    Oct 6, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Well, Bill, I seldom ignore you even if you're arrogant, inconsistent, and lend nothing to any argument. Exactly what are you against? Paint on pavement? Horrors! First you say East Main Road is okay. Then you claim you use circuitous routes around it. Make up your mind. Can take Wapping to Sandy Point Rd, but still have to use treacherous East Main to Union and Middle, and again down Quaker Hill to Turnpike, although after Turnpike (a more direct route to Mt. Hope Bridge), East Main's generous shoulder is bikeable to Boyd's Lane, which cyclists shouldn't have to climb just to stay out of motorists' way. I've ridden directly on the full length of East Main more than once, but it's the least friendly bike route in all of RI, and that's no accomplishment. In fact, it's a disgrace that RIDOT must rectify.

    Bicyclists feel forced to take hilly out-of-the-ways, which are no substitute for equal accommodations. Had you not been ignoring me, you'd know that I constantly say outright that improvements are unlikely because of cycling lunkheads who do nothing to promote them, when it's federal and state law to have these accommodations already in place. Furthermore, all that nice Newport history was paved over to sucker motorists in but not wind up stopping. Who benefits? Only a few mansions with their own parking lots, which trickle funds to city coffers. Newport is no bedroom community you can easily escape, bicycling mecca, decent place to live, or tourist trap worth visiting. Suggest they adopt at least one identity.