Future Aquidneck Island Bike Path?



Future Aquidneck Island Bike Path?

Today was an important day for a future Aquidneck Island Bike Path. Huge thanks to Rep Peter Martin and the volunteers of the Old Colony & Newport Railway (OCNRR) for taking us on a 4-hour “long ride” of the island’s rail corridor. An incredible group of knowledgeable and interested representatives from all three towns, considering the landscape, the challenges and all the studies conducted over the last decade. Can we get this project rolling? We certainly hope so. For our health, economy, environment and quality of life of residents and visitors alike.

Pictured l-r: Allison McNally (Bike Newport), Stephen Miller (formerly Rail Trail Conservancy), Chuck Flippo (OCNRR), Christina Erwin (Bike Newport / Newport Bicycle), Don Elbert (OCNRR Exec Dir), Eric Weis (Trail Program Coordinator, East Coast Greenway Alliance), Art Weber (Middletown Town Council President), Bart Grimes (Administrator, Newport Hospital), Dick Adams (AIPC Chair), Bari George (President, Bike Newport), Sam Jernigan (Bike Newport), Steve Heath (Vice President, Bike Newport), Gary Crosby (Portsmouth Town Planner), Evan Smith (Exec Dir Newport and Bristol Visitors Bureau), Rep Peter Martin (RI House of Representatives)  Not pictured, photographer Tom Shevlin (Editor, Newport This Week) and Chris Tompsett (Bike Newport)


  • Jan 14, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Glad to hear about people from the three towns getting together to discuss the future of a biking facility. Is there any talk of how something can be done to make North of Melville Marina friendly for bikes or was this solely a discussion of what to do as Burma road is developed.

  • Jan 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Hi Mark. We traveled from the Old Colony Depot in Newport all the way north, just short of the Sakonnet Bridge and discussed every inch in between. We'll be looking at past studies to get us started – and a fresh three-town collaboration. It's a beautiful route with great potential. Let's see if the moment is finally right to move it forward. The consensus today was very optimistic 🙂

  • Jan 15, 2012 at 6:39 am

    I create and publish recreation maps of Rhode Island and in a few short weeks I'll be coming out with a new title: "Bike Map of Aquidneck Island and Guide to Coastal Access". For those of you who have my "Bike and Road Map of South County Rhode Island," you'll find this map to be similar but with the added benefit of a comprehensive list of and descriptions and geolocations for over 80 coastal access points on the island, many of which have no parking and thus are perfect for those on bicycles. A description of the new map can be found on Facebook at my Great Swamp Press page.

  • barry
    Jan 15, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Sounds like a great event. A bike route/path on Aquidneck Island would seem to be needed, as I think it has relatively little off-road bike opportunities, yet there seems to be real interest, a tourist economy, and congested roads that should point to more bike projects.

    Unfortunately, in developing the next 4-year Transportation Improvement Program, Newport and Portsmouth did not propose any bike projects so there is little prospect of any bike project there getting into the TIP. Middletown requested 3 bike projects but their highest priority bike project was #10 of 14 requests In contrast, bike projects were high on the priority list for Warren, Cumberland, Central Falls, Pawtucket, Woonsocket, Providence and East Greenwich.

    However, any TIP could always be amended later to include a needed project on Aquidneck Island, a part of the state we like to visit even if we do not live there!

  • Labann
    Jan 16, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Barry: In my experience, the 4 weakest spots on Island are 1) East Main Rd (particularly from Turnpike to Middle Rd, then Union St to Sandy Point Av and/or Mitchell Ln); 2) West Main Rd (RI-114) from Mill Ln to Stringham Rd; 3) Sakonnet Bridge (inaccessible); 4) and through downtown Newport. SMALL improvements that any town could afford are all that are needed to make entire island basically bikeable. The problem is that these few "pinch points" are so egregious, they make biking anywhere except short distances nearly impossible. Why even burden TIP with a few block-long bike-ped segments?

    Now, making city and towns compliant with federal and state law is another thing altogether. Has a lot to do with how laws are interpreted. I tend to agree that if there are some reasonable accommodations that allows you to cross E-W at decent intervals and N-S along entire length, you need not redesign major roads RI-114 and RI-138, although as it exists RI-114 is inadequate as a motorist escape route to I-24 and long since has required limited access and widening. The connection between I-24 and Newport Bridge is an old joke.