Report on the newport City Council Workshop regarding the RIDOT proposed pedestrian and bicycle improvements to Memorial Blvd, Wed August 15, 2012:
The RIDOT plan was presented to the City Council by Bob Rocchio, RIDOT Manager of Traffic Management and Highway Safety; Peter Pavao, RIDOT Traffic Engineer; and Bill Desantis, Bike/Ped Corporate Director at VHB. It was a very informative and positive discussion focusing on the placement of the dedicated bike lanes, transitions to shared lanes and presence of wide buffer zones to keep cyclists at a distance from beachgoer street parking. Questions by the Council were thoughtful and helpful. Comments and suggestions by audience members were insightful and respected.
The configuration of thru lane, shared lane and dedicated bike lane changes over the length of the boulevard. Where there is no parking, a dedicated bike lane is present. Where there is street parking, there is either one shared lane, or two lanes – one thru and one shared. The plan considers reducing speed, maintaining traffic flow and accommodating volume. Additionally, the plan addresses pedestrian crossings and vehicular left turn lanes at the major intersection with Bellevue, adding left turn signals in all directions and replacing pedestrian crossing signals with countdown timers.
In other news: In his presentation, Bob Rocchio, , commended Newport on being proactive on safety issues in the context of both municipal and state Complete Streets initiatives. He shared that RIDOT would like Newport to be a pilot city for the new statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. This is very exciting and promising news and we look forward to being part of this major step for the state in backing up the Complete Streets promise.
The progress reported here is significant, and is thanks to RIDOT, the Newport City Council, Mayor Harry Winthrop, Rep. Peter Martin, City Manager Jane Howington, Director of Public Services Bill Riccio, and the many residents who volunteer their time and talent in the best interest of cyclists and pedestrians. We extend our appreciation to all.