At our meeting yesterday with RIDOT Director Mike Lewis, the agency (thanks to Steve Church) handed out a bikepath update sheet including the following info on what projects might move ahead:
to be advertised for bids in spring 2011:
signed on-road bike route thru Pawtucket connecting the Blackstone path to Providence (3 miles) and segments 3B of that bikepath in Cumberland (1 mile) , and 8A and 8B in Woonsocket (3.5 miles total) all the way to the MA line;
east end of trestle trail in Coventry (4.8 miles) The west end will be bid in 2012 (5.2 miles) The DOT indicated there are $15.65 million left in earmarked funds or this peoject;
the Redman linear park on the Washington Bridge;
.85 mile extension of the 10 Mile River Greenway in Pawtucket ($3.75 million earmark left for this)
Projects listed but not yet scheduled::
Colt Park bikeways, Bristol ($2.5 million earmark left for this;)
south county bike path spurs, So. Kingstown;
Woonasquatucket bikeway extensions ($12.5 million earmark left;)
Aquidneck, Tiverton bikeways;
Jamestown Bridge access;
Warwick/Ea Greenwich bike network.
The Director indicated he hoped to spend the earmarks before they are lost but there could be problerms with not enough money left, community lack of consensus, or environmental permitting. While in general, earmarks are not a good planning tool, if that system continues RIDOT is likely to include the Blackstone bikeway in their earmark request. RIbike is invited to suggest their priorities.
Mr Lewis indcated that prospects for a new federal Highway bill are highly uncertain, but the continuing resolutions that extend the current law work out OK for Rhode Island.