Rhode Island Department of Transportation Proposal Slashes Bicycle and Pedestrian Project Funding Statewide (Jan 26, 2019) The “Major Amendment to the State Transportation Improvement Plan” presented by RIDOT to the State Transportation Advisory Committee on January 24th includes 33% cut to the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) over four years. TAP is the primary source of funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects statewide. According to a press release from the RI Bicycle Coalition: “While RIDOT asserts that shortfalls from the General Assembly’s Capital Budget, delays in constructing toll infrastructure, and deteriorating bridges are the cause of the amendment, very little of the proposed change will fund bridge work. Instead, one new $28.8 million highway project in western Cranston is one of the biggest proposed changes, along with large allocations to build toll gantries ($61.6 million) and ‘Headquarters Operations’ which includes more than doubling the ‘Legal’ line item to $24.9 million.” The $27 million in proposed cuts includes eliminating the $5 million Bicycle Improvements Contingency Account funded by the 2016 Green Economy Bond. Bike Newport’s Executive Director, Bari Freeman, sits on the state’s Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) and Bicycle Mobility Plan Committee, and is a member of the statewide coalition Paths to Progress that advises the state on bicycle and pedestrian project planning and funding. “The TAC created the contingency fund in response to these statewide coalitions and in order to ensure assignment of those funds to align with the statewide Bicycle Mobility Plan priorities. Those funds are untouchable. Our state electorate resoundingly voted those funds for bicycle and pedestrian projects by 79%,” Freeman stated. “That’s not approval – that’s a mandate, and they will not be redirected to highway or any project other than those for which they were intended.” The proposed amendment eliminates, cuts or delays funding to 35 bicycle and pedestrian projects statewide, including separated bike paths, sidewalks, and critical on-road connections. On Aquidneck Island, the Melville Connector and the Mount Hope Bay Path in Portsmouth will be eliminated; the shared use path and sidewalks on East Main Road in Portsmouth and Middletown will be eliminated; and scheduled improvements to Thames Street, Spring Street, Farewell Street, Bellevue Avenue, and Marlborough Street in Newport will be delayed to 2023 and beyond. Portsmouth Town Councilor Daniela Abbott is one of many bicycle and pedestrian advocates opposed to the cuts, “East Main Road is finally getting the sidewalks and bike paths so desperately overdue for transportation safety. These cuts are not considering people’s safety, connectivity, or economy. RIDOT needs to, and will be, better informed by the people of this state who intend to walk and ride to get where we’re going.” Bike Newport and Aquidneck Island Planning Commission are planning community information and discussion meetings to take place in addition to the upcoming public meetings scheduled by RIDOT. These meeting dates will be announced next week. For more information and updates, please follow Bike Newport online at www.bikenewportri.org and @bikenewportri on social media. The post ALERT: RIDOT Proposal Slashes Bike Funding appeared first on Bike Newport.
The post below first appeared on the Bike Newport blog. Jump to original: TAC Meeting – Letter to Members re: Major Amendment to the TIP
Dear Friends, Thanks to all who are following the situation with the DOT recommendation for a “Major Amendment to the TIP” aka Major Amendment #11. This amendment proposes major reduction to Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) funding to make up for shortfalls in pavement and bridge funding. TAP funding is the primary source for bicycle, pedestrian, and transit projects. The first presentation of this proposal took place at the monthly meeting of the Rhode Island Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) on Thursday, January 24, 2019 at 5:30pm – Department of Administration, One Capitol Hill, Conference Room A. The meeting was open to the public. We’re all in this together! Everyone’s participation at meetings, discussions, and online in social media is always valuable. Let’s keep awareness high and information flowing. More public meetings coming soon. I am a member of the TAC but was unfortunately out of town for this important meeting. I asked my colleagues on the TAC to consider these requests at the meeting: 1) Please consider and honor the concerns of those community members in attendance. The proposed reduction to TAP funding included in RIDOT’s recommendations is staggering and has long-term and ominous implications to TAP projects already funded, and to the statewide progress on all things active transportation. Specifically, please consider the urgent request to extend the period of community comment from 30 days to 90 days to ensure that everyone affected has time to receive, process, and respond to the Amendment content and for DOT to gather and process that response for our informed consideration. 2) Although the State Bicycle Mobility Plan is not yet adopted, it contains information and recommendations culled and developed over many months by a statewide coalition of expert stakeholders which are significant to improved planning. These recommendations should be considered valuable and relevant by state and municipalities alike even in advance of formal adoption of the plan. 3) Additionally: Considering bicycle, pedestrian, and transit projects as “alternative” – as in “Transportation Alternative Program” – and separating them in planning and funding is an outdated practice that inherently maintains a car-centric culture which is cost-inefficient in planning, design and building our transportation network. While we are beholden to the language of federal funding, there may be ways for us to use this time to demonstrate what is possible when we look at bicycle, pedestrian and transit planning/accommodation as part of pavement and bridge planning. Is this a time when we as a state can demonstrate the budgetary efficiencies of complete streets planning – ie considering all road users in every road plan. We need assurance of due diligence to serve the public interest and solicit their input. Public meetings should include presentations of the proposed changes and the public’s board – the TAC – needs to weigh these interests before making recommendations to the State Planning Council. With thanks to all for your commitment to better roads and transportation planning for all road users. Feel free to contact me if you have any thoughts or questions. Sincerely, Bari Freeman Executive Director The post Letter to the Public: Major Amendment to the TIP appeared first on Bike Newport.
Did you know Rhode Island and Massachusetts have draft statewide Bicycle Planning Guides? Massachusetts Department of Transportation has a ‘Draft Municipal Resource Guide For Bikeability,’ and Rhode Island has a draft ‘Bicycle Mobility Plan.’ Give them a read and see the future when all road users are treated equally and we leave car-centric planning behind. These plans share missions: Biking will be a safe, comfortable, and convenient (MA) and safe, fun, and practical (RI) option for everyday travel. They are encouraging and informative documents that assist people in choosing bicycles, and municipalities in planning for bikeable places. Well done, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. We hope to see them adopted soon! The post Statewide Bicycle Planning Guides appeared first on Bike Newport.
2015 has been a banner year!
Bike Newport continues to gain traction on the roads, in the community, and around the region. Our “By the Numbers” card details exciting progress: more bike education, more bike infrastructure, and more bike riders. That’s the Bike Newport story – MORE and BETTER bicycling.
No matter why you ride, or even if you don’t ride, you’ll love the community we’re working to create. A bike-friendly Newport will also be a kid-, pedestrian-, elder-, business-, and environment-friendly Newport. Newport will be a better community for motorists, as well. We’re working to educate all road users about safety – better bicyclists, better pedestrians, and better motorists.
Our efforts are all based on a three-part promise of more and better infrastructure, education, and ridership:
On the road to this bike-friendly vision, we’re working toward more bike lanes, more bike parking, better bike routes, better bike education, better road sharing, and, yes, dedicated bike paths on Aquidneck Island – starting with the First Mile. We will hold our course until we have connected the North End with the center of town, and we have afforded our residents and visitors a healthful and enjoyable way to arrive in Newport walking and biking. That First Mile of bike path will be one more step on the path to a bikeable and walkable island – for transportation and for recreation. We can do this – with your help. We can hold our course and continue to strengthen our partnerships, deepen our traction, and advance our progress.
Please support us today. Because dreaming bike-friendly is easy. But funding bike-friendly is hard.
Every contribution helps! Donations are tax-deductible.
Contributions over $50 will receive a free Bike Newport 2016 membership.
Join us, visit us, be part of the action.
Take a class, rescue a bike, come for a community ride, share your road knowledge, mark the maps, teach a kid to ride or to keep her tires inflated, help park some of the 3,369 bikes at the Folk Festival! Stop by our HQ at 437 Broadway any time and say hello. Grab a Newport Bike Map and a Commuter Guide while you’re here. Visit our Bike Garages and get a tour of the inventory, learn a little about wheel truing from an expert, or how to fix a flat from a recent basic bike maintenance graduate. Bear witness to the crowd of kids circling Miantonomi Park on Bike Library bikes.
We need your help to make it all happen! To keep us in the saddle and at the tables where decisions are made. We need your help to keep the doors open to our Bike Library, the tools busy at our Bike Garages, the routes shared in our Bike Map, the spotlight on local and statewide Bike Plans, and funding for safer on-road biking as well as multi-use paths.
If you have ideas, questions, feedback, please reach out to us. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Our phone number is (401) 619-4900.
Explore this website – it’s chock full of great information, maps, and resources.
THANK YOU! For your support, and for being part of Bike Newport.
Bike Newport Board:
Dawn Euer, Chair; Allison McNally, Vice Chair; Don Jagoe, Treasurer; Laura Murphy, Secretary; Sarah Atkins, Renee Kaminitz, Peter Harty, James Ryan, Chip Young
Bike Newport Staff:
Bari Freeman, Executive Director; Mark Chesterton, Director of Education; Liza Burkin, Program Manager
The post Dreaming Bike-Friendly is Easy. Building Bike-Friendly is Hard. appeared first on Bike Newport.