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. Originally posted here: Jamestown North Main Road: For Safety Sake
The Big Blue Bike Barn is Coming! Modeled on the successes of the Red Shed in Olneyville, our new Bike Barn will dramatically increase the size of Bike Newport’s current North Side Bike Library – from one 20’ container to two 40’ containers – quadrupling the size. The program will relocate out of the Florence Gray Center parking lot and onto a lot on Sunset Blvd, immediately adjacent to Miantonomi Park. This past October, 23 city leaders and stakeholders boarded a bus bound for the Red Shed in Riverside Park where we toured and chatted with the staff of the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council about their site and programs. Jai Communications Group captured the day in the accompanying video. In February, North Side residents gathered at the Health Equity Zone’s Vision Lab to plan what the Newport version will look like. Place Studio Landscape Design captured the vision in the “after” illustration above. Thanks to multiple partners, the new facility will be a beautiful hub of bicycle, garden, and park activity. Work on preparing the site has already begun; and the new containers are expected to be in place by mid-April. Newport Housing Authority made the land available to house the Bike Barn; the City of Newport is assisting with removing fences, clearing space, and cutting the path into Miantonomi to connect directly with the mountain bike trails in the park. Aquidneck Land Trust is providing access and guiding stewardship of the paths. The Newport County YMCA is actively partnering on creating summer program. Aquidneck Community Table is helping to plan gardens on the site. Solar panels will provide power and rain barrels will collect water. The community will be invited to help with many aspects of preparing the containers and the properties for activity. Rhonda Mitchell, Executive Director of Newport Housing Authority, shared, “The board and staff of the Housing Authority are excited to see this property be put to such good use. We love the Bike Newport Bike Library and we’re happy to help it to expand in an improved location. Our youth and families are going to get great enjoyment from this facility and from the programs that will take place there.” Austin Andersen is a 15-year-old bike enthusiast and one of the many excited Newport youth. He’s been coming to the Bike Library for five years. “This is going to be the coolest thing we’ve had in a while. Everyone’s been talking about it and waiting on it and now it’s coming. It’s showing a lot about people in the community reaching out to kids and helping them do what they love.” Dedicated funding to date has been generously provided by Powered by Prince at Newport Hospital, the Rhode Island Foundation, and the RITBA Foundation. The post The Big Blue Bike Barn appeared first on Bike Newport.
Butch Murray is the owner of the Fastnet Pub, and the adjacent property that formerly housed Jey’s Detailing. Recently, Murray pulled a page from the Generosity Handbook when he agreed to provide the space to Bike Newport – to bring bike culture to the heart and flow of Newport for the coming season.
“I hadn’t yet decided what to do with the building, and it’s a shame to keep it empty while I consider the options. We’re coming on the best time of year to be outside and enjoy Newport, so Bike Newport’s proposition made sense. I’ve been a supporter of Bike Newport since they started getting more people on bikes – if 29 Spring Street can be part of that progress, so be it!”
Bike Newport’s proposition? To move our administrative offices side-by-side with our Bike Garage activities, and put it all in easy reach of the folks who can benefit from the repair and distribution of donated bicycles.
Our occupancy at the City’s 437 Broadway property is coming to an end, but 29 Spring Street’s offices and two garage bays could be the silver lining. Because, Butch Murray, the community-minded property owner is welcoming us for the short term.
At the Bike Barn, the people of Newport, with the help of resident mechanics, will build or fix a bike of their choosing. The bikes, collected from community donations, recycling days, and abandonment, are triaged for restoration or stripped for parts. In the process, we’re keeping usable bikes and parts out of the waste stream, and making a fleet of bikes available to new owners. To date, we have collected, restored and distributed more than 100 bikes, and there are plenty more where those came from.
Henri Venable, our new Manager of Educational Program is modeling the Bike Barn on the Community Bike Project in Bloomington, IN, where he worked prior to coming to Newport. “Ultimately, everyone who wants a bike will have one, regardless of financial constraints,” explains Henri, “That’s our goal.” In addition, residents will be able to use the Barn’s tools and used parts to fix their own bikes, and basic maintenance classes will help all cyclists to know how to change tires, replace their chains and get out of the typical pickles that need not derail a delightful Ocean Loop bike ride or an easy jaunt to the grocery store.
The Bike Barn is not is a bike repair shop. If you’re looking for a place to drop your bike, consider one of the bike retailers in town. If you’re looking to get a little greasy yourself, we’re your place. Tom Kearns, owner of Ten Speed Spokes, shares, “Our mechanics enjoy helping community members to restore bikes with Bike Newport, while we repair bikes and sell new bikes and components at the shop. The rising tide of biking is raising all boats!” Yes, indeed, the more people on bikes, the better for all of our community bike businesses.
How will we build The Bike Barn? – with a Barn Raising, of course. Northeast Collaborative Architects (NCA) of Washington Square are helping us to plan and design the space – also a generous contribution of talent. From April 11th to 29th, Bike Newport staff and supportive volunteers will spend afternoons and evenings cleaning, repairing, and painting. By May 1st, Bike Newport and the Bike Barn will be open for business.
Glen Gardiner, principal at NCA, saw the promise of this location from the first suggestion, “Newport is ready for a healthy dose of bike culture. This matchup of space, generosity, and vision, the partnerships in the historic center of town honors this city’s passion and promise to improve and encourage bicycling. NCA is thrilled to help make it happen.”
For those who enjoy the bike building and repair programs at the Bike Garage at Rogers, and the Bike Library at the Florence Gray Center – those programs will continue as well. Look for notices about wheel building, internal hub construction, and more, and remind your kids that the Bike Library is open for action every Saturday from 9:30am-12:30pm, with more hours to come. Check out bikenewportri.org/ bike-garage for the full list of locations and programs, and the local retail resources for new bikes and components.
Any and all help is appreciated as Bike Newport Raises the Barn – every day from April 11th to April 29th from 3pm to 8pm with food and fun provided, and always the chance to toast Butch at the Fastnet afterwards. Community service hours are available to students and employees.
Every step of the bicycle renaissance in Newport has been thanks to generosity, partnership, collaboration, and vision among planners, advocates, preservationists, and businesses. In addition to Butch Murray and NCA, we thank the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, the FH Prince Memorial Fund, RIDOT Highway Safety Program, the RI Department of Health, the 1772 Foundation, Senate President Paiva Weed, Rep Lauren Carson, the City of Newport, and the countless businesses and individuals who support the advance of bicycle friendly culture.
Photo: Thanks to the generosity of owner Butch Murray, and the help of Northeast Collaborative Architects, we’re moving to 29 Spring Street. (l-r) Henri Venable, Glenn Gardiner, Jeff Moniz, Butch Murray, Bari Freeman, and Mary Ellen Lynch.
Photo: Gus LeSaffre on Sakonnet Bridge Bike Lane / by David Hansen, Newport Daily News
The Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) is the list of transportation projects that the state intends to implement. It is overseen by Rhode Island’s federally-mandated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) – the State Planning Council.
Here’s what we can so far expect from both documents:
The RIDOT Ten Year Plan
RIDOT’s Ten Year Plan makes recommendations for priority projects and budgets. The Plan provides scenarios both with and without Rhode Works, the proposed funding plan that introduces truck tolls, specifically to increase funds for bridge repairs.
The Ten Year Plan is asset management focused, and dedicates early funds to urgent bridge repairs in response to the severely compromised condition of the state’s bridges.
With the limited exception of bridges that include both bikes and cars, the Ten Year Plan addresses bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in two general line items –
$129.7M is budgeted for Transportation Alternatives that include bike, pedestrian, Safe Routes to School, recreational trails, and retrofit sidewalks to meet ADA requirements.
$5M is recommended for incentives to choose transportation alternatives such as transit passes, vanpools, bike opportunities, and employer incentives.
The TIP (Transportation Improvement Plan)
The current TIP for years 2013-2016, expires in September 2016.
The next TIP will serve years 2017-2025, with proposed annual reviews and updates.
The invitation to submit applications for the next TIP will be released soon.
Applicants will be alerted as to which projects from the prior TIP have been resubmitted by RIDOT and which projects will need to be resubmitted by an applicant.
As no bike projects are specifically detailed in RIDOT’s Ten Year Plan and therefore are not resubmitted by RIDOT, all bike projects from the previous TIP will have to be resubmitted by the applicants, even if they were identified as high priority.
Applicants will receive guidance in public workshops and from staff at the Statewide Planning Program.
Each applicant organization and/or community will RANK priorities for their municipal area, including RIDOT’s recommended projects, along with the new and resubmitted projects included in their application.
There will be a public process to review all projects submitted.
Bari Freeman, Bike Newport’s Executive Director, is a member of the state’s Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), a key advisory group participating in the development of the TIP. She has requested that the RESUBMIT process be spelled out very specifically in all correspondence and in the Application Guide so all stakeholders are fully aware that bicycle infrastructure projects from the previous TIP must be resubmitted.
Again, the Ten Year Plan can be viewed, downloaded, and searched HERE.
Important meeting: THIS THURSDAY, May 28th, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, the Portsmouth Town Council will receive public comments about the proposed Aquidneck Island Bikeway Design.
The hearing will take place in the Portsmouth Town Council Chambers, Town Hall, 2200 East Main Road. If you support this project, your presence will be most valuable.
While Bike Newport works toward the first mile of off-road bike path in Newport, our colleagues at the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission (AIPC) are working from the north for a combined on-road and off-road bikeway that will provide a continuous corridor for bicycle travel along the west side of the island. You can view the Design Study Report HERE.
A presentation of the design study will open the meeting. Speakers will then be invited to speak – first-come, first-served – to share their opinions for up to three minutes.
This is an opportunity to share with our community leaders in Portsmouth that biking is good for the economy, environment, public health, and quality of life and place – AND that all road users benefits from improved road sharing and protected bikeways.
The design study for Portsmouth is available HERE, and at the Portsmouth Town Hall (2200 E. Main Rd.), the Portsmouth Free Public Library (2658 E. Main Rd.), and AIPC (437 Broadway, Newport).
Written comments regarding the design study may be submitted through June 19, 2015. Email to email@example.com or post to the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission, 437 Broadway, Newport, RI 02840.
All comments, verbal and written, should include your name and place of residence.
See you on Thursday!
The post Show your support for the Aquidneck Island Bikeway on Thurs, 5/28 appeared first on Bike Newport.
Photo (l-r): Hank Myers, manager; Ray Simas, driver; Bob Elliott, driver; Melissa Wicks, safety coordinator; Bari Freeman, Bike Newport; Harvey Chapman, driver; Paul Nobile, driver; Butch Malarchik, driver; Cindy Boiani, driver.
“We want to be part of the solution.”
– Hank Myers, Manager, First Student, Newport
School busses have unique safety challenges – requiring the utmost attention to the road, the vehicle, and their precious cargo. With an average 35’ length – there are visibility and blind spot challenges at every moment of the drive. Stopping, starting, standing, passing, and turning, our bus drivers need to be aware of what is happening inside and outside their bus. Safety is the most important aspect of school bus driving, and our drivers take it seriously.
Newport has unique challenges as well – narrow winding streets in historic neighborhoods, distracted vacation drivers on unfamiliar roads, cyclists riding the wrong way or inadequately illuminated. Not so unique are the phone-fixated and/or impatient motorists putting everyone at risk. With three pedestrian deaths in the past year, we have a wake up call to take more action to improve safety on our roads.
When Bike Newport suggested a conversation about road sharing with the district’s bus drivers, Hank Myers was keen to get started. The local manager of First Student, Newport’s school bus company, Hank manages 16 bus drivers who service the district’s three schools. “Great idea,” said Hank. “Let’s do it.” Let’s be a partner in the effort to improve safety on our roads.
Fresh off the Monday morning run, we gathered at the First Student bus depot on Halsey Street. We discussed rules of the road, bicyclist rights and responsibilities, and bicycle-related ordinances. We reviewed bike lanes, shared lanes, and state passing laws. We shared horror stories and agreed that there are good and bad cyclists and good and bad motorists.
Together we considered the value of bicycling in a town as small and scenic as Newport, where local travel is mostly under two miles – easily walkable and bikeable. We acknowledged that bicycling inherently reduces traffic congestion and improves health, economy, quality of life, and quality of place.
We agreed on a few first steps together. We’ve already begun to share information – documentation of road rules and recommendations, and helpful videos on road sharing safety. We’ll ask the local media to assist by printing daily or weekly reminders to cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians about safe road behaviors. Together we’ll develop joint messages – like today’s message to bicyclists about the importance of correct bike behaviors near school busses. Here it is:
According to state and local laws, bicycles are vehicles and must abide by all vehicular traffic laws. Therefore:
Bicyclists: When you see a stopped school bus with safety lights on, you are required to stop before reaching the vehicle and remain standing until the bus lights are no longer operating. Also, please do not ever pass a school bus on the right side. When children are entering and exiting the bus, everyone is put at risk.
If following the law isn’t enough, consider this added incentive, as conveyed by our friends at Bike Portland in Oregon: “While you sit out the delay, it may give you time to wonder about the intent of the school bus law. After all it’s meant to keep children safe as they cross the street or congregate around the bus. Despite the personal inconvenience of waiting, the letter of the law may be important here because as a living, breathing distraction in the landscape, you are probably being observed by some of the kids on the bus. These are the future cyclists of America and you, standing by, are serving as a role model. It isn’t often you are given the opportunity to do the right thing so easily and impress a very impressionable audience at the same time. Maybe it’s worth a couple minutes of standing still.” We, at Bike Newport and First Student, agree. Safety is always worth the time.
Throughout our meeting, there was a stoic gentleman at the back of the room who refused to crack a smile, no matter my eye-to-eye attention and attempted wit. He was one tough customer. But at the end of our session, he came forward, took off his glasses and delivered a bigger smile than I’d hoped for. It seems we are all indeed in this together. Thanks to Harvey, Hank Myers, and all the First Student bus drivers for being part of the solution.
Let’s get out there and be role models. Safety first.
RI residents have an opportunity to shape the state’s future through Rhode Map RI, a project that began in early 2013.
Join Bike Newport on Jan. 30 for a discussion with local and state officials on how to build a community that will accommodate and nurture Rhode Island’s future growth while protecting its natural and cultural resources, focusing on bicycle and pedestrian issues in Newport.
When: Thursday, Jan. 30, 5:00 – 8:00 pm
Where: Newport Police Department, 120 Broadway
Hosted by: RhodeMap RI and Bike Newport.
Invite your friends to the Facebook event to give everyone with bicycle and pedestrian interest the opportunity to join this tailored discussion.
Thanks to all who helped make 2013 a banner year for Bike Newport! Stop by our office at 435 Thames Street to learn more about what’s coming in 2014 as we continue on the road to “more and better”: more bike education, better road markings, more bike racks, better road sharing behaviors, more lights on night riders, better reporting of bike/car encounters, more “Park ‘n Bike” opportunities, better enforcement on the roads, more bicycle rides and events, better support for biking to school, more bike friendly businesses, and better engagement of city cyclists! We intend to put the traction we’re gaining to work for us. So here’s to 2014! May it be a year of great rides and more riders.
Here are some highlights from 2013:
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