No. We’re not out of the woods yet. …
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.
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.
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.