Greater City Providence

PVD’s 5 Worst Intersections…

Inspired by Jef’s proposal of putting the Thomas/North Main intersection on an asphalt “diet” of sorts (and some feedback posted that perhaps there are worse offenders out there), I thought we could all think out loud about which intersections in the city are the worst-of-the-worst. Here’s how we should break it down:

– 5 Worst Intersections for Drivers:

– 5 Worst Intersections for Pedestrians:

– 5 Worst Intersections for Bike Riders:

You don’t have to list 5 all at once, just start throwing ideas out there… I’m curious which intersections will show up in each category.

My first vote for drivers: Branch Avenue and 146
My first vote for walkers: Wickenden->Point St. near the highway entrances/exits and N. Main.

Have at it in the comments section!

Bret Ancowitz


  • – 5 Worst Intersections for Drivers:

    olneyville square’s new traffic pattern. what the fuck?

    exit 25N on I-95 where half of the cars are slowing down to make the right turn onto surface roads and the other half are accelerating to merge onto I-95 on the left. and they have to cross each other. holy shit.

    exit 24 branch ave on I-95. if you make the left, it’s a busy wait. if you make the right on branch, the blind spot of people trying to make the left out of Benny’s parking lot has made even me, a generally careful driver, almost kill the shit out of several minivans, presumably full of children.

    actually, branch in general is a clusterfuck.

    – 5 Worst Intersections for Pedestrians:

    trying to cross from the mall to downtown–what is that road?–that is the on-ramp for 95 and 6 and maybe 10. scary.

  • I have one nomination for worst intersection for pedestrians: The Messer/Barton intersection with Westminster. It’s a confusingly large box (without any ‘don’t block the box’ signs) _and_ it’s in front of a school. A kid gets hit crossing that street almost every year although there haven’t been any this year, thank goodness.

  • for pedestrians:

    downtown should be a lot more pedestrian friendly than it is, what the fu*k is with all the crosswalk signals that dont light up at all



    lasalle square

    emmett square

  • For bikes? in Providence? You mean other than any location where a bicycle and a moving automobile might even hypothetically occupy the same space at the same time? Just last week I was nearly creamed while on the sidewalk. No kidding.

    As a pedestrian? I changed my daily route explicitly to avoid any crossings with Memorial. Yeah, it’s bad.

  • I think that intersection by the mall and Exchange Street and the Westin hits the trifecta as being a horrible intersection for cars, people, bikes.

    The lane change (ie., the road arrows) from the light by GTech is a bad lead-in bad for cars, and anything that is bad for cars is dangerous for pedestrians and bikers.

    That is a terrible intersection whether you’re going straight onto dorrance, going faint right to Sabin, or hard right to whatever that street is that goes under the parking garage, all the while checking to see which of the lanes has the green light or the red X…

    And I’m not a big fan of the Francis Street light at the foot of the state house, in front of the mall seeing how I was run over there a few years ago.

  • Drivers:
    Rt-95N @ exit 23 (Trying to exit while others are trying to merge)
    Rt-10S @ Rt-6W (Especially if you’re trying to merge from Harris Ave)
    Dean St and Atwells Ave (Trying to continue South on Dean St or go turn West onto Atwells from South on Dean – Cars seem to keep coming after light turns green)

    Memorial Blvd and Francis St
    Fountain St and Francis St
    Dean St and Atwells Ave

  • Wow, mine were all listed already. Olneyville Sq is a big mess. Emmett Sq is probably the worst for all 3 in the city, especially if you toss in the pedestrian mess where the off/on ramps are at the intersection of Francis and Memorial.

    Dean and Atwells is one of the worst for pedestrians in an area that should be designed primarily for pedestrians and not cars.

    The mess that is Canal/Steeple/Thomas/North Main/Waterman/Washington is awful for cars during rush hour, which seems to extend beyond the normal rush hour period in that one location.

    The on and off ramps and most of I-95 in the area of exits 21-23 both directions is awful.

    Finally, Dean St, Plesant Valley Pkwy, Raymond St, Oakland Ave (whatever it’s called) is pretty nasty as it crosses the river. It’s not fun for anyone.

  • Drivers:
    Dean @ Atwells

    Dean @ Atwells

    Dean @ Atwells

    Dean @ Atwells

    Dean @ Atwells

    Dean @ Atwells

  • Worst intersection for cyclists: Westminster St, where Dean becomes Cahir — the Subway/Classical/New Urban Arts intersection. I was hit there nearly three years ago, despite all my best efforts to prevent it.

  • No question, Dean and Atwells is a mess for everyone.

    I think Branch and I-95 is just about the worst designed set of on/off ramps I’ve ever seen. I never get off at Branch from southbound 95 if I can help it.

  • Everyone is right so far, especially lola:

    branch in general is a clusterfuck

    All the intersections along and near where Branch Ave, Smithfield Ave, and Dean Street cross the highways are the worst for cyclists and pedestrians. These important connectors with no alternatives offer long narrow sidewalks covered with gravel and busted glass (or snow and ice) inches from speeding traffic, and drivers swooping across crosswalks with limited access highway mindsets. Extra demerits are in order for the old fashioned bicycle-wheel-grabbing drainage grates!

    Worst for drivers, I vote Olneyville Square, although I have not seen the new traffic pattern. At least when the cars are all standing still, it is not too tough for pedestrians to cross or cyclists to squeeze by.

  • Worst for cars:
    point street and Eddy by davol square. When approaching west on point street, there is no left turn signal which leads to multiple disastrous close calls

  • Drivers: 95 south at Branch Ave. Impossible!

    Biking: North Main at Doyle and Olney. Those right-turn lanes are a death trap for someone cycling north on North Main. Same for someone on foot.

  • My worst:

    1. 6/10 from Tobey St. to Union Ave.. I hate that godforsaken stretch of road…
    2. Branch Ave. I live on Branch and the most harrowing part of my daily commute is the final 0.5 miles
    3. The whole Broadway/Atwells/Fountain/Empire/Sabin mess. This one would definitely apply to pedestrians and cyclists as well. It always feels like a free-for-all. Not that most residents would heed them, but I think that area needs clear lane designations and better pedestrian controls.

  • Myself and a gaggle of RISD students (a murder of RISD students?) were almost mowed down by someone sailing through the red light on Memorial at College Street this afternoon. And it wasn’t one of those yellow-to-red reds, it was full on red, all other traffic stopped, cross light turned green, people were walking reds. The driver wasn’t on the phone, wasn’t texted, wasn’t reading the paper, wasn’t putting on makeup, shaving, eating a meal… just sailed through the red light without a care in the world about 10 miles over the speed limit.

  • I second M. Coolidge!
    Rt-95N @ exit 23, the Broadway exit, causes me to have panic attacks, you have less than 1/4 mile to merge over two lanes of fast-moving incoming traffic from 195.
    Rt-10S @ Rt-6W, crossing over two lanes of traffic attempting to exit in a panicked, early morning attempt to pick up root ten makes for a difficult start to my morning.

    Olneyville Square is no picnic either!

    For pedestrians: Memorial Boulevard, anywhere on there…

    Bikers: Westminster up near the armory district… this is not just because of scary, aggressive drivers but because of cat callers.

  • I know it’s not an intersection, nor is it in Providence, but if you want a genuine nail biter, try riding a bicycle up the hill on Rt 7 where it crosses the highway (295). You’re on a bike going maybe 10 mph in the same lane as people getting on the highway.

    It’s like the highway crossings in the city, but cars are already going 45+ mph. Super fun!

  • Most of the major intersections on Dean St are bad for all modes of transportation particularly Dean/Valley, Dean/Federal and Dean at the 6/10 on and off ramps. The ramps area is particularly hazardous for cyclists coming up the hill headed towards Atwells.

  • Judging by the above suggestions Providence is a shitty place to try and propel ourselves. It’s time to actively engage our DOT. Goodbye Dean St!

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