Greater City Providence

REBOOT: Blackstone Boulevard?

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In response to Matt’s post about Livable Streets and the street redesign contest a reader submitted this idea:

What is now the southbound side of Blackstone Blvd becomes 2-way. 1 northbound lane, 1 southbound lane and a parking lane on the southbound side. Plenty of crosswalks. Might need a northbound left turn lane at Rochambeau.

The northbound side becomes the Bike Boulevard. Only vehicles that need to access the houses along here will enter. This can be completed in one of two ways. Vehicular traffic is alternate one-way, or the blocks are open to vehicles at only one end, with passage at the other ends physically restricted to bike traffic. All the cross streets have stop signs so bike traffic flows freely.

Between the Butler entrance and Alfred Stone Rd. there are no vehicles at all. The pavement can be narrowed to just a bike path. The linear park becomes unseparated from the green space of Swan Point Cemetary.

I like this idea in concept, but I think reaching homes on the bikeway side needs some more thought. How would this best work? Does anyone have other thoughts about Blackstone or is anyone interested in taking this on and doing the Photoshop work to show how it would be realized?

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • As an intellectual exercise it’s interesting, but why?

    It’s already got a pedestrian path and bike lanes (grumble) and it’s almost entirely residential. We’ve already spent a fair amount of time and money accommodating Boulevard residents who are intimidated backing out of their driveways. I live a block or two off the Boulevard and the entire neighborhood is absurdly easy to walk and bike already. North Main Street maybe?

  • Why? Because Blackstone Boulevard is not just a street, it is one of the most heavily used parks in the city, a regional destination. Having traffic along one instead of both sides would make it even more pleasant for walkers and bikers. Why not? The change requires almost no construction, just signs and paint.

    Bike lanes are now on Blackstone Boulevard but not North Main Street because Blackstone was the easy thing to do. There was room and no need for expensive reconstruction. It was an undeniable improvement, but this is more improvement for barely more investment.

    What do you propose for N Main?

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