Greater City Providence

Henderson Bridge bike lane


Photo (cc) K_Gradinger

Bike Providence reports that a Bike Lane will be appearing on the Henderson Bridge as soon as next Wednesday. Bike lane signs are up and a query from Bike Providence to RIDOT found that striping (which includes grinding the pavement to remove existing striping) should have commenced this week. Anyone been over the bridge to see if this is indeed happening?

This is actual lanes painted on the roadway not the sidewalks currently existing. Nice to have the bikes and pedestrians separated, I hope having the bikes on the roadway works out though. Some sort of raised berm between the bike lane and travel lanes would make me feel a bit better I think, but we’ll see what the bikers say once they get a chance to use it.

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.


  • I went over the Henderson this morning, just to see if any work had begun as RIDOT suggested… any guesses? Nope. No pavement grinding yet. I’ll ping RIDOT again next Wednesday if we haven’t seen any action.

  • Nice to see such an effort for the lanes to be signed and striped. I wonder how wide a lane will be allocated, and will it be kept clear of debris.

    Prior to the lane being present, I would use the right travel lane, despite a shoulder area because of the amount of sand and other debris adjacent to the barrier (at least on the inbound side). The outbound side didn’t have a shoulder nor as much debris prior. Frankly, the worse problem on this stretch is that it looks like and is driven as though it were a 50+ mph highway in contrast to the posted 35mph limit. Narrowing the road with a bike lane could help on this, but I doubt it as the road will still “feel” wide and fast.

  • The other problem with this is that the three lanes at the intersection of Angell and Hunter is a travesty. I was hit there yesterday by a dude on a cell phone taking the right hand turn, he actually crossed over the sidewalk, where I had already detoured because I kind of knew he was not paying attention. Problem is that right turn is very sharp and Hunter is narrow, so people always run over the sidewalk. Put that back to two lanes. I can’t imagine there is that much of a need for a dedicated left turn lane since Angell is already one way.

    And then there is trouble of getting ONTO the bridge, competing with the traffic from Waterman and Hunter. The left turn lane on Hunter @Angell means that if you move to the left in anticipation of taking this turn, you are risking someone hitting you in the opposite direction. Usually I actually move up to Wayland and then come down Waterman but that shouldn’t be necessary. It’s really a poorly designed intersection that someone seemed to set up with matchbox cars to try to get more car throughput..only the timing of the traffic lights makes it as bad as it ever was. I hope that with the IWay nearly finished RIDOT can restripe these roads, or allow the city to, since these are not going to be used as detours so much.

  • Sorry yes. I always want to say Butler then think I am getting confused with the hospital and then I switch it to Hunter, which IIRC used to be on the traffic light as East Side Marketplace and may have been an abandoned street when they built those nursing homes? Or I’m crazy, which is more likely.

  • I was looking all over a map of the East Side going, “where the bloody hell is Hunter Street?”

  • Sorry. Also, I guess it is actually S. Angell, but I think everyone knows what I mean.

    Also, to answer the query of the post, as of yesterday, still no grinding.

  • I think, Waterman and Angell should each have a left side bike lane the full length.


    The left bike lanes could then feed into a protected central bikeway on the Henderson. The only problem is getting bikes off the bridge at Massasoit. Something would have to be engineered to provide a bike ramp from the center down to Massasoit. At Broadway, the bike way could just go up the ramp that traffic currently goes up.

  • With all due respect Jef, please no left bike lanes. Consider Promenade which has a worn-away bike lane as part of the Woonasquatucket Greenway. It makes the transitions at all intersections more awkward and dangerous and many cyclists would just keep to the right anyways.
    Cyclists have been using that bridge without lanes for years without striping. Striping along the right will at least make people more aware that cyclists belong there and perhaps safer for them as well.

  • Well, it could be flipped, bikes on right, parking on left. The goal is to give bikes a space outside of the door zone. Some parking meters would need to be moved if parking were flipped, but Waterman and Angell each need to be completely rebuilt at some point anyway, so moving some parking meters would be the least of it really.

    And… putting a busway in the center lanes of the Henderson would also be a good option.

    I think the highway configuration of the Henderson is a big issue. While hardcore bikers may have no issue with the bridge, lanes or not, more casual riders would probably prefer a protected lane, regardless of where it is. Normalizing the environment on the bridge would help, but I think traffic will always move fast on it.

  • Who within the city is responsible for designing bike lanes? Is it Planning and Development or Public Works or both? I assume that RIDOT is responsible for the Henderson Bridge. All of these public agencies should view the video that Jef posted on the ‘Streetfilms: NYC DOT explains Bike Lanes in the Big Apple’ piece. The video clearly identifies issues of bike lanes and how they bicycles interface with cars on varying scales of city streets.

  • The highway configuration is a vestige of an early plan. The Henderson Bridge was the first completed link of a 4 lane limited access highway from Taunton Ave near the state line to I-195 near Gano. The semi cloverleaf at the east end should go on a road diet: Reconfigure it as a low speed intersection and free up a lot of land.

Providence, RI
5:27 am8:16 pm EDT
Feels like: 75°F
Wind: 6mph W
Humidity: 58%
Pressure: 29.94"Hg
UV index: 0
84°F / 63°F
86°F / 66°F
88°F / 68°F