The ProJo recently covered the story of retailers feeling cut off by the reconfiguration of Route 195. On the old alignment of Route 195, Exit 2 went to Wickenden Street and the big green sign on the overpass said as much. Now, the eastbound exit which one would use to reach Wickenden is simply signed for India Point and Gano Street, much to the chagrin of business owners on Wickenden.
I hate that this is such an autocentric problem, but I’m sure it is true. When there is no Wickenden Street exit, people can’t find the street.
This video shows how to reach Wickenden and some of the shops on the street:
RIDOT is responding to the concerns of the business owners and plans to experiment with some signage for Wickenden Street. RIDOT will look into placing smaller signs on Route 195 alerting motorists to use the Gano Street exit to reach Wickenden. And on Route 195 Westbound, the new South Main Street exit will have Wickenden Street listed on the big green signs on Route 195.
This is indicative though of the city falling short when it comes to wayfinding. RIDOT can put all the signs they want on Route 195, but there needs to be better signage on city streets.
The sign above on Route 195 westbound is before the Washington Bridge. It tells drivers to use Exit 2 to reach Benefit Street, Brown, RISD, and Johnson & Wales. That exit leads you onto South Main Street so you will eventually arrive in the middle of RISD’s South Main campus area, but I challenge you to pretend you don’t know, and rely on signage to try to reach Benefit Street, Brown, and J&W from Exit 2.
To make our city truly visitor friendly and to help customers reach business districts, Providence really needs to invest in a comprehensive wayfinding system.
Where’s Wickenden video via Providence Daily Dose