Greater City Providence

Connecting the Blackstone and East Bay bike paths

Photo (cc) spablab

Last month Matthew wrote about the proposed on-road connection between the Blackstone and East Bay bike paths. Now we have the draft plan from the city of Pawtucket detailing part of that connection.

City of Pawtucket Blackstone Valley Bike Stripe Project [.pdf]

There are some caveats right now to these plans. The section between Pitman Street in Providence and the Town Landing in Pawtucket is not included in this document, that is a separate RIDOT funded project. The current plan shows the route running along Taft and Pleasant Streets in Pawtucket which are both closed (or will be closed at various dates in the future) due to the Pawtucket River Bridge replacement. The engineer is working on identifying a temporary route which will be open throughout the bridge construction.

The current plan in Providence is to run Pitman to Gano Street with Sharrows in the road. While state law allows for bikes to use any non-expressway street, and cars should make way for bikes, the planners are aware that the traffic volume on Gano is heavy and fast. Routing the bikeway along Gano may deter some less experienced users from traveling this way. There is consideration of putting the Sharrows on Ives Street instead.

The Pawtucket Citizens Development Corporation and the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council are working on this project, their current funding is limited. They are open to suggestions (which you may post here in the comments) but remember, thier budget is limited.

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.


  • Yeah Gano is not exactly bike friendly in that section. Its a tough choice because there are not many options there. Ives is better but still not great. It’s major problem is that its narrow, has cars parked 24/7, and since its still kind of a “thoroughfare” people don’t really pay attention to stop signs.

    Ideally they would build a bike/pedestrian path along the waterfront there after the I-195 offramp. Gano Park could really use a nice waterfront compared to what it has now. Though, I don’t see that kind of project in the near term especially since I guarantee it would mean the city buying right of way from owners along that stretch.

  • Thanks for the thoughts AF. I spoke with the Providence Planning Department and found out that the permanent bike route will end up using a small segment of Gano St anyways. For that reason, Providence is recommending that we use Gano. And we will.

    As to your desire to see a bikepath along the water; thats exactly whats going to happen. Eventually. Sometime in the next year or two, a new water infrastructure ‘sewer interceptor’ is going to be installed south of Pitman along the water. The official RIDOT bikepath will be installed on the land on top of the water main leading into that park. Thats where the bike path will spit back out to Gano before heading to the GW bridge.

    For now, we are stuck with Pitman and Gano.

  • Andrew, you’re mostly right. Latest word from the engineers designing the bikeway between Pitman St and India Point Park is that the trail will stay along the river south of the Gano park, all the way to the highway off-ramp opposite Trenton St, eliminating several more blocks of routing on Gano.

  • Is it relistic to cosndier a Blackstone-East Bay path connection along the East Providence waterfront supposedly being redeveloped? There is still some P&W abandoned railroad right of way that might help though some has already been turned into a road.

  • I think the only thing holding it back would be money. At some point the (whatsitcalled) 9-Mile River (?) bike path needs to be connected to the East Bay and Blackstone. That connection would be through EP obviously. Also, there’s movement in South Coast, Mass. to have a bike path connecting New Bedford and Fall River, and then make a connection eventually to Providence, again, through EP.

  • RIDOT looked at using the East Junction Railroad line through East Providence to connect the Ten Mile River Greenway to the Washington Bridge back in 2004. No real action has taken place since though. The railroad line has very infrequent service as it is.

    Connections to Southeast Mass. would come in two areas, one along the East Junction in Seekonk to Armistice Blvd and the Ten Mile River Greenway in Pawtucket, and another along Old Warren Road in Swansea to the Warren Bike Path (which eventually will connect to the East Bay Bike Path). The Swansea connection would form part of the South Coast Bikeway (the one through Fall River and New Bedford out to the Cape). Swansea already has a network of bike lanes and a short bike path.

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