Greater City Providence

Pedestrians struck in Providence and Pawtucket over the weekend

walkinpvd-iconWJAR reports that two people were struck by a driver who stopped on the Point Street Bridge on Saturday afternoon:

In Providence, police tell NBC 10 two pedestrians were struck on Saturday shortly after 5:00 p.m. on the Point Street Bridge with their backs facing traffic. The operator of the vehicle stopped and told police that he was unable to see the two walking in the road because of heavy sun glare.

The pair were transported to Rhode Island Hospital with minor injuries and the driver is not facing any charges. Police noted that the sidewalks were passable and are not sure why the two were walking in the road.

I have not been on the Point Street Bridge lately; does anyone know if it is true that the sidewalks there are “passable?”

[box style=”alert”]Update: A reader challenges the Police Department’s claim that the Point Street Bridge sidewalks are passable, more photos.


ProJo reports that a man was struck by a hit and run driver on Newport Avenue in Pawtucket early Saturday morning:

The victim, who is being identified only as a 35-year-old Pawtucket man, was walking south near 1114 Newport Avenue sometime between 1 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. when he was hit by a vehicle also travelling south, according to an email from Pawtucket Police Detective Maj. Arthur Martins.

WJAR says there was another hit and run on Newport Avenue in Pawtucket later Saturday afternoon.

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 have not been on the Point Street Bridge lately; does anyone know if it is true that the sidewalks there are “passable?”

    Passable. In single file. If you can walk on ice. Only ‘accessible’ from the northern path and western approach though.

    Anyone who wasn’t pretty young/agile couldn’t make it. I fell once trying to navigate my way off the part that gets you off the eastern exit of the northern path.

  • I tweeted at Channel 10 to ask if anyone tried to verify the Police Department’s claim about the sidewalk and the link to your photos.

  • I’ll tell you why they were in the street. It’s because sidewalk snow clearance is hit or miss in the city of Providence. Me I slipped and fell at the intersection of SR7 and Broadway early Friday morning. I wrote Councilman Principe, Senator Jabour, and Rep. John Lombardi about it.

    Principe’s response was rather flippant in that he told me were only a few weeks out from spring. Wrong response buddy boy.

    So I shot back – we need to get on with the public education component of the new statute and signage needs to go up. We also need a tracking database for offenses – I’m thinking one online since that’s nothing like public shaming to make an owner feel like the horses ass that they are. Of course one of the biggest offenders is the city itself – traffic islands and overpasses are rarely cleared. That is the responsibility of the CITY OF PROVIDENCE too.

    My favorite is 311 Broadway, since the first storm at the end of January they have NOT cleared their sidewalks. I did maybe 30 seconds of digging, first at the Tax Assessors database, then the Sec. of State’s corporate database and found the owner and registered agent name, location and phone number. So what the hell is the cities problem?

  • The underlying problem is of course the world is set up for motorists, and the big shots, perhaps including this Councilman Principe, often get special parking and need not worry much about being pedestrians.

    A driver facing sun glare, especially with snowy conditions, should SLOW DOWN!

    Not being charged is the usual. Thus I want to call attention to bills H5656, S246 (thanks to sponsors Carson, Sosnsowski) that would increase penalties for a motorist who not taking “due care” kills or injures a pedestrian, bicyclist, or other “vulnerable road user.” Currently they face a $85 fine at the most. The Senate bill has had a hearing, the only objection was that the adjudication process should be made clearer.

  • Perhaps they were protesting the state of sidewalks. If only there were a crime to charge them with.

  • A couple of weeks back the Providence teacher’s union had an undeclared strike for a day because the district didn’t cancel school after a snow. (There was time to plow but the sidewalks would not have been done.) The reason as I understand it is that the Union wants the District to pressure the City to clear sidewalks (at least some of them?) because they are a safety hazard for schoolkids.

    I’m not seeing where the city clears sidewalks at all and obviously we can’t fund that city-wide. I think property owners should be in charge of clearing their sidewalks. But on city-only property like Point St. Bridge the city really should take care of those.

  • This just keeps happening year after year, no matter how many people get hit. I don’t get it. Even local businesses don’t seem to care more and more. Loie Fuller’s here on Westminster didn’t bother to clear the snow on the sidewalk on the western end of their parking lot, just in front of their building. It’s a huge mountain of snow now and people have to walk into the street. It’s disgusting, I even messaged them about it and basically was told “Sorry for the inconvenience, it’s been an usually heavy winter.” Uh yeah, we all know that, didn’t stop most of our neighbors from clearing their sidewalks, they never did bother to clear up that sidewalk, people are still having to walk into traffic to get past that, on Westminster, I mean this isn’t a slow side street. I just don’t understand. I really don’t.

  • If only people protested for their city to be taken care of the way people protest for out of state affairs..

  • I have actually walked to the Point Street Bridge to take photos (see GCPVD Flickr group) and I can confirm that there are parts of the sidewalk on the actual bridge that are very passable. However, to get to those parts I had ZERO choice but to walk on the street for at least 30 feet, if not more, and if I were unlucky I could have been hit by a driver. Moral of the story: anyone can spin this story in however many ways it suits them.

    I have also driven on streets with perfectly walkable sidewalks and had pedestrians coming my way on the street. Go figure.

  • Go figure this: You need to walk somewhere, and you want to be on time. A few times already, you walked on a sidewalk that looked fairly clear but dead ended at a snow mountain so you had to double back. You walked on a sidewalk that looked fairly clear but had icy patches, where you fell. You have to walk slowly on the icy patches. It takes time to maneuver over the mounds at the corners. Your feet are cold. Zigging and zagging onto the sidewalk and into the street, depending, takes time. If you want to keep up your pace and not spend time judging your chances, you just stick to walking in the street.

  • I’m regularly forced to walk in busy streets due to uncleared paths. Usually this is in Olneyville at the Manton/Westminster intersection, which is dicey in the best of circumstances. The merchants at that corner have created a decent group of paths, but there’s no safe place to get around that corner.

    One good melt/freeze will bring us the annual Olneyville Skating Rink.

  • Walking on ice and snow takes more time. So does driving. Or biking. Or taking the bus. Obviously there is an undeniable bias towards the motorized vehicles, but the attitude of some pedestrians who’ve decided they’re going to walk on the street no matter what state the sidewalks are in only feeds to the indifference of those home and business owners (and city officials) who don’t care to shovel sidewalks because people are going to walk on the road anyway. It’s not as if they need any more excuses.

    PS: @Andrew, the scenario you describe has been happening to me almost on a daily basis. But I never walk on the street unless I absolutely have to.

  • I’m with hassan on this. There are people who will walk in the street no matter how good the sidewalks are. On my street, I see people walking in the middle of the road, even though the majority of the sidewalks (down a majority of the street) are shoveled pretty well. People walk in the street in the summer, too. That part I don’t get. But I’m sure if homeowners see people walking in the road no matter how clear the sidewalks are, they just think “whatever, I’m not wasting my time”.

    That said… I think people walk in the street even though the sidewalks are clear because the sidewalks aren’t truly clear. The paths created are narrow and can be difficult for someone carrying bags to not have their bags dragging in the snow banks on either side. They’re so narrow that one misstep lands you in the snow bank. They’re often also not shoveled down to the concrete. The worst ones are the people with snow blowers. Sure, they make moving large amounts of snow easy, but they don’t get right down to the concrete. Yet the owners of snow blowers don’t bother clearing that little bit left, which eventually turns to ice and gets all bumpy and dangerous to walk over. So in many cases, “cleared” sidewalks aren’t truly cleared, pushing pedestrians into the street, which, even if not well-plowed (like my street) is at least wide enough to carry bags, walk next to someone so you can talk, or not have to step carefully to avoid falling in a snow bank.

  • “…undeniable bias towards the motorized vehicles…”

    Why dismiss this as something that nothing can be done about? It is the heart of the problem, exactly what most needs to be directly attacked.

    So, driving in snow takes more time. People sitting on their asses in climate controlled comfort, who can accelerate with the nudge of a toe, spewing pollution all the while, are suffering as well. Boo hoo.

    Considering how snow gets removed, at great unquestioned expense, from where the cars go and piled where people walk, the pedestrians who seem to be bothering you do not have attitude enough! They would be justified to bring traffic to a dead stop whenever they feel their safety would benefit. Blame for the resulting gridlock belongs only to “owners (and city officials) who don’t care to shovel sidewalks.”

  • This is from fall of ’14, but I found this conversation at This Old City useful. Dilworth Plaza reminds me a lot of Kennedy Plaza–it’s the confluence of a bunch of transit at a central plaza in front of the city hall in Philly. The City Councilors have been using it as a parking lot after a $50 M renovation intended for transit users, bikers, and pedestrians. The article asks the question of how the travel choices of city council persons affects their attitudes about issues of transportation access.

    I wonder whether Councilman Principe’s legislation to change the formula for sidewalk fines is getting reconsidered? I was surprised that he was the one who said that, since it sounded like he understood the issue.

  • At the very least, all sidewalks near publicly owned buildings should be shoveled. I walk past PPD district 2 everyday to catch a bus going downtown and their sidewalks are still not shoveled.

  • The drivers do not cause the sidewalks to not be shoveled. Instead, the fact that the sidewalks are not shoveled causes more drivers, because some people who might otherwise walk have no choice but to drive. Not all of us are physically capable of climbing snow mountains and navigating treacherous ice, and so for some of us the choice is drive or be locked at home for weeks on end.

Providence, RI
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