Greater City Providence

News on the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge


The Providence Journal: Pedestrian bridge over Providence River being ‘reevaluated’ by RI transportation officials

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is now “reevaluating” the bridge project, RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said in a statement in response to questions from The Providence Journal.

“Given our current funding levels, RIDOT is reevaluating this project given the availability of funding,” Alviti wrote. “RIDOT must take into consideration the many needs for Rhode Island’s deficient bridges and deteriorated roadways. With reliable, predictable funding provided through the RhodeWorks program, RIDOT would be in a better position to schedule and fund projects such as the pedestrian bridge.”

The Feds let us use the money we’d save on not removing the piers in the river on the new highway. Will the Feds make us remove the piers if we don’t build the bridge?

Salisbury said his association would be “really disappointed” if the bridge isn’t built — plus, he questions what would happen to the old highway piers that once carried Route 195 over the river and now remain in the river, intended to carry the pedestrian bridge along the highway’s old path. Seven years ago, the DOT agreed to build the pedestrian bridge on those piers — and said the $2 million it would save by not demolishing them would go toward building the bridge. The DOT has already paid $1.4 million to design the pedestrian bridge, which was expected to cost $5.5 million.

Also, last week, PBN reported on possible changes to the design of the bridge.

Providence Business News: Pedestrian bridge slated to be a foot higher

A pedestrian bridge crossing the Providence River, connecting the cleared land in the Interstate 195 redevelopment district, will be elevated another foot in height to accommodate rising sea levels, according to the district’s executive director.

As a result of plan revisions, the original construction schedule has been delayed to an early spring 2016 start date, according to Jan Brodie, executive director of the I-195 district commission.

I’m sure none of us are shocked by the lack of priority for non-automobile infrastructure.

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.


  • Some people I’ve talked to have said that this is the governor’s way of playing brinksmanship over the tolls. I support the tolls, and I support the governor trying to bring the cost of not having tolls home to voters. But this seems like the worst possible target for that, because people who don’t support tolling are just going to yawn at the loss of a pedestrian bridge. Choose something to bargain with that matters to the obstructionists.

    What the governor should really do is close some bridges to trucks until the toll plan goes through. Some of the bridges aren’t safe, and there’s precedent in doing this, as in the Pawtucket bridges that were closed a few years ago for repairs.

  • Or if you want to be really cynical about how stuff gets done in this state, you could believe that this is how our political leaders will encourage the proposed PawSox stadium to be built. “Look, they will build the pedestrian bridge for us if we give them the land for free!”

  • This does remind me of how when the National Park service faces a budget cut, they say Oh we will have no choice but close down the Washington Monument.

    Avoid disappointment! Expect the worst. After spending years and millions on a fancy hybrid bridge-park that will only be used as a bridge, the bridge-park that people would actually want to hang out on will be just another broken promise.

  • It is discouraging that a project that could really help build a bike/ped culture here, and be useful in helping redevelop the I-195 lands, is first on the RIDOT hit list. I doubt there is any conspiriacy, its just they don’t care that much about those who walk or bicycle.

    I’ll add that the bike/ped bridge went thru a lot of public review including public hearings,TAC and State Planning Council review resulting in the project being authorized in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP.) In contrast, some RIDOT ideas including widening the I-95 northbound viaduct, relocating the Pawtucket bus hub to a desolate location at the edge of downtown Pawtucket (at Pine and Goff St) or a bus lane on a rebuilt 6/10 have never been subject to public review and are not even in the current TIP.

    However, I don’t think advocates of this bridge will give up on it just becasue RIDOT’s new leadership doesn’t seem to like it.

  • (I’m not exactly sure why, but) the RIDOT Director asked the Bike Ped Commission to consider how to better connect the East Bay Bike Path with the Mall via bicycle. One of the connections we discussed was this bridge, now RIDOT is saying, well maybe we can’t have this bridge…

  • Not an unexpected move for Providence….pedestrians or cyclist don’t matter one bit. I’m so glad i don’t live there anymore. Seems like Providence has given up. Mass should just annex RI and be done with it

  • My first thought was the sentiment that James expressed, which was that this feels strangely political to me. It’s just such an odd item for Alviti to single out, a relatively minor expense in the big infrastructure picture. I could be dead wrong, but perhaps there’s more information to come?

  • “You don’t have to worry about that pedestrian bridge coming into your property, Mr. Luccino…”

  • A city will fail to exists if it doesn’t move forward, project after project continue to fall. Come on PVD! I still have some faith though.

  • I think it still gets built, so I’m not getting worked up. Worst case scenario this can be funded by corporate sponsors. It makes too much sense to build this.

  • I think Lucchino would want the bridge as a way of getting East Sider’s to come to the ball game. If the bridge is built I can see a lot of people parking over on S Water and S Main and using the bridge to access the ball park. A lot easier to get in and out of the city that way.

    Also, this is not a Providence decision! The State is the one threatening to pull the plug. As far as I can tell the current administration is trying to be very bike friendly.

  • “You don’t have to worry about that pedestrian bridge coming into your property, Mr. Luccino…”

    I’d assume that the PawSox would want this bridge. It would make it easier for College Hill and Fox Point residents to get to the game, it might be an additional location to set up a merchandise cart on game day, it’s aesthetically pleasing, and it provides better access to their proposed brewpub on along the right field side of the stadium. I don’t see any reason they wouldn’t want this built…

  • Dan, why do you think “the current administration is trying to be very bike friendly?” I’m not saying you are wrong but I’ll note none of RIDOT’s 3 TIGER grant applications deal with biking even though the Blackstone Bikeway extension to central Pawtucket (with Slater Mill) and Woonscoket (with Museum of Work/Culture) could have helped the new national park and made a strong TIGER proposal) and on their website the RIDOT Rhodeworks program makes no mention of bike paths, and as this post notes, they singled out a bike/ped faciliy for their hit list.

  • It’s June 25, 2015. I just called RIDOT to inquire when the Washington Bridge /Redman bike path/ pedestrian bridge will finally open for week long use. The brilliant answer from a very pleasant sounding woman who actually picked up the phone: “I don’t know.”

    It’s so frustrating to see official website postings stating a “late October 2014 – scratch that – late June 2015 – scratch that” tentative opening date. If they’d only come right out and say: “Actually, we don’t have a damned clue” it would be a lot more honest than the deceptive PR they’ve been cranking out for 3 full years, now.

    I so anxiously want to be able to walk over the river from East Providence to get to India Point Park and downtown Providence again without being at the mercy of RIPTA’s smelly fleet of unreliable buses. Often feel like I’m the only person who cares if the pedestrian bridge ever opens again at all.

    Any encouragement from your end, Jef?

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