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‘Bike Providence’ boosts two-wheeled travel

The city’s narrow roadways pose problems for the creation of lanes for bikers and motorists

Mayor Angel Taveras and the Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission unveiled “Bike Providence,” the city’s master plan to make Providence a more bike-friendly city, Nov. 5.

Under “Bike Providence,” officials plan to install a comprehensive network of bike lanes throughout the city, adding to the 38.1 miles of existing bikeways and making the city more bike-accessible, according to the city’s report on the initiative. The plan also calls for consideration of bicycle accommodations in all future urban planning as well as the creation of “a culture in which both motorists and bicyclists understand that traffic rules apply to everyone.”

To achieve these goals, the plan calls for modifications to the city’s roadway design, pavement management program and zoning laws.

“Bicycling makes Providence a more livable and healthy city,” said Liz White, Taveras’ deputy director of communications and media relations. “The Bike Providence master plan is an investment in a healthier community, cleaner air and a bicycle-friendly culture for our residents and visitors.”

The Rhode Island Bike Coalition has advocated Taveras’ plan.

“The mayor in his time in office has definitely supported initiatives to make biking lanes better in the city,” said Matt Moritz, board president of the Rhode Island Bike Coalition. “It supports a rich and diverse city.”

The report lays out plans for clearly designated bike lanes to address concerns about biking in Providence.

“The plan is good because it is the city saying that bikes belong on the streets,” said Jack Madden, owner of Legend Bicycle.

“One of the challenges in our infrastructure is ­as a city that was established more than 300 years ago we have smaller streets, which can make installing bike lanes more challenging,” White said. On streets that are too small for bike lanes, the city plans to make marked shared lanes that both motorists and cyclists can use safely.

Neither city planners nor proponents of “Bike Providence” said they see these challenges as large obstacles to the plan’s implementation.

“These are things that have been done in other cities before. It’s not like we’re reinventing the wheel,” Madden said.



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