Letter: DOT needs to repair bike path bridges immediately

Posted 4/29/21

Experienced and inexperienced bicyclists are all welcome on the East Bay Bike Path. It is one of Rhode Island’s popular calling cards for tourism.

The two bicycle bridges in Warren and …

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Letter: DOT needs to repair bike path bridges immediately

Posted

Experienced and inexperienced bicyclists are all welcome on the East Bay Bike Path. It is one of Rhode Island’s popular calling cards for tourism.

The two bicycle bridges in Warren and Barrington provide safe access to Warren and Bristol, the last six miles of the bike path. These bridges have been closed for repair since 2019, even though there is $10 million allocated for this repair (per Rhode Island Department of Transportation, January 2020).

Not a bit of work has been done as yet. We are heading into our second summer without safe access over these bridges by bicycle.

The Transportation Department suggests: 1) don’t ride the full bike path, just turn around at the bridges, or 2) walk your bicycle over the bridges. Why encourage people to miss out on half of what this lovely bike path has to offer? Why draw tourists to the bike path and then direct them to walk over two long bridges?

This is not helpful for tourism. Riders are confused with the inadequate workarounds. Walkers and bikers cannot all fit on the sidewalk. Bicyclists are riding on the street over the car bridges, giving concern to drivers, all of which could easily be resolved if DOT repaired the bridges. This situation is very dangerous.

In addition, bicycle riders on the East Bay Bike Path claim they used to ride the full bike path, enjoying Warren and Bristol eateries and scenery, but no longer, due to the lack of bicycle bridge access. Our local restaurants are challenged enough without eliminating these potential customers.

DOT must follow up with some real action to promote Rhode Island’s gem, the East Bay Bike Path, and repair the Barrington and Warren bicycle bridges now. Don’t wait for a cyclist fatality to prioritize these repairs.

Judy Menton
Bristol

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.