Letter: Why should we trust anything that RIDOT tells us?

Posted 1/14/22

To the editor:

The Jan. 13, 2022 edition of The Portsmouth Times resurrects the state highway situation in Portsmouth. 

Please note that Sprague Street is not mentioned. That is the …

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Letter: Why should we trust anything that RIDOT tells us?

Posted

To the editor:

The Jan. 13, 2022 edition of The Portsmouth Times resurrects the state highway situation in Portsmouth. 

Please note that Sprague Street is not mentioned. That is the highway that some high school students use to walk to and from our high school. There are no sidewalks. 

It is interesting that RIDOT (R.I. Department of Transportation) seeks our agreement. When RIDOT wanted tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge, we were presented with a “fiat accompli.”RIDOT moved so fast they had toll signage up with no place to pay the toll. 

In 1975, RIDOT held a presentation at (Portsmouth Middle School) regarding widening East Main Road. A mole in RIDOT told me the plans were vintage 1965. 

In 1985, a Rhode Island state senator told me East Main Road was second on the list. In 2003, RIDOT announced the Town Center project. Construction was to begin in two years. About 2009, Sen. Jack Reed’s office announced a grant of almost $1 million for design and engineering for the Town Center. Where did that money go? Are we paying for the same thing twice? 

The 2003 announcement called for multiple roundabouts; we are down to one now. What happened? Will RIDOT give us a chance for user input? Will the residents of Quaker Manor and Anthony House get safe access to northbound buses? Will we get a traffic signal at the entrance to Seveney Field? Will we get sidewalks at the Union Street/East Main Road intersection to compliment the pedestrian-friendly traffic signal? 

The track record speaks for itself — “res ipsa loquitur.” Will government shine? History teaches that we don’t learn much from history.

Philip Driscoll

169 Immokolee Drive

Portsmouth

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Jim McGaw

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.