PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Islanders have until Sunday to chime in on the controversial Hope Street bike lane trial.
The temporary bike lane, which replaced 132 parking spots over a one-mile stretch, was installed Sept. 30.
The plan has drawn concern for safety and congestion from some business owners, while others are praising the project for increasing access for bikers.
Those both for and against the bike lane can share their experiences throughout the week-long trial in a 14-question survey, which is located at the end of the temporary path.
Thriving Places Collaborative founder Jill Eshelman has been the one analyzing those responses and is compiling data for the trial.
“It’s actually been mixed,” she said. “There’s definitely some businesses that are supporting us as well.”
Frog and Toad owner Asher Schofield understands businesses’ concerns regarding the bike lane, but decided to trek the path Friday to see it from a bike rider’s perspective.
“I think a lot of these businesses are feeling the stress of coming off the pandemic,” Schofield said. “I would call myself open-minded about this project, where I’m just curious to see what the impact is going to be on parking.”
The Providence Streets Coalition, a community group which favors the proposal, said the data its already collected reveals Hope Street still has enough parking even with the bike lane, even at peak business times.
“It’s fun, I felt safe, it’s hilly so it’s a good workout and I’m glad to be here,” bike rider Jaime Palter said. “Parking spots were taken during the day, and it wasn’t that much of a sacrifice. There’s all these side streets with parking so I’d hope we can share this road and make it work for everyone.”
More than 20 small businesses sent a letter to Mayor Jorge Elorza and the Providence City Council asking them to halt the trial.
There is no funding currently allocated for a permanent bike lane. The groups who support the proposal will release their findings at the end of the year.
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