PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The installation of a temporary mile-long bike lane is raising concerns among Providence business owners.
More than 130 parking parking spaces along the east side of Hope Street will be repurposed from Oct. 1 to Oct. 8 as part of the plan. Area businesses told 12 News they believe the project will not only affect commerce, but also pedestrian safety.
“It’s really going to hurt the business,” said Mohammed Islam, owner of Not Just Snacks on the corner of Hope and Fifth streets.
“People drive more than 40 miles an hour, so many accidents happen,” he added.
In a letter sent to Mayor Jorge Elorza and the Providence City Council, more than 20 small businesses asked them to halt the upcoming “Urban Trail” temporary installation.
Patricia Zacks, who’s owned The Camera Werks for 33 years, said she’s not opposed to a bike lane, but thinks it will have a major impact on her business.
“They’re not going to walk three blocks to do that, so again, what is the alternative? How will that customer easily get to me?” Zacks asked.
Maria Soares, owner of Marysia’s Custom Tailoring, called the proposal unfair.
“We went through so much as a small businesses during coronavirus. We lost so much business,” she noted.
Shop owners are also concerned with communication, saying they were not made aware of the bike lane trial period until it was too late.
“I have a mailbox. I’m here six days a week,” Zacks said. “Nobody notified me.”
According to Zacks, the trail will run from Frog & Toad to Tortilla Flats and accommodate joggers, walkers and bikers.
The city said Hope Street was the most requested route to add to Providence’s bike trails.
“We have used this approach, of using temporary installations to gather information and feedback, in other parts of the city and we believe it is a prudent approach to take,” Elorza said. “I understand the concerns of the business community and believe there is sufficient time for their reasonable concerns to be incorporated into any plan for the temporary installation.”