PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The proposed bike lane on Hope Street likely won’t become a reality, after Providence Mayor Brett Smiley confirmed that the trial run for it resulted in mixed reviews.
Before the trial of the “Urban Trail” even began, more than 20 local businesses wrote a letter to then-Mayor Jorge Elorza and the Providence City Council asking them to halt their plans.
Roughly 130 parking spots on Hope Street were scrapped during the week-long trial last year.
“There’s no funding for it. There are no plans for it, and so I don’t expect that to be revisited for some time,” Smiley said.
It’s welcome news for Jeff Ingber, a partner at Bubbie’s Market & Deli. The deli was one of the businesses that signed the letter to the city.
“I’m thrilled that it’s not happening,” Ingber said. “The concept of a bike path, I don’t think any of the business owners on Hope Street were really against. It certainly has its ecological merits. It does, however, make zero business sense.”
Inger said his customers weren’t fans of the bike path during the trial period either.
“It really upset the neighborhood and it upset our customers who did not want to park on the other side of the street and did not want to park far away,” he said. “They felt alienated, and they felt like their voices were not being heard.”
The owner of Best Little Hair House on Hope Street told 12 News the bike path would be detrimental to her business as well. She said during the trail’s trial, customers had to cancel their appointments last minute because they couldn’t find parking.
Both businesses said they were especially concerned for their elderly customers.
The city never had a budget estimate for the path and no funds were allocated for the project.
Smiley said in the future, he would like to improve Providence’s biking infrastructure, while also keeping local businesses in mind.
“There are more ways and more places where we can continue to build out and enhance our bike infrastructure,” Smiley said. “Just, in my opinion, that’s not the best place for it.”