Off-street bike path would run through city’s downtown

Off-street bike path would run through city’s downtown

PAWTUCKET – An off-street bike path running all the way through the city is another step closer after state officials last week announced more funding to improve local bike paths.

Gov. Gina Raimondo and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management announced the “first wave of investments,” totaling $10 million, to be funded by the $35 million Green Economy Bond passed last November.

Ten bikeway projects around Rhode Island will create more than 10 new miles of path and improve safety and connectivity across the state’s bikeway network, states a release.

One of the 10 segments funded is a .75-mile section of the Pawtucket riverfront running from an existing short bike path right behind Pawtucket City Hall, past Slater Mill, and under the Pawtucket River Bridge to Town Landing.

The path would go past the Apex site, which is targeted as a possible new location for the Pawtucket Red Sox and a new stadium.

The city currently has an on-street bike path, marked by painted symbols called sharrows, connecting the East Bay Bike Path and Blackstone River Bikeway. The new segment will be part of the Blackstone River Bikeway.

“Expanding the bike path network in the city provides new options for transportation and recreation, expanding connectivity within the city and to our neighboring cities and towns,” said Mayor Donald Grebien. “As development of our downtown continues, an expansion of the bike path will connect our residential neighborhoods to these amenities and the future intermodal train station.

“The bike path expansion will also provide further access to our riverfront and national park,” he added.

Grebien said Pawtucket Central Falls Development is looking to secure grant funds for the bike path, which will take $1.6 million from the $10 million in bond funds.

Raimondo said in a release that the state is fortunate to have such beautiful outdoor spaces for people to enjoy.

“Improving our already impressive system of bikeways is a smart investment that will benefit our economy, communities, and families,” she said in a statement. “Amenities like these are at the heart of what attracts people and businesses to locate here. Our goal is to get these projects underway and completed quickly, so we can continue to support our families, entice additional investment, and create jobs.”