2016-07-28 / Opinion


Just When We Thought It Was Over

One of the most visible examples of a municipality in action is to observe roadway construction crews out stirring up dust (and mayhem).

One of the most common laments when they are seen in the summer is, “Why now?”

Both reactions are now probably going through the minds of anyone who has attempted to navigate Broadway southbound from Equality Park.

The sidewalks are finished, decorative lighting installed, and individually laid pavers are set in herringbone fashion for the new parking areas (about 90 percent complete except for a stretch in front of the police station). There are even some New England-style river stones embedded in the bumpouts and crosswalk areas.

Most of the shiny yellow construction tape and flags are down as merchants have put temporary mulch or plantings in the “tree wells” prior to the official landscape team coming back around in October.

However, much to the dismay of business owners, and drivers as well, the construction crews are back. The street, once again, is in a disruptive state so the crosswalks can be installed. They will be slightly raised, more traffic calming techniques, and edged with pavers.

People must be scratching their heads wondering exactly what’s up with this latest one-way business.

Here’s what we know: For about the next six weeks, the crews are here to stay, and traffic will be one-way northbound on Broadway and southbound on Dr. Marcus Wheatland Boulevard, with parking allowed on both sides, as the easiest access to businesses along the route.

Why now? RIDOT and Cardi construction crews worked diligently and speedily all spring, with good weather in their favor. And now, believe it or not, they are actually ahead of schedule: This next step in the process, which was envisioned for the fall, was ready to be done now. Unfortunately, a city cannot tell the state to come back later.

The good news is that there is no loss of parking spots. The number remains the same. When traveling northbound now on Broadway the diagonal just goes in the natural way. Parallel spots can still be used. And, don’t forget the ancillary parking in the police station’s front lot; two hours until 5 p.m, and longer use allowed after that.

But wait. There’s even more good news. Many of the restaurants say their receipts are up, month over month. To all our readers, please keep coming to Broadway. And, whatever you do, please don’t let this latest round of inconvenience from the Broadway Streetscape Project keep you away. Another shout-out is necessary for Robin Walsh, the RIDOT project manager, who is on the street daily keeping things moving along as well as possible.

In early October, a street fair of sorts is being planned with lots of great activities and surprises. Stay tuned for more on that.

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