2018-08-23 / Opinion

State and City Together

Guest Views

As the very important, and island-changing Pell Bridge project continues to develop we thought it important to share with our readers how our state legislators view the project and how residents can stay informed and be part of the process.

“This project is probably the single biggest redevelopment projects on Aquidneck Island in the last 50 years. Whichever design is ultimately selected, it will significantly change the way people get around Newport and open up land for redevelopment. It will profoundly change the way drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists move around the community. This has an impact on everyone in Newport, so we urge everyone to look at the various plans and send the state their thoughts. Now is the time when you can make your opinion heard,” said Rep. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport).

Both Carson and Sen. Dawn Euer also particularly urge business leaders to get involved, since changes in traffic patterns have a strong impact on small businesses.

“The state needs to hear from residents and small businesses about how each plan would affect them. Ultimately, the best plan will be the one that best makes use of smart design principles. Making it safer to walk and bike will get people out of their cars, those cars off the road, and put people into close contact with small businesses and ease traffic congestion for year-round residents,” said Senator Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown). “It’s critically important to local businesses that the design is sensitive to the impact on them, so the state needs to hear from them about the potential effects of each design.”

The project is intended to reduce congestion and backup on the Pell Bridge, which serves as the main point of entry to Newport, bringing drivers on Route 138 across Narragansett Bay from Jamestown into the city. It is also intended to reduce traffic downtown; improve bicycle, pedestrian and public transit opportunities; better connect downtown to the North End for all road users; and spur economic development by creating an “Innovation Hub.”

The environmental assessment is scheduled for completion next summer, with final design to follow. Access ramps are now in the planning stages.

Visit pellbridge-ea.com, to view the project's status, proposed designs as well as presentations from previous public meetings, and submit comments via an online form.

Written comments can be submitted by mail to: RIDOT c/o VHB 1 Cedar St., Suite 400 Providence, RI 02903

Rhode Island General Assembly News

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