Hope Street Trail Trial

Plans are afoot for the reconfiguration of one mile of Hope Street — between Lauriston (Frog & Toad) and Olney (Tortilla Flats) — for the purposes of creating lanes for biking, jogging, and rolling. There will be a test run of one week in October to see how it goes. According to the ProJo many business owners have expressed concern at the prospect of losing parking spaces.

However, according to the Providence Streets Coalition, a local organization that advocates for shared, safe streets, those 132 parking spaces include just 29 in the business district. Overall, the chunk of parking that will be temporarily lost represents 9% of the parking available in the study area.

Aah, statistics. Check out the Providence Streets Coalition Hope Street Temporary Trail page; here you will find a summary of the coalition’s findings from a study where they counted availability and occupancy of parking on Hope Street from Lauriston to Olney, including one block east (down to Morris Avenue) and one block west (down to Camp Street; further north, Summit and Bayard).

It is unclear if they counted empty handicap parking spaces in with the regular unoccupied spaces. It is also unclear where, exactly, these 132 spaces are; the site states that “132 Parking Spaces are located on the east side of Hope Street” but the map highlights the side streets off the east side of Hope Street as well. Further down it states, “The lowest occupancy rate at the least busy time (Monday afternoon) is 15%, with 1164 vacant spaces” so clearly the percentages are not based on the 132 spaces that are supposedly at stake.

Oy . . . my head hurts. One thing is clear, many of the spaces on the east side of Hope Street between Lauriston and Olney are not near commercial establishments, and including the side streets in the overall calculation is misleading. The next map, “Percentage of occupied spaces,” did not enhance my understanding. It is also notable that the two photographs of installations similar to this proposal were taken in California where streets are wider.

I do not live near Hope Street, nor do I own a business there, but I do think the needs of the Hope Street business owners take precedence over those of a resident living a quarter-of-a-mile away.

The test trail is slated for installation during the first week of October, with a final report of the trial and community meetings taking place in December 2022.

So let’s see how it goes. One additional note from the coalition, “At this time, the City has no funding or timeline to implement a permanent trail or other street design changes.”

(Seen here are the new lanes on South Water Street.)


2 thoughts on “Hope Street Trail Trial”

  1. Karen McAninch

    I object to the statement that the needs of the business owners should take precedence over residents living 1/4 mile away. I live 3 blocks from Hope St. and ride a bike (a tandem). I imagine many of the business owners do not even live in Providence. Why would their needs take precedence over those of the residents? We bike to the East Bay, to the Blackstone, to the Ten Mile River Greenway, to Pawtuxet Village and beyond, to the Woonasquatucket, and occasionally to the Washington Secondary. There are folks who bike who do not own cars, and we see folks commuting to work or school via bike. We spend money when we bike – eating out and shopping for clothes, household items, etc. Our collective needs as residents of Providence should be at least as important as those of the business owners.

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