East Bay Bike Path

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East Bay Bike Path
East Bay Bike Path.jpg
Facing south near the path's southern terminus in Bristol
East Bay Bike Path
Established 1992
Length 14.5 miles (23.3 km)
Location Providence County & Bristol County, Rhode Island
Designation East Coast Greenway
Trailheads India Point Park
Bristol, Rhode Island
Use Hiking, Walking, Cycling
Hiking details
Trail difficulty Easy
Season All year
Months 12
Sights Narragansett Bay
Website East Bay Bike Path

The East Bay Bike Path is a 14.5-mile (23.3 km) paved rail trail in Rhode Island. The path begins at Providence and India Point Park, crosses the Seekonk River via the George Redman Linear Park (opened September 2015[1]) and Washington Bridge and continues southeast to Bristol along the shoreline of Narragansett Bay. The path passes through the city of East Providence, the hamlet of Riverside, and the townships of Barrington and Warren. It is part of the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000 mile system of trails connecting the Canadian border in Maine to Key West. and provides access to Haines State Park, Brickyard Pond (Barrington), and Colt State Park. It is used annually by 1.1 million people.

History[edit]

The former Riverside train station still stands next to the former tracks, which are now the East Bay Bicycle Path.

What is now part of the East Bay Bike Path was originally part of the Old Colony Railroad.[2] The line was built in the mid-1800s to take trains from Providence to Bristol. The line changed hands several times through the years, and all passenger service was discontinued in 1937.[2] Freight service continued intermittently until the railroad went bankrupt, and the branch was completely abandoned in 1973.[2]

The plan for what would become Rhode Island's first major bike path was approved in April 1983 by Governor Edward DiPrete. It was built from 1987 to 1992,[3] following the abandoned rail bed of the Providence, Warren and Bristol Railroad. The property was acquired and constructed in four phases:

  1. Riverside Square to Barrington County Road (4.17 miles or 6.71 kilometres)
  2. County Road, Barrington to Franklin Street, Warren (2.38 miles or 3.83 kilometres)
  3. Franklin Street, Warren to Independence Park, Bristol (3.87 miles or 6.23 kilometres)
  4. Riverside Square to India Point Park, Providence (3.98 miles or 6.41 kilometres)

The completed path was dedicated on May 31, 1992, by Governor Bruce Sundlun. An 8.5 mile on-road, via bike lane, was completed in 2011, linking the East Bay Bike Path with the south tip of the Blackstone River Bikeway, a 48-mile (77 km) trail, which will link Providence with Worcester, Massachusetts. Rhode Island's next project will be connecting the East Bay Bike Path with the Washington Secondary Rail Trail.

Repairs[edit]

Tree roots, erosion, and weather have necessitated repairs to the asphalt in 2002, 2007 and 2009.[4] Repairs scheduled for mid-2016 will target the most hazardous areas of the path.[4] Pavement will be repaired, destructive tree roots removed, eroded areas reinforced, and new planks installed on the Barrington bridges.[4]

George Redman Linear Park[edit]

Bicycle and pedestrian traffic are separated on the George Redman Linear Park (looking east)

From 2012-2015, the section of the bike path along the Washington Bridge was renovated and rebuilt.[5] The park, christened the George Redman Linear Park, opened in September 2015, at a total cost of $21.8-million.[1] The park consists of an 11-foot-wide bicycle lane, a separated footpath paved with stamped concrete, and several seating areas.[1] The path is completely separated from I-195 automobile traffic.

The linear park is named in honor of East Providence cyclist[6] and park activist George Redman.[7] A plaque honoring Redman can be seen on the west end of the park.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Kuffner, Alex (21 September 2015). "$21.8-million George Redman Linear Park is dedicated to pioneer of R.I. bike paths". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 22 September 2015. 
  2. ^ "East Bay Bike Path". Rhode Island Department of Transportation. 
  3. ^ a b c Salit, Richard (4 July 2016). "RIDOT to smooth brain-rattling, spine jarring stretches of East Bay Bike Path". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 5 July 2016. 
  4. ^ "RIDOT to begin Washington Bridge linear park project". RI.GOV. State of Rhode Island. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2015. 
  5. ^ http://www.constructionequipmentguide.com/Legendary-Local-Cyclist-Inspires-Washington-Bridge-Replacement/21959/
  6. ^ http://www.dot.ri.gov/community/bikeri/washingtonbridge.php

External links[edit]