In 1982, Lee Pare & Associates, now Pare Corporation, was hired by RIDOT to study the feasibility of developing the 14.5-mile East Bay Bike Path from Providence to Bristol, RI. This path would give residents an alternative form of transportation and recreation along an abandoned railroad line. During the planning stages, the path was met with significant resistance from residents, who were fearful of increased crime and vandalism, in addition to skepticism for taxpayer money being used on something that they thought would only be used by a small number of people. In spite of the push back, the bike path was approved, fully funded by the FHWA and RIDOT, and started construction in May 1986. Within a year of opening, public sentiment did an about-face as abutters to the path requested permission to install gates on their properties for direct access. The bike path became a symbol of local community and state pride, attracting people from throughout the region to enjoy its scenic views and the adjacent communities. Pare is proud to have designed one of the most loved and successful transportation projects in Rhode Island.
To learn more about the trials and tribulations of the Rhode Island’s first bike path, see this recent article from EcoRI News: https://lnkd.in/exqtqR78