The East Bay Bike Path (EBBP), a 14.5-mile bicycle path constructed on an abandoned railroad right-of-way, was the first major undertaking by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation to create a state-owned bicycle network in Rhode Island. As the ten-foot-wide paved path weaves through five communities, it provides access to schools, business districts, and eight parks. Along its route are some of the State’s most panoramic views of coastline, estuaries, and woodlands.
Pare Corporation prepared the initial feasibility study, as well as the bike path’s final design. Signage and “S”-type curves were incorporated in the design where the path intersects with 49 streets, forcing cyclists to slow and alerting them of the approaching conflict. At two major streets, traffic studies were performed and traffic signals were installed with push-button actuators.
Five railroad trestle bridges, in various stages of disrepair, were modified for bike path use. Work on the bridges’ substructures included repairs to the masonry abutments, addition of steel and timber members, and the installation of rock anchors to counter uplift forces.
People of all ages—including walkers, runners, parents with strollers, and in-line skaters—join bike enthusiasts in being attracted to the East Bay Bike Path for its recreational aspects and as safe alternative to hazardous riding on busy streets. The Rails to Trails Conservancy inducted the EBBP into its Rail-Trail Hall of Fame in 2009.