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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Councilors Call on Administration to Halt Controversial Traffic Plan at Roger Williams Park

Following public concerns raised among hundreds of constituents in Providence and Cranston, three members of the Providence City Council tonight introduced a measure to halt Mayor Elorza’s controversial traffic pattern plan for Roger Williams Park. The resolution, introduced by Councilors Carmen Castillo (Ward 9), Sabina Matos (Ward 15) and Luis Aponte (Ward 10), calls for the administration to cease work on the project until traffic impact studies are conducted in both Providence and Cranston. The Elorza administration has suggested a traffic study was conducted inside the park, but has not yet released its findings to the public or to the City Council.

The administration’s plans to change F.C. Memorial Boulevard to a one-way greenway has drawn criticism from residents in Cranston and Providence neighborhoods that border the park. Concerns about the plan’s impact on city streets surrounding the park have not been addressed, and residents are especially concerned about the traffic impact around neighboring schools.

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung has publicly stated that the City of Providence did not engage his administration in any discussion about the plans. Fung also called on the administration to halt implementation until further information becomes available. Much of Roger Williams Park abuts Cranston neighborhoods.

In a letter sent to Mayor Elorza and the Providence City Council today, Rhode Island Foundation Executive Director Neil Steinberg stated concerns and frustrations with the administration’s execution of its plan: “[W]e are disappointed by what we believe are avoidable, public scuffles about the efficacy of the directional change on Greene Boulevard and an inability to transparently gather and consider input from the community regarding this change.” The Rhode Island Foundation is a key partner and steward for the park; the organization has led a $10M fundraising campaign for the park and manages its permanent endowment.

The resolution was sent to the Committee on Public Works for further deliberation.