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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

City Wins RIDOT Assistance for Mount Pleasant Traffic Calming Campaign

A successful lobbying effort by Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5) has won the City of Providence greater attention and assistance from the State of Rhode Island to address traffic hazards in the Mount Pleasant area. The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) on Thursday launched a pilot program that will provide the city with an independent assessment and implementation plan for improvements. This initiative is part of Councilwoman Ryan’s ongoing effort to make Mount Pleasant Avenue and surrounding streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.
“The importance of traffic safety, especially around schools, cannot be overstated,” said Ryan, who worked with city and state stakeholders to secure grant funding for the program. “I’m excited to work with our partners to develop long-term solutions to the traffic hazards that residents and students have endured for decades. I’d like to thank Nate Urso of the Providence Department of Public Works for his insight and assistance in this effort, and for serving as the point person for the RIDOT study.”
RIDOT has hired consulting firm VHB to conduct traffic research in Mount Pleasant and prepare a formal report outlining current hazards and recommendations for both short and long-term implementation. On Thursday, VHB conducted a road safety assessment and spoke with school representatives and public safety officials in the area about their concerns. The consulting firm will soon begin collecting and analyzing traffic and accident data. VHB is expected to finalize the report by mid-October.
Traffic safety is a top priority for Ryan, who held numerous community meetings with constituents to hear their concerns and devise a strategic, multi-pronged approach. Ryan has worked with the Providence Police Department to increase traffic enforcement in her ward, and also engaged in a partnership with The Avenue Concept and art teachers from Mount Pleasant High School to pilot “Creative Crossings”— a group of vibrant crosswalk art installations in front of the school that draw attention to the location of crosswalks and reduce traffic speed.  Engineering infrastructure improvements, said Ryan, is the next step: “The VHB report will provide us with a roadmap to guide our efforts as we implement critical infrastructure improvements to the Mount Pleasant area.”