An artist's rendering of a bike lane on a busy street.

Neighborhood views of the proposed Hope Street bike lane

Photo: Hope Street Merchants Association

Part one.

A lively and at times heated discussion about the proposed bike lane on Hope Street, Providence, ensued after more than 20 small-business owners sent the city’s mayor, Jorge Elorza, a letter on August 22 urging him to stop even an early October trial of a bike lane.

That trial is scheduled to run from October 1 to October 8, though shop owners and residents are hoping the whole idea will be scrapped. Losing even a week’s worth of business for small businesses on Hope should not be passed over with a wave of the hand as insignificant.

More than 130 individuals posted comments on the “Next Door” forum of Hope Village. For many, this is the first time to express their support or opposition for the project as there has been little communicated out, and almost nothing about the bike lobby’s possibly taking over half of the parking on the very popular shopping street.

It is difficult to get a precise count of those in favor of a bike lane and those opposed because there was no formal vote. However, a review of the posts indicate that responses against the bike lane and even the trial are running well more than two to one against those in favor.

We reached out to veteran journalist Roger Schreffler, an East Side resident and homeowner, to assist with this effort. Roger is openly against the project because he feels it will hurt seniors – cutting 50% of parking without a fallback plan. But more importantly, he said, the numbers used by the city are misleading.

The first study, commissioned in March 2021 by a bike advocacy group, Bikes for People, didn’t inform participants that Hope Street was being targeted. A spokesman for the city’s planning and development department said the city had no input in drafting the questions. 

The second study, reported by the Providence Streets Coalition presentation, essentially another bike advocacy group, reported that more than 60% of respondents support an “urban trail” on Hope Street.

Yet when asked about how the community residents were notified, the Providence planning department said it didn’t know. And the project coordinator, a bike advocate, isn’t making herself available for an interview or answering emails, with more than 11 sent by us requesting project details having gone unanswered. The rather immature step of blocking RINewsToday on Twitter only makes us ask more questions.

So, with that, we’ve decided to share the views of nearly 90 respondents who have expressed varying degrees of opposition or caution to the plan.

Norma Anderson, Fox Point

I don’t drive any more at age 81. When I want to go to the Hope St. to CVS or Camera Werks I bike from Fox Pt. on the Blackstone Blvd bike path. No stop signs and plenty of room. Cut over on Rochambeau to Hope St. and walk my bike to my destination on Hope St.

Mike Anthony, Hope Village

Broad Street was significantly wider than Hope. The area is a disaster now due to the congestion…These individuals’ livelihoods are directly impacted, and the overall safety of the area is as well.

Tom Aquino, Elmhurst

I feel this trial is merely a ploy to get the path permanently installed… I feel a true trial should be from October through the end of December. We will all have a better evaluation of the impact on businesses, safety, and impact on neighboring streets. The trial does not consider our street festivals and snow removal. Let’s be honest and do a comprehensive trial. Let’s not be foolish. Do it right or not at all! The people sponsoring the path are judging the trial. Not good.

Toby Ayers, College Hill

I’m at a loss to understand why those quieter nearby streets can’t be used, it

would be a safer and pleasanter ride, too.

Deborah B., Oak Hill

One thing that hasn’t been addressed is food shopping. The East Side is as much a food desert as many less affluent areas. Biking to Whole Foods? Is that how you get groceries? Hope St. no longer has groceries. It used to (LONG ago). I love the charm of this area. I hope it doesn’t go the way of Thayer St., which had a small grocery store in the past.

(As for the sidewalk tables), they are a desperate attempt by the restaurant owners to be solvent and stay in business. It’s been a very rough 2 1/2 years.

Blackstone Blvd. is not an old street and was built in an era of cars and buses. It is also completely residential. Hope Street and the streets that surround it date back much further. The roads were not as wide in general. We also had an excellent trolley system in the city in the past. But this is a very old city—one of the oldest in the country. The roads were built when transportation needs were far different. The streets are narrow.

Jill B., Oak Hill

CVS is the only decent sized parking lot that can probably accommodate a garage.

Patrick B., Providence Artists’ Colony

I live on Hope Street. I haven’t seen a flyer and wasn’t contacted. Neither were many people on or around Hope St.  I’d love to know who the 600 people that were surveyed about it were. I know it was neither myself or my neighbors.

Connie Barber, Rumford

Could the bikers ride along the Blackstone Boulevard? That would leave Hope Street open for cars? Parking along that stretch of Hope Street is always a nightmare.

Irene Baters, Providence Artists’ Colony

On our wider streets, bike lanes could work. On narrow Hope Street – not so much.

Chana Benjaminson, Providence Artists’ Colony

I walk on Hope every day and use a double stroller often. In the decade-plus I’ve lived here, I have had no issues with cars speeding, and there is not much pedestrian traffic, so walking does not feel congested. Cars always stop when they see me approaching, and there is little speeding in the Hope Street Village area.

Not car related, I have more trouble as a pedestrian walking in the winter as many people do not shovel their sidewalks properly and many corners are often left completely unshoveled.

Mark Binder, Providence Artists’ Colony

Clearly, in advance of the test we’ve seen a lot of pushback. Cycling will continue to rise, but cars will not be going away in the next 10 years.

I’m a cyclist. I mostly use side streets, but have no fear on Hope Street because I pay attention and assume that every car is out to kill me.

The traffic study that I looked at in the plan is skewed, measuring traffic on the entire stretch. Yesterday at 11 am (date unspecified), every single [parking] spot on the East Side of Hope from Rochambeau to Frog and Toad was occupied.

The lack of distinction in planning a path between the stretch from Tortilla Flats (on Olney Street) to the library (up to Rochambeau Street) and a different plan for Rochambeau through Fifth Street is disappointing.

The dismissal of concerns about the width of the street and busses/emergency services is equally disappointing.

How safe is an “urban trail” when a two-baby stroller comes face to face with a line of cyclists and a pack of scooters coming from behind?

I’ve been in Amsterdam where cyclists rule and pedestrians beware, but that city has retrofitted its entirety and designated certain bike highways, not the mishmash spotty, irregular and confusing implementation we’ve seen around Providence. The lack of bike-oriented stop signs and traffic lights is irresponsible.

Finally, cycling advocates seem to think it’s ok for people to park their cars and walk a block or two, but are unwilling to bike up a side street and then cut in to the shopping district.

Mary Bouley, Northeast Pawtucket

Not a great idea! The street is narrow and busy. With all the shops lining the street there is heavy pedestrian traffic not to mention the limited parking. I believe it will negatively impact the businesses and will be dangerous for pedestrians and cyclist alike.

Lisa Brosofsky, Hope Village

I’m not a biker and I walk to Hope Street stores/restaurants since it’s already easier to walk than to park. I agree that the Blackstone bike path is lovely and makes it nerve-wracking enough for drivers trying to turn off the boulevard. It’s also hard to turn left onto Hope from anywhere. 

How do bikers on the path deal with the lights on Hope at those few corners where there are lights? Ever try to try to cross Hope and Rochambeau on foot? If I did bike, I’d stick to the Boulevard bike path—no lights and much wider-plus traffic only goes in one direction. 

I have lived off of Hope for over 25 years and still can’t believe that there isn’t a hard stop anywhere between the Boulevard (no one there) and Rochambeau. I’m a ‘no’ on the urban trail.

Ruth L. Breindel, Hope Village

I live on Hope Street, right in the middle of this trail, and neither I nor any of my neighbors were informed about the trail early on. I do go to all the community meetings. Information about it still has not been sent to residents.

Emergency vehicles go north on Hope Street 24 hours a day, and when they do so cars in the northbound lane move into the parking lane. As it is, sometimes they have to travel a block to find an empty space. When the trail is put in place, this will no longer be an option. 

Therefore, the emergency vehicles will have to go into oncoming southbound traffic. That traffic will have no place to move aside into, as the cars normally parked on the east side of Hope will now be on the west side. This is a very dangerous situation. Hope Street is a major artery. To choke it off is very poor planning.

Collen C., North Main

I know sometimes when I have to stock up on food I need more than a bike to get all of it home.

Anthony Capraro, Rumford

Bike riders don’t stop to shop. They will just pedal by.

Rick Champagne, College Hill

Let’s see real data on bike lane usage around the city before eliminating more parking. South Water has to be the biggest folly. It’s great to sit in traffic and try to find a cyclist. 

I’ve told retailers I frequent that parking is horrendous and this will drive me to take my business elsewhere.

Beth Chaplin, Providence Artists’ Colony

I appreciate having bike paths and providing for multiple modes of car-free transportation. I love the one on Olney, for example. But I am not in favor of having one on Hope. That’s not a place conducive to cycling, and people do need to be able to walk and drive there. Keep the paths on parallel streets, IMO. 

I do live in the neighborhood (nearby, on Doyle). I don’t actually bicycle so much as scooter. But either way it’s great to have a protected lane. 

Also, I’d REALLY like to see a secure bike cage at the Providence train station. Not sure why this doesn’t come up in any discussion of alternative modes of transportation. It’s an absolutely essential element for anyone wanting to cycle as part of their train commute who can’t afford a fancy folding bike.

Kim Clark, Hope Village

I’m a merchant on Hope Street, and we rely on attracting folks from all over who generally drive in. We need the SHOPPERS, the groups of folks who leave weighted down with shopping bags. 

Also, Hope Street hosts city and school buses, emergency vehicles and delivery trucks all day. When those (large) vehicles can’t pull over they’re going to create gridlock and people will eventually avoid the area as it will tip the chaos over the top. 

A finite area can only support so many variables. There are parallel side streets that are both wider and quieter and don’t have the same commercial district needs that would make more sense for an urban trail. 

It also seems unwise to layer new infrastructure on top of neglected infrastructure. Until we can repair sidewalks and adequately remove snow, it seems counterproductive to install a trail which will itself require maintenance.

Also, Hope Street is more like a suburb than a city. PVD does not have a robust public transportation system like larger cities have. It is a tiny city, and the East Side of Providence is a residential neighborhood. We’re not talking Manhattan here.

Elsie Collins, Oak Hill

Who is the self-appointed genius who thinks this is a good idea when we already have a perfectly beautiful bike path two blocks away on the Blvd?!!  There is NO ROOM for another bike path on Hope St. It’s a fatal accident waiting to happen!!  Will that person be willing to take legal responsibility for that? That money could go to far more urgent projects!!!

Deanna Crane, Providence Artists’ Colony

The posted speed through that area should be 15 mph. It’s so busy all the time. Perhaps the biker could just ride with traffic, at least where all the stores and restaurants are.

Mark Crosby, Dover Avenue

I lived in Colorado for many years. Cycling is a huge sport and pastime there. I was a very avid bike rider. Lots of bike lanes etc. rarely used even there. 

The U.S. is not a bike friendly urban situation. Angry drivers. So, I don’t support this. I do support greenways like the East Bay Bike path. It separates bikers from cars.

We should spend money on things like that. Urban bike lanes are worthless. My two bits as a cyclist. No way would I ride in the street around here. People can’t even take a second to use their turn signals much less watch for cyclists.

Melissa Crum, Fairlawn

I don’t go to businesses where I have a difficult time finding parking. Those businesses should be worried.

Anthony DeFusco, Cranston, RI

Unfortunately, there aren’t enough bike riders to warrant all of these bike lanes.

Lorna Dobson, Charles

I live on the north end of Providence and occasionally shop on Benefit Street. It would be convenient to use Hope Street as my main avenue of travel to the area, but I am scared to death of the traffic with the road conditions as they are. 

Making the road even narrower than it is would not behoove the average traveler. I cannot believe this is of any benefit to the business community on the street as well since it will impact the parking situation. I do own a bicycle and cannot imagine I would feel confident or safe on Hope Street while riding it there.

Monique Doherty, Hope Village

Why eliminate cars from Hope St.? Think of the elderly and handicapped who can’t walk far! Bikers can get off their bikes and walk where they don’t have to dominate the road/street. They are more capable of this than the elderly or disabled.

What about rescue and fire trucks? Should they be forced to ride bikes to get to an emergency?

Tom Dubuque, Rumford

Let’s follow this to the future. The experiment is made permanent. How many bikers will use the lane in a snow/ice event? Will the bollards be removed for the whole winter or just when snow is predicted? Will the plows go curb to curb or just up to the bollard? This experiment needs to be tested out in many circumstances.

It would be great as a “senior driver” to be able to drive on an already narrow Hope St. without having to watch out for bicycles along with jaywalkers, cars pulling out of spaces, delivery trucks blocking the lane and other drivers stopping to pick up someone who just needed a second to pick up a takeout or drop off someone. Now, let’s narrow the (already) too-narrow street with a bike lane that is usually unused.

Take a ride down Blackstone Blvd. or up the hill next to Hope High and count the bicycles.

Robert A. Easton, Baldwin 

The Hope St businesses are upset because their input was not sought out until the plan was formulated. These small local businesses fear parking difficulties will keep customers away. How many bikers will there be, and how many of them will be shoppers?

At 8:00 this morning, I walked on Hope from 5th (which is not part of the study) to Braman, which is pretty much the end of the commercial area everyone is concerned about. Why does the trial start at Lauriston, skipping two blocks (and several businesses)? At that time, traffic (car and bike) was light.

Some of the cars stopped to shop or deliver, none of the bikes did… A specific effort will need to be made to insure that the small shop culture of Hope St. is not lost. Visit Thayer St. for what can happen when the small shops go.

Zoe A, Providence Artists’ Colony

I am a property owner. I work in manufacturing. I plan on following this “experiment” closely. But I agree with a previous writer who noted that you can’t lump the Hope/Rochambeau two-block area with the area down around Tortilla Flats (on Olney Street). These are completely different areas and it’s a mistake to decide that what will work down at Olney will work in Hope/Rochambeau.”

Marilyn Fong, Hope Village

The side streets are congested already.

Melanie Fricchione, Hope Village

I would like to see bike stop signs and signage for them to stop at stoplights. I get nervous driving on Hope Street because bikers tend to go through intersections without looking. Would love to share the road but want to keep everyone safe!

Gerald Galleshaw, Windmill St.

I’ve ridden a bike for years around Rhode Island never had a problem with striking a car (or) having a car strike me because unless I was going to places that were on a main road I took the alternate side road, roads that have little or no traffic.

I’ve been in the food service industry for the better part of 40 years. If we had to rely on bike and scooter traffic even in a perfect scenario, I wouldn’t have made two years. People very seldom will take their bikes to go shopping at an antique (shop).

Normally, when people go to a spa or go have their hair done, they don’t take their bike. Nothing like going for a day of beauty and then ride home to sweat it out on your bike. Let’s be realistic. 

I’ve driven through Providence and that bike lane on South Water Street, which is probably the closest one to actually being worthy of being in existence is hardly ever used. And most of these scooters and electronic bikes are nothing more than a hazard…

Good ideas, but sadly, in reality, they don’t work. Take a good long look at the businesses that are along Hope Street. The reality is that bike lanes do not service that area.

William García, Mount Pleasant

My concern is that how many bikes are using those biking lanes a day? How much do we spend making those lanes and what is the percentage of users? All statistics counts.

Jill Goldstein, Oak Hill

It is bad enough trying to find parking on Hope Street. I go to a hairdresser on Brewster Street and the parking is AWFUL! Not everybody lives that close that they can walk to Hope Street and shop. I am not understanding why the world today is all about the bikers. It is like cars should not exist anymore. 

Hope Street is not a wide enough street to put a bike lane there. I am glad I don’t live in Providence anymore and have to deal with that mayor. I miss the good old days with Buddy! Just my opinion! 

Robert Geake, Oak Hill

As someone who has tried at various locations to share such a bike path by walking, it can be easily dangerous as well. Where, for instance, is someone walking to go when bikes are also in the lane? I understand the motivation behind the proposal. And as restaurants have been apparently given permission to fill up the sidewalks with table and chairs, it’s become apparent that RI is increasingly pedestrian- unfriendly. Let’s give the walkers, like me, a break.

Blackstone Boulevard has a bike path which could easily have a side street.

Alfred Gregory, Blackstone Park

We need MORE parking on Hope, not less. At least half a dozen times so far this year I have given up on finding parking close enough for me, and just skipped my local purchase.

John Hackett, Wayland Square North

Of course, the sap head mayor will allow the bike lane. His progressive ideas have no place for the businesses or its people to make a living. Eight years for what? NOTHING!

Avak H., Wayland

The outgoing prig is virtue signaling and it doesn’t matter to him or anyone else with the fantasy that “if we build it, they will come” because no such people suffer the consequences or effects of bad policy. Businesses and residents and those coming into town to benefit both do suffer. Shame!

It’s so sad when people try and force reality to suit their fantasies (such as a fossil fuel-free future—not possible!) rather than adjust their fantasies to suit reality. The former is social engineering and didn’t work out so well under fascism and communism (now in the guise of green ideology). The latter is good old fashioned American pragmatic common sense.

Nadine Hendrickson, Corliss Park

Eaton Street is somewhat narrow also. When they installed the bike lane there, the lanes were narrowed so much that when you were on a side street taking a right onto Eaton, your car travelled over into oncoming traffic just to make that right. At the end of Eaton, there were two lanes at the traffic light, one of which was to make a right onto Douglas. 

The bike lane ate up one of the lanes, which caused a lengthy back up at the light during peak travel times.  Also, on the side of the bike lane, residents would have to put their trash barrels in the bike lane on trash day! Needless to say, the bike lane did not last that long and cost the taxpayers approximately $120,000 (if I remember correctly) to return Eaton to the way it was before that.

Judy Hyde, Oak Hill

Bike paths on Hope Street would be a disaster for the people and the businesses. It’s too narrow of a street to change. Also, those bumps on Rochambeau don’t belong there, ruining peoples cars. We have enough expenses and don’t need extra car expenses too!

Marcie Ingber, Hope Village

We own Bubbies on Hope St. A lot of our clientele are older who need to park near the store. Parking is difficult enough already, adding a bike lane is only going to make us worse. Also, with heavy grocery bags, how are customers going to carry them further to their car? It’s a huge problem!!!

Jody Josephson, Oak Hill

Totally stupid idea. Where are people supposed to drive and park if shopping? It’s already hard to drive through this congested area. Totally dumb!!

James K., Hope Village

This “great streets” group wants to commandeer the narrow residential street I live on, and they have NOT directly notified residents of their intention…

Some store owners mentioned that they were afraid to express their opposition because they saw potential retaliation by activists.

More than one business owner has heard from the bike lane proponents that they will steer business elsewhere if the store or business does not support the bike initiative. One Twitter post changed a meeting from a restaurant on Hope Street that didn’t support the effort to another business away from the area, posting it


Elaine Kehoe, Providence Artists’ Colony

I think the people who formulated this idea are thinking about young people, not older ones. The East Side has a large 50-and-older population. Kudos to those who are fit enough to ride bikes, especially with all of the hills in our area, but many of us are not. It does no good for anyone to tell us to ride for better fitness if we are physically unable to handle a bicycle. 

Maybe this trial will show that—more likely a week won’t be enough, and the proponents will announce that it was “successful” without a large enough sample. Maybe a survey of neighborhood residents would have been a better idea to begin with.

But many of us can’t ride bikes or can’t do so safely. I also agree that our sidewalks are in horrible shape. It’s good that the city put in ramps on the corners, but they also need to fix sidewalks so that people with walkers or canes or in wheelchairs can

navigate them safely.

As for tables on the sidewalks, they were there before the pandemic and are a wonderful amenity for diners in the warm weather—also for dog owners to bring their pets to dine with them.

William Kling, Wayland

Taking away parking on heavily small-business Hope St. is even dumber than Mayor Dimwit’s’s bike lane on S. Main. The neighbors on the side streets should be up in arms! Where do they think people will park then? Last time I biked to those great local businesses I took side streets anyway;  too many speeders on Hope.

Jenna Weber Langstaff, Wayland

If Broad St was a fail, then of course this will be even worse of a disaster. Small businesses weren’t even included in these decisions, and it will make things absolutely chaotic.

Ann Lagarto, Rumford

Waste of $$…time…energy. AND small business suffers again! 1st Covid. now this!! Small business faces problems AGAIN!!!

Len Lavoie, Charles Street

Who’s going to reimburse the shopkeepers’ losses?  I have no intention of walking a block or more to pick up a sandwich for lunch. Parking is tight as it stands. I’ll move on to another parking-friendly neighborhood to shop or dine. It’s a bad idea.

Andrea Leonardi, Wayland Square North

I wish there were another street which paralleled Hope because many of us, who are older, can’t ride bicycles and rely on cars to get around, shop and carry our purchases home. It is hard enough to park there. So, if there is a permanent reduction of parking, I will not be shopping on Hope Street anymore. 

I think it’s great to get people out of cars. I walk a lot, but Hope Street is a little too far to walk to buy goods and carry them home, especially with the heat advisories we’ve been having lately and the cold winter days. Because of weather, I think it’s a little naive to assume that more bike riders will offset the use of cars enough to ease the parking.

Leslie Long, Fox Point

This bike lane initiative seems like a huge misguided ego trip for the mayor. School $$ first!

Amanda Lucas, Hope Village

I’d like to see a four-way stop intersection at the corner by Seven Stars Bakery. Trying to cross the street anywhere other than at the Rochambeau stop light is dicey. Also, it would slow traffic through the main area where the shops and restaurants are.

Amy Luks, Hope Village

Bad idea. Disabled adults and children and elderly people need people to drive them not hitch them to a bike.

Elyn Maclnnis, Hope Village

As an older person who lives in the area between Rochambeau to Not Just Snacks (on Fifth Street), I would find it a difficult thing to park down the side streets and have to walk, perhaps a very long way to shop and then carry something heavy back to the car. Or to make a quick stop at Lucky Kitchen (on Glendale Ave.) to pick up a takeout. 

Parking is already difficult enough, especially when there are other side streets for bikes to travel, like Summit, which hooks up with Ivy. We need to think about bikers. But we also need to think about older people who are inconvenienced by the lack of parking. There is already a fine bike lane on the (Blackstone) Boulevard. Is biking over to that bike lane so difficult that people don’t want to do it? 

I don’t want to have to carry heavy things long distances just because some people want to bike on Hope Street. Please factor in the older residents in the area who will be affected significantly by this bike lane. We have needs too.

Pam Maisano, Mount Pleasant

Funny, I rarely see anyone riding a bike on Hope Street. Let’s not invite it.

Joel Marks, Oak Hill

So now I have to go buy a bike to pick up my Chinese food which will be cold by the time I get it home? And in the cold and rain as well? Data is completely skewed toward the results that the bike coalition wants to find.  Most people had no idea it was happening, or any say in the matter.

Pierre Masoin, Providence Artists’ Colony

Any change to the neighborhood should have a majority consensus of those it will impact most. If the neighborhood isn’t in agreement the discussion should end. I understand cycling folk wanting to have a safe cycling path, but there are safer alternative routes to Hope Street. Is this really a topic that should be at the top of the agenda for our neighborhood?

Kathy Maynard, Slater Park

I drive to Hope Street from the Slater Park area of Pawtucket. I love the small businesses and restaurants. Parking is frustrating now. I don’t know where I will park when this change happens. Is this an attempt to keep people like me out so that only locals within walking distance frequent the area?

Michelle Miller, Oak Hill

I’m curious how this bike path trial will allow for disability parking so that the local businesses can still be accessed by those that require parking in front of the store/restaurant.”

Nancy Mullen, Oak Hill

No to the bike lane. It will hurt local businesses

Joyce Myrus, Hope Village

This is a ridiculous idea for which we now have some explanation. The Mayor. One can’t pleasantly or safely walk on a bike path. A bike path is not meant for walkers’ overflow from inadequate sidewalks. This will be urban clutter and aggravate an already difficult situation (and) there won’t be more bikes in winter.

Will they be collecting petition signatures on site rather than poling the neighborhood at large.

Sarah Nehama, Hope Village

I think it’s not a great idea. They were going to do something similar in my old neighborhood in Boston, Jamaica Plain, where the main street is much like Hope with restaurants and small businesses. It was already tough enough to park. That would have made it impossible. It will hurt local retailers and frustrate people wanting to visit. So, I think no.

Kara Orr, Fox Point

Absolutely horrible idea and a lame duck mayor should not be able to push this through.  Why are we building bike paths when our schools and parks need TLC and $.  I live in Fox Pt and walk my dog along the EMPTY and underused S. Water St. bike path daily.  I absolutely support bike paths, but not at the sacrifice of small businesses, which are the backbone of Providence’s economy.

Eloise Pickett, Rumford

They (bike advocates) are selfish, self-centered individuals. So don’t preach to me. They want something that totally alienates the majority. They are telling the rest of US to pound sand. Not very nice, I must say.

Dee R. Hope Village

Common sense wouldn’t seem so common. I live off of Hope St. by Miriam (Hospital) and as it is it takes about 10 minutes to drive from Rochambeau to 10th Street what with all the cars stopping for pedestrians and letting people come out onto Hope Street and so on. Add to that the occasional delivery truck that is stopped right on Hope St. with his hazards on and I wait until it’s safe to go around. 

In my opinion, unless someone is specifically shopping on Hope St. and using their bike or just having a general bike ride, anyone else training for local bike tournaments/the Tour de France would more than likely travel on a road less traveled, i.e. Blackstone Boulevard.

The whole idea is absolutely stupefying, adding more congestion to an already congested space. And how on earth will it work where the sidewalk bump-outs exist? Are we going down to one lane to give the cyclists an ample path to have both directions of travel for them ?!?!? 

Hope Street commerce deserves so much more than this shot in the arm in the 11th hour urban trail trial.

Monica Lee Rich, Wayland Square North

Not a cyclist in the city BUT frequent the businesses in that area. Haven’t they been hurt enough over the last couple of years with the pandemic? I got an email from one trying to give us the heads-up that there won’t be parking nearby. AND HEY! Why October?! Why not the summer when the chance of rain is less? There has to be a better solution to attract people to biking if that’s the goal. What’s the actual goal?

Jayson Salvi, Providence Artists’ Colony

This is just hurting the Hope Street businesses and possibly setting up side streets for accidents. The mayor is burning through The American Rescue $$$ with ridiculous programs.

Greg Sargeant, Fox Point

I have lived in Fox Point for 30+ years. I no longer ride a bike due to arthritis and rely on my car to visit Hope St. businesses, usually restaurants but also the different retail stores when I need a gift. I think there are plenty of options for bikers in the area, like Blackstone Blvd. and Elmgrove Ave. 

Hope St. businesses rely on on-street parking since none of them have lots. This is especially true for restaurants, if you can’t find a space you simply go somewhere else, like Pawtucket. Poor planning.

Tara Scopa, Hope Village

Does anyone know what criteria make this trial a success?

Chris Suchmann, Providence Artists’ Colony

The merchants on Hope St. and their residential neighbors should have more weight in this decision than anyone else. This is going to impact them the most. They live there and pay the taxes. If the city has a larger plan they need to hash it out with the locals before they proceed with anything. If parking is the problem, solve that problem first.

Why not run the bike lane along Blackstone Blvd and put bike racks with a bottle-filling station and an air pump on one side of park and bikers can walk to the stores from there. They’re in good shape already.… right?”

Nate Sykes, Providence Artists’ Colony

I live on Doyle (Expressway), and I think this a horrible idea. I get it, I love protected bike lanes, but Hope is extremely narrow as it is. From what I’ve seen, the test runs down to Olney.

What happens to all of the residential parking before you get to the Village?  Parking is a premium along Hope, especially on the weekends and evenings. Not even looking at local business, the restaurants and businesses don’t just cater to the surrounding area people do actually come to the Village and area from other parts of the city.

Kate Tassone, Providence Artists’ Colony

I work on Hope Street and bike-commute most days. Mostly to avoid parking in residential parts of the neighborhood, I realize how much the bike lane will impact our individual businesses, and also parking (I do drive some days), but cycling on Hope Street can be very sketchy and dangerous with drivers. I’m excited to at least do the trial bike trail and see what happens.

Terry Tenney, Hope Village

More people use cars to get to Hope Street than bikers. With respect, the urban trail should go somewhere else. We have lots of big problems to solve and need to start somewhere, but a bike

path down the busiest part of Hope Street is not going to make a pinpoint dent. Start by putting this bike lane somewhere else that makes more sense.

John Totter, Oak Hill

Have the results from the Broad Street been published? I visited the website and didn’t see them but… the video and info they provided on the site, propaganda really for the project, was clever and interesting. It was certainly promoting the positives and ignoring the downsides (whatever they might be). Can the Broad Street test really be a valid equivalence to Hope Street?

Christopher Verola, Wayland

The businesses in our neighborhood are a huge part of what make the East Side such a great place to live. When it comes to this trail, I’m confused. On the one hand, businesses are saying that reducing parking will hurt them. Having lived here for almost 20 years, there’s no doubt in my mind that this is true. Parking in that area is already difficult. Those businesses rely on customers who venture here from distances too far to bicycle from. I know many of these people. They already complain about parking around there but come here regardless because the businesses make it worth their while. So, there is that. 

On the other hand, proponents of this “trail” claim that they want to provide people with a means to access these businesses other than their own personal cars. Such means already exist. There are buses, Uber, Lyft, etc. Also, you can bike there today without this proposed trail. If eliminating parking will hurt the relevant businesses to the point that they go out of business, then what is the point? Are there really enough non-car drivers out there to make up for the damage the elimination of parking will do? 

I suppose that this is all theory to an extent. But do the hardworking people who poured their lives into their businesses deserve to have their dreams destroyed because some people think we should all ride bicycles? I find this to be a rather selfish stance. Location is extremely important to a business. Changing location not only costs money, but there is no guarantee that a business will succeed in a different location. 

When people decided to establish their businesses on that stretch of Hope St., I’m sure they considered that on-street parking was available on both sides. Many of

them already signed a petition to stop this “trail” project. I have heard that many others were afraid to sign it out of fear of retribution. This is very sad and scary (and we have confirmed to be true). Will the city of Providence reimburse business owners for any damage done by this “trail”? This feels like absolute bullying to me by a minority of people who are currently empowered by an administration guided by something other than the best interests of their constituents.

John Vicario, Hartford Ave//Killingly

This stupid idea by a stupid mayor will hurt businesses in the area.

Herb Weiss, Oak Hill

Sad bikers want to boycott against business opposition to a bike lane being pushed. Sort of anti-business against small stores trying to financially survive. Why don’t the bike organizations allot some of their grant money to businesses documenting lost revenues. 

Nancy Whitcomb, Wayland Square North

I wish bike lanes could be on quieter, less traveled roads that run parallel to the busier streets with commerce.

Brian Williams Jr., College Hill

Why don’t we put it on the ballot box and vote. Or does democracy not work anymore because the overwhelming majority would vote no?

Joanna Wood, Wayland Square North


Mieko Yasuhara, Hope Village

Lack of transparency (to put it “civilly”), right? That’s why don’t believe the people who say this is “only a one-week trial.” I wouldn’t be surprised if it became a permanent arrangement before any of us knew it. Not very democratic, is it?

And why do older citizens and people of all ages with various mobility issues have to be inconvenienced when there are more than one alternative routes available to bikers?? I just do not understand why the proponents of this project are so obsessed with forcing it on this particular stretch of Hope Street.

Becca Zhukov, Hope Village

I live on Hope Street and don’t understand this at all. We have a gorgeous bike bath just a few blocks away on the boulevard (Blackstone Boulevard). When I use my bike and don’t want to deal with Hope Street, I just hop on Lorimer or Summit and avoid the mess. This will be SO damaging to our local merchants. 

And what about the elderly? This plan does not consider them at all. And no, my 83-year-old mother with two rods and 8 pins in her back will NOT be riding a bike into town for her Christmas gifts.

I heard that they expect customers to walk up from North Main Street or up by Cypress St. This is ridiculous. Our lovely Hope Village will become a ghost town.  How many in our neighborhood have ever seen anyone get off a bike and enter a store to shop? In my 17 years, never. Occasionally at Seven Stars, but those two bike tie-ups they have are used more by resting dogs. And we have the boulevard. Hope is just too narrow.

Kevin Barbero, Cranston

I thought sidewalks were for families to walk?

Susan Cornell, Providence

There are multiple ways to get to the Boulevard without going down Hope. I am a cyclist and usually take Cypress and wiggle my way to Blackstone. There is no reason to have to a bike lane on Hope.

Mona Delgado, Hope Village

I see no need for a bike lane on Hope either. I am a biker and walker. My understanding is that the Hope Street path will not go as far as Seven Stars and, secondly, what is the problem with riding on side streets to get to Hope Street (besides the hills?)? 

Also, as a driver, I already try to avoid Hope Street since it’s too congested already. I live a block from Seven Stars and it can be treacherous to get across Hope Street. I think there are many, many more considerations to improve Hope Street. 

I believe that the bike path on the (Blackstone) boulevard improved the traffic situation there. It went from a two lane speedway to one lane plus bike path and calmed the traffic a bit except for the proliferation of motorbikes riding the boulevard in wheelies.

Gerald Galleshaw, Windmill St.

This is gonna take all parking off one side of the street on Hope Street and cut out  25% of the roadway.  Forget about handicap parking. There won’t be any.

Brenda Guzman, Hope Village

I live on Exeter st just off of Hope street. Already, people park right up to our driveway on both sides, sometimes even on to our drive. Parking is allowed on both sides of  this narrow street so usually there are cars parked on the other side of the street. This makes it VERY difficult to enter and exit our driveway. I can’t imagine it being anymore congested than it already is but it would be.

Bobbi Houllahan, Providence Artists’ Colony

Where will all the bicycles/scooters be parked as their owners become customers of the Hope St. stores and restaurants…very narrow street and all restaurants have outside tables and chairs (hard to get around them now if one is walking)?

James Kelly, Hope Village

Some store owners mentioned that they were afraid to express their opposition because they saw potential retaliation by activists (like you).

Farrel Klein, Providence Artists’ Colony

All of these traffic changes push cars onto side streets and off the main streets. People act in their self interest. They are not chess pieces. If there is limited parking on Hope, people will park on the side streets or avoid the area completely.

Susan Murtha, Quality Hill

Silly idea.

Wayne Rosenberg, Providence Artists’ Colony

Poorly conceived

David Valedofsky, Stephen Olney

How about using a street that runs parallel to Hope Street?

Janis Crawley, Providence

There are seniors and other handicapped people who be will not be shopping there. It’s just like the shutdown of Atwells Ave., although not exactly the same, but with no valet parking or handicapped parking. This matters.

Gregory D., Providence

Something you may or may not be familiar with is the middle ground of being disabled. There is a middle ground where one doesn’t seek handicapped permits or accommodations, but are in fact impacted by obstacles. This is a population that doesn’t benefit from handicapped spots, but may be less inclined to visit an area that proves difficult for them… 

You’re actually being dismissive of a huge number of people that are working twice as hard to accomplish a motion others take for granted (and) are really showing a complete lack of respect, empathy and understanding.

Suzy Shein, Rumford

Bad idea. No need to add bike paths to Hope St. That isn’t where bikers want to ride. If on a bike we can’t carry bags from shopping back to the house, leave it as is.


Where do we go from here? We continue to ask questions. Some of which are:

Why will the advocacy group not share the full proposal submitted to funding sources?

AARP-RI funded the one week test for $12,000+ – What other sources of funding have been secured? What has SPIN and GM contributed? What is the budget for the 1-week project?

How does the Coalition receive its funding? Who are the staff and how are they compensated?

What was learned by the failed bike lane at Eaton Street?

What is the status of the South Main Street bike lane project? How many bikers use the lane?


This is a developing story. Look for Part 2 will be published on Sunday.

Other stories done by RINewsToday, can be found here:


  1. Nancy Thomas on September 10, 2022 at 2:43 pm

    Just to clarify – 24 of the 45 businesses individually polled oppose the project and have signed a letter which has gone unanswered by both the mayor and the city council. Their letter can be found in our prior story – – we have the list of business names who signed it. In the link, here, you can listen to a radio interview by one store owner, and other media stories, in addition to RINewsToday.

    We would include information from the PVD bike group but they have refused all of our inquiries, ,and requests for interviews. Transparency is important on projects like this. It becomes a question of who decides – the property owners, small business owners, or a bike lobby?

  2. Victor on September 10, 2022 at 3:22 am

    Doesn’t matter though. Complete, accessible streets is the consensus of urban infrastructure, the US government, and part of goal 11 of the United Nations. We know this works, and we know businesses and some community members who oppose this are ignorant of these benefits.

    All the claims the author and many of the commenters make are quite easily debunked.

  3. Karen McAninch on September 9, 2022 at 7:23 pm

    There is so much misinformation here, I hardly know where to begin. For instance, won’t walkers continue to use the sidewalks, not the bike lane? Just because there is a bike lane on Blackstone Blvd. doesn’t obviate the need for one on Hope. I am a shopper and a biker. I agree, if I have a lot to carry, I might take a car or walk rather than bike, but bikes do have panniers to carry things. We often take side streets rather than bike on Hope, since it is busier than Summit or Morris, but a bike lane on Hope would make traveling by bike much safer. The bike lane on Olney is actually a bit too narrow for our tandem. It might be better for scooters. I live 4 blocks from the main shopping area on Hope and there are always places to park between my house and Hope St. My daughter surveyed it and only 20 parking spaces would be lost in the area between Lauriston and Fosdyke. The larger number refers to the area from Tortilla Flats to Lippitt Park. It all boils down to NIMBY, honestly. And, by the way, I am a senior.