2011-05-12 / Editorial

Bike path would promote exercise and safety on island

VIEWPOINT
By Kate Smith

The Jamestown Bike Path Design Committee was formed in 2008 by the Jamestown Town Council. The charge of the committee for the past three years has been and will continue to be facilitating the design and construction of a Conanicut Island Bike Path.

The on-island portion of the bike path was approved by the Town Council in 2000 as a component of the Conanicut Island Greenway Trail System and funded by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation in 2002.

The Bike Path Committee voted to make the first phase of developing an island bike path a Cross- Island Bike Path Connection. As of this spring, the committee is pleased to announce that progress on this first leg of the path is moving forward in a timely manner. The path will be constructed entirely on town property.

It will safely connect North Main Road to East Shore Road. It will be a value-added asset in so many ways to the Jamestown community and our visitors.

The Bike Path Committee is dedicated to its goal of safety in travel across and around the island whether on bicycle or by foot. The Cross-Island Bike Path Connection beautifully accomplishes this goal. From North Main Road, residents and visitors alike will travel along the south side of the reservoir dam, then into the lovely wooded area within the right-ofway of the historical road east of the reservoir and onto the existing maintenance road on the town property north of Eldred Avenue.

The committee’s mission is not limited to safety. Creating a multiuse recreational path helps promote a healthy community through exercise. It will allow Jamestown children to navigate getting across the island on their bicycles or walking. Soccer practice at the field, visiting friends on the opposite side of the island, walking or riding to the Jamestown Community Garden, or just enjoying the island’s natural beauty along the path on an afternoon stroll, are some of the environmentally correct and enjoyable attributes this path will bring to the people of Jamestown.

Long term, it will be part of the bigger, greener picture of Rhode Island’s Greenway Trail System. This is the first step.

At this time, there is a town budget article for $21,000 for funding necessary for the plans and design of our Cross-Island Bike Path Connection. This budget request is hinged on the approval of funding from RIDOT to construct the path. Without a funding commitment from RIDOT the $21,000 budget from Jamestown to this project would not be allocated.

The Jamestown Bike Path Committee looks forward to bringing this wonderful project to fruition for the recreational pleasure of all islanders and looks forward to your support of the capital budget appropriation at the annual Financial Town Meeting in June.

The author is a member of the Jamestown Bike Path Design Committee.

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