PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) – The installation of a mile-long temporary bike lane is raising concerns among Providence business owners.
More than 130 parking spaces along the east side of Hope Street will be repurposed from Oct. 1 to Oct. 8 as part of the plan. Area businesses told 12 News they believe the project will not only affect commerce, but also pedestrian safety.
“It’s going to really hurt business,” said Mohammed Islam, owner of Not Just Snacks on the corner of Hope and Fifth streets.
“People drive more than 40 miles per hour, so many accidents happen,” he added.
In a letter sent to Mayor Jorge Elorza and the Providence City Council, more than 20 small businesses asked them to stop the upcoming temporary “Urban Trail” installation.
Patricia Zacks, who has owned The Camera Werks for 33 years, said she’s not opposed to a bike lane, but thinks it will have a big impact on her business.
“They’re not going to walk three blocks to do it, so again, what’s the alternative? How will that customer reach me easily?” Zacks asked.
Maria Soares, owner of Marysia’s Custom Tailoring, called the proposal unfair.
“We’ve been through so much as small businesses during the coronavirus. We lost so much business,” she noted.
Shop owners are also concerned with communication, saying they were not made aware of the cycle lane trial period until it was too late.
“I have a mailbox. I’m here six days a week,” Zacks said. “Nobody notified me.”
According to Zacks, the trail will extend from Frog & Toad to Tortilla Flats and accommodate runners, walkers and cyclists.
The city said Hope Street was the most requested street to add to Providence’s bike lanes.
“We’ve used this approach, of using temporary installations to gather information and feedback, in other parts of the city and we believe it’s a prudent approach to take,” Elorza said. “I understand the concerns of the business community and believe there is sufficient time for their reasonable concerns to be incorporated into any plan for temporary installation.”