Reaction to Roger Williams loop
To the Editor:
I was surprised to read your article that many Cranston residents are opposed to the renovations in Roger Williams Park, which include creating a greenway around the outer park loop with bike and pedestrian lanes. A $10 million philanthropic effort to improve park infrastructure and programming that Cranston residents can enjoy at no cost – free recreation – sounds too good to be true. Yet some residents are opposed? I don’t get it.
Then, I read on that the reason for the opposition is a possible disruption to their use of park roads as a shortcut to avoid traffic, mostly on Park Avenue. Ah, now I get it. I live off Park Avenue, and it does back up often. It has for at least 10 years. I always wondered why city officials didn’t fix it with improvements to light timing, turn lanes, and adding sidewalks and bike lanes so short-distance travelers could leave the car at home. Now I realize that the reason many did not complain was that they simply cut through the park, avoiding traffic hassles. Unfortunately, that very behavior probably caused the road renovations many are now opposing.
I have a suggestion: instead of opposing the efforts to build a better park, why don’t we take this as an opportunity to build a better transportation system in Cranston? One that actually gets us where we need to go safely and efficiently, whether we travel by car, bike, or on foot? Why do so many children need to be driven to school? Can we reduce traffic by organizing bike trains with adults to chaperone Park View students to school using the new bike lanes? Why not start thinking about the park as a park, and not as an extension of our daily commute?
It seems to me that we have two choices – we can either enjoy the renovations, or we can complain and continue to misuse the park until they put up a gate and charge admission – which would be a tragic loss for our community. RW Park is a priceless community resource and we all get to enjoy it – for free – as a park. I’d like to suggest that we all start doing just that, and finally take responsibility for fixing our own roads so we can use them to get to work, school, and errands without traffic flow or safety concerns.