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Connections to Roger Williams Park
There are three potential routes by which CityWalk could connect to Roger Williams Park. Elmwood Ave provides access to the park on its western corner. Broad Street provides access on the park’s northern tip. Between the two, there is an unused tunnel under I-95, previously used for freight rail. That tunnel outlets on Cadillac Ave, just north of the highway.
There are a number of barriers to using the tunnel as the primary CityWalk access to Roger Williams Park: immediately south of the highway it opens onto an active rail line. It also outlets on the back of the Roger Williams Park Zoo, and navigating around the zoo would be challenging.
Elmwood and Broad provide their own challenges, especially creating an inviting and safe atmosphere where the streets cross I-95. Currently, Elmwood passes under the highway through a dark underpass, and Broad passes over the highway. Neither crossing in its current condition welcomes pedestrians across it.
As a first step to encouraging more bicycle and pedestrian access to Roger Williams Park, events should be held closing off to cars portions of the connecting corridors. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, a major arterial, Memorial Drive, is closed to cars every Sunday from April to November between 11:00am and 7:00pm. A similar project could be considered for Elmwood Ave in Providence.
- Enhance and distinguish the pedestrian and bicycle experience on the Broad Street overpass and the Elmwood Avenue underpass with pedestrian scale lighting, graphics, surface treatment, and the installation of dedicated, protected bicycle lanes.
- Close half of Elmwood Avenue to cars on weekends to allow for a safe connection from the Elmwood neighborhood to the entrance of Roger Williams Park.
- Continue investigation of the tunnel connection at Cadillac Avenue.