RICHMOND — The Town Council agreed Tuesday to consider polling residents to gauge their support for a ban on single use plastics. The issue was raised by council member Mark Trimmer, who prefaced his proposal by saying he merely wanted to see how people felt about single use plastics.
“I don’t want to go against the grain in the town,” he said. “Many towns in Rhode Island are enacting single use plastic bans, so I wanted to see how the town as a whole felt about single use plastic bans.”
Trimmer, whose home is on Route 138, said he spent a lot of time picking up plastic trash from his front yard.
“Virtually every day I’m picking up plastic bags, coffee cup tops, stirrers and straws and junk from my yard,” he said. “I live right on Route 138, so my yard is the dumping ground for anybody driving down to the beaches from the city … I think it would benefit our town, given our rural nature.”
Trimmer said he had not always been in favor of a ban.
“If you had asked me 10 years ago if I thought it was a good idea, I would have said no, but I’ve changed my position on it because I’ve seen what’s going on. On Facebook, you get to see all the wildlife that’s killed by these things. It’s something we could do and it wouldn’t really cost anything.”
Town Administrator Karen Pinch suggested polling residents. “I’ve never done a poll before, but I’m sure it’s easy enough to figure out. It might be worth it,” she said. “I’d be interested especially in what the business owners think.”
Several people in the council chambers said they supported a ban.
Gabriel Davies said people quickly became used to not having single use plastics when a ban was passed in North Kingstown.
“When they did that, my grandma and my uncle, they rolled their eyes,” he said. “But it’s not something they complained about after a couple of days. It’s just something everyone over there is used to. You don’t expect plastic bags and you don’t think about it. So if your poll comes up 50-50, a lot of the people that vote no might not care after two or three weeks.”
Pinch said she would look at the possibility of conducting a poll.
Pinch also briefed the council on the reconfiguration of Exit 3 off Interstate 95, explaining that the Rhode Island Department of Transportation had informed her that the work has begun.
“They’ve started with the new 95 Exit 3 project,” she said. “Work will include demolition and removal of the existing bridge superstructure and substructure and utility relocation, erecting pre-cast bridge substructures, fabrication and erection of a steel plate girder superstructure with composite concrete deck.”
Additional work will include the removal of two interchange off-ramps, the installation of a new traffic signal, new sidewalks, a new guardrail and new highway lighting.
The current exits, 3-A and 3-B, will be replaced by a single Exit 3 off-ramp which will end at a traffic signal, where motorists can turn left or right.
“That’ll probably be the biggest change that you’ll notice,” Pinch said.
The estimated completion date is September 2021.