standing letters

On Tuesday, Aug.13, at 7 p.m., an important public hearing concerning the proposed Coastal Route Bikeway will be held at the Charlestown Town Hall.

The Coastal Route Bikeway (Phase 1) connecting Ninigret Park to South Kingstown is back. The public hearing was originally scheduled for December 2018 but was canceled. There is a lot to digest in the plan. Below is a list of highlights.

1. This proposed bikeway has already cost the town $27,000 for a feasibility study. This study was approved by the previous Town Council, completed in November 2018 and paid for with our tax dollars. The money for this study was taken from the Council Contingency Fund. I have not seen a huge public outcry for this bikeway.

2. There are three options for the proposed Coastal Route Bikeway. Cost estimates, depending on the option, range from $5.5 million to $10.7 million. These estimates do not include additional costs for survey, design, right-of-way acquisition, permitting, safety beacon systems (yes, safety beacons), retaining walls, traffic studies and utility modifications.

3. There are three “Universals” that go along with all the options above. The total for the three “Universals” is another $2.5 million.

4. A new traffic signal and realignment at Narrow Lane/ US-1 is an additional $2 to $3 million.

5. Kingston Pizza could lose the majority of its existing parking spaces and “additional land would need to be acquired to relocate this parking.”

6. Option A will require “acquiring” land from 37 privately owned parcels. Option C will require “acquiring” land from 52 parcels.

7. Option C would cross the edge of two historic cemeteries. The plan states, “It is unknown if any gravesites would be within the impacted area behind the wall, but it is possible that gravesites could be affected.”

8. In June of 2018, the state of Rhode Island sent a letter to Town Administrator Mark Stankiewicz regarding the addition of bike lanes on Old Post Road. This letter advises the town that there are “additional complexities” that will cost the town an additional $1.5 to $2 million.

9. This same letter indicates that these complexities include:

1. Utility pole relocations

2. At least one retaining wall relocation

3. Potential neighborhood opposition to expand the project

4. Cultural resource and archaeological matters requiring studies and permissions

There are more issues surrounding this proposed bike pathway, these are just a few of the highlights. The entire plan can be viewed on the town’s website, www.charlestownri.org.

If you wish to voice your opinions, please come to the public hearing Tuesday, Aug. 13, at 7 p.m. at the town hall and have your voice heard.

If you cannot attend, please send an email to the town clerk, Amy Weinreich, at arweinreich@charlestownri.org and request that your comments are read into the record.

Jodi Frank

Charlestown

The writer is the chairwoman of Charlestown Residents United.

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