While Providence has a reputation as a walkable city, especially in and around downtown, critics have complained that there has been insufficient consideration for pedestrians and bicyclists. At too many intersections, city planners conceded, pedestrians have been forced to dash across the street to avoid oncoming traffic.
A curbside bicycle lane, according to Azar, protects riders from moving traffic and “dooring.” Dooring is the unexpected throwing open of a motor vehicle door into the path of a rider.
The plan was intended to give motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists more options to move in and around downtown. Among the changes were the conversion of major one-way streets to two-way — such as Empire and Weybosset streets — and construction of sidewalk “bump-outs” that reduce the distance that a pedestrian walks in order to get across a street.
Azar said there is no specific plan for more “parking-protected bicycle lanes” in Providence but that their installation will be considered as certain streets are repaved. He predicted there “likely” will be more bus islands created in the implementation of the Downtown Transit Connector, which would have the bus berths at Kennedy Plaza dispersed.