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amy gerhard

on 1 May 2018

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Transcript of EBBP

National Context
The East Bay Bike Path 30 Years Later
What Have We Learned?
John P. Shevlin, P.E.
Amy J. Archer, P.E.
"The U.S. rail trail movement began not with a bang—but as an intriguing idea that quietly took hold in the Midwest in the 1960s and eventually spread across the country."

The railroad industry was in serious decline.

The railroad was being eclipsed by automobile and air travel.

From 1930 to 1970, an estimated 38,000 miles of rail lines were abandoned.

By 1990, the number jumped to 103,000 miles.
Bicycle sales increased from 6 million in 1971 to 15.3 million in 1973.
Most pre-boom bikes had been sold for children, suddenly 60% were destined for adults.
In 1973, 252 bicycle-oriented bills were introduced in 42 states.
The Federal Aid and Highway Act provided $120m for bikeways over three years.
Congress recognizes that bicycles:
are the most efficient means of transportation
represent a viable commuting alternative
offer mobility at speeds as fast as that of cars in urban areas
provide health benefits
reduce noise and air pollution
are relatively inexpensive
deserve consideration in a comprehensive national energy plan.
Increased the national gas tax by 5 cents
Rhode Island’s share is $430 million over three years
Some funds are earmarked for bicycle transportation
Federal funds will cover 100% of the cost of the bike path through the Federal Highway Association (FHWA).
Preserves abandoned rail corridors for future rail -- called "railbanking"
Allows them to be temporarily repurposed for other uses such as bikeways
Converts them to interim trails.
The Fruition
of the
East Bay Bike Path
Part of the Old Colony Railroad
Built in the mid-1800s for train service from Providence to Bristol
Multiple owners
Freight service continued intermittently until the railroad went bankrupt
Completely abandoned in 1973
RIDOT purchased the corridor for approximately $200,000 in 1976.
Many, including RIDOT, believed that the train would come back.

The path was only considered as a placeholder.
In March 1976, Brown Student Clinton Andrews completed an independent study.
March 1980, Representative Thomas Byrnes introduces a bill to study the use of bicycles as an alternate form of transportation and as an energy saver.

The Joint Commission consisted of six General Assembly Representatives from various statewide towns and one each from:
RI Department of Environmental Management
RI Department of Transportation
RI Public Transit Authority
Narragansett Bay Wheelmen / RI Bike Coalition
Governor’s Energy Office
The Objections
April 13, 1985 the Hikers Club of RI conducts “Walk the Bike Path” to overcome objections and garner support.
Extensive outreach in all communities along the East Bay.
"the perfect confluence of people and talents"
Building the Path

The RI Senate passes resolution to stop construction
of the bike path.

Opposition reaches the Federal level. A letter of opposition is sent to the Reagan White House.


Bristol Town Council reverses itself and withdraws
its support of the path.
Rhode Island State Law Introduced March 11, 1982

“to establish a definition of a bicycle trail or path now being constructed by the state to be used for bicycles, excluding motor vehicles from therefrom and provide penalties of persons operating motor vehicles thereon”
Any person who operates a motor vehicle upon any bicycle trail or path shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of One Hundred ($100.00) Dollars
Pare's original estimate was $1.3 million dollars
November 1984, the FHWA awards $1.3 million
100% federal funded by FHWA
Final Cost $7.5 Million ($517,000 per mile)
Today's cost of average mile ranges $5k to $535k.
Lee Pare & Associates was hired in March 1982 to:

identify demographic, social and environmental impacts
garner public input
recommend the best path route and design
develop anticipated cost.

Construction began May 1986
14.4 miles constructed in four phases
Connects 5 communities
Joins 8 parks together
49 crossings, 2 signalized
Ten-foot-wide asphalt path
Five rehabilitated railroad bridges.

Path Design and Innovations

RIDEM Parks & Recreation:
split-rail fence maintenance

repairs over $5k
on the Community
“It was one of the toughest things I ever did in state government, because of really deep seated opposition from many politically connected people. I think Representative Tom Byrnes and I drove Governor Garrahy crazy and many times he wished the whole thing would just go away, but eventually we persevered.

In later years Governor Garrahy said that there were few projects which gave him more headaches while he was in office, but that after it was done he got more positive comments about it than any other thing that he had ever done."

Ed Wood
RIDEM and RIDOT Director

Spurring Economic Development
Lessons Learned
It was also suggested that the land “should be sold to abutting property owners (to generate) tax revenue for the towns."

The Rails-to-Trails Movement
Growing Popularity of Bicycles
The 1978 National Energy Conservation Policy Act
The 1982 Surface Transportation Assistance Act
Congress amends the National Trails System Act
Garnering Public Support
The East Coast Greenway
New England
Bike-Walk Summit
April 27, 2018
The Rail Line
Introducing the Concept
Rhode Island Joint Commission
Feasibility Study
In the News
Ownership of the Land
Public Outreach
Escalation of Opposition
Rhode Island Act 82-H 7762 Section 31-2-23 (J)

Funding and Cost
Giving the Narragansett Bay Coastline to the Public
Typical Section
Bridge Rehab and Design
Design Criteria
Intersection Treatments
Ridership Projections
Ridership Projections
Major Objections
Will attract crime, graffiti & vandalism
Decrease property value
Increase noise
Safety Concerns
Waste of Taxpayers' Money
Many called the path
, and a
“criminal’s highway"
30 Years in Retrospect
Time Tested Elements
Feasibility Study
Public Outreach
Design Criteria
Bridge Rehab Methods

Obstacles Overcome
State/Municipality Reservations

What We Have Learned ?
Areas for Improvement
Increased Paved Width
Increased Paved Depth
Bridge Deck Material
Root Barrier/Maintenance

Continuing Trends
Public Opposition
Need for strong advocacy!
"Enjoy being steps from the bike path, marina, Hines Memorial State Park, and of course the Barrington School System!"
"Walk to the town, harbor shops, and the bike path!"
Our thanks to the many people who took the time to answer our questions and share their memories of the creation of the East Bay Bike Path.
Maintain rail substructures
Re-deck with timber planks
Sidewalks for fisherman
Design Speed =
20 mph

Design Radii =
33' / 63'
Signage and Striping
Root Barriers
Minimal Impact = Minimal Permitting
Area of Influence
Trip Gen Calcs
Comparing the Objections to the Reality
Concern: Attract crime, graffiti and vandalism
Reality: Self-monitored and community pride
Infrequent incidents not isolated to the path per local police

Concern: Waste of money
Reality: "Best investment in the State" per local abutter

Concern - Decreased property values
Reality - Incentive for buyers -
mentioned in 20% of real estate listings
Property Values
And Tourism, Too!
"Lack of proper control could result in increased vandalism and house breaks along the route"

"the unduly high cost of the project which would be used by a small portion of the public"

"waste of the taxpayers' money"
2” Asphalt
6” Gravel
10’ Paved
4’ Shoulders

Geosynthetic root barriers installed along path edges in appropriate areas.

John P. Shevlin, P.E.

Amy J. Archer, P.E.
"A victim of its own success"
Path has become an attraction/destination
Actual ridership nearing 1 Mil/year

Largest complaint is limited width
Current AASHTO: 12 – 14’

Range of Users
Multi-Modal With Desired Connections to Transit
Ridership Projections
Peak-Hour Ridership nearing Daily Projections
Edge deterioration
Split-rail design
Fencing impacts mowing
Root Barriers
Need to be stronger
New plantings should have limited root systems.
Typical Section
Bridge Rehab
Maintain rail substructures
Bridge Decking
Re-deck with Glulam
Wearing surface
Intersection Treatments - Signalization
East Bay Bike Path
Waltham Wayside Trail
East Bay Bike Path
Waltham Wayside Trail
Intersection Treatments - S-Curves
Waltham Wayside Trail
East Bay Bike Path
Signing Lasts Longer Than Striping
Additional Amenities
Current Designs
Widen paved width – 12 to 14’
Increase paved depth – 4” thickness
Subbase under shoulder

East Bay Bike Path
Waltham Wayside Trail
Full transcript