Providence is known for many things: world-class colleges, unmatched dining scene, vibrant arts community – and all of it is located within walking distance, which makes the city streets so important.
“But the streets of Providence can be stressful and chaotic – and that doesn’t have to be the case!” says Liza Burkin, lead organizer for the Providence Streets Coalition. The alliance includes community organizations, local businesses, schools, institutions, civic leaders, and individuals advocating for people-friendly streets in the city.
“We bring people together to advocate for better transportation options to improve safety, equity, sustainability, prosperity, health, and quality-of-life in Providence,” says Burkin. The word “equity” is key; with Providence streets designed mainly for driving personal vehicles, it excludes those without access to affordable, reliable, and safe forms of transportation.
“The pandemic has reinforced how important it is to have safe public spaces to walk, bike, and travel in the city,” Burkin continues. “As we recover, traffic congestion in Providence will worsen unless we plan for the future and improve our walking, bicycling, and transit networks.”
In 2019, the City of Providence launched their Great Streets Initiative to improve streets and intersections. The initiative will create a network of paths that reconnect every Providence neighborhood for people of all ages and abilities to walk, run, ride bicycles, scoot, skateboard, use wheelchairs, and other active travel options.
“Developing safe and convenient alternatives to driving is the best way to reduce our city’s traffic issues and make Providence an even better place to live, work, and visit,” says Burkin. “Not only will Providence’s new urban trail network make getting around clearer, safer, and more inclusive for everybody, but it will also help Providence fight climate change and become a more sustainable city.”
In addition to these improvements, the Providence Streets Coalition offers Safe & Creative Streets Mini Grants of $500-$3,000, which empower locals, organizations, and leaders to showcase how these changes can benefit their communities.
To learn more and join the mission, visit PVDStreets.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 401-400-1382.