The relocation of I-95 away from the heart of Downtown Providence created a unique opportunity to reconnect nine Providence neighborhoods that were previously divided by the highway corridor. Recognizing the opportunity of this historic moment, several grassroots communities joined together to develop a vision – City Walk – that would connect the people of Providence to the many parks and civic institutions throughout the City. Sparked by the grassroots movement, the City of Providence engaged with Toole Design to bring that vision to life. To deliver this signature City project, our approach is rooted in the concept of ‘Path as Place.’ At every turn, our team marries people-first design details with opportunities for art, placemaking, and public involvement. As a result, the City Walk network will combine best practices for multimodal streets with deep connections to the culture and heritage of the neighborhoods. Supported by PeopleForBikes‘ Big Jump Project, the first 1.5 miles of City Walk will be installed in 2019, connecting southwest Providence to the budding Providence Innovation and Design District. Future phases will continue the urban trail into the heart of South Providence, better serving a community with low-car ownership and a history of traffic crashes.
Between 2012 and 2017, 84 people walking or biking were involved in a crash with a car on Broad Street, making it the corridor with the most vulnerable user crashes in the State of Rhode Island. At the same time, over 40% walk, bike or use public transit to get around in this community.
The community saw what was possible for Broad Street during the demonstration project, and experienced a completely different street. The response was palpable: