Project Summary

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 PeopleForBikesBig 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.

To meet people in their own spaces, in their own languages, all City Walk presentations and public materials were provided in at least two languages, with all public meetings conducted simultaneously in both English and Spanish.
In a part of the City where streets were designed to maximize vehicle speeds, the addition of pedestrian plazas and two-way separated facilities represented a major change. We used temporary installment to introduce the plan's concepts to the community, a critical step to advancing the project into design.
Over the course of a single day in June 2018, our team temporarily transformed Broad Street with removal of a center turn lane, over 6,000 square feet of mural-painted curb extensions, and a 500-foot two-way, parking-protected bike lane.

The community saw what was possible for Broad Street during the demonstration project, and experienced a completely different street. The response was palpable:

Together, our team and these Providence communities are using the City Walk project to re-imagine a street network that works as well for people walking, biking, roller blading, busing, and scootering as it does for those in cars.

Related Projects and News