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RIDOT Passes the Buck

As if to cap off the news that RIDOT is among several state DOTs pilfering biking and walking funds*, RIDOT has completely abbrogated its duties to take care of sidewalks on bridges it owns:
RIDOT passed the buck.
Some state officials, like State Rep. David Norton of Pawtucket, took aim at RIDOT for its inadequate care for pedestrians.

Legislation to hold RIDOT accountable for sidewalks in its care failed to get out of committee (see #10) last legislative session at the Statehouse.

RIDOT spoke up again today to insist that it is not responsible for sidewalks on bridges it owns, this time with statute in hand:
I guess this technically puts RIDOT in the right, but I can't help but remark upon the amount of energy that was put into digging through a law book to find the statute to prove that RIDOT isn't responsible that could have instead put to just sending someone out to fix the problem. Whatever the law is, it's also a backwards standard. Pawtucket's downtown was absolutely obliterated by the I-95 "S curve" that snakes through it, and yet the tax base of that very poor city has to be stretched taking care of the sidewalks on RIDOT bridges. Meanwhile, RIDOT thumbs its nose at urban residents by using funds that should go to walking and biking for road paving. I cannot think of a more arrogant stance.

*By the way, the Streetsblog estimate of nearly half a million dollars being taken from bike/walk projects and used for road paving sounds conservative to me, if anything, given that just one RIDOT project I know of costs $9 million and does the same thing. A "rest stop" (think: state-sponsored gas station and Dunkin Donuts) will cost the state $12 million, of which $9 million is expected to come from federal TIGER Grants. The group "Keep Hopkinton Country" is fighting RIDOT's efforts to dishonestly present this 500-spot parking lot project as a boon to transit (Ha! see population density metrics!) and biking (Ha!). You can follow them at @keephopkinton. The last rest stop to be located in Hopkinton under RIDOT's watch was closed due to lack of activity. EcoRI News is also covering the issue quite well.

What a win for biking and walking in the nation's second densest and smallest state.

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