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DOT To Test Three Lanes On Quaker Lane

Quaker Lane will be repaved into a three-lane road for several weeks as part of a trial period.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation will be trying a new lane configuration on Quaker Lane, switiching it from four lanes to three later this summer. The road will have two travel lanes and one center turning lane from the Exit 6 Park and Ride to Ten Rod Road.

Originally, as traffic volumes have declined in the past few decades. The move is also aimed at detering speeders. After a May 24 meeting organized by U.S. Rep. James Langevin between the DOT and local business owners, the DOT decided to test out three lanes for a few weeks.

“We’ll go back and get feedback after the trial period and hopefully move on to final paving in the fall,” said Bryan Lucier, spokesman for DOT.

Following the announcement of the lane reduction, business owners and residents voiced concerns regarding the possible impacts of the reduction.

“Some of the businesses thought they would go out of business if we did this and that’s not what we wanted to do,” said Lucier. “We don’t want to jump in and adversely affect anyone.”

One of the biggest topics of concern is the incoming , which will include a 1,100-space parking garage.

“People aren’t going to want to sit in traffic [leaving the parking garage],” said James Grundy, a North Kingstown resident and member of the town Planning Commission. “I think a lot of people who are heading to Route 4 north are going to be going down Quaker Lane.”

“People are going to start using this road more and more with the train station coming in,” said Michael Bestwick, a member of the North Kingstown Town Council and owner of . During a meeting last month, the Town Council unanimously said it would like to see the road remain four lanes.

Another component of the discussion is , which plans to move to a Construction has already started on the multimillion-dollar complex.

“What I’m concerned about is having a busy Saturday and a bunch of customers coming in for an oil change,” said Ed Tarbox. “It could be treacherous for one of my customers trying to turn into traffic.

Despite the apprehension, Bob Smith of DOT said he believes locals may warm up to the idea of a two-lane road as they have in other communities where roads have seen lane reductions — Hartford Avenue in Johnston, for example.

“In those communities, there was a bit of apprehension in the beginning,” said Smith. “Afterward, people were very satisfied with the result.”

Quaker Lane was also targeted for its deteriorating pavement (which Smith says has become progressively worse in the past year) and because of its narrow lanes.

“The lanes are very narrow and don’t really function as four lanes,” said Smith. “The road just isn’t wide enough to have four lanes.”

A two-lane scenario would result in 12-foot lanes and eight-foot shoulders, which would be more “bicycle tolerant” and friendlier for pedestrians.

NKGOP Watch June 21, 2011 at 04:13 AM
The North Kingstown Town Council and the NK Planning Commission are against it? That's all I need to hear, it must be a good idea so lets get on with it!
Dark star June 21, 2011 at 04:21 AM
No kiddin, hurry up already before they screw it up.
robert w brousseau June 21, 2011 at 10:11 AM
Stupid, stupid idea, get behind someone that wants to drive 25 mph and you are stuck, it will be the last time I travel that road.
NKMom June 21, 2011 at 02:17 PM
Bikes are moving vehicles - just like cars - and have to use roads. Bikers can be tickets for using sidewalks and for not following the rules of the road, just like drivers. To attract more people, we need to make our roads more bike and jogger friendly. Take a look at successful communities which have continued to attract people even during the recession, they offer these things and people notice. While I agree that bike lanes are preferable, the increase in bikers and joggers on the road is a benefit, not a detriment to NK. Being green is an advancement not a set back and we should encourage more green innovations - like bike friendly roads.
NKGOP Watch June 21, 2011 at 02:35 PM
so i guess you dont drive on ANY 2 lane road then?
chucklesinri December 01, 2011 at 09:53 PM
Too bad the bike path isn't biker friendly. Finally checked it out - got to the end where it becomes old pavement and found that the placement of a steel post in the middle between the fences makes the opening ok for a biker but too small for the tow-behind child trailer I had. I detached it from my bike and my wife and I carefully lifted it over the post (with our two sleeping little ones inside) and we were able reconnect it & finish the path down to the water. We went back home via Fletcher because of that, which is also not biker-friendly.

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