More than 400 residents of Aquidneck Island and surrounding communities rolled in on the morning of Saturday, September 9th to enjoy three glorious hours of car-free enjoyment along the scenic coastal route through Island Park & The Hummocks in Portsmouth, RI.
The Sakonnet Coastal Bike & Stroll was hosted by Bike Newport and Island Park Preservation Society, and made possible by a Rhode Island Streets Transformation grant to the Town of Portsmouth by the RI Department of Health, Grow Smart RI, and Providence Streets Coalition. The above video offers a brief taste of an experience that can be difficult to describe in words: a shared community experience of freedom, safety, relaxation, empowerment, and exhilaration.
The car-free route encompassed a two-mile stretch of Park Ave and the Hummocks, featured not one but two bridges including the separated shared use path crossing the Sakonnet River Bridge to Tiverton, and connected through to the entrance to Common Fence Point (see route map below). The event was conceived to showcase what it’s like to have a connected network of bike and pedestrian-safe infrastructure that’s separated from cars, and to demonstrate the public demand for more safe places to ride and walk away from motor vehicle traffic.
Bike Newport’s Director of Development Chris Barker commented: “By turning out in droves to enjoy this car-free opportunity, the public at large very clearly demonstrated the significant demand that exists for connected and separated infrastructure for riding and walking. We’ve seen how it enhances quality of life in nearby communities, and we need to get this done on Aquidneck Island”
Thank You for making this such a special day!
We’re beyond grateful to the Portsmouth Police for the proactive and concerted role they played in helping us plan for a safe and successful community event. Thank you Chief Peters and Lieutenant O’Neill, and everyone on the detail for the event. Thank you to Brian Woodhead and the staff of the Portsmouth DPW. We express our thanks to the many residents of Island Park and The Hummocks who participated in the event, and also those who endured some re-routing, kindly delayed their travel, or awaited police escorts to safely get where they needed to go. Thank you to the Ride Island team for presenting at the Bike Newport tent (learn more about the Ride Island initiative here), and we enjoyed having Grow Smart RI and Providence Streets Coalition on hand to discuss Complete Streets. Thank you Clements’ Marketplace for providing water bottles, water and snacks.
And of course: a special thank you to all the event organizers and our friendly volunteers.
Thank you to the wonderful local business that sponsored the Sakonnet Coastal Bike & Stroll, including Berkshire Bank, Ocean State Air Solutions, The Green Grocer, Rail Explorers Rhode Island, Saccucci Honda, Sunset Cove, and WhippleTree Experts.
And most of all, our gratitude to each and every one of you who came out to ride or walk this beautiful coastal road as a community gathered for pure and simple happiness.