Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 10-11-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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14 LINCOLN OCTOBER 11-17, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE | CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION have Rhode Island Department of Transportation officials pledging to invest some money into the path. Setting off from the Ashton Mill parking lot in Cumberland, seasoned cyclists who use the Blackstone River Bikeway know to slow down or dis- mount their bicycle as they approach a section referred to as "the wash- board," a particularly bumpy stretch of path where tree roots have caused the asphalt to rise and crack. Root problems exist along the entire bike path, however a notori- ously uneven half-mile section at the 11.5-mile marker has been a particu- lar area of concern for riders. Local resident Ted Tobin said he hit a tree root while riding through the section that sent him flying off his bike and to the doctor's office with several bruised ribs. At least one other person was injured on the bike path this sum- mer due to an accident involving the tree roots. In July, the Lincoln Town Council denied a personal injury claim filed against Lincoln by Pamela Shapiro, of Watertown, Mass. Attorney Robert Levine, who filed the claim on Shapiro's behalf, said the injury occurred on July 7, approxi- mately a half-mile from the bike path entrance on Front Street in Lincoln. "She went over a raised asphalt split and bump caused by a root grown out of a tree on the ground," the claim reads. "This fall resulted in her sustaining a fracture to her elbow." The Town Council denied the claim, as the bike path falls under the purview of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. In July, RIDEM spokesperson Gail Mastrati told The Breeze that the agency was aware of the tree root issues and was working to allocate funds for maintenance. Since then, roots that were previously painted yellow have been painted over with white. "I don't want to sound outrageous, but somebody is going to end up seri- ously hurt or killed," said Bladimir Rodriguez, an avid biker who uses the path frequently. "…especially during this time of year," added Tobin, noting that fallen leaves cover the white paint. "This path is super, it really is. It's too bad during cost analysis that they didn't include the cost for maintaining the path." Last week, Mastrati said RIDEM is looking into funding this project in the current budget cycle and "working to develop a solution that will remedy the tree root issues and restore the surface of the bike path." Michael Healey, RIDEM's chief public affairs officer, pledged that the department is working on identify- ing a solution by next year. Healey said RIDEM plans to tackle the bike path improvements in the first half of 2019, barring weather or other setbacks. "I know these are safety as well as quality of life issues, and (RIDEM) is actively contemplating and working in the current budget cycle to solve the problem," he said. "This is a big concern and we're planning to do something about it." The washboard section has kept avid cyclists such as Ted Shwartz from using the path. Shwartz, who serves as president of the 1,500-cyclist strong Narragansett Bay Wheelmen, said he stopped using the Blackstone River Bikeway about a year ago because conditions got so bad. "That is one of the nicest bike paths in all of Rhode Island, with more wildlife and less road crossings than other paths, but it's unfortunate that surface conditions create an issue of safety," he said. "There is no safer place to take your family away from traffic, so it's a shame that section is so nasty. And spray painting the awful parts is really no solution at all." BIKE PATH From Page One BREEZE PHOTO BY NICOLE DOTZENROD BLADAMIR RODRIGUEZ, left, and TED TOBIN, right, stop and dismount their bikes ahead of the "washboard" section of the Blackstone River Bikeway, where tree roots have been painted over in white. YOUR COMPLETE CAR CARE CENTER OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK* Local Family Owned and Operated And more! 1704 Mendon Road | Cumberland, RI 02864 | 401.333.6660* 985 North Main Street | Providence, RI 02904 | 401.453.4707 185 Washington Street | South Attleboro, MA 02703 | 508.761.7200* 30 North Main Street | Attleboro, MA 02703 | 508.226.1465 • change oil & oil filter (up to 5 qts) • multi-point vehicle check • top off vital fluids • vacuum front & rear floorboards • wash front & rear exterior windshields All with fast, friendly service! $ 5 off 17-Point Oil Change Most vehicles. Cash value 1/100th of 1 cent. Coupon required. Not valid with other offers. Valid at participating locations only. 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