Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 09-05-2019

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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Page 9 of 63

10 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR / LINCOLN SEPTEMBER 5-11, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION LINCOLN – Several state road upgrades will be delayed in the Lincoln area under the most recent amendments approved by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Most significantly, repaving a sig- nificant portion of Route 146 has officially been delayed two more years until 2024. That change was one of many approved amendments to the state's 10-year State Transportation Improvement Plan, or STIP. The State Planning Council made the most recent wave of changes official in an 18-1 vote last week, agreeing to reduce and reshuffle financing for planned road, bridge, bike and pedestrian projects throughout the state. The $4.9 million repaving of Route 146 from Route 295 to Route 146A through Lincoln and North Smithfield has been delayed from 2022 to 2024, "based on evaluation of pavement conditions and funding availability." Funding for so-called "inter- change safety improvements" to Route 146/Route 116 in Lincoln, which would add acceleration/ deceleration lanes, has been com- pletely removed. In addition, inter- section safety improvements to and signal improvements in that area have been delayed from 2019 to 2023 due to a lack of current avail- able funding. According to RIDOT, the project is being delayed "to the out years," however there "may be an opportu- nity to revisit and revise the scope of this project in the future when new funding becomes available." Funding has also been reduced by $1.2 million for signage replace- ment on Route 146. New River Road, from School Street to Mussey Brook Road, has been delayed from 2022 to 2026, but an additional $2.6 million has been allocated to the project. School Street, from Route 146 to Main Street, will be put off until 2022, "based on evaluation of pavement conditions and funding availability." River Road from Curtis Lane to Route 116/George Washington Highway has been delayed from 2022 to 2024. RIDOT determined that the pavement on Smithfield Avenue from the Pawtucket line to Woodland Street could withstand an additional year, with work now planned for 2022. The only project in Lincoln being recommended for an accelerated schedule due to the condition of the pavement is Lonsdale Avenue, or Route 122, from Dexter Street in Central Falls to the Cumberland town line. That project is now bud- geted for 2025 instead of 2026. Slight changes were made to the budget of the following paving projects: • Albion Road from Old River Road to Eagle Rock Road (planned for 2022) • Great Road and Front Street (planned for 2022) • Jenckes Hill road from Albion to Route 246 (planned for 2024) • Paving Route 116 from Lincoln Mall to Albion Road (planned for 2026) • Route 295 from Route 146 to the Massachusetts line (planned for 2027) • Twin River Road from Douglas Pike to Lincoln Woods State Park (planned for 2027) Though local officials have been critical of the changes, their con- cerns have been largely overshad- owed by the statewide response to bike and pedestrian projects also included in the STIP amendment. The amendment reshuffles $37 million in funds previously tar- geted for the state Transportation Alternatives Program, a change that drew strong criticism from legislators and bicycle advocacy groups around the state. Dozens of supporters of bike and pedestrian projects turned out for public hearings in Narragansett and Providence last month or emailed comments that were then compiled into a public response report nearly 200 pages long. By contrast, only a small num- ber of individuals, such as North Smithfield Town Administrator Gary Ezovski and Rep. Brian Newberry, spoke about the pro- posed changes to the Route 146 paving schedule and requested state officials reconsider the changes. Ezovski said he's seen residents talking about the issue on social media, but thinks more individu- als should take the time to write to their state legislators, RIDOT and the governor's office if they want state officials to take notice. "It's easy to offer these coura- geous keyboard comments, but they need to make contact with the people that we rely on to get these things done," he said. "We like to think that they get thousands of emails on issues. I don't think they do. (If) they get a dozen emails on a subject, it's a lot." While several bike projects in other parts of the state were affect- ed by the changes, changes to the Blackstone River Bikeway were limited to Pawtucket, where a sec- tion scheduled to start construction in 2019 has been delayed due to a change of funding source. The changes had a larger effect on boating projects in the Blackstone Valley. Two projects intended to open up river access – a landing large enough to dock the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council's Explorer riverboat in Woonsocket and a canoe/kayak launch on the Ten Mile River in Pawtucket – have both been placed on hold after the amendment eliminated RIDOT funding for the projects. In a statement released with the changes in July, the RIDOT noted the amended plan reflects a spending increase over 10 years of $358.7 million, but said the state's Pavement Capital Program had been reduced by $61 million based on available funding sources. "The amendment reflects changes necessary for RIDOT to achieve its core mission of reaching a 90 percent bridge sufficiency rating by 2025 to meet state and federal mandates," the statement said. Approved changes bring delays to area road projects By LAUREN CLEM and NICOLE DOTZENROD Valley Breeze Staff Writers Ask state reps, senators to support gun violence prevention bills In the wake of two recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, it is time to call on the leadership of the General Assembly, Speaker Mattiello and Senate President Ruggerio, to strengthen Rhode Island's gun violence prevention laws. Rhode Island has a universal back- ground check for gun ownership and the General Assembly has passed a strong domestic violence bill and a red flag bill, but we can do more. Since 2013, the R.I. Coalition Against Gun Violence has supported three common sense bills: No Guns in Schools, an Assault Weapons Ban, and a High Capacity Magazine Ban. Under current law, anyone with a concealed carry permit can carry a gun into school or on school grounds. What this means is that anyone (staff, volunteer, parent, relative, visitor) with this permit can be in a school or on a school playground or athletic field with a concealed weapon. The Safe Schools Act would limit this ability to active and retired officers of the law. Very few states allow the concealed carry of fire- arms in K-12 schools. We have all seen the mass casualties that result from guns with high capac- ity magazines. Military-style weapons can kill and horribly injure large num- bers of people in a matter of minutes. Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey all have passed an assault weapons ban. Indeed, there was a federal assault weapons ban in effect from 1994 to 2004. These weapons and high capacity magazines were designed for war, not for our neighbor- hoods. Please ask your state representative and state senator to support these three bills and to ask their respective House and Senate leaders to allow an up or down vote on them. Let's not let these bills die in committee again. NANCY BENOIT Woonsocket ISLAND WOODS PERFORMANCE BRAKES • EXHAUST • ENGINE COMPUTER DIAGNOSTICS TRANSMISSION • AUTO REPAIR TRAILER HITCHES & WIRING 1186 Douglas Pike Smithfield (401) 349-4644 Sales & Installation & Financing Available We are an authorized SNO-WAY Dealer PLOWS ARE IN-STOCK! Call Now For Special Promotions

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