After months of street construction, new traffic patterns have been introduced in downtown Providence. Two major roads that used to be one direction only are now open for two-way traffic. The streets are Dorrance Street in front of the Biltmore Hotel and Exchange Terrace leading toward the Convention Center.
The changes are part of a larger effort to increase the number of two-way streets and make downtown Providence more pedestrian and bike friendly. Through the late-nineties, one-way streets won favor as a way to move traffic through downtown. But these days the city’s priorities have changed, explained city planner Robert Azar.
“These street patterns go hand in hand with the revitalization of downtown,” said Azar. “Where you have more people using the sidewalks, more people walking, more people biking, more people seeing downtown as a destination.”
Azar said drivers should also find downtown easier to navigate.
“What we’re trying to do is to make these more local streets; to make downtown more legible in the sense that if you’re coming in by one street you should be able to leave by the same street,” said Azar.
Azar said police will be on hand to help direct traffic, and avoid accidents during the first few days after the change. Next spring, the city plans to add new bike lanes, including a protected bike lane on one major boulevard.
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