1-way loop to open around Roger Williams Park

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP/WPRI) — One of Rhode Island’s most popular parks is undergoing a transformation on its periphery that will affect how people get there.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza says that streets surrounding Roger Williams Park will convert into a 1-way loop on June 1.

Parks officials call the new 3.2-mile loop the Roger Williams Park Greenway. It straddles the Cranston-Providence border and will include designated biking and pedestrian tracks.

“What we’re trying to do is make it so it’s much more inviting, so that people can come and enjoy the park as a park,” Elorza told Eyewitness News.

Some Cranston residents have petitioned to stop the new traffic pattern. They’ve cited concerns about neighborhood traffic, especially on streets feeding onto Frederick C. Green Memorial Boulevard. Motorists will be forced to turn right onto the boulevard.

“It’s very concerning,” said Cranston Mayor Allan Fung. “Our administration was just notified on May 8 that there was going to be a change in the traffic pattern.”

Providence officials say they sought feedback in affected Cranston and Providence neighborhoods that surround the park.

“We did more than enough community outreach,” said Elorza. “In fact, we even had a community outreach in Cranston that a City Council person from Cranston actually attended. We also had our Department of Public Works directly reach out to his Department of Public Works.”

“They certainly didn’t talk to the administration and that’s whats very disappointing and frustrating to myself, as well as many of the residents,” Fung added.

The park’s zoo and other attractions make it a regional destination.