Park neighbors sign petition protesting traffic plan

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI)- A feud is continuing to grow between two neighboring mayors.

It stems from traffic changes at Roger Williams Park that have yet to go into effect.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is looking to convert the park into a one-way loop later this week.

He wants to increase free outdoor recreational opportunities, including designated paths for walking and biking.

There will be a 3.2-mile greenway loop that straddles both Providence and Cranston.

Residents say the new traffic pattern will increase speeding and force more traffic on side roads.

Elorza claims the new pattern took the traffic assessments into consideration.

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung says Providence never communicated with him about the impact that it will have on his neighboring city and that he has never seen a traffic study about this project.

“And all of this is very sketchy,” Fung said, “It was done with no input to many Cranston residents no input from certain members of my administration. It sounds like a backdoor deal that is being put in place because the mayor wants it.”

On Tuesday, Fung called on Cranston and Providence residents to sign a petition fighting the traffic pattern.

The petition has about 1,000 signatures from residents who don’t agree with the new traffic pattern.

They claim it will also create a safety hazard for people trying to enjoy the park.

Providence City Councilor Carmen Castillo says residents of the two cities need to work together.

“I believe we need to go back, sit down and see what we can do together, two cities together because we have a good relationship with Cranston all the time and I don’t want that relationship to break over this problem,” Castillo said.

Mayor Fung says he will be writing a letter to Mayor Elorza addressing all the concerns heard at the meeting, along with the petition.

He is hoping Mayor Elorza will hold off.

If not, Fung says he will ask for increased police presence in the area to help with traffic control.