Roger Williams Park traffic study released hours after one-way pattern goes into effect

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI)-The results of a traffic study into a new one-way pattern near Roger Williams Park in Providence were released by the city Friday night, hours after the controversial change went into effect.

Drivers will now notice the streets surrounding the park have been converted to a one-way loop. Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said the change was made so people could “enjoy the park as a park” and not have to worry about drivers who misuse the area as a shortcut.

According to the study, traffic engineers studied four different locations in June of 2015. They collected traffic volume, speed and direction data at Norwood Avenue, Haddon Hill Road, Montgomery Avenue, and F.C. Greene Memorial Boulevard at the Museum of Natural History.

The study found Haddon Hill had the least amount of traffic while the traffic peaked around 150 cars in one hour around the museum. The average speed for drivers in the park was 25 miles per hour.

In the last two years, according to the study, there have been 54 reported accidents in the park.

The study did not include, however, any roads in nearby Cranston. A number of residents have been protesting the new traffic pattern, saying it will increase neighborhood traffic – since drivers will be forced to turn right onto F.C. Greene Boulevard – as well as speeding on side roads.

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung also complained about a lack of communication by Elorza and called for the release of the traffic study. When Eyewitness News passed it along Friday night, a spokesperson for Fung released a statement saying the study fails to adequately assess the impacts of the one-way pattern.

“For Mayor Elorza to call this a professional traffic study is ridiculous. This is just a collection of data about the existing road and it doesn’t tell us anything about what would happen if the boulevard becomes a one-way street.”

When asked why Cranston roads weren’t included in the study, a spokesperson for Elorza said “the city monitored the areas within the park where traffic changes were proposed.”

Fung earlier this week wrote a letter to Elorza, asking him to delay the traffic pattern change and study the effects further. He also included a petition from nearby residents with more than 1,000 signatures.