As a personal injury attorney here in Providence, Rhode Island, I see a lot of people getting hurt as pedestrians and/or with cars. I read with interest that Providence has recently gained a new focal point of the city – the pedestrian bridge that connects the east and west sides of downtown over the Providence River. With Brazilian wood, decorative planters, and special seating areas, Providence hops this will both be way of transportation for pedestrians in the city.
According to the Providence Journal, inspiration for the bridge began back in the 1990s, but development ended in 2011 when the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission wanted to use the land for different plans. In the spring of 2018, the construction finally began for the newly designed pedestrian bridge.
Mayor of Providence, Jorge Elorza, believes that this will be an important addition to Providence. “This bridge is also important because, symbolically, this was a way for cars to high speed from one part of town to the next” he told the Providence Journal. “Now, it’s not just a way for pedestrians and cyclists to travel…but it’s actually going to be a destination.”
Adding a pedestrian bridge might invite more people to bike or walk to get to their destinations, but other people believe this is not the right step for road safety. Former House minority leader Patricia Morgan said, “We are not walking on pedestrian bridges. We are trying to drive to work safely, and we are tired of going over bad roads and bridges.”
Rhode Island has the highest percentage of bridges that were found deficient in 2018 – 721 bridges need to be repaired, including 27 on the highway. Not only are the Rhode Island bridges become unsafe to drive on, but drivers will now have to pay closer attention to pedestrians walking around the city. Being so closely to the highways, there might be an increased likelihood of pedestrian car accidents occurring near the bridge as well.
Although there might be opinions of this new pedestrian bridge being a waste of money when the city should have been focusing on different road safety projects, a poll from the Boston Globe states that 70% think that this footbridge was a good investment.
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