What separates a great bikeway from one that makes you wonder why anyone even bothered?
James Kennedy at Transport Providence has put together a litmus test in response to a bike route planned for Central Falls, Rhode Island, which, he says, “sucks.”
Here’s the question set Kennedy put together and how he thinks the Central Falls route stacks up.
*Does it take you someplace useful?
I think there should be bike access everywhere, and there are some things that a person could go to here, so for some people this might serve a purpose. But for the vast majority, this is a useless route. The river cuts off access from the eastern part of Pawtucket, and the railroad cuts off access to the rest of Central Falls.
*Is the route easy to follow?
Looking at this on a map, it’s really clear that because of what I said above in point #1, in a sense it’s impossible to get lost on this route (it’s all technically on High Street, a prime example of a Rhode Island Street that goes a million directions getting one name, while some other streets that are completely contiguous and straight get six). There is nowhere useful to branch off to, so where could you get lost? At the same time, for a new person on this route, or even someone who’s taken a few times, the constant bends back and forth are disorienting. Imagine this from the perspective of a visitor: do you want to give this route your trust? The answer is no.