Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Peter Alviti, Jr., U.S. Senator Jack Reed, Congressman David Cicilline and other state and local leaders gathered at Barrington Town Hall in Barrington today for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of a project that makes it safer for children and their families to walk and ride their bikes to school.
The $1.9 million project included new sidewalks, new granite curbing and curb ramps, detectable warning systems and flashing school zone speed limit signs, bike racks, and new stormwater systems along 1.2 miles of road near Barrington Middle School and nearby Primrose Hill Elementary School. At Barrington Middle, new sidewalk extends all the way down Middle Highway to where the street meets the East Bay Bike Path.
The improvements are part of a collection of projects RIDOT is working on under the Safe Routes to School program, which already has funded similar school-focused safety improvements across Rhode Island. Most recently RIDOT completed Safe Routes to School projects for schools in Cranston, East Providence and at another school in Barrington. Two other projects are active for schools in Narragansett, Smithfield and Woonsocket and another is scheduled to begin next year in Warren. In the past three years RIDOT has invested $12.2 million in the Safe Routes to School program.
"This project reminds us all what RIDOT is all about – making travel safe for all Rhode Islanders. That is especially true for our youngest and sometimes smallest travelers," RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said. "Again, we owe our Congressional delegation a huge thank you for supporting this national program which is fully federally funded."
"We want to give kids more opportunities to walk and bike safely to school. It's good for their health and it helps bring neighborhoods together. That's why I supported setting aside federal funding for Safe Routes to School projects like this. I want to commend RIDOT and Barrington for their work here and I hope we'll be doing more projects like this throughout the state," said Senator Reed, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD).
"RIDOT's Safe Routes for School program is making it easier for kids across Rhode Island to walk or bike to school," said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee who helped write the FAST Act, which provided funding for the Transportation Alternatives Program. "I worked hard to ensure the federal highway bill boosted funding for road repairs as well as bicycle and pedestrian projects like this one."
"The improvements made possible by the Safe Routes to School program have helped ensure the safety of families that is at the heart of strong and vibrant communities," said Congressman Jim Langevin. "Whether walking or riding, these infrastructure improvements will protect the well-being of students. These investments in roads, sidewalks, and other infrastructure are direct investments in the future of our state, and I'll continue to work diligently with my colleagues to deliver federal resources to complete even more projects."
"Federal investments through Safe Routes to School projects improve the safety and health of families and children throughout Rhode Island. The Safe Routes project along Barrington's Middle Highway is a great example of how these sound investments make walking and bicycling to school appealing and more accessible," said Congressman Cicilline. "It improves safety, reduces traffic and pollution, and encourages healthy and active lifestyles. That's why, earlier this year, when the House passed The Moving Forward Act – our plan to rebuild American infrastructure – we strengthened the Safe Routes to School Program so more children and families in Rhode Island can safely walk and ride their bikes to and from school."
"There is nothing more important to a community than the safety of our children and like many communities across Rhode Island, Barrington has many children walking to and from schools," said Barrington Town Manager Jim Cunha. "The citizens of Barrington owe a debt of gratitude to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation and our State's Federal Congressional Delegation for protecting our students and Barrington's future generations."
"One of our community's greatest distinguishing characteristic is safety. I cannot think of a better testament to that hallmark than the large number of students who walk or ride their bikes to school each day. On any given fall or spring day, we would have nearly 400 bikes scattered throughout our campus," said Barrington Middle School Principal Andrew Anderson. "I want to extend thanks for everyone's efforts to give our students a much safer way to access our school, as well as places to store their bikes."
The Safe Routes to School Barrington Project was made possible by RhodeWorks, RIDOT's ongoing commitment to repair structurally deficient bridges and bring Rhode Island's transportation infrastructure into a state of good repair, promote economic development, and create jobs. Learn more at www.ridot.net/RhodeWorks.