East Providence officials plan community meeting on Watchemoket Square issues

Admins, politicians consider altering traffic patterns at busy waterfront intersection

By Mike Rego
Posted 1/9/20

EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence Planning Department has scheduled a community meeting on Watchemoket Square to discuss among other items potential traffic pattern changes at busy …

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East Providence officials plan community meeting on Watchemoket Square issues

Admins, politicians consider altering traffic patterns at busy waterfront intersection

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence Planning Department has scheduled a community meeting on Watchemoket Square to discuss among other items potential traffic pattern changes at busy waterfront intersection. The meeting takes place Wednesday, Jan. 15, from 4-6:30 p.m. at the Tockwotton residences on Waterfront Drive.
The forum will be hosted by Planning Director Bill Fazioli and Chief Planner Jim Moran. Residents are urged to attend to hear about and discuss future plans for Watchemoket Square located at the Warren Avenue basin.
The City Council, at its January 7 meeting, held a brief discussion on the topic as well. At-Large Councilor Bob Rodericks and Ward 2 Councilor Anna Sousa, in whose district Watchemoket Square is situated, broached the topic.
Saying some have dubbed it "The Gateway to the East Providence Waterfront,” Mr. Rodericks talked about the area, noting its increased prominence in the city as the shoreline continues to be developed and as the location is being eyed as the center of East Providence’s burgeoning Arts community.
“There’s so much life and vibrant activity going on at Watchemocket Square,” Mr. Rodericks said, referring as well to another aspect of the location being known as an entertainment and dining destination.
He continued, because of the convergence of pedestrians, bicyclists from the East Bay Bike Path and motorists there, it was time to “rethink the design” of the intersection, which he said really has five-way ingress rather than the traditional four-way points of access.
Ms. Sousa concurred, saying, “I really think it’s incumbent upon us as a city to keep pushing the state on this.” The councilor was requesting East Providence administrators reach out to Rhode Island Department of Transportation officials to discuss how both entities could develop and contribute to potential alterations at the site.
She, likewise, noted the increased levels of vehicles entering and exiting Watchemoket Square as motorists are urged to access Interstate 195 from Waterfront Drive rather than side streets off Waterman Avenue has created different safety issues and concerns.
Ms. Sousa also said she maintains a position that portable speed bumps, which could be moved in an emergency or for snow plowing, should be installed at the square to help reduce speeding.

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