Dangerous Providence Pedestrian Crossing to be Improved
On June 21, 2016, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation announced it would be making significant improvements at the dangerous pedestrian crossing in Providence where Francis Street and Memorial Boulevard intersect. This intersection features heavy vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Being located close to the Providence Place Mall, it is perhaps the busiest pedestrian road crossing in Rhode Island. It is certainly one of the most dangerous since it is adjacent to high volume entrance and exit ramps for Route 95 South and North, Route 146, and the Route 6 and 10 Connector. Francis Street and Memorial Boulevard have multiple travel lanes for all directions. Each permits right turns and left turns passing through crosswalks that sometimes are congested with shoppers, sightseers, runners, bicyclists, skateboarders and other pedestrians. Popular hotels, restaurants and bars close by add to the heavy vehicle and foot traffic. This intersection requires drivers to make quick decisions and be in the correct travel lane well in advance. It can be difficult for experienced Rhode Island drivers to negotiate, and quite confusing to those unfamiliar with Downtown Providence traffic patterns.
The Department of Transportation improvements include repaving to meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and more signage warning drivers of pedestrians. Improvements are expected to be substantially complete by November 2016. See the full announcement here.
Pedestrian collisions with cars, trucks, buses and other vehicles are a significant cause of injury and death in America. In 2014, 65,000 pedestrians were struck by vehicles and suffered personal injuries. One pedestrian every 8 minutes suffers injuries serious enough to require medical treatment. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration statistics for 2014 show 4,884 pedestrians struck by vehicles died.