"Shoreline Bikeway" planned for Newport

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Aquidneck Island Planning Commission meets Monday night to brief residents on plans for a bike trail. They've developed an ambitious plan for a 10 mile path from Newport to the Sakonnet River Bridge.

For a small state, Rhode Island is well endowed with bike paths. We have close to 60 miles of them, according to the state Department of Transportation. But the bike path gravy train never reached Aquidneck Island. As a result, Newport - perhaps the most-visited place in the state - has little to offer the bicycle enthusiast.

That would change, says Aquidneck Island Planning Commission director Tina Dolen, if they could secure $24 million for improvements to the Newport Colony railroad right of way.

"It will be a rail with trail placement," Dolen says.

The views, she says, are breathtaking.

"There are stunning views, sparkling views, of the water with the salt and sun bouncing off the waves. There are sections which go through greenery," she says.

"From that bridge - the Sakonnet Bridge - there are stunning views of the boats and the northern part of the island. It's a visual delight and a physical workout."

Dolen says the Federal Highway Administration welcomes applications for rail/trail projects but competition for the funds is stiff.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@wrni.org.