Environment Council of Rhode Island

...building an ecologically healthy future in a sustainable economy

India Point Park Protection and Expansion

Pub Date: 
Tuesday, December 4, 2001

Whereas India Point Park is an informal, natural open space where a diverse population enjoys Providence's only public access to the shoreline with a view of Narragansett Bay; and

Whereas the new Route 195 bridge over the Providence River will be moved much closer to the park, and India Street (bordering the park) will become a heavily traveled access road to the highway, resulting in an exponential increase in traffic congestion, noise, and fumes impinging on the park; and

Whereas the federal highway system, principally administered by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) within the state, mandates mitigation for increased traffic in the park, and the mitigation planned by RIDOT is nowhere near commensurate with the impact of the proposed increased traffic; and

Whereas a major RIDOT selling point for the hurricane barrier route for relocating Route 195 was that it would allow completion of the 1992 Old Harbor Plan connecting India Point Park to the riverwalks; and

Whereas the Old Harbor Plan has not been updated, and public involvement as well as coordination among state and city agencies planning for the park's future has been seriously deficient; and

Whereas Friends of India Point Park (FIPP), a group of over one hundred citizens actively working on behalf of the park, has created a vision for expanding the park entitled Fox's Point: Gateway to the Renaissance City that would create a continuous waterfront park, stretching from Olneyville through Waterplace Park and the riverwalks to a larger India Point Park and a network of planned and existing bike paths; and

Whereas FIPP's vision would make Fox's Point the maritime focal point for Providence with working tug boats, ferry and steamship terminals, a relocated visitors center, and a waterside restaurant and fish market, resulting in significant enhancement of the city's civic life similar to that created by the riverwalks; and

Whereas FIPP proposes that all large-scale commercial or residential development be located north of the new Route 195, and the waterfront be kept open to the public, and has urged RIDOT, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA), the City of Providence and Brown University to reject all plans to build parking or other buildings in or adjacent to the park unless the park is substantially expanded;

Now therefore be it resolved that the Environment Council of Rhode Island:

1. Endorses FIPP's vision for expanding the park, specifically including its efforts to extend the waterfront area open to the public; and

2. Opposes any plans to build large scale parking, residential, commercial or other facilities in or adjacent to the existing park or anywhere along the Fox's Point waterfront south of the new Route 195; and

3. Calls on RIDOT, RIPTA, the City of Providence and Brown University to work closely with each other, with Fox Point elected representatives, and with FIPP and the Fox Point Citizens Association to: (a) provide funds for and facilitate the design and implementation of a master plan for the park and the Fox's Point area with significant and continuous citizen input, and (b) delay breaking ground on construction of any new buildings until the master plan is completed.