Should the Smithfield Ave. intersection be two-way?


Why is this intersection one-way?

Why is this intersection one-way?

On Tuesday, the Project steering group, joined by Rep. Gordon Fox and Councilman Kevin Jackson, talked about the possibility of making the Smithfield Ave connector between North Main and Nashua Streets two-way with DOT’s Francisco Lovera. We agreed to get more input from the community before making such a request, but here is the current status and future process as decribed by Francisco on Sept. 10:

Hi Jon,
Thank you for the invitation to the neighborhood meeting last night.  The Department of Transportation is always open to receive feed back from citizens.  We appreciate and encourage these exchanges because they help us keep our infrastructure up and running with the end user in mind.
In regard to the signal at the North Main Street/Smithfield Avenue intersection, we found out that the requested change to Smithfield Avenue was outside of the scope of work at the time the North Main Street Project was on design.  As I mentioned yesterday, a change like this has to be approved by the State Traffic Commission (STC) at the requested of either the City of Providence or a State Representative or Senator.  Once the STC receives the request, the Department will perform and Engineering study and will produce a recommendation to the STC.  The STC will then make a determination.  Also, as I mentioned during the meeting, the STC meetings are open to the public.  We can notify you of the date and place when this request will be in the STC agenda.  

It is important to mention that a change on the Smithfield Avenue configuration will require the City’s concurrence, since it is a City-owned roadway.  Also, if approved, this work is contingent to available funds. 

Please keep in mind that if Smithfield Avenue is converted to a two way road at North Main, we would need to add another vehicle phase for cars on Smithfield Avenue eastbound approach.  Since the neighborhood concern is with pedestrians on the west crosswalk, this change would increase the pedestrian-vehicle conflicts since there would always be cars coming into or out of Smithfield Avenue.

We need to receive a request to the State Traffic Commission (STC) before we can ask our consultant to begin a traffic study at any location.  A request to the STC can be submitted by the Municipality officials or by a State Representative/Senator.

In the particular case of North Main Street/Smithfield Avenue intersection, the STC has jurisdiction on the signal phasing, since North Main Street is owned by the State; however any change as the one discussed will require the City of Providence concurrence because Smithfield Avenue is under the City’s jurisdiction.  Also, if the change is approved, it is contingent to fund availability.

Additionally, if I remember correctly, there was some concern about a few intersections along North Main Street which might not have enough time for a pedestrian to cross.  We want to mention that for a pedestrian phase, a white walking man symbol is on first and then a flashing hand symbol.  The hand symbol flashes for an amount of time that would allow a pedestrian to cross from curb to curb on the crosswalk.  We usually estimate a 4 ft/s as a pedestrian speed (it is a national standard).  If you get a list of intersections that the neighborhood is concern, we can revise the timings for the pedestrian phases.

Finally, I want to bring to your attention that the Department currently has a Customer Service Section with a dedicated phone number and email address to receive and respond to any concerns from the general public.  Their phone number is 401-222-2450 and their email address is .

Thanks again for the opportunity to reach out to your neighborhood association. 

Francisco Lovera,
Traffic Engineering
Rhode Island Department of Transportation

2 Capitol Hill  Rm 231-D

Providence, RI 02903

Phone:401.222.2694  ext. 4205

Fax:    401.222.3006


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