Survey says: Fix Smithfield Ave.

Most folks think the Smithfield Avenue intersection on North Main can’t get much worse than it is, while a gloomy few think it could if made two-way.

Summit Neighborhood Assocation’s unscientific survey of readers via newsletter, email and this web site on whether to make the one-way intersection into a conventional two-way connection drew 35 online respondents and five mailed responses. Only five said “no,” while 30 said “yes.” Five people hit the “don’t know” button.

Positive comments focused on making it safer for pedestrians crossing between Rite-Aid and Blockbuster, on improving the intersection’s appearance and on making traffic flow logical. Doubts centered on possible unintended consequences for local traffic.
A few comment from survey respondents:
“I’ve read that urban experts now think one-way streets are bad for neighborhoods…”
“How much would this cost the city?”
“I’ve seen many close calls…. There seems plenty of space to create a two way traffic flow.”
“It would help if the street behind Rite Aid could be made more like a ‘real’ street… curbs, lanes, painted…”
“It’s about time.”
“Will present capacity be negatively impacted by new traffic lights?”
“The change to two way makes logical sense.”
“…I think Frost Street should be made two way also.”

On January 19, the SNA Board agreed to ask the RI Department of Transportation to begin feasibility studies. Councilman Kevin Jackson will submit a request on behalf of SNA. If traffic engineers find that the change would be safe, the request will go to the state’s Traffic Commission for a public hearing before work could go ahead.

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