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Officials ask DOT to make Smithfield intersection two-way

At the initiative of City Councilman Kevin Jackson the Providence City Council has approved a resolution that the intersection at Smithfield Ave. and North Main Street be made into a two-way connection. State Representative Gordon Fox has formally requested that the RI Dept. of Transportation, which controls both streets, begin work leading to the change.

The action followed a neighborhood survey showing overwhelming public support for the change and a resolution of the Summit Neighborhood Association in January. Rep. Fox’s office says that the matter is proceeding at DOT. We have asked for specific timeframes for next steps.

So far, we can’t be sure that the change will take place. For reasons lost in the mists of DOT history, the short block of Smithfield from the intersection at North Main to Nashua Street, was made one-way decades ago. As a result, traffic approaching North Main from the west is abruptly shunted right into a peculiar detour around the backs of Brooks Drug and Walgreens, and forced left onto Frost before finally reaching a controlled intersection with North Main across from the Penalty Box pub.

A portion of $8.3 million allocated for four  Providence highway projects will go for reconstruction of Smithfield Ave, but the current plan excludes the connection to North Main. You can comment to support an expanded project to include making the connection two-way  at the federal government’s Stimulus Watch site.

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