January 24, 2020

Blackstone River Bike Path

The Blackstone River Bike Path is located along the Blackstone River. It is a planned rail trail that is 48 miles long. It outlines the path of the East Coast Greenway through the Blackstone Valley from Worcester, Massachusetts to Providence, Rhode Island.

History of The Blackstone River Bike Path

The Blackstone River Bike Path  is created for the purpose of connecting Providence to the Massachusetts border through a chain of on-road and off-road sections. It was built in a series of phases since the year 1986.

The formal idea for the Blackstone River Bike Path started in 1965 through the creation of the Blackstone River State Park.  Thanks to the passion of Ruth and Henry Tetreault, a couple from Lincoln, a small group of environmentalists who called themselves the Committee for the Advancement of natural Areas in Lincoln, Inc. or C.A.N.A.L., was established.  The committee’s aim was to rescue the 3.5 miles of canal and towpath along the Blackstone River in the area of Ashton Meadows.

To be able to prevent the further pollution of Blackstone River, C.A.N.A.L. turned its towpath into a hiking trail.  The group then petitioned against the  sand and gravel excavations, as well as the landfill operations that were going on in the area.  The proactive group asked the support of various organizations such as nature groups, sportsmen’s clubs, preservation organizations, water recreation clubs, conservation commissions and political entities. They even sought the help of President Lyndon Johnson and his wife Ladybird Johnson to support their cause.

In a court battle, C.A.N.A.L. proved that the landfill activities were causing Blackstone River’s edges to move. As a result, the towpath’s stability was being weakened. Because of their argument, C.A.N.A.L. was able to halt the destructive effects of the landfill activities and eventually, the group’s efforts would become a great legacy project for the people who live near the path’s area.

Construction in Rhode Island
The first Blackstone River Bike Path segment construction began in 1997. It connected Manville to Ashton (Albion) and was finished in 1998. The second segment connected Ashton (Albion) to Manville and was finished in 2002. A bridge reconstruction project on Martin Street was completed in 2007.

More follow-up construction for the path’s improvement occurred in 2008, 2011 and 2013. These developments included on-road bicycle lanes, as well as shared-lane markings.

Construction in Massachusetts
The first Massachusetts segment was built in 2005, which connected Worcester and Millbury. In 2010, Sections 1 to 7 of the Greenway were constructed.  Five bridges traversing the Blackstone River were repaired and repainted.  At present, new bridges are to be built across Kane Court and Main Street in Blackstone.

 Blackstone River Bike Path

The completion of the whole bike path is expected to be by July 07, 2017.  The Blackstone River Bike Path contributes to the community in a variety of ways.  It has made an environment attraction work well together with the members of its community. It has contributed a lot to the neighborhoods and the people that live there, which is why it is still undergoing various enhancements and progress. These are some of the major contributions of the bike path to the public.

• It promotes a healthy lifestyle. The Blackstone River Bike Path is suitable for first time and experienced cyclists. Riding your bike on this path can be beneficial for your health because it can be a form of exercise. It promotes a healthy lifestyle because community members are given an alternative to riding their cars. The path is also suitable for hikers, joggers, rollerbladers, runners, skaters and walkers.

• It makes you appreciate nature. The path offers two kinds of loops appropriate for biking. The first path is an 18-mile loop, while the second path is a 24-mile loop. These loops are surrounded with nature attractions, rural landscapes, historical view sheds and mill villages. People traveling through the Bike Path will definitely appreciate nature and the history behind it.

• It is environmentally friendly. The bike path functions as an alternate mode of transportation for commuters. Since it has sharrows, it allows the public to ride their bikes alongside other vehicles. It contributes to environmental preservation because it lessens pollution emitted by your cars.

• It provides easy access to your neighboring towns. The bike path connects 14 towns and cities in the Blackstone Heritage Corridor. Therefore, commuters as well as cyclists will gain access to other neighboring towns.

• It provides recreational activities for the whole family. The bike path is kid friendly and open to the public. Hence, it is a great place to have fun and bond with your family. It is not only free, but also a practical way to enjoy the outdoors.

Preservation of the Blackstone River Bike Path
The Blackstone River Valley is known to be the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. Its pivotal role in transforming the life in America is still recognized today. This national significance led to the development of the Blackstone River Bike Path.

Its construction was made possible through federal transportation funding such as the U.S. Department of Transportation Funding. In addition, several partners joined the cause, including the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Massachusetts Highway Department of Conservation and Recreation and John H. Chafee, who started the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.

The twenty-four communities surrounding the bike path still remember their history, which is why they dedicate their lives into preserving their legacy. This kind of development deserves maintenance and preservation, so that many generations can still experience it. Luckily, volunteers from these neighborhoods are working together in order to support their park and bike trails.

Blackstone River Bike Path

Blackstone River Bike Path