With the summer traffic season still in full swing, the City of Newport today announced via a press release that it is looking for community input to help guide its first comprehensive Transportation Master Plan.

Throughout the summer, City Planning staff and volunteers have been busy gathering public input and analyzing data aimed at making it easier, cleaner, and safer to get around Newport. Now through Sept. 17th, the City is looking to collect as many ideas, concerns, and suggestions as possible either digitally or in-person at any one of a number of planned pop-up events and public workshops.

Since Newport’s last major transportation study in 2001, there have been significant changes in population, development, and the ways in which those who live, work, and visit America’s “City-by-the-Sea” get around. With Newport’s tourism activity also increasing year-round, the need to improve connectivity between the City’s network of water transportation, roads, bike lanes and public transit opportunities has become even more pressing.

Newport’s Transportation Master Plan will provide City leaders with a comprehensive evaluation of existing transportation infrastructure along with identifying challenges and prioritizing solutions to make getting around town safer, greener, and more equitable.

Leading the effort are the City’s Planning Board and staff, along with City Council, Rhode Island Department of Administration’s Division of Statewide Planning, and a local Residents Advisory Committee. Transportation Master Plan “Ambassadors” are assisting with community outreach.

A solid foundation was provided for the Plan through initial engagement in 2019 with people who live, work, and visit Newport on their transportation priorities. Solutions for the Plan moving forward will be crafted with continued feedback from the Newport community. The project team is currently soliciting transportation experiences and stories that will help them prioritize solutions and kicked off community engagement at the Newport Folk Festival last month. They will continue to gather input for the Plan throughout the month of August and again in the winter.

The Transportation Master Plan website (keepnewportmoving.com) provides several ways that the public can get involved to #keepnewportmoving. This includes attending an upcoming public workshop or pop-up event to share daily transportation experiences:

·         Wed, Aug 18, 2pm-6pm: Pop up @ Aquidneck Growers Market (Memorial Blvd – across from Tennis Hall of Fame Pro Shop)

·         Tues, Aug 24, 6-8pm: Public workshop @ Easton’s Beach (concert area on the boardwalk)

·         Thurs, Aug 26, 6-8pm: Public workshop @ City Hall (City Council Chambers – 2nd floor)

·         Sat, Aug 28, 9am-1pm: Pop up @ Aquidneck Growers Market (Pell Elementary School – 35 Dexter St)

There are also multiple ways to get involved online:

·         Share your daily experiences on social media with the hashtag #keepnewportmoving

·         Tell a story about your daily transportation experience through the website

·         Comment on your daily experiences on the interactive webmap, available on the website until September 17.

·         Let the project team know if you are interested in being a Transportation Master Plan Ambassador (keepnewportmoving@cityofnewport.com)

·         Sign up for project updates with the newsletter through the website

Finally, the Planning Department is always interested to hear non-digital feedback during business hours at their offices on the 3rd floor of City Hall.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).