Proposed Tiverton Bike Path

A new biking association has been established in Tiverton. The group is known as Bike Tiverton. Their primary goal is to establish an off the road bike path within the right of way of the former Old Colony R.R. that follows the shore line of Mount Hope Bay in Tiverton.

Stretching along approximately 2.5 miles of the Mount Hope Bay, extending from the Sakonnet River Bridge to the Massachusetts state line at Fall River, runs an abandoned railroad line. The railway right-of-way (ROW) was acquired by the state in 1982 and is administered by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT). Approval of a plan for a rail-to-trail conversion, creating a multiuse (bicycle and pedestrian) pathway, was previously granted by state authorities following an application for its construction submitted by Peter Moniz, Tiverton town resident, and was in turn accepted for the state's 2006-2007 state Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), but construction never commenced and a new application needs to be submitted. The proposed route travels along the existing abandoned railroad bed, generally traversing a flat plain without interruption by bridges, property, or traffic intersection.

While the Tiverton Bike Path would be confined to a relatively short stretch, more importantly it would ensure broader connectivity to the biking community at large by serving as an essential link to the Aquidneck Island Bikeway, an extended bicycle/pedestrian pathway proposed for the region.

The proposed multi-use pathway would cover approximately 18 miles, beginning at the Newport Gateway Visitor Center and ending at the Rhode Island-Massachusetts state line in Tiverton. In 2015, the new Sakonnet River Bridge Bike Lane opened, for the first time providing a dedicated bicycle/pedestrian path over the bridge, thereby enabling a connection between Tiverton and The Mount Hope Bay Shoreline Trail - an off-road, multi-use trail proposed by the AIPC to be constructed along the north end of the old rail line reaching from a new waterfront park at Bristol Ferry in Portsmouth to the Sakonnet River Bridge. In conjunction with this, the city of Fall River, MA is in the process of securing funds for construction of a bike/pedestrian pathway (The Mount Hope Bay Greenway) running for approximately 4 miles along Mount Hope Bay from the Tiverton line northward to the central waterfront redevelopment area in Fall River. Additionally, a connection is planned from this pathway to the Quequechan River Rail Trail in Fall River, which was dedicated on Memorial Day, 2017. The Quequechan River Rail Trail will eventually join The Southcoast Bikeway, a planned 50-mile continuous system of bike routes that will connect Rhode Island to Cape Cod. Construction of a Tiverton Bike Path would provide the final link needed for an uninterrupted trail through Newport, Middletown, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Fall River, and ultimately New Bedford/Cape Cod.

Commitment to construction of an off-road rail-to-trail multi-use pathway along Mount Hope Bay through North Tiverton, as well as to development of safer bicycle access to our current roadways, is a worthy undertaking which offers long-lasting amenities that will add significantly to the overall quality of life experienced in our community.

This effort has been going on for over twelve years and the group is now applying again for the RIDOT support through the Transportation Improvement Program.

There will be a local public meeting on July 24, at Tiverton Town Hall for the Tip application and NBW support is appreciated.