As the snow piles higher this winter, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) is asking municipal governments, businesses and property owners to please remember pedestrian safety by keeping sidewalks and bus stops clear. Many people rely on walking and public transit as their primary ways to get around, and without a clear path through snow and ice it is very difficult for them – particularly seniors, children or people with difficulties.
“We understand that even though it’s only mid-February this winter has overwhelmed many people when it comes to snow removal,” said Barbara Polichetti, Director of Public Affairs for RIPTA. “It’s not easy, but we are asking people to make an effort to keep areas around bus stops and bus shelters clear.”
Probably the most daunting task as winter progresses and snow piles up along curbs is cutting a path from the sidewalk to the street at bus stops. RIPTA drivers will try to accommodate riders wherever possible to help them avoid snow banks.
RIPTA has about 4,000 bus stops throughout the state (about 400 of which are bus shelters) and does not have the ability to clear all those locations. The transit authority does remove snow and ice at its transit hubs, such as Kennedy Plaza, and has hired a contractor to remove snow around the stops on the busy R-Line which runs from the Cranston-Providence line into downtown Pawtucket. In addition, RIPTA has an agreement with Lamar Advertising which requires the company to clear snow from nearly two-dozen bus shelters in the state.
RIPTA is asking municipalities to direct their Public Works crews to remove snow from bus shelters and bus stops whenever possible. “We appreciate the efforts from public entities and private property owners so far this winter,” Polichetti said. “It’s important to keep pedestrians safe at all times, particularly when there are hazardous driving conditions as there are now.”