It has been a while since I last talked about the East Bay Bike Path. I could claim it is because I have had a busy couple of months (and I have!) but I really have no good excuse. Now the weather is warming up, the bike path will again be a busy well traveled path. I thought it might be time to answer two important questions. Where do you park, and where do you find a comfortstop along the path?
Parking is available all along the East Bay Bike Path in every community the path travels through. In Providence at the northern terminus, India Point Park, offers parking that also provides access and a connection to the Blackstone Valley Bikeway. The two parking lots on Veteran’s Parkway in East Providence are often filled to capacity and more on a sunny weekend.
In Riverside, the lot on Bullock’s Point Avenue right next to the Dari Bee is small, but you have got to love the location next to an ice cream shop. Another relatively small lot is located at Haines Park on the East Providence-Barrington line on Narragansett Avenue.
Parking in Barrington can be found where the bike path crosses County Road in the Shaw's Supermarket plaza. Additionally, parking in Barrington can be found just before the bridge over the Barrington river on the left as you head toward Warren. The lot is where the Barrington Police Station used to be.
Warren has two parking areas. The northern most is the municipal lot on Railroad Avenue just off Child Street by the U. S. Post Office. The southern most lot in Warren is the Park and Ride on Franklin Street just one block off Main Street. The Franklin Street lot is sizable, but again is often filled to capacity on a warm summer weekend.
Bristol also offers parking lots for those who use the bike path. Colt State Park has two lots co-located on Asylum Road (the main road into the park). The paved lot is on the left just east of the bike path. It is close by, but not on the bike path. The second lot is just down on the right further west and borders the bike path. Hint: the signs point you to the paved path. There are no signs for the dirt lot. The paved, marked lot is a gentle uphill hike from the path. I personally do not want an uphill climb to my car after a day of peddling on the path. Parking is available at Independence Park at the southern terminus of the East Bay Bike Path in Bristol. I strongly recommend using only the public parking areas. Cars parked in private or business lots are subject to towing. It should be a no brainer that parking in private lots (including parking lots for local business) is for customers, not the general public.
Be forewarned. According to a study conducted by the University of Rhode Island in 2004, two of the biggest complaints from a survey of bike path users of all Rhode Island bike paths were “lack of restroom facilities and drinking water." In general, the complaints about the restroom facilities and water are valid. Let’s take comfort stops first. Even though there are restrooms at Haines Park and Colt Park and Independence Park has a comfort station, the best advice I can give you is to "go" before you leave home. Some of these "comfort stops" are seasonal. Otherwise you may have to, as Blanche DuBois noted “rely on the kindness of strangers," or their generosity and good nature for that matter. I would suggest you take care of "business" before you go happily peddling off down the trail.
Is water available along the East Bay Bike Path? Yes and no. As far as water is concerned, there is no free ride, pun intended. No, there is no public drinking water (potable water) available along the path. Yes, convenience stores, ice cream shops and restaurants dot the bike path where you can purchase bottled water and other beverages or snacks. If you have small children with you, I strongly recommend bringing drinks and snacks along with you.