Washington Secondary Bike Path
The Washington Secondary Bike Path is the state's second-longest bike path at 14.2 miles from Cranston Street in Cranston to Central Coventry. It is named for the abandoned rail corridor once served by the Providence, Hartford, & Fishkill Railroad.
The path is often referred to locally by the segment names given as the path was built, and these include, from west to east:
- Trestle Trail (under design)
- Coventry Greenway
- West Warwick Greenway
- Warwick Bike Path
- Cranston Bike Path
The path is poised to be the longest in Rhode Island and RIDOT is working on the design for two contracts to extend the paved bikeway west along the Trestle Trail. When finished, the bikeway will be 25 miles long from the Connecticut state line to close to Providence. Another contract set to go to construction in 2012 will rehabilitate the original Coventry Greenway section, build a parallel equestrian trail, and add other amenities along the path.
Click here to download larger version of map at right in PDF.
The bikeway has been built in multiple phases since the late 1990s. These are listed below chronologically:
- 1997: The Town of Coventry opens the first segment of the Coventry Greenway, Station Street to area of Ayoho Road (1.5 miles).
- 1998: The Town of Coventry opens the second segment of the Coventry Greenway, area of Ayoho Road to area of Town Farm Road (1.2 miles).
First Cranston Bike Path segment opened, West Natick Road to Howard Street (4.8 miles)
- 2000: First West Warwick Greenway segment opened, Providence Street to Hay Street (0.8 miles)
Second Cranston Bike Path segment opened, Howard Street to Sumner Avenue (0.5 mile)
Third Cranston Bike Path segment opened, Sumner Avenue to Depot Avenue (0.25 mile)
- 2003: Second West Warwick Greenway segment opened, Hay Street to Whitford Street in Coventry (2 miles)
- 2003: Warwick Bike Path segment opened, Providence Street to West Natick Road (1.6 miles)
- 2003: Old railroad bridges from Station Street to Whitford Street re-decked
- 2010: Third Coventry Greenway segment opened, Station Street to Whitford Street (1.6 miles)
Path Features & Riding Experience
As the path follows the former rail corridor, it is mostly flat but has a gradual downhill slope heading from west to east. From more than half its length, the path runs parallel to the Pawtuxet River. An upcoming contract will even create a dedicated canoe/kayak launch on the river at the bike path parking lot on Pilgrim Avenue in Coventry.
Cycling the path takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes in each direction. Heading from west to east, beginning in Central Coventry:
- The path runs through a heavily wooded section with few homes and dirt roads bisecting the path. The closest parking lot is approximately two miles to the east, so a little backtracking is necessary if you want to ride the whole path. While the pavement ends in the vicinity of Town Farm Road, those with mountain bikes can ride a portion of the unpaved trail for some distance. Any of the roads bisecting the path will lead to Route 117 (which is marked as a bike route), allowing you to extend your ride west on smoother surfaces.
- After passing through some rock cuttings, the path crosses an embankment alongside Johnson's Pond, with a small area to pull off and get your feet wet on a hot day.
- The path runs close to the Coventry Town Hall/Coventry Public Library complex before crossing Route 117.
- The Greenway skirts the perimeter of Paine Field and the Coventry Recreation Center. There are restrooms here, playgrounds for the kids and possibly a bite to eat if a ballgame is in progress and one of the concession stands is open.
- Riders will notice some preserved rail features close to Station Street, one of the main parking lots of the bikeway. Soon the path crosses Route 117 again, this time over a bridge.
- Riders will notice a number of dirt roads and paths around a historic cemetery. These paths heading south connect with the town's Whipple Conservation area, with numerous walking trails.
- The bikeway enters Anthony, the first of many mill villages riders will encounter, with dramatic river crossings, river views and waterfalls. Riders will also notice the greatest amount of elevation change beginning here.
A short distance from the Laurel Avenue crossing is the historic home of General Nathanael Greene.
- The path enters West Warwick just before a tunnel passing underneath Route 117. The path passes residential and commercial areas as it winds its way through Arctic village. A nice diversion is the West Warwick Riverwalk, which connects Factory Street to Providence Street, each end very close to the bikeway. Note: Historic flooding in 2010 destroyed a pedestrian bridge close to the Providence Street end of the Riverwalk, making the Factory Street end the best access point.
- Leaving Arctic, riders will notice a preserved caboose and pass over a very tall bridge offering great views of the river and the mill building used by the Bradford Soap Works.
- Shortly after crossing Providence Street, the path enters Warwick and runs along a mostly wooded and residential area. Along this stretch, the pass crosses Toll Gate Road, East Avenue and West Natick Road, which offer direct access to different parts of the Route 2 shopping district and Rhode Island and Warwick Malls.
- Along the Warwick segment, riders will pass a large bridge offering some of the best views of the Pawtuxet River.
- Riders enter Cranston after crossing West Natick Road and passing underneath I-295.
- The Cranston segment begins along a mostly wooded section, passing near residential areas.
- Upon entering Oaklawn village, riders can pause to explore footpaths to the west of the bikeway or rest at the picturesque gazebo.
- The path runs parallel and very close to Route 5 (Oaklawn Avenue) for the next few miles, offering direct access to shops, restaurants and more.
- The path continues along mostly residential areas as it crosses Park Avenue and Gansett Avenue.
- The path runs behind the Brewery Parkade, site of the original Narragansett Brewery and now a large shopping center.
- The path ends at Cranston Street, very close to the Cranston Police Station.
- On-road routes for experienced cyclists have been marked by the East Coast Greenway Alliance to get riders into Providence.
Directions to Parking Lots:
Brewery Parkade, Cranston:
From I-95 to Route 10. Heading north, take the Cranston Street/Niantic Avenue exit. Take a left at bottom of the exit onto Niantic Avenue. Turn left onto Cranston Street, then turn left onto Garfield Avenue and turn into the Brewery Parkade development. There is a parking area behind the Lowe's home improvement store. Heading south on Route 10, take the Cranston Street exit. Take a left onto Garfield Ave. and continue to the Lowe's plaza.
- Hugh B. Bain Middle School, Cranston: Take I-95 to Route 10. Take Exit 3 (Route 2 South. Reservoir Avenue). In about a half-mile, turn right onto Route 12 (Park Avenue). In 0.2 miles, bear right onto Gansett Avenue. Turn left onto Trainor Street and take the next right onto Oak Street. The parking lot is on the right and bikeway access is as the end of Oak Street.
- Oaklawn Village, Cranston: From Providence, follow directions above to Park Avenue. Follow past intersections with Gansett Avenue and Budlong Avenue and turn left onto Cranston Street. At the rotary, take the second exit onto Cranston Street, which becomes Wilbur Avenue, which becomes Exchange Street. The parking lot is on the left, just before the gazebo. Alternate: Take I-295 to Exit 3B for Route 37 West. At the end of the highway, turn left onto Natick Avenue. Take the second left onto Wilbur Avenue. After crossing under I-295, take the second left onto Exchange Street. The parking lot is on the right, just after the gazebo.
- West Natick Road, Warwick/Cranston line: Take I-95 to I-295 to Exit 2 for Route 2 North. Pass Warwick Mall and Building 19 Plaza. Stay left at split for Route 2 South. Bear right for West Natick Road and bear right again at the split. The parking lot is on the right at the highway overpass.
- Riverpoint Park, Hay Street, West Warwick: Take I-95 South to Exit 12B or I-295 North or South to Exit 1 to Route 113 West (East Avenue). At the intersection with Route 2 (Bald Hill Road), turn left. Turn right onto Route 115 West (Toll Gate Road). Follow Route 115 about 0.8 miles and turn right onto Hay Street. The parking lot is on the left, after the caboose.
- Pilgrim Avenue, Coventry: Take I-95 to Exit 10 (Route 117 West). In 2.4 miles, turn right onto New London Turnpike, which becomes Main Street. Bear right for Route 3 South (Main Street, which becomes Tiogue Avenue). Follow 1.2 miles and turn right onto Pilgrim Avenue. The parking lot is 0.7 miles on the left. Alternate: Take I-95 to Exit 7. Turn right at the end of the ramp and take a left at the second light onto Arnold Drive. In 1.7 miles, turn right onto Route 3 (Tiogue Avenue). In 0.7 miles, turn left onto Pilgrim Avenue and follow to the parking lot.
- Station St., Coventry: Take I-95 to Exit 10 (Route 117 West). Follow 5.1 miles into West Warwick and Coventry. Turn right onto Station Street. Look for the bike path crossing; there are parking lots on both sides of the road at the path crossing. Alternate: Take I-95 to Exit 6 A (Hopkins Hill Road). Turn right at the end of the ramp and follow Hopkins Hill Road to the end, just after it crosses Route 3. Turn right onto South Main Street. At the end, turn right onto Route 117 (Main St.) and take the second left onto Station Street and follow to the parking lots.
- Coventry Recreation Center, Coventry: Follow the directions above to Route 117 West. The Coventry Recreation Center is 0.2 miles west of the Dave's Plaza and intersection with South Main Street. There is ample parking behind the center, with path access to the rear of the property behind the athletic fields. Upon entering the parking lot, take the road to the right around the ball fields to reach a parking lot adjacent to a path spur that leads to the main path.
- Flat River Road, Coventry: Follow the directions above to Route 117. Go past the Coventry Recreation Center. A parking lot for the bike path is located 0.4 miles after the path crosses Route 117 at the intersection with Abbotts Crossing Road.
The bikeway access is at the rear of the lot, up a small hill.