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You Know, the Area Around Flo's and Where Johnny's Used to Be


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Today's Daily News:


Here's my dream, because this could be a really cool area: imagine a walkable, low-key, relaxed beach village. That's something we don't really have in Newport - downtown is hardly a beach place. And right now, this area is not reaching its full potential.

1) They need on-street parking, wider sidewalks, and street trees. Only then will restaurants start to do outdoor seating that isn't walled off and more retailers will pop up (I'm thinking ice-cream places, more surf shops, etc.)

2) To do this, Aquidneck Avenue needs to become one-way northbound between the intersections with Wave Avenue, and Wave Avenue needs to become one-way southbound.

3) RIPTA should improve its summer service to this area. Currently, the Orange Line (61) bus - yes, bus, not trolley - runs once an hour. Maybe service every half-hour with trolleys (along with concerted marketing as this area as a destination) can get more people.

4) Somehow improving the connection to the beach. The little park next to Atlantic Beach Club is nice, but people don't make the jump or the connection between the beach on one side and the shops on the other.

The Planning Board wants to hear from you at a meeting this Wednesday night.

Town Planner Ronald M. Wolanski said the latest plan and consultant recommendations for the beachfront hotspot will be unveiled at that meeting.

Improvements include talk of installing gas lamps, benches, better crosswalks and "traffic calming" devices intended to slow down cars and trucks as they drive the busy two-lane road.

The Town Council approved a $62,400 contract with The Maguire Group and Gates, Leighton & Associates in October - a $50,000 Statewide Planning grant covering most of that cost, with the town paying for the rest.

Maguire is handling the planning and engineering aspects of the project, with Gates, Leighton & Associates taking care of the design and landscape architecture components of the master plan.

Once the consultants wrap up their work by the end of June, Wolanski said their ideas will be forwarded to the Planning Board, which will consider them and make adjustments, if necessary.

From there, he said the Planning Board will come up with a recommendation for the area to submit to the council.

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