Street Stories: Soraya Pierre-Louis

Name, age, any personal identities you feel like sharing, neighborhood where you live, who you live with/care for, the school you go to, type of work you do or hope to do.

My name is Soraya Pierre-Louis. I’m 23 and live in Riverside with my mother. I currently work as a recruitment coordinator in Boston and hope to get my Master of Public Health soon.

How do you typically travel around Providence? Is that working for you? How does it affect your life, your job, your family?

Typically, I drive around Providence, which is not the easiest as street parking is difficult and frequent stoplights and construction cause delays. If I need to take the commuter rail from Providence to Boston, I am usually jumping out of a car in the middle of Gaspee Street, causing traffic to stop- a common practice of commuters who are in a rush to catch the train.

How would you ideally like to get around Providence, and what would need to happen to make that a reality?

Ideally, I would be biking or walking around Providence to get around. The East Bay Bike Path is my favorite place in the state which runs down to India Point Park, making Providence accessible from my town. The easiest time I had biking in Providence was April 2020 at the beginning of quarantine: no cars were driving or parked on the road (a cyclist’s heaven)! Biking around Providence would be easier and safer if there were protected bike lanes.

Do you feel safe when traveling around Providence? Where do you feel safe, and where do you not?

I believe safety is subjective, and I generally always feel safe in Providence. I think city planners and advocates should ask, “What areas of the city are most accessible?” Broadway is a wide street with many businesses, ample street parking, bus stops, and a bike lane. Unfortunately, this street is an outlier in Providence as many two-way streets in the city are narrow with a lane of cars just for parking making passing near impossible. Well-designed neighborhoods are accessible for all.

How could the City or RIPTA improve your experience getting around?

RIPTA outside of downtown Providence is rather inconvenient, and routes are not intuitive to get through towns outside of Providence. If routes were redrawn, I would definitely ride the bus more throughout the state.