After staying in Providence RI for 2 months for a physical therapy clinical, I sifted out some not so fun locations to run and have concluded my favorite roads and tracks. These rankings are based on a few factors including:
Minimal Interruptions (such as stop lights, cross walks on busy streets, adequate road shoulder width, and pedestrians)
Intactness (basically just looking like it is maintained, without too much wear & tear)
Ability to run on at night
I had the most fun on these routes, and I hope that someone else in the Providence area can enjoys these as much as I did.
#5 Providence College Track
This is the first of two tracks in the list. I put it here as It has a bunch of walkways on campus which are kinda fun for doing a short warm up and cool down along side a track workout. Now these walkways are all kajambled and don't have much order so don't expect to go fast while running these. Instead I enjoyed getting lost and then finding my way back to the track. The track itself is well maintained and easily accessible for the public. I found the all the distance markers a little weird as they seemed a little further back than usual. This track has had lights when I ran there in the evening, so it is a quality place to run at night. I wouldn't park in the actual lot as I am not related to the college but there was always an open spot next to the road. I would only go here in the evening so it was more legal but during the day you might have more issue. I would have put this track above the other on this list, but I had a negative experience with a 5k time trial here, nothing against the track but it brings me negative memories.
#4 Roger Williams Park
RWP is a very diverse ~3.5 mile loop at its very base. It has a road path that goes around this full 3.5 miles, with minimal road crossing and interruption from cars. It also has a road to cross through loop which can mix up your run a bit. It has a trail which goes just about the same distance. The trail is fun but requires a lot of ducking below branches and trees and weaving around curvy dirt paths. There are also little side loops here and there which can also mix up the run a bit. The road loop has some quality rolling hills, while the trail loop is fairly flat in terms of elevation gain. I did not attempt running at night here from locals calling this area "the hood", I am not sure about lighting but I am sure it would be safe to run here despite what some say. I never parked as I literally lived 30 seconds away from the north entrance. Overall a beautiful park and a great place to run.
#3 Pilgrim High School Track
Here we have the better of the two tracks. There is a quality ~2 mile loop to warm up and cool down on. The track itself is well maintained and has what I would call more normal distance markers. No lights for night running but I still ran at night and enjoyed it. I probably should've switched this one with Providence College Track in the rankings, but after having to poop for 1/2 my 5k time trial and ending up going in a bush I am scared, and my view on the track has suffered the consequences.
#2 'Round the Rivah
If I ran this route more than just once I would have probably put it as my number 1, as it was such a cool route. I would start on Blackstone Boulevard which is a fantastic straight & flat road to run on, then dip next to the Seekonk river, get onto a bike path which went through India Point Park and connected to a decent road, then passing through some industrial parts, crossing a beautiful bridge, and then finishing back to Blackstone. My favorite part of this run was that at EVERY SINGLE STOP LIGHT I would take a left, avoiding the terrors of having to stop my run and wait for cars to pass. It was also cool to go around the river and connect a few scenic spots. The shoulders were all fairly quality as well. This may be more challenging to do at night from a lack of lighting and a lot of turns. Overall a fun 11.03 mile run which I hope to do again someday.
#1 Easy Bay Bike Path
This was my first route in Providence, and ended up being my most frequently visited. It was a great run for easy runs, tempos, fartlek's, you name it. It's flat except for one ungodly hill before the smaller parking lot, which doesn't seem that bad until you go up it, kills me every time. I would recommend starting from the big parking lot, then running down Bullock's Point and around the loop for a solid 10.35 mile run OR continuing down East Bay instead of going down Bullock's point for an uninterrupted 8.55 miles. For the 8 mile options I would turn around before this stoplight/crosswalk which after this point became more and MORE stoplights and crosswalks. Therefore, do not go past this stoplight. This run is lovely during the day but also beautiful in the evening where the city lights reflect on the water and light up your run. In terms of bikes and pedestrians I made it my rule that I would force bikers coming my way to go around me and go around walkers therefore there wasn't any last minute indecision and the one going faster was always making the pass. Overall a great route which was fun to do again and again.