Councilor William J. Macek is proposing Haverhill set aside bicycle lanes on its major roads throughout the city.
Haverhill City Councilor William J. Macek wants people to be able to safely ride a bicycle from one end of the city to the other.
His colleagues agreed with him Tuesday night, voting to have the council’s Planning and Development Committee figure out how to make it happen. He explained his plan:
“I’d like to see them go throughout the whole community on our major thoroughfares, for starters, all of our primary roads.”
The councilor said painting bike lanes also serves create automobile travel lanes meeting current standards, ensuring slower and safer driving. In addition, Macek said, new lanes will help make the city a destination for bikers, who will do business while they are here. He explained there are more bikers than most people realize.
“An interesting stat I saw is that 60 percent of the people actually ride a bike.”
He thinks more people would ride bicycles if the streets were made safer. Painting lines isn’t very expensive, Macek said, after speaking with City Engineer John H. Pettis III. However, lanes must be properly designed to comply with regulations.
Adding bicycle lanes adds to Macek’s earlier proposal to create an adult fitness park.
Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan said Macek’s plan dovetails nicely with an idea he has for creating bike trails near Winnekenni Park. He said the park already attracts bicycle enthusiasts, noting last weekend’s Fatty Walrus Deep Freeze Challenge drew 70 riders and 100 are expected for the final race this weekend.
David S. Van Dam, Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s chief of staff, said the state’s “Complete Streets” program could help pay. In fact, the city is having a public hearing on the state program tonight at 7 p.m., in room 301, at City Hall. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation program could reimburse the city up to $400,000 for street improvements, including bicycle lanes, pavement, trees and sidewalks.
Macek said Haverhill might inspire others.
“I’d like us to be a model New England community—that we do things right and other communities will look to us to see how we did it.”