hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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June 20, 2013

'Share the Road'

Bikers use street lanes, discover rural paths

Haverhill has four miles of marked bike lanes along city streets, and hopes to develop more places where riders can take in the community's scenery.

City officials say there are many more miles a bicyclist can travel beyond the two-mile stretch of Water Street that has marked bike lanes and signs asking everyone to "Share the Road."

"As a city, we want to make Haverhill a more bike-friendly place from the point of view of biking safety, and lanes are one way to do that," said William Pillsbury, director of economic development and planning.

Last year, Pillsbury worked with Jeff Russell of Haverhill to design the bike lanes along Water Street, roughly from the Buttonwoods Museum area to RiversEdge Plaza.

"The hope is to have a kind of trail system, but right now it's sort of one street at a time," Pillsbury said.

As volunteer head of the city's Bike Haverhill committee, Russell works closely with Mayor James Fiorentini and Pillsbury to identify bike routes and streets where bike lanes would be practical. Russell is also a member of the planning committee for the Emmaus organization' annual Cycle for Shelter and leads training rides for the 100-mile ride, one of four rides that are part of this year's Cycle for Shelter event scheduled for July 28.

Russell, a research scientist with a doctorate in physical chemistry, said the lanes on Water Street fill a need and that he'd like to see more of them.

"I think it's working out well," said Russell, who bikes hundreds of miles each week throughout the region and has mapped out more than 40 local routes a cyclist can take.

One of those routes, which he calls the "Winnekenni Loop," begins at Riverside Park, loops around Kenoza Lake on Kenoza Street then continues along Route 110 past Winnekenni Park to Mill Street then Water Street, and back to Riverside Park. He hopes to have his routes published on the city's website.

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