hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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June 20, 2013

'Share the Road'

Bikers use street lanes, discover rural paths

(Continued)

"I'm always looking for the most scenic and safest routes possible," Russell said.

Russell had a biking partner recently when he joined Fiorentini on a morning ride down Main Street to City Hall. Russell said the mayor encourages residents to ride their bikes.

"The goal is to make Haverhill more bicycle friendly, more comfortable and safer," said Russell, who doesn't just advocate bicycle safety, but instead lives it.

"I won't let anyone ride along with me unless they are wearing a helmet," he said.

Pillsbury said he travels the bike lanes on Water Street when riding his bicycle to and from his job at City Hall. He said replicating these lanes on other streets will take research and planning.

"As we do repaving of roads, we want to try to incorporate bike striping in the line-striping work and when we have the opportunity to connect them up, we try to do that as well," Pillsbury said. "We will look at the list of streets that will be paved this summer, but it doesn't make sense to put a bike lane on every street. A lot of streets don't have adequate width, especially where you have vehicles parked. Water Street was perfect as there is no parking. Most roads in Haverhill are not that wide."

Where bike lanes may not be feasible, more signage might be an option.

"We'd like to expand our 'Share the Road' signage program and maybe look for a state grant or Chapter 90 money for that as there is a lot of movement towards bike friendly communities," Pillsbury said. "Like Boston, we're trying to get drivers to understand that bikes are out there and they have rights. It's a matter of safety on both sides."

Hoping to contribute to a safer environment for cyclists, Russell recently came up with a list of storm grates that are oriented in way he says pose a danger to bicyclists. He said the 40 or so grates on his list are a fraction of the hundreds of grates that exist throughout the city and that he plans to give his list to Public Works Director Mike Stankovich.

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