Drivers no longer have Water Street all to themselves.
The city has painted bike lanes on each side of Water Street (Route 97) from Ginty Boulevard to Trinity Stadium to make road travel a more comfortable experience for bikers.
Michael Valentin, who rides his bike to work every morning along Water Street, said the lanes are a welcome addition to his commute.
"It's a great idea," said Valentin. "I'm glad that the city of Haverhill is trying to make the roads more friendly to bikers, I just wish the drivers of Haverhill would try to be more friendly to bikers."
So does Bill Pillsbury, director of economic development and planning in Haverhill, who worked with Jeff Russell of Bike Haverhill to design the bikes lanes.
" 'Share the Road' is the phrase on the signage nearby," said Pillsbury. "One of the biggest challenges is educating the public that bikes are going to be on the road, too."
The lanes are marked by painted lines similar to those for a breakdown lane and have an image of a bicycle along with an arrow.
"It absolutely has made it a safer experience," said police Traffic and Safety Officer Ed Watson. "It isn't just an advantage for bikers but also for walkers as there is a safe place for them to walk where there isn't a sidewalk available."
Arthur Migliori owns H.R. Sawyer Schwinn Bicyclery on Ginty Boulevard, near the western end of the bike lanes.
"I hope it encourages people to run errands and maybe occasionally ride their bikes to and from work," said Migliori. "It seems like nowadays young people spend too much time in front of their computer. Maybe now some more people will feel its safer to go out on their bikes."
Migliori said that drivers have more distractions than ever, making it dangerous for bikers to share the road.
"You have people texting while they drive," said Migliori, citing the guilty verdict handed down to Aaron Deveau last week. "It definitely makes you worry."
Valentin said the bike lanes on Water Street are a good start but he'd like to see more.
"I'd also like them to have some more proper bike paths around Winnekenni Castle," he said. Mayor James Fiorentini has said in the past that making the paths at the castle more suitable for bicycling is on his to-do list.
The money for the bike lanes came from the $1.5 million in Chapter 90 road funds the city received from the state in April.
"We want to continue to expand these lanes wherever we can," Pillsbury said. "Whenever we repave a street, we look to see if we can add bike lanes there. The problem is that some streets just aren't wide enough. You look at a street like Washington Street, and it just isn't feasible to put a bike lane somewhere like there."
Pillsbury said no specific streets have been chosen for bike lanes but he fully supports making Haverhill a bike-friendly city.