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May 05. 2014 10:06PM

Manchester plans to create bike lanes in downtown area

MANCHESTER — The city could see what will likely be its first bike lanes in the coming months.

As it completes sewer main work, the Department of Public Works intends to stripe lanes on Chestnut Street downtown, from Merrimack Street to Auburn Street, and on Wellington Road on the east side.

Todd Connors, the department’s engineering manager, told the aldermen’s public safety committee on Monday that the sewer work was an opportunity to create the lanes because all road markings on those streets had to be repainted.

He said the streets had already been identified as promising locations for lanes as city officials and cycling advocates develop a bicycle and pedestrian master plan, a process that has been underway since the fall.

“The idea is to take a second and hard look at the street system and determine whether there is an opportunity to accommodate bike lanes,” he said. “A lot of times lanes are wider than they need be and we have an opportunity to put lanes on some of the streets where they will be utilized.”

The lane on Chestnut Street, which runs south, would be the first phase of a plan to add downtown lanes. A second phase, to begin in 2016, would take the lane from Merrimack Street to Bridge Street. A third phase, with no projected start date, would add a lane the length of the northbound Pine Street, a block east of Chestnut.

The lanes would run on both sides of Wellington Road, from Linda Lane to the Londonderry Turnpike.

The lane on Chestnut would be six feet wide and run between the parking lane and the two lanes of traffic. It would be set part with a dotted line and icons on the street and there would be street signs as well. Signage would be proposed to the committee at a later date.

The bicycle and pedestrian master plan is being funded with a $15,000 grant from a state nonprofit group awarded in the fall. The plan is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

The committee was not asked to vote on the plan, but responded favorably to it.

tsiefer@newstote.com


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