electrical bike $178K state grant will make Methuen’s Riverside Drive extra bike, pedestrian pleasant | Merrimack Valley
METHUEN — The state just lately awarded $178,858 to the town to put in bike lanes, pedestrian indicators, crosswalks and different traffic-calming units alongside Riverside Drive.
Communities throughout the state acquired grants as a part of the Baker-Polito administration’s Shared Streets & Areas program.
The Methuen grant was the second largest supplied within the ultimate spherical of funding — a part of a $1.2 million bundle that included Lowell, Peabody, Chelsea, Everett and a dozen different communities.
With the award, Methuen will be capable of make quite a few modifications to the Riverside Drive hall, which follows a stretch of the Merrimack River roughly from the Interstate-93 overpass to the Lawrence line, the place the street’s title modifications to Water Avenue.
Financial Improvement Director Invoice Buckley mentioned the town has been making modifications to Riverside Drive for years, primarily to decelerate site visitors and make it simpler for residents residing north of the busy roadway to get to the Raymond J. Martin Riverside Park and the riverbank on the south aspect of the state-owned street.
“Town has a few targets right here,” Buckley mentioned, noting that as a result of the street is so broad, vehicles generally tend to drive at a excessive fee of pace.
The cash may even be used to put in flashing security beacons and create a narrowed site visitors lane on Riverside Drive, which Buckley mentioned would naturally decelerate site visitors.
He mentioned a 12-foot-wide bike lane can be positioned alongside the sting of Riverside Drive, separated from the primary site visitors lane by avenue markings and yellow reflecting posts.
“This has been a request from residents for a number of years,” he mentioned, noting that the street is “actually broad. In case you slim these lanes, individuals will likely be just a bit extra cautious.”
In the meantime, crosswalks and pedestrian indicators will make it simpler for residents to get to the park, which was just lately refurbished utilizing a $400,000 federal grant.
“It has a strolling path, good views, a gazebo, a play space for youths and we’re including a fishing pier to it,” Buckley mentioned. The entry may even make it simpler to get to the just lately refurbished boat ramp.
Buckley mentioned he’s underneath stress from the state to get the challenge “properly underway” by the tip of October with a ending date for later within the fall.
He famous that the work underneath the state grant could be the start of a bigger challenge.
“A part of the grant is to fund a site visitors examine to gauge the effectiveness of the modifications,” he mentioned. “If it does not look like functioning as designed, I am undecided MassDOT will wish to transfer ahead, or they could wish to modify the design.”
He added, “This may be an interim measure that if it proves efficient we’d then go to a longer-term resolution.”
The Shared Streets & Areas program, funded out of the Division of Transportation, or MassDOT, has supplied technical and funding help to assist Massachusetts cities and cities conceive, design and implement modifications to curbs, streets, on-street parking areas and off-street parking tons in assist of public well being, protected mobility and renewed commerce.
The governor, together with Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, visited Essex Avenue in Salem, Massachusetts, to make the announcement, as the town has used grant cash previously to make enhancements to that space.
“Now greater than ever, it’s essential to proceed to assist small companies and eating places which make up the material of our communities by buying and eating domestically,” Polito mentioned. “We are going to proceed to work with our companions on the native stage and assist the wants of all 351 of Massachusetts cities and cities.”
Different communities used grant cash in several methods, together with in Lowell, which was awarded $70,100 to assist an present outside eating program of 20 eating places by deploying propane heaters, landscaping and short-term mild installations ready by native artists, whereas additionally reclaiming a downtown avenue for winter markets.