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New bike lanes coming to Concord

  • Tim Heffner of East Concord heads out on Mountain Rd on a bkie ride to Mt. Kearsarge Friday afternoon, May 8, 2014. Heffner bikes to work at Concord Hospital so he says he's happy about the expanded bike lanes but, "paths are great but the access roads need improvement and repairs."<br/><br/><br/><br/>Geoff Forester/ Monitor staff

    Tim Heffner of East Concord heads out on Mountain Rd on a bkie ride to Mt. Kearsarge Friday afternoon, May 8, 2014. Heffner bikes to work at Concord Hospital so he says he's happy about the expanded bike lanes but, "paths are great but the access roads need improvement and repairs."



    Geoff Forester/ Monitor staff Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Tim Heffner of East Concord crosses the bridge into Boscawen on his way to Mt. Kearsarge.<br/><br/><br/>Geoff Forester/ Monitor staff

    Tim Heffner of East Concord crosses the bridge into Boscawen on his way to Mt. Kearsarge.


    Geoff Forester/ Monitor staff Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Tim Heffner of East Concord heads out on Mountain Rd on a bkie ride to Mt. Kearsarge Friday afternoon, May 8, 2014. Heffner bikes to work at Concord Hospital so he says he's happy about the expanded bike lanes but, "paths are great but the access roads need improvement and repairs."<br/><br/><br/><br/>Geoff Forester/ Monitor staff
  • Tim Heffner of East Concord crosses the bridge into Boscawen on his way to Mt. Kearsarge.<br/><br/><br/>Geoff Forester/ Monitor staff

Clipboard in hand, Craig Tufts sat on the corner of Manchester Street and Old Turnpike Road for three hours Wednesday.

“I got a lot of funny looks from people driving by,” said Tufts, who is a transportation planner for the Central New Hampshire Planning Commission.

Tufts wasn’t there for the people driving by in their cars – he was counting bicycles. Other volunteers and staff members have been conducting similar counts across the city, as part of the commission’s effort to collect data on cycling in Concord.

“Transportation is more than just driving your car,” Tufts said.

For those cyclists, a new bike lane is coming to Concord. The Central New Hampshire Bicycle Coalition has given $17,000 to the city to stripe more than 5 miles of a bike lane on Route 3.

In 2010, the city published a master plan aimed at making Concord a more bicycle-friendly community. This bike lane is in keeping with that larger vision, said Nik Coates, chairman of the Central New Hampshire Bicycle Coalition.

“What we’re really trying to do is build community,” Coates said. “I think where all modes of transportation are accepted and respected, people feel like they can participate in the community. . . . It’s a more inclusive community.”

As the city implements its master plan for cyclists, the Central New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission has begun to collect data on trends in bicycle and pedestrian traffic around Concord.

From 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Tufts counted about 24 bikes pass by his street corner. Last May, a volunteer counted as many as 43 bikes passing through the intersection of Main and Center streets during a three-hour period. Another marked 52 bikes near North State and Bouton streets in three hours, Tufts said.

Those numbers will likely grow with a national trend toward more cycling, said Tufts, who also serves on the cycling subcommittee for the city’s Transportation Policy Advisory Committee.

“I would say it’s definitely getting more popular,” he said.

The city striped its first bike lane on part of Clinton Street in 2009. Making way for cyclists was one of the motivations behind the city’s bicycle master plan in 2010. Bike lanes are increasingly a part of the city’s infrastructure projects, Roberge said. That means working a bike lane into a project like the Route 3 reconstruction, or adding one to a corridor like Loudon Road. When Loudon Road shrinks from four lanes to three, a 5-foot-wide shoulder will accommodate bicyclists.

“We’re really trying to stay focused on pedestrian and bike improvements in the community,” Roberge said.

To Coates, those improvements have given Concord an edge over other area communities.

“I think in comparison to the rest of the state, Concord is the most bicycle-friendly city in the state of New Hampshire,” Coates said.

Ride with traffic

Tufts agreed Concord is “ahead of the curve,” but he also praised the bicycle coalition for footing the bill for the bike lane on Route 3. About $10,000 of that money came from a state Department of Transportation grant, but the remaining $7,000 came from fundraising by the bicycle coalition.

“It’s a really cool thing that they’re putting their money where their mouth is,” Tufts said.

As the city continues the fifth phase of its work to rebuild that road this summer, City Engineer Ed Roberge said the coalition’s money will make the bike lanes happen much more quickly. The lanes might not have been painted for years, he said, but this money will be used to mark the bike lane on Route 3 between Borough Road and Penacook Street by this fall.

The bike lane continuing through Penacook village will be painted next summer, Roberge said. The money will also pay for 12 “wrong way, ride with traffic” signs to direct bicycle traffic around the city.

“What the coalition wanted us to work on and prioritize was to do those markings now,” Roberge said. “They kind of prompted us to look at doing it quicker, and they responded by providing the dollars to do it.”

A clear bike lane along this road will make the connection between Penacook and downtown Concord safer, Coates said.

“We’re trying to encourage people to feel comfortable getting on their bikes,” Coates said.

(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321 or mdoyle@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)

Ahhhh, windmills, trains, steam power and now the beautiful people will have their bike lanes. So many places to ride bikes and yet they will be riding them on Route 3. There will be lots of carbon fueled vehicles to shoot dirty looks at on Route 3 and they will feel so superior as they proudly ride their bikes with their pointy helmets and spandex outfits wicking away the sweat. Oh how important and what a statement they will make......"We own the roads too! They will shout"! How wonderful. How above the rest of the neanderthals who don't appreciate the benefits of biking, they will feel. PS, I ride a Trek, no spandex, no showmanship, I make sure that I stay on side roads out of the way of cars and I do it for enjoyment.

Stop it, you're turning us on...

I am sure that you are not the only one. They spend more on the spandex, helmets, sunglasses and sneakers than I did on my Trek bike. I am sure thay also let out an orgasmic gush as they check themselves out in the mirror prior to their ride.

homeless support could use the $17,000

Works great on the wide expanse of Clinton Street, and should be fine on North State Street/Fisherville Road, but where is the acreage coming from for a bike lane/path/sliver on Manchester Street? Once you get atop Glover Hill (City Side at base), it's like riding a bicycle on a tightrope. I'm referring to Auto Alley; from the Red Blazer to Integra Drive. Is the city going to grab some frontage from the various businesses there via Eminent Domain? Seems unlikely. Biking on Loudon Road, which has been covered in this forum ad nausem, with/without a bicycle path/lane/whatever, is nothing less than Russian Roulette on two wheels. That road is far too "tight", too commercially developed, to safely accommodate bicycles under any circumstances (unless the bike route could be built over/under Loudon Road). Chances of making it through are marginally better than a duck in a shooting gallery. There will be collisions, injuries and probably a fatality...or two. It ain't worth it.

And where will the funds come to build these bike paths? Will it come from bicycle license sales?

Who's paying for these new bike lanes? Will part of the proceeds come from new bicycle licenses? They should.

It's right in the article: The Central New Hampshire Bicycle Coalition has given $17,000 to the city to stripe more than 5 miles of a bike lane on Route 3.

""About $10,000 of that money came from a state Department of Transportation grant"" that would be tax dollars. The other $7K came from fundraising.... I agree with HDan - bikes should have a license just like boats, snowmobiles or 4-wheelers. Oh wait, 2 of those toys are not even ridden on the roads by law. Not sure if there is an actual law about ridding a boat down the street in NH but I would not be surprised if there was!

For years Concord required all bicycles to be registered, if that's what you mean, but they discontinued the program (10 years ago???). The stated reason, as I recall...and I may or may not...was something to the affect that it was not a cost effective program; a pain-in-their-derriere. If the bike registration program is what you're talking about, I seriously doubt they'd resurrect it.

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