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February 06. 2014 7:46PM

Bedford committee to present master plan for future biking, walking paths

BEDFORD — The Bedford Bicycle-Pedestrian Committee will present the results of its online survey asking residents their views on creating bike and walking paths.

The committee will present a proposed master plan to the public at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, at the Planning Board meeting, at 10 Meetinghouse Road.

The master plan will be used as a guide in creating future walking and biking areas in town to complement the character of the town. There is no time line for improvements, but town planners and the Town Council could take the committee’s recommendations into consideration when reviewing proposed road work and future development.

The master plan project was funded by a grant from the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Committee member Bill Dermody said it’s important for Bedford to plan for better access for walkers and bikers in the future.

“Only by advance planning can the town determine the engineering feasibility and costs of each recommendation; there may be a need to acquire property in some instances,” Dermody said.

The survey revealed that 95 percent of residents would like to walk or bike, and 85 percent were walkers and 80 percent were bikers. Safety concerns centered on crossing Route 101 and its link to Wallace, North Amherst, Hardy and Jenkins roads, Nashua Road near Bedford High School, the library and the Bedford Village Common. However, residents were divided as some said biking along Route 101 is safe because of its wide shoulder access, while others said they would not use the highway for biking.

Some of those issues along Route 101 may be improved as part of the state Department of Transportation’s reconstruction of Route 101 from the intersection of Route 114 and Wallace Road.

New Boston Road, part of the Merrimack Valley Regional Bike System, was another preferred area especially near Riddle Brook School, but with narrow shoulders and high-speed traffic it, too, creates safety issues. To view the Bedford Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan report, visit www.bedfordnh.org.

sclark@newstote.com


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