BEVERLY — As the host city of a major bike race, four bicycle shops and an active bike club, Beverly is already considered something of a hub of bicycling on the North Shore.
Now it’s trying to take the next step toward making the roads friendlier and safer for bike riding.
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council has agreed to develop a bike and pedestrian plan for the city. The agency is working with the city to identify potential locations for bike lanes, off-road bike trails and improved pedestrian access.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity as a bike community to make Beverly more bike-friendly and safer,” said Todd Balf, co-founder of Beverly Bicycle Committee.
Beverly is the latest community to be selected by the MAPC to develop a bike plan. The agency has worked with about dozen communities in the last year and half, including Lynn and Saugus, and is scheduled to start working soon with Danvers.
Chris Kuschel, an MAPC regional planner who is helping to develop the Beverly plan, said the agency looks to identify areas where roads are wide enough to create bike lanes.
“We first concentrate on near-term possibilities, things you can do with paint if there’s room to create a bicycle lane and there’s a good connection,” he said.
Potential areas for a bicycle lanes in Beverly include the stretch between the train depot and Cummings Center, the roads connecting Rantoul and Cabot streets, and along Hale Street, he said.
“We have a big bike constituency in Beverly, but a lot of these people are advanced riders,” he said. “What we’re really interested in is how to change the dynamic for regular people, who just want to run errands or take their kids for a quick little ride, to feel comfortable getting on a bike in Beverly.”