Bicycle / Pedestrian Committee
- Joe Beggan, 2025
- Susan Centner, 2025
- Terry Cowman, 2024
- Jason DiBiasio, 2025
- Brian Frey, 2025
- David Saunders, Co-chair, 2023
- Dana Vermilye, Co-chair, 2023
The mission of the Committee is to make bicycling and walking, as non-motorized forms of transportation, safer and more accessible throughout the Town of Manchester-by-the-Sea.
The Manchester Bike & Pedestrian Committee was formed through the efforts of Dan Tieger working with then Town Administrator, Paul Bockleman, and the Select Board, chaired by Ron Kelley, in 1996. The Committee brought local focus to a variety of regional efforts that Tieger along with groups such as the North Shore Bikeways Coalition, the Bicycle Coalition of Massachusetts, the MAPC, and the fledgling Open Space and Recreation Committee had been advancing.
Addressing issues that may seem familiar today such as local trail access, bike racks, and town bike routes, the Committee adopted its mission to support healthy alternatives to motorized transportation. This included access for everyoneof all ages and abilities
, to safe walking, hiking, running, skating, and cycling. Working closely with the Select Board, Town Administrator, Conservation Agent, Police Department and Department of Public Works, this group has set a standard for how a small community can successfully address pedestrian and biking infrastructure, advocacy, and education.
An announcement in The Manchester Cricket brought Luc Levensohn, Sherry Proctor, Michele Gaythwaite, and John Bartlett to join Dan in getting things started. Protection of trails in Chebacco Woods and Powderhouse Reservation, addition of bike racks along coastal beaches and public buildings, and improved crosswalks and signage were some of the initial successful projects. Early on, involvement with the schools created incredibly successful bike rodeos, Bike and Walk to School weeks, and in-school safety presentations that included the town Police and Fire Departments. Participation by students was phenomenal, and also entailed community volunteers getting involved as crossing guards at intersections throughout town.
Soon our Committee began to focus on the kinds of infrastructure improvements that would enhance safety and increase participation in walking and biking on a more permanent basis. Flashing caution lights at either end of Pleasant Street were replaced by four-way stops at Pine and School. An inventory of sidewalks was begun, leading to regular maintenance. Working at the request of Memorial School Principal Jack O’Mara, the team successfully applied and implemented a nearly $700,000 Safe Routes to School project that dramatically altered parking, entrances, lighting, signage, and crosswalks around the school, all of which were retained with the new school in 2022.
Realizing that the greatest single contributor to pedestrian and cycling safety are speed limits, this Committee led the effort to institute a town-wide speed limit and establish safety zones in high-density and vulnerable-user areas around town. This effort became part of a Complete Streets strategy adopted by the town, which created access to nearly $300,000 for reconstruction of intersections at School/Central and Union/Beach. Speed feedback signs, curb replacement, additional bike racks, and, very recently, bike lanes, have cumulatively added to improved conditions for people walking and biking through town. And more to come!
Projects include speed revisions on Rt. 127 and the Rt. 128 interchanges, improving pedestrian and biking safety on upper Pine and School Streets, trails mapping, bike racks at hiking trails, downtown pedestrian and cyclists improvements, programs for high school and middle school with Safe Routes to School, and a comprehensive biking plan for the town to improve health, access, and safety to attract more walkers, runners, rollers, and cyclists to our sidewalks and streets.
Communication, input and feedback from the community are the drivers of the Committee’s work. Sign up to receive our agendas and minutes here. The Town Library hosts a transportation-oriented book review group led by the Committee, and we support bike rodeos, safety inspections, Touch a Truck, Kids’ PMC, and the Middle School Mountain Bike Club. We appreciate your guidance and participation!
The Committee would like to acknowledge its strong support from members, the community, and numerous other groups including these:
Select Board, Police Department, Department of Public Works, Safe Routes to School Program, Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Hooper Fun, Community Preservation Coalition, Manchester Essex Regional School District, Manchester Library. Trustees of the Reservation, Manchester Essex Conservation Trust, Essex County Greenbelt Association, Pan-Mass Challenge
In Memoriam: Sherry Proctor, Andy Harris
4-Foot Passing Safety Law
Walk Audit Report
The Bike and Pedestrian Committee working with Cape Ann Mass in Motion and Walk Boston hosted a walking audit on June 3, 2019 that focused on roads around the schools. The Town Administrator, Police Chief, DPW Director, Town Planner, School Administrators and Staff took part viewing and assessing the roads and sidewalks and providing information about Town and School policies, operations and initiatives. The Report outlines the purpose and route of the audit and makes a series of recommendations for improving safety, accessibility and comfort.
The Town’s recently adopted Master Plan recommends an annual walking audit in the various neighborhoods and areas of town with the aim of improving streets and sidewalks throughout Town over time. If you have an idea of a neighborhood or area that you would like to be audited, please reach out to a member of the Bike and Pedestrian Committee.