Lynn plans for bike trail to the sea

LYNN — Residents will get a chance to weigh in on the planned expansion of the Northern Strand Trail into Lynn, which city officials envision will allow people to bike to the sea.

Since 1993, Bike to the Sea has been working to create the Northern Strand Trail, a mostly-paved, car-free path from Malden/Everett through the Saugus marshes, to the beaches in Revere, Lynn and Nahant.

In February, the state awarded $1.5 million to fund additional design work to improve the current trail and jumpstart the expansion into Lynn. The trail currently ends at the Lynn/Saugus line.

Mayor Thomas M. McGee said that $1.5 million grant was directed specifically for extending the Northern Strand Trail from Saugus to Market Basket on Federal Street.

There’s two components — the state is doing that Northern Strand piece and the city has enlisted Kittelson & Associates, a Boston-based engineering firm, to plan a community path from the city down to the ocean, McGee said.

Residents are invited to attend an interactive workshop on Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Lynn Vocational Technical Institute fieldhouse to help the city plan the community path, which would be a rail corridor from Western Avenue down to the waterfront, along with on-street bike facilities from Western Avenue to the downtown. A public presentation will be held later that day at 6:30 p.m. in the same location.

McGee said there’s an actual rail line that runs through the other communities on the trail, but in Lynn, that rail line ends at Market Basket and doesn’t include a rail connection to get down to the beach.

“It’s making sure that both bikes and pedestrians have this access through the community down to the beautiful resource we have there, both Lynn Shore Drive and the beach,” McGee said. “It’s really exciting to have this moving forward.”

Included in the project will be access points that allow for bike access in front of the new YMCA and on the other side of the new Market Basket, which are being funded by two MassWorks grants previously awarded for infrastructure improvements for those two projects.

As the city looks to create a more walkable community, McGee said safe pedestrian and biking access throughout Lynn is “a key exciting point for what adds value to our community,” and adds to the opportunity for economic development.

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