~ Submitted by Julie Brill
Cutting acres of trees, paving, and plowing for recreational use is not the greener option. The pavement would extend the Minuteman Bike Path two miles to the Concord line, then wait for Concord to decide if it will continue. Rail trail construction has gone town by town rather than risk a state environmental review. The path goes through wetlands and connects conservation areas.
The Minuteman Bike Path is not primarily used by commuters, but by recreational bicyclists, many of whom drive and park near the path. We can address safety concerns along Railroad Avenue and crossing Concord Road without destroying our tree-lined, dirt path.
As a lifelong resident who graduated BHS class of 1988 and raised my kids here, I’ve had a front-row seat to Bedford’s urbanization. Too often Bedford has said yes to development when we should have said no. We’ve lost so many natural spaces and now they’re gone forever.
I attended my first town meeting in the eighties. The issue was cutting down ancient trees on Dudley Road. When the town voted yes, Mimi Adler and others chained themselves to those trees. Those trees are gone. Mimi and some of the others have passed.
Like many in town, I love walking my dog and skiing the path, stopping and talking with neighbors, and enjoying nature. Other residents run, bike, birdwatch, and snowshoe. The town maintains the path, removing downed trees and filling in potholes. The trail is one of the best parts of living in West Bedford.
The plan would take down every tree on the elevation, pave and widen the path, and plow it in winter. I was at the meeting over a decade ago voting no. At that meeting, we were promised the path would not be plowed. That promise has not been kept.
Our peaceful trail could become part of one of the nation’s busiest bike paths. Bicyclists whizzing past at 30 mph shouting, “on your left”. It’s stressful. If you want a paved bike path, we already have one in town. Those of us who enjoy the path now, know it works just fine as it is.
Please join me in voting no on Article 11 on Monday.