~ Submitted by John Goding
Recent events remind me of the 1970s Joni Mitchell song, Big Yellow Taxi. The song’s most recognizable refrain is ‘They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.’ Little did I know how that song would become relevant so many years later.
I am one of a growing number of Bedford residents strongly opposed to the environmental damage and loss of natural beauty that will occur under the Reformatory Branch Trail Bikeway Extension proposal. This was voted down at a Bedford town meeting in March. I’ve seen some statements that this proposal is ‘a good start’, and I believe there are some that see this as just that. I can only imagine that some will want to continue paving past The Great Meadows into Concord. It seems that some will not be satisfied until every natural trail is paved. While the planned width is 18 feet, the destruction will likely extend well beyond that to accommodate the heavy machinery that must clear away everything in its path.
I’ve run that beautiful trail for 20 years and the last thing I want to see is it turned into another paved highway like the 22-mile (round-trip) Minuteman Bikeway that runs from the Bedford Depot into Arlington. I ran Minuteman Bikeway a few times early on and never will again. Cyclists and rollerbladers often careen by. I don’t hear the birds and frogs, see wildlife, or smell the woods and bogs like I do walking or running on the Reformatory Branch trail. It is peaceful and beautiful, dappled in sunlight or with ground fog nestled low to the trail. When I am on that path I am connected to nature
For those who say there’s a need for more paved trails, I say that you already have 22 miles of it. Leave the beauty of this trail untouched for those who appreciate it, don’t destroy it.
Another refrain from Big Yellow Taxi is ‘Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.’ Let’s hope that Bedford does, stops this, and decisively tells the town and Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (BR MPO) to shelve this proposal for good.
Please see https://savereformatorytrail.org/, attend the Town Meeting on November 14, and vote NO to preserve Bedford’s natural beauty.