~Submitted by Matthew Black
I regularly bike with my kids, now 3 and 5 years old, from our home near Fawn Lake to the LEAP and Davis schools in west Bedford. I get exercise, my kids are exposed to the outdoors, and we get to reduce our family carbon footprint. We are able to do this because of the off-road biking routes we have in town.
The Minuteman, Narrow Gauge, and Reformatory branch rail trails were the main reason that we moved to Bedford. These trails allow us, as a family, to bike, run, and walk with safety and ease for fun, exercise, shopping, and commuting.
I want to share the joy and benefits of biking and walking on these trails with as many people as possible. While many enjoy biking and walking on the Reformatory Branch when the weather is nice, travel on the path is not possible in all weather and many are excluded regardless of the weather. We would love to bike year-round, but rain floods the path and any more than a dusting of snow makes the trail impassable. With rain covers and puffy blankets, we’re ready for the weather, but the trail is not and often forces us into a car as there is not an alternative safe biking route across town.
My parents, in their 70s, opted to get off the Reformatory Branch after having difficulty navigating the ruts on the trail. Biking on Railroad Ave to get to the Reformatory Branch feels unsafe as cars often speed around the bend. These concerns prevent many from enjoying the benefits of our trails.
A paved path, the majority with stone dust shoulders for walking, and safe access via Railroad Ave will increase safety and make the path more accessible for all, regardless of their ability or the weather. With an improved multi-use trail, more people (myself included) will be able to get out of the cars and bike instead. I love to run and ride on dirt trails, but with 30+ miles of dirt trails in Bedford, there will continue to be plenty to explore.
Let’s give as many of our kids, our fellow community members, and our planet the joy and benefits of biking, running, and walking on this amazing trail. Please join me in voting in favor of the proposed upgrades to the Minuteman Extension to increase the accessibility and safety of Bedford’s rail trails!
Rain, snow or shine, we’d love to be on the bike paths.