Letter to the Editor: Yes Vote on Paving the Trail is a Vote for Safety and the Environment

~Submitted by Sabrina McClain

As someone who bikes frequently both for pleasure and as a mode of transportation, bike paths are necessary for me to feel confident that I can bike safely. While I have used the Reformatory branch as it is, I know very well how dangerous it is to cross the street at Concord Road. The proposed bikeway extension will make it safer for both cyclists and walkers by putting an underpass there. I have also heard from disabled people who would benefit from the path being paved. They deserve to use that path and to reap its benefits just as much as everyone else. 

Some have argued that the proposed extension is counter-productive because it involves cutting down trees in the area to make room for the new path. However, humans have been impacting the environment for as long as we have existed. To be an environmentalist is to try to minimize that impact, to distribute it equitably. To wait for a perfect, silver bullet solution is to maintain the status quo, and the cost of that would be enormous. The planners of the extension are minimizing the impact of the new path by only cutting down invasive species, and preserving old growth trees. To save the environment, we need a new model that isn’t centered around cars. The proposed minuteman extension will be a step towards the new infrastructure needed to make that happen.

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The opinions expressed in Letters to the Editor are those of the writer, not The Bedford Citizen.

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Dawn LaFrance-Linden
November 1, 2022 5:51 am

Nicely said! Many supporters are passionate environmentalists and work hard to reduce their carbon footprints by walking and biking whenever possible. As we continue to see the growing impacts of climate change in our local ecosystems, we all need to consider what we can do to reduce the stress on the biosphere we live in and make climate resilience an active part of all our planning processes and construction projects.

Voting “yes” at Town Meeting to allow the Select Board to purchase the segments of the RBT that have been found to be in private hands will allow the environmentally responsible extension of the Minuteman path to proceed.

Carla Brown
November 1, 2022 2:03 pm

There are no old growth trees that are near the path, so none need to be protected. Native and invasive trees are being cut. Into that vacuum fast growing invasives will come: Japanese knotweed loves a vacuum. Established trees, native and nonnative alike, sequester carbon and provide habitat. That’s why Lexington recognizes the Norway maple (a nonnative) as a protected tree. Their plan is to replace 4.3 acres of trees with 43 native trees, a clear loss. And even that is dubious. The tree fund has money from other projects just sitting there, rather then going towards planting trees, because there is no place to plant them. 

November 1, 2022 11:25 pm
Reply to  Carla Brown

Residents are able to ask for Town trees to be planted on their own land out of the tree fund. I think it’s one of the coolest parts of our tree policy: https://www.bedfordma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6866/f/uploads/almost_free_tree_program_protocol.pdf

So if anyone wants new trees planted, you can offer your yard to do so!

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