~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.