~Submitted by Scot Shaw
At the cost of adding to the gallons of (virtual) ink that have been spent on this topic, I am writing to give some of my reasons to support Article 10 at the upcoming Town Meeting.
My family loves the fact that Bedford is small enough to make bikes a viable way to enjoy getting around without being in a car. We use the Minuteman every week, and proximity to it was a big selling point for where we live. It’s where our daughter learned to ride a bike: smooth enough for her on training wheels, usable almost all of the year, wide enough to pass oncoming users and be safely passed by anyone going faster in the same direction. She learned by example from other bikers on the trail, and is now, if anything, a little too exuberant in calling out “passing on your left!”
It took a few years to convince her to give up those training wheels, and until she did the Reformatory Branch Trail in its current condition wasn’t an option for us: the unevenness, rocks, and occasional ruts weren’t passable for her. When she was newly without the training wheels, it still wasn’t an option, since just getting to the trail via Railroad Ave involves scurrying across traffic twice to use sidewalks where they even exist. Once on the trail, she wasn’t biking straight enough to safely pass other users on the narrow parts. Great Meadows would have been a great place to visit, if we were willing to have her dismount and attempt to cross Rt 62 traffic.
When the time comes, I hope she’ll be able to bike to JGMS for much of the year, and I’d like everyone, including those to the west end of town, to have safe options like that. The planned work will provide a clear, safe path along Railroad Ave for all. The underpass at Rt 62 will connect the two ends of the trail, allowing trail users to avoid a fast and busy street. Lastly, the changes to the trail will make this old rail bed a viable connection for more users, for more of the year – including for us now, and hopefully into the coming decades. I consider all of these to be positive things for our town, and I urge you to come out and vote yes on Article 10.
Editor’s note: Scot Shaw is chairman of the Bedford Transportation Advisory Committee.