~ Submitted by Corinne Doud, Chair Environmental Justice Committee of First Parish Bedford
Note: The views expressed here belong to the members of the Environmental Justice Committee of First Parish in Bedford, and do not reflect the views of the entire congregation.
The Environmental Justice Committee of the First Parish in Bedford supports the Minuteman Bikeway Extension Project. Our Unitarian Universalist faith principles include respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part, and justice, equity and compassion in human relations.
As an environmentally-focused committee, of course we care about unspoiled nature and having minimal impact as we create walking and biking spaces for our communities. However, climate change is a real threat, and one of our committee goals is to promote green infrastructure in Bedford and surrounding communities to support decarbonization. Creating a paved, shared-use path from Depot Park to just west of Route 62 creates infrastructure that encourages fewer cars on the road which will reduce carbon emissions that harm our climate. Transportation makes up 43% of Massachusetts emissions (ref. 2019 MA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, MA DEP), so reducing motor vehicle trips is a clear win for the climate.
We are not just an environmental committee, but an environmental justice committee seeking to engage with environmental issues to achieve a viable and just world for all. Equity of access is a crucial part of the opportunities to enjoy and appreciate natural spaces. The current trail is great and lovely for able-bodied walkers and cross-country skiers, but not safely accessible for those in wheelchairs, using walking aids, and can also be challenging for parents biking with attached child trailers. The bikeway extension project allows more people to safely access the path and therefore to access nature. The Minuteman Extension project uses state and federal funds to fund the construction of ADA-compliant regional infrastructure. Let’s work towards being a more inclusive community.
Bedford residents care deeply about the environment with differing views on how to best act on it. We respectfully ask you to vote Yes on Article 10 in support of the Minuteman Bikeway Extension project at Bedford Special Town Meeting.
Thank you, Corinne Doud, Chair, Environmental Justice Committee of First Parish in Bedford, on behalf of the Environmental Justice Committee (Dorothy Anderson-Perales, Renu Bostwick, Erin Dorr, Corinne Doud, Don MacIver, Cecile Mercado, Brown Pulliam, Lois Pulliam, Sarah Sjostrom)
[Editor’s Note: This letter was updated by the author on 11/10.]