Letter to the Editor: Losses and Gains if Bikeway Extension is Blocked

~Submitted by Matt Heid

What Bedford Will Lose if the Minuteman Bikeway Extension Is Blocked—and What We Gain if It Passes

I have been commuting on the Minuteman Bikeway for more than a decade. At this point, I have traveled the length of the path—from Bedford to Cambridge and back—more than 1,000 times. And for the past seven years, I have helped support the bikeway community through a dedicated Twitter account: @minutemanbiker.

I wanted to remind Bedford residents what is at stake, and why I am voting YES on the bikeway extension and encouraging others to do the same.

This is what Bedford would LOSE if opponents succeed in blocking the extension:

  • Bedford would lose dramatic improvements to Railroad Avenue, including a separated multi-use path that would significantly improve safety for students and pedestrians traveling to and from the middle and high school. 
  • Bedford would lose an underpass beneath Concord Road/Route 62, which would eliminate the need to make a dangerous crossing across this high-speed road. 
  • Bedford would lose $11 million in state and federal funding that would pay for the overwhelming majority of the project. If the extension is blocked, that money will go to other towns for other projects. Bedford would receive none of it. 
  • Bedford would lose a once-in-a-generation opportunity to significantly improve our car-free transportation options; create a better, safer, more accessible connection across town; and get more people out of their cars and off our traffic-choked roads. 

A Rail-Trail for All

If Bedford voters approve the Minuteman Bikeway extension, our town would gain all of the above that would otherwise be lost. Residents would no longer have to risk their safety like this on busy roads. And students, bikers, and pedestrians would no longer be endangered by traffic on Railroad Avenue or Concord Road.

Finally, I wanted to speak from my own first-hand experience on the Minuteman Bikeway, because this is what I see when I ride: Walkers. Joggers. Bikers. Seniors. Dog walkers. Parents pushing strollers. Kids riding and walking to school. People walking and riding to work. All ages, all abilities. All peacefully and safely coexisting. Day. After day. After day. It is not a death-defying bicycle superhighway. It is truly a rail-trail for all and an overwhelming public good. I know. I see it every time I ride. 

Please join me in voting YES on the Minuteman Bikeway extension at town meeting. 

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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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