~Submitted by Jan van Steenwijk
I have biked for more than seventy years. Now, at the age of 84, I fortunately am healthy enough to mount my two-wheeled bicycle and ride. I love the feeling of fresh air on my face, summer or winter, sunshine, or rain. On a very good day, I can still ride more than 8o miles.
But times have changed. I’ve always been an avid road biker, but cycling has become much more dangerous on the roads. Bikers receive very little respect from the ever-increasing vehicle traffic. Cars are getting bigger, making it seem as if the roads are getting narrower. My speed is so minimal compared to the powerful cars and trucks that dominate the roads. It feels like I am a snail and they are jetliners, passing me much too closely – sometimes with only inches to spare.
I now rely often on the many safer bikeways dedicated to anyone who wants exercise or seeks healthy fresh air away from the carbon polluting, rubber burning, speeding vehicles. Bedford, has now an opportunity to create an additional stretch of a multi-user rail trail for all people who, regardless of their abilities, can enjoy walking, strolling with their dog, jogging while pushing a stroller, and, yes, recreational biking on a safe path.
I enjoy the wonderful bikeway from the Bedford Depot to Alewife. I see parents with their 4 to 6 year old children who are learning to balance on their first two-wheeler bikes as well as learn to navigate among the other users on the path. I see disabled people in their wheelchairs and elderly
people, ambling slowly with a walker, getting out and enjoying nature. For many people, this is an
opportunity to escape their daily routines for an hour or two.
A paved path can and will be safely used by people of all ages to enjoy some time away from
their TVs or SUVs. It creates an oasis that contributes to reducing air pollution, and provides an
opportunity for us to be a bit healthier. Moreover, the plan to make an underpass at the Concord Road
crossing is ingenious. It is a plan that can and will reduce accidents and save lives.
Please vote YES to paving and extending the Minuteman Bikeway, thus making this exercise
path available to all of us.