Submitted by Renu Bostwick
Stuck in our cars commuting to work, stuck in our houses separated from neighbors by vast lawns, and stuck in our ways assuming that life has to be this way. The younger generation opts for different lives. Teenagers delay driving, some choosing not to learn. Young adults choose to rent smaller homes, not own cars, and live near bike commuter trails, public transportation, shops and restaurants. The heating and cooling carbon emissions of large homes do not appeal to this generation, since they will have to deal with the resulting climate chaos.
Although zoning laws and housing developments might not be on the next generation’s minds, we will be leaving them laws that are a blessing or a blight. It can separate us or bring us closer together. It can provide common spaces and common understandings. It can heal the world or it can divide our communities.
Sadly Massachusetts is already experiencing a housing supply shortage, forcing our next generation to find homes elsewhere. Kudos to Bedford for two recent steps in the right direction: allowing accessory dwelling units and two-family homes by right. These new zoning laws are slowly undoing some injustices from exclusionary zoning introduced decades ago and are valuable gifts to the next generation and to our Town.
The Carlisle Road development project under consideration is another boon for Bedford’s future:
Smaller homes and lots, closer neighbors who know one another, multi-family homes nestled in with single-family houses, multi-age and accessible homes, within walking or biking distance to common spaces, playing fields, playground and stores, and all surrounded by woodlands preserved through this denser design. This project is thoughtfully providing Bedford what we want.
Having lived in a compact neighborhood in Bedford for many years, I wish such good fortune for people in more of our town. If teachers, fire fighters, librarians, and restaurant workers could afford to both work and live in our town, how enriched all our lives would be for their service and their vibrant contributions to our community. Instead of becoming a shuttered, car-dependent community of strangers who don’t care for each other, we can become the resilient, close-knit community of the future that the next generation needs.
Please join me and other Mothers Out Front volunteers in voicing your support to the Select Board for the Carlisle Road Project as a sustainable, inclusive, affordable addition to home choices in Bedford.