Letter to the Editor: We Welcome Neighbors; Vote Yes on Articles 11 and 12

Submitted by Jennifer and John McClain

We live in the center of Bedford, and we want more neighbors.

For over a decade we lived on a cul-de-sac in Lexington. Far from the center of town, we had to drive pretty much everywhere. When we moved to Bedford to be closer to our community, we were lucky enough to find a home on the Common and it has been a revelation.

We can walk to Ken’s, Bruegger’s, the library, town meeting, town offices, voting, grocery shopping, many restaurants, including Ken’s, Bedford Farms, CVS, the dry cleaners, Post Office, banks, auto repair, the UPS store, Church, clothing stores, doctors, and physical therapy. Oh, and also Ken’s, did we mention Ken’s?

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It’s wonderful to be able to run errands without the car. To not have to hassle with finding parking or being traffic. To run errands and get a little exercise as well.

But the most wonderful thing is that more often than not when we walk, we run into friends and neighbors, and because no one is in a car, we can stop and talk to them.

Walkability forms strong communities.

This only happens because much of this part of town was built out before we made it impractical to build the sort of density that makes this all work. If our house, or many of the houses around us burned down, the current zoning would not allow them to be rebuilt without special permits and variances.

Which is why we encourage everyone to vote in support of Articles 11 and 12 at Annual Town Meeting. The new zoning will just re-enable some of the past practices that make this section of town such a great place to live. It will make central Bedford more vibrant, more affordable, and more supportive of local businesses.

As a town we could comply with the new multi-unit zoning requirements by rezoning parcels along Middlesex Turnpike, but that won’t make Bedford stronger. People out there will be car dependent for all their errands. They then will either center their lives around Burlington and Billerica, or become part of Bedford, but bring exactly the sort of traffic the advocates of rezoning Middlesex Turnpike are trying to avoid.

Bedford desperately needs housing for young people just starting out and empty nesters looking to downsize. Let’s make that housing available in the place it will make Bedford strongest.

John is a Member of the Transportation Advisory and the Ad-Hoc Tree Master Plan Committees but is not speaking for them.

Jennifer is a member of the Historic District Commission but is not speaking for it.

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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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