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Minuteman Extension Would Be a Sheer Delight

Updated: Sep 30, 2022

By Sandra Hackman

Originally Submitted to the Bedford Citizen August 19, 2022

I just returned from my second bike outing this week on the existing Minuteman shared-used path heading from Bedford to Lexington and Arlington during midday.

Here is what I saw:

The paved path was wide, green, and cool, with overhanging trees set back from an unpaved shoulder on both sides. At least half the users were older bicyclists moseying along. Mothers and fathers were pushing one- and two-child strollers. Younger adults politely passed numerous walkers. A mother jogged alongside a wobbly eight-year-old on in-line skates. An adult surrounded by preschoolers rested on a boulder next to the path. Individuals were running. A small group of middle-school students walked together.

The overall experience was one of community and joy. The path did not feel crowded or unsafe. I would really like such an opportunity for Bedford. Fortunately, we are on the cusp of realizing that dream.

Dozens of volunteers have worked with town staff for 15 years to extend the Minuteman shared-use path through the center of Bedford. Unlike the existing dirt path, this extension would accommodate users of all ages and abilities. The path would connect East and West Bedford and Depot Park to schools, the library, playing fields, and Town Center.

Town Meeting voted to invest close to $1 million to design the project. The state held public meetings to obtain feedback and modified the plan accordingly.

After long advocacy, the state agreed to contribute $11 million to create not only the Minuteman extension but to invest in sorely needed sidewalks and drainage systems on Railroad Ave. An underpass at Concord Rd. would allow safe crossing where an accident recently sent a bicyclist to the hospital. The safe crossing would allow easier access to Great Meadows National Wildlife Sanctuary.

In November we will have the chance to make this vision a reality by voting to acquire the necessary easements. Because the town has extensive infrastructure beneath the existing path, it needs to acquire those easements no matter what. Having the state pay for all these benefits would save taxpayers millions of dollars.

I urge you to join me in voting to bring this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fruition at Special Town Meeting on November 14. To find out more about the project, please see the FAQ just posted on the DPW website,

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