By Kim Siebert MacPhail
Brian O’Donnell and Terry Gleason, members of the Town’s Bicycle Advisory Committee and of Friends of the Minuteman Bikeway, participated in a four-town tour of the bike path, which spans the distance between Bedford’s Depot Park and Alewife Station in Cambridge. Representatives from Lexington and Arlington, the other two communities traversed by the pathway, rode along with O’Donnell, Gleason and a consultant to examine the condition of the path and how signage and crossroads could be improved.
“We rode down to Alewife and met with Arlington, Lexington and the consultancy engineer,” said O’Donnell. “Each town had its own little quirks. . . .We all noticed various places where signage doesn’t naturally lead people, and also the plethora of signs. The instinct is to address a problem with another sign. There are already a lot of signs out there and some are not set in the right direction or positioned correctly…The lack of a center yellow line that’s reflective is getting to be a problem. At night, when you’re on the bike path, in certain sections when there’s a curve and there’s no line, you find yourself off the path.
It was noted that as of next year, Bedford will be the only town of the four that has not renewed the surface of its section of the bike path. According to Gleason, the life of the surface pavement is about 20 years and that milestone has been reached. Arlington resurfaced years ago and Lexington is scheduled to do so within the year, after putting it off for some time. Bedford’s section is on the DPW’s radar, Gleason says, but, when compared to the conditions on some of the town’s roadways, the bike path seems to be assigned lower-priority status.
“Mr. Warrington is keeping his eye on it. The Minuteman has to be repaved within the next five years, no question. . . .I’ve counted 13 roots [on our section that are buckling] the pavement. It’s becoming dangerous,” reported Gleason.
Gleason added, as an aside, that Lexington’s intra-community transportation service, Lexpress, recently added bike racks to their buses.
The Friends of the Bikeway are also working on a map of the bike path that will include Bedford businesses and amenities for those from out of town using the Minuteman. Potential benefits of having such a map will increase once the Reformatory Branch from Railroad Ave to the Concord line is complete.
Dave Enos, another member of both bike groups, pointed out that there is a comprehensive state bike trail map on the website of the Massachusetts Area Planning Council. The map can be downloaded or you can request a hard copy athttps://trailmap.mapc.org/
To visit the Bedford Friends of the Minuteman Bikeway website, go to: https://www.bikebedford.org/