Letter to the Editor: A Business Owner’s Perspective on the Proposed Bike Path

~ Submitted by Daisy Girifalco

I am the owner of Bedford Children’s Center (BCC). In our daycare we have 81 children totaling 45 families, mostly Bedford residents, and 25 team members.  I also reside on Concord Rd. The bike path details presented this spring are very concerning.

At BCC, we use every inch of our property and what the surrounding property offers us.  Construction and increased bike traffic will negatively impact the entire BCC community. It’s my job to prevent that and advocate for our concerns including:

  1. The proposed path will now be about 10 feet from 2 playgrounds with far less tree coverage.  Currently it’s more than 30 feet away with an extensive tree barrier.  Clear cutting so many trees will likely affect the natural playground shade.
  2. A new picnic area about 30 feet from my playgrounds with less tree boundary.
  3. I was told that during construction, we cannot safely play in the play areas that face Concord Rd. This eliminates a playground and hosts 20 children each day multiple times a day.
  4. We go to Chip-In Farm or on nature walks. Increased bike traffic and speed may make it more dangerous for the children.
  5. During construction traffic will be routed through my driveway and parking area where my front sign is at school.  The construction buffer will eliminate at least 6 staff parking spots that are sorely needed.
  6. There is no confirmed timeline of how long the construction will take affecting BCC for an indefinite amount of time affecting my enrollment and appeal for future staff.
  7. The paving will stop shortly after the opposite side of the tunnel but not before taking many more trees down on that side of the road.
  8. Concord just voted down any restoration on the path and today their community stands firm of keeping the path natural.
  9. Cement sides entering the tunnel like on the highway, smaller, but still large cement entrance.
  10. A traffic study was never done which would provide data for residents to make an informed decision.

As a Bedford Chamber of Commerce board member for the past 11 years, I want nothing more than for Bedford to be the best town it can be. This is not the trajectory that will get us there. I feel the town will be better served by a much smaller investment to improve the path we have.


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Julie Porter
Julie Porter
1 month ago

Thanks for the post, Daisy. In addition, my understanding is that an estimated 3 acres of mature trees will need to be cleared. That’s A LOT of trees. Paving the current path will also draw more high-speed commuter bikers which is a safety concern for both slower-moving folks and erratically moving children and dogs. I’ve personally witnessed too many close calls, and a few accidents, on the paved portion of the bikeway.

vittorio raho
vittorio raho
1 month ago

Thank you for posting this perspective
I didn’t realize this consequence of the proposed MM Bikeway extension.

Mario Mendes
Mario Mendes
1 month ago

According to Brian Kane from the MTO (https://www.thebedfordcitizen.org/2022/08/regional-mpo-rescinds-funding-but-still-supports-bikeway/) you, I and everyone on Concord are “anti-government” now.

Peggy Lundgren
Peggy Lundgren
1 month ago

👍

Patty Dahlgren
Patty Dahlgren
1 month ago

Daisy thank you for this thoughtful breakdown of the impact this project will have on your town business, employees, and families. Lets not pave paradise. This Summer of heat makes me appreciate the respite of nature.

Marc Levetin
Marc Levetin
1 month ago

I’m sorry, but I don’t get the problem. Two points:

First, the “what about safety”/”bikes are dangerous” thing doesn’t fly. I used to live in East Arlington. Families walked to playgrounds, fields, church, and daycare on the Minuteman as a way to avoid Mass Ave. School kids walked to the Hardy Elementary School in and around commuters without incident.

(I also lived in Billerica, when a driver drove off 3A and through a daycare back in 2016. I’m sure your facility is perfectly safe. All I’m saying is that things happen regardless of construction.)

Second, there’s a lot of guesswork here: “will LIKELY affect the shade”; “MAY make it more dangerous”; “no CONFIRMED timeline”.

Let me offer a different take: A wider path and new, safer way to traverse Concord Road may allow parents from adjoining neighborhoods to walk their kids to and from my school. This will reduce both traffic and ease the pick-up/drop off process due to less parking lot congestion. It might even foster a greater neighborhood community.

My child was at The Goddard School across town for five years. A number of her schoolmates lived in the adjoining apartment complex. And the office building in front of the daycare was under construction for at least a year. Parking spaces were lost from time to time. Everyone adjusted; nobody dis-enrolled their kids over parking.

I agree that disruptions are annoying, but this project isn’t the Big Dig. I bet that future BCC community members living on Bonnievale, Sheridan, Wheeler, and Davis might appreciate the ability to safely walk to your building using the new path under the road.

Nick Mirick
Nick Mirick
1 month ago
Reply to  Marc Levetin

I appreciate the thoughtful engagement and non-hyperbole but you cherry picked what you consider to be the “real” concerns. A wide, open bike path is plenty safe for kids and families to traverse. Inattentive cyclists happen just like inattentive drivers.

But cutting 30′ of trees is absolutely going to reduce shade. It’s 30′ of untouched woods! That is a real impact. Losing a chunk of your property to staging is a real impact. Losing one of three playgrounds for an indeterminate amount of time is a real impact. Putting a paved pathway and picnic area 10′ off your property line is a real impact. Increased noise–significantly during construction, and with sleeping kids– that’s a real impact. And a someone who lives on Davis, unless there’s also a second tunnel and/or a sidewalk going down the length of 62, no one from Sheridan or Davis is walking to BCC.

Put another way, if someone proposed doing this next to your house–take a chunk of your front lawn, cut down 30′ of trees, pave a road and ensure you couldn’t use an improved outdoor space for an extended period of time– I think a reasonable person would be upset. I think a reasonable person could expect the town to define timeline and mitigate impact to existing houses and businesses. I think a reasonable person would ask, What problem is paving the bike path solving? Is there too much nature in everyone’s bike path to the national wildlife refuge?

As someone who cycles and walks down to Great Meadow regularly, I’ve never had an issue crossing 62–on a bike, with kids, or with a dog. I’ve never run into a rut on the bike path that was problematic. And as a parent who sent kids to BCC for 9 years, I also saw many families from Bonievale cross 62 on the way to drop off or pick up kids. The paving feels like a solution in search of a problem.

Mario Mendes
Mario Mendes
1 month ago
Reply to  Marc Levetin

Paving and an underpass is not needed. Not long ago the town installed on demand yellow blinking lights where another bike path crosses Great Rad. Should we pull those out and build an under/overpass there too?

If that was an acceptable solution for Great Road, why is would it not be an acceptable solution of that spot on 62?

Guilhem Ribeill
Guilhem Ribeill
1 month ago

How absolutely ridiculous. I hope every parent that is thinking about sending a child to BCC knows that the owners would prefer to have a child hit by an inattentive driver on 62 rather than share space on an accessible bike path.

Lori Eggert
Lori Eggert
1 month ago

BCC children don’t cross Rte.62, so inattentive drivers are a non-problem. However, they’re on the RBT all the time, facing speeding cyclists with regularity. You need to recalculate your probabilities.

Mario Mendes
Mario Mendes
1 month ago

Well that was seriously overblown and uncalled for.

The path is already there. No one needs the asphalt on it to be able to use it right now.

The disabilities issue is also not a concern as many have made it sound because asphalt/concrete is not the only option. There are plenty of natural surfacing materials that are ADA compliant. would make the path 100% accessible and would help keep the entire place look, smell and feel just as natural as it is right now.

Laura Keating
Laura Keating
1 month ago

Guilherme Ribeill, your comment lacks credibility, and shows a tremendous amount of incompetence. Check your facts before slandering a business that has done more for the town of Bedford than you can possibly imagine.

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