The second of two town-sponsored “community forums” on the proposed extension of the Minuteman Bikeway is scheduled for Monday from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
The presentation will be accessible on the Zoom platform through the following link: [updated link 10/16/2022]: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82452228161
According to the bikeway extension project page on the town website, “This meeting has been moved to Zoom in response to community feedback.” An earlier in-person session was held on Sept. 29.
Town Manager Sarah Stanton wrote in an email, “The format of the meeting will be similar to the in-person meeting — 20-30 minutes of presentation followed by questions and answers.”
Select Board Chair Emily Mitchell and member Shawn Hanegan presided at the in-person session with a panel of professionals from the Department of Public Works and the traffic engineering and design firm VHB. Town Counsel George Hall managed the question period.
The future of the bikeway extension is embedded in a Nov. 14 Special Town Meeting warrant article that, if passed, would authorize the Select Board to acquire property easements needed to execute the construction.
That identical authorization request fell a few percentage points short of the required two-thirds minimum approval at Annual Town Meeting on March 28. The supermajority is necessary because the authorization includes the option of eminent domain.
State funding for the extension subsequently was revoked, although the agency that allocates the funds, the Greater Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization, voted to support restoring the $11 million if Town Meeting resurrects the project.
The community forums have been part of Bedford town officials’ efforts to provide details on all aspects of the project, which has been in the works for more than a decade, but within the past year has encountered organized opposition.
Interest in the issue is so high that the Select Board approved relocating the Nov. 14 Town Meeting to the Bedford High School gymnasium rather than use multiple satellite rooms once the auditorium is full. Two petitioners’ articles added to the November warrant are expected to generate even more voter participation.