Minuteman Bikeway Extension Project

Project Overview & FAQs

Update (11/15/22): The article at Special Town Meeting did not pass.

A warrant article at Special Town Meeting (November 14, 2022) proposes to acquire land rights along 45 parcels on Railroad Avenue and the Reformatory Branch Rail Trail to secure access to the existing trail, and to create a paved, shared-use path from Depot Park to just west of Route 62. This action is required in order for the Town to utilize over $11m in state and federal funding for this project. Additionally, this approval will secure rights to the existing water, sewer, and fiber optic infrastructure previously installed along the Reformatory Trail, parts of which are currently privately owned.

Project features include a 12-foot wide paved, a shared-use path with three-foot stone dust shoulders along 75% of the Reformatory Trail and improved access to adjacent conservation land and side streets. In addition, the project includes a grade-separated shared use path along the south side of Railroad Avenue, a new sidewalk along the north side of Railroad Avenue, upgrades to existing parking areas, pedestrian crossing beacons at Railroad Avenue and Hartwell Road, an underpass creating a safer crossing of Concord Road, and Town utility upgrades.

Please see the frequently asked questions document linked below for more detailed information:

View the Minuteman Extension Project Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

Condensed FAQ Document

Video Presentation by Select Board Chair Emily Mitchell

Photos & Videos

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Select Board Discussion of Project Next Steps - May 9, 2022

Project Timeline

  • 2004: Town Meeting approved funding for a feasibility study to construct a bike path on the Reformatory Branch Trail
  • 2005: The feasibility study was completed.
  • 2008: A supplemental study was conducted to further examine path surface treatment options, constructability, anticipated impacts, maintenance requirements, and costs.
  • 2010: Town Meeting selected asphalt as the preferred surface treatment for the Reformatory Trail.
  • 2011: Town Meeting approved design funding for the project.
  • 2014: State and Federal funding acquired through the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) was approved by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).
  • 2016: Town Meeting approved additional funding for project design.
  • 2017: 25% of design plans were completed and the project was approved for the Fiscal Year 2022 TIP Funding.
  • 2019: Meetings were held with abutters to discuss project status and any specific right-of-way questions/concerns.
  • 2020: Design Public Hearing was held in February, and 75% of the design plans were submitted in November. Several changes were made as a result of public comments from the public hearing, including three-foot-wide stone dust shoulders included where possible, a new sidewalk connection to Bonnievale Drive, the use of permeable pavement instead of gravel at parking lots, landscape screening to provide additional privacy for neighboring homes, and additional amenities and interpretative signs.
  • 2021: 75% of Right-of-Way Plans were submitted to MassDOT. Independent appraisals were conducted on all required parcels.
  • 2022: In January, the 100% design plans were submitted to MassDOT for review. The Arbor Resources Committee acknowledged that final tree removal and landscape plans met Bedford's Tree Policy. The Conservation Commission approved the Notice of Intent regarding the project's environmental impacts. In March, Annual Town Meeting approved the use of Community Preservation funds to acquire land rights needed for the project but did not approve authorization of eminent domain to acquire the rights (the motion received 61% of the vote but needed a two-thirds majority). In May, the Select Board voted to bring the project's right-of-way acquisition warrant article to Special Town Meeting in November.

Public Forums and Input

For questions and comments on this project, please email the Bedford Bikeway.

Several forums were held in the Fall of 2022 with the entire community and abutters. The October 17 forum was recorded and is available for viewing