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Biking 101: A lane would help

October 23. 2011 10:50PM

In Bedford, there is a great deal of support for widening Route 101 from the Route 114 intersection to Wallace Road. It creates a huge snarl of traffic not only during rush hours, but in the middle of the day and even on weekends. The road simply is too narrow to handle the volume of traffic that needs to get through it.

Last Wednesday, Bedford residents and public officials turned out for a state Department of Transportation meeting on the widening project. The numbers were good because the issue is a big one for the town, and because the DOT wisely advertised the meeting on highway signs along that portion of Route 101.

We were struck by the strong support for moving the project up on the DOT's 10-year plan. We also were struck by the suggestion of one resident, Bill Fisk, who rode his bicycle to the meeting. He urged DOT officials to make it easier for people to bike instead of just rely on cars. It was good advice.

A lot of bike enthusiasts have an unrealistic expectation that bike lanes will reduce commuter congestion. That is highly unlikely, although we know people who live in Bedford and bike to work. But the lanes are valuable nonetheless. They are recreational assets that double as possible commuter paths.

Putting a bike lane on a newly widened 101 would be valuable to the town (the shoulder west of Wallace Road is wide enough for bikes now). If the state doesn't want to pay for it, the town should see how it could do so, preferably through donations.


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