Minuteman Bikeway closes permanently due to dangerous flooding.
This marker is located at 4 Swan Place in Arlington, Massachusetts.
Climate change affects big and small aspects of our everyday lives. Most people focus on the larger part of climate change: our disappearing coral reefs, tremendously powerful tropical storms, and the temperature rising every year. But the small things are just as important, and they are vanishing.
The Minuteman Bikeway is one of those small things. It is our community escape into nature, a part of Arlington’s history, integral to our society as a place to decompress or travel. But it has become threatened by climate change just like the big things. With low elevation, heavy rainfall and increasingly larger storms, flooding along the Bike Path made it more and more difficult to use. The new problems include treacherous waters and crumbling pieces of asphalt that become dangerously sharp debris. Some parts of the Bike Path are below sea level, making it even more prone to devastating flooding.
Climate change disrupts normal storms and shapes them into disasters. With our use of fossil fuels warming the planet, there is more water in the air because of the excess heat. Warmer air holds 7% more water for every degree Celsius that we raise our temperature. With that increase in moisture, storms have become more powerful. This is part of the reason flooding became more and more frequent through the 2020s and 2030s and, on its 50th anniversary, the Bikeway was finally closed for public safety.
Established in 1992, the Bikeway has shaped our community for 50 years, offering the perfect shared space for traveling, biking, running, walking, or even just enjoying nature. Not only has the Bike Path provided a place where residents can enjoy time outside, it has also encouraged environmentally friendly transportation instead of driving fossil burning vehicles. Without it, we lose part of Arlington’s history and culture.
TAKE ACTION NOW!
The Bike Path has been with us in the past and present, first as a railroad, and now as a community-oriented nature oasis. With its future threatened, there are steps that Arlington must take to prevent the Bikeway from closing.
In order to help save our treasured space, we need to reduce our global impact. On an individual level, citizens of Arlington can compost, use less water and electricity, and consider using public transportation, walking or biking instead of driving. Citizens can also contact local representatives and put new legislation in place to help the environment, whether it be banning plastic bags or stopping new buildings from using fossil fuels. The Bikeway is a gift. We can’t abandon it now.