Watch ‘Revival: The Story of the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway’

A person rides a bike along the Minuteman path in East Arlington.
The Minuteman bike path in East Arlington, pictured in May 2019.

While trail advocates in Dedham are licking their wounds after a disappointing local election, now seems like a good time to share this 2017 documentary on the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway, produced in celebration of the trail’s 25-year anniversary by Kim Downey.

The documentary features Tom Fortmann and Cathy Buckley, two co-founders of the Minuteman Bikeway organization, who recollect their neighbors’ opposition to the trail when they first proposed the idea in the 1970s.

“It took 18 years to build this,” says Buckley.

Fortman recalls that “many people who abut the bikeway were concerned that this was somehow going to bring crime and other bad things to their homes, which is a little bit silly,” recalls Fortmann.

Similar trail controversies have played out in many other towns across the state, but trail advocates have a good track record in patiently winning supporters to their cause.

In the late 1990s, for instance, voters in the wealthy suburb of Weston rejected by a large margin a proposal to build its local segment of the Mass. Central Rail Trail; last summer, that same trail section finally opened to walkers and bike riders.


A crowd of people in bikes pedals through a wide brick plaza. In the center, wearing a black helmet and blue hoodie, is Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.

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Between 7:30 and 8:45 a.m., convoys of riders coming in from Mattapan, Dorchester, Brookline, Cambridge, Malden, Chelsea, and other cities across the region arrived in City Hall Plaza in waves, while City of Boston Transportation Department staff welcomed them with cowbells and cheers.