About the Bedford Depot Park
PAGE UPDATED: MAY 29, 2014
Depot Park enhances the Bedford terminus of the popular Minuteman Bikeway with facilities for pedestrians and cyclists in a surrounding that recalls the railroad history of the corridor. Improved landscaping, period-style benches, lighting, bicycle racks, picnic tables, and increased public parking were added at the trail's terminus. In addition, the 1870s-vintage Railroad Station and Freight House buildings were purchased for historic preservation.
A vintage Boston & Maine Railroad passenger car was acquired from the MBTA for Depot Park. Rail Diesel Car #6211 formerly operated on the old commuter rail line between Bedford and Boston. It's now on static display alongside the Freight House. At Bedford's 2003 Special Town Meeting, $125,000 was appropriated for cosmetic restoration of the car.
Depot Park's site work has been completed, but other phases of the project remain to be done. This includes rehabilitation of the Freight House and Depot buildings, plus a public restrooms addition to the rear of the Freight House.
Reconstruction of the nearby Railroad Avenue/Loomis Street/South Road intersection was a separate but complementary project. It included relocation of overhead utility wires to underground conduit, new granite-curbed sidewalks, and signal-controlled crosswalks. The Bedford DPW completed this work in late fall 2005.
The Massachusetts Highway Department and Town of Bedford implemented the Depot Park project with $1.35 million in funding from the Federal and state governments' Transportation Enhancement Program. Planning and design services were provided by the engineering firm Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. Site construction was by D'Allessandro Corporation. The project has been aided by the Friends of Bedford Depot Park, a non-profit organization.
Depot Park is a model of a comprehensive and creative transportation enhancement project. It adds and enhances scenic, historical and community value to the Minuteman Bikeway and improves the quality of experience for users of America's 500th rail-trail.
Operation of the Depot Park complex is funded by Freight House food sales proceeds, revenues from rental of Bedford Depot office units, and rentals of the Budd Rail Diesel Car. In 10 years of operating the Freight House welcome center, the Friends organization has raised over $46,000 for Depot Park.
Click here to open a slide show of photos that chronicle the site work that occurred at Depot Park between 2002 and 2005.
The Minuteman Bikeway is one of the most heavily patronized rail-trails in the country. It is 10 miles long and 11 feet wide, and is paved with asphalt. The trail starts in rural Bedford, Massachusetts, and travels southeast to urban West Cambridge, passing through the towns of Lexington and Arlington along the way. Some 15 years in the making, this trail was built upon the Boston & Maine Railroad's "rail-banked" Lexington Branch.
Click here to view a schematic site plan of Bedford Depot Park.
Click here to read a tribute to a Depot Park founder.