MassBike Boston Bikepath Snow Plowing Report
February 7, 2001

Bikepaths are an integral part of the bicycle transportation network, and these reports are provided to encourage their use by bicyclists who might otherwise not venture out in the snow, and to encourage their proper maintenance (which includes snow plowing) by the responsible agencies given in bold type below.

The wet, heavy snow which started during the afternoon on Monday, February 6, made the streets quite messy during the evening commute. By the time I went home around 7:00 pm, there were 3-4 inches of slush everywhere, and the travel lanes of most streets were narrowed quite a bit. The MDC had already run their SnoCat down the Charles River path, so I zoomed from Harvard Square to the B.U. Bridge. From there it got trickier on both the streets of Brookline and the unplowed Jamaicaway bikepath in Boston. The hardest part of the commute was the last mile, uphill on Washington St. in Roslindale, where the car traffic was stopped and the pavement alongside the cars had a foot of plowed slush on it. I walked my bike on the slushy sidewalk faster than the cars were moving. Bikes may sometimes be vehicles, but they are not always vehicles. Total snowfall in the city was 7-8 inches by the next morning.

By Wednesday--I was home sick on Tuesday--all of the paths were at least as clear as they were before the storm. Please send updates and reports on the conditions of other paths in Massachusetts to Doug Mink

Arnold Arboretum
1.5 miles of park roads which are mostly closed to automobile traffic with no intersections
Boston Parks and Harvard University
The road along Hemlock Hill from the Walter St. entrance is rough ice and will probably not melt for a few days. The roads on both sides of Bussey Hill are almost perfectly clear, though.
Jamaicaway Bikepath
1.5 miles of mostly bike/ped-separated paths paralleling a busy 4-lane parkway; two intersections with traffic lights
Boston Parks Deparment
Wet and sandy, but mostly clear. There was some ice on top of the sand in a few places, but it was soft enough to plow through.
Olmsted Park Paths
3/4-mile of mostly bike/ped-separated paths built over Riverdale Road, across Leverett Pond from the Jamaicaway.
Brookline Park Department
The paths on the Brookline side of the Emerald Necklace were plowed. I didn't ride on the bikepath, but it looked quite clear. Brookline salts, so there is usually less ice on this side.
Muddy River Path
12-foot-wide 0.6 mile shared bike/ped path with no intersections
Brookline Park Department and DPW
Clear except under the Longwood Ave. bridge, where there was still some ice. The path was salted and sanded.
B.U. Bridge
The sidewalk on the west side was totally clear.
Charles River Bikepath
Narrow, shared bike-ped path with few intersections
Metropolitan District Commission
The Cambridge side from the B.U. Bridge to Hawthorn St. past Harvard Square is all clear. There is a deep puddle in front of the Riverside Boat Club (across from Micro Center), which is not draining. Monday, there were some guys surveying this part of the path, so I have some hope that it will be upgraded to match the quality of the path between River St. and Harvard Square, where it actually meets the AASHTO standards, except for the lack of appropriate traffic control at the Western Ave. intersection.

The Boston side of the Charles River bikepath from the Esplanade upstream to the BU Bridge is completely plowed. There is lots of ice around the bridge, especially on the west side. Upstream it is plowed to sidewalk width, like the Cambridge side. In front of the Harvard Business School, the path slants toward the river and is covered with smooth ice. Without enough momentum, one slides right into the snow. Cross to Cambridge at Western Ave. or River St.

Southwest Corridor Bikepath
Separated Bike/Ped path with poorly-designed intersections
Metropolitan District Commission
It's plowed, but watch out for black ice in the morning and evening.
From David Wean: Looks like they did a nice job. This time, they either plowed or shoveled out the curb cuts at the thirteen (count 'em) crossings between Forest Hills and Ruggles.
HOWEVER, the snow on the grass on either side of the path melts during the day, the water covers the path, and freezes at night. This morning, many stretches were suitable only for people satisfying one or more of the "Triple S" criteria: Skilled, Stupid or Studded. I expect that the same will hold true until the snow stops melting.
Melnea Cass Bikepath
Separated Bike/Ped path
Boston Parks or Transportation Deparment
From Peter Furth: On Monday, there had been no plowing on either the bike path or sidewalks on Melnea Cass Blvd. By Tuesday, sidewalk (but not the bike path) between Columbus and Washington had been plowed. Still no plowing between Mass Av. and Washington St. on either side of Melnea Cass.