MassBike Bikepath Snow Plowing Report
Monday, January 18, 2005

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. Paths with significant foot traffic become unskiable within a day, and remain a mess for everyone if they are not plowed while the snow is still soft.

The paths were pretty clear after last week's heat wave, so the 2-3 inches of fresh snow we got Sunday night only covered ice in a few places. Because of the Monday holiday, there was an extra day to get the paths plowed before I was out on them, and the ones I rode were all passable. The snow was light enough that there was drifting in the usual places. Monday, I skied on our local golf course on one of the very few green wax days I've ever seen in the city.

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
There was a lot of clear pavement, especially on the hills, with packed powder in some of the shaded places along Hemlock Hill. The park roads are as bikable as I've ever seen them after a snowfall.
Arborway "Bike Lanes"
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
1 mile of wide paved shoulder which is unmarked but usually clear of parked cars during rush hour
Boston Parks and Harvard University
Clear by Tuesday night.
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
This path was plowed and sanded by the time I biked through on Monday morning. The curb cuts at intersections were even pretty clear. There was quite a bit of drifting northeast of Jamaica Pond (I had to get off and walk a few feet) and at Daisy Field, but there was lots of bare pavement, too.
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 Brookline side of Olmsted park (at least from Rt. 9 to Willow Pond Rd.) was also plowed, but had a thicker covering of snow on it and was harder to ride than any of the other surfaces I described.
- David Wean
Muddy River Path
12-foot-wide 0.6 mile shared bike/ped path with no intersections
Brookline Park Department and DPW
This path was plowed, sanded, and maybe salted a bit, so it was totally clear.
B.U. Bridge
The west sidewalk was all bare pavement.
Charles River Bikepath
Narrow, shared bike-ped path with few intersections
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
They ran the Snowcat through, at least from the B.U. Bridge to the Eliot Bridge on the Cambridge side. There was drifting near the Cottage Farm pumping station and around the Weekes Foot Bridge, but otherwise it was bare or nearly bare pavement except for the patch of ice just west of River St.

the path on the Boston side [...] was in very good condition from the Fiedler Footbridge to the BU bridge, but quite bad from the BU Bridge to River St. There was a very narrow, partially cleared path, which I had to go very slowly on in order not to stray off into the snow or fall on any bits of ice/snow that might have been in the path.
-Jonathan Traum

Let the DCR know they should keep plowing the path after each storm at their feedback web page.

J.F.K. Park
Wide, shared bike-ped path from river to Harvard Square
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
The riverside path was so clear that I took it all the way to Hawthorn St. and skipped this path, though I'm sure it is clear.
Southwest Corridor Bikepath
Separated Bike/Ped path with poorly-designed intersections
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
The SW corridor has also been plowed, has plenty of ice, but also plenty of clear spots. If I were going in tomorrow, I might actually use non-studded tires on it, but would probably have to hop off the bike a couple of times.
- David Wean
Melnea Cass Bikepath
Separated Bike/Ped path
Boston Parks or Transportation Deparment
Not checked yet, but probably not plowed.
Neponset Trail
Mostly paved Bike/Ped path
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
This path is usually not plowed.
If you use this path regularly and want the DCR to plow it, let them know at their feedback web page.
Somerville Community Path
Wide rail trail from Davis Square to Cedar St.
City of Somerville
well cleared, salted, and graveled.
-Trevor Schroeder
Red Line Linear Park Path
Alewife MBTA station to Davis Square over Red Line
City of Cambridge City of Somerville
cleared with only a few bits of ice here and there.
-Trevor Schroeder
Cambridge Bike Lanes
Striped lanes of varying widths on major and connecting streets
City of Cambridge
The snow was light enough that cars parked pretty close to the curb. The paths on Mt. Auburn St (outbound from Harvard Square) and Hawthorn St. were pretty clear.
Fresh Pond Bike Path
Parallel to Fresh Pond Parkway in Kingsley Park
City of Cambridge
Not checked yet.
Minuteman Bikeway
From Cambridge through Arlington and Lexington to Bedford
Each town
Trevor Schroeder reports that the path is plowed from Alewife to Arlington Center, at which point it's left to nature.
Northampton Bikeway
East-west across the City of Northampton
City of Northampton
Craig Della Penna, who lives next to the path, reports that it is the intention of the DPW to make it passable ASAP after a storm. If the storm is significant, then they plow it repeatedly --sometimes 10-12 times during the course of the storm to ensure its usability.

In a letter to the Northampton Gazette, Jim Mias of Leeds writes: It's with a big sigh of relief and a hearty thanks, that I'd like to acknowledge those in the city responsible for plowing and maintaining the Northampton bike trail.

Each year it is becoming increasingly difficult to overcome the dominance and intrusion of the motor vehicle. More than ever I am amazed by the total disregard for speed limits and stop signs. Those humongous SUVs and recreational trucks make using the sidewalks a risky deal as they leave a wake of slush, water and dirt on anyone daring to venture out. The Northampton path allows some of us a chance to run errands, exercise or simply enjoy the day without all the hubbub and noise that continue to peck annoyingly away at our daily lives.

Thanks to all those who keep the path clear - it is a reminder of how grateful I am for living in this decent place.

Norwottuck Rail Trail
Northampton to Amherst
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of State Parks and Recreation
The Bikeway Connector (parallel to University Drive) is plowed but often with substantial portions of glare ice, especially near the Norwottuck connection.

The Norwottuck Trail section from roughly Baker St. to S. Pleasant St. has NOT been plowed as of 1/10/05; this was the only section so maintained last winter, to my knowledge.
-Alex von Braun