MassBike Bikepath Snow Plowing Report
Thursday, January 27, 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.

I talked Trevor Schroeder into riding to JP with me after the MassBike MetroBoston chapter organizing meeting last night on the Muddy River and Jamaicaway bikepaths. They were in barely ridable condition, but we made it through. This morning, the Jamaicaway path was plowed again, and I ran into the Brookline plow on the Muddy River Path around 10:30 am. The City of Boston keeps its lead in path plowing for the Jamaica Pond and Jamaicaway paths.

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
Plowed to hard-packed powder, the roads were not as skiable as yesterday. The surface was soft enough to get good traction, so I zipped through, only stopping to chat with a neighbor who was skiing parallel to the road.
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
Last night, the shoulder was usable for most of the distance from the Arboretum walk light to the Forest Hills off-ramp. The Arboretum plows the parallel sidewalk, which is quite bikable, though there is barely enough room to pass pedestrians on the section parallel to the Forest Hills off-ramp.
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
The section from Perkin St. to the Boathouse has drifted over, so I used the parallel pedestrian path along the pond and past the Sugar Bowl to Perkin St., which was plowed to packed powder. From Perkin St. to Route 9, the bikepath was plowed to packed powder, and the high snow piles next to it were preventing drifting. There is a lot of loose snow at the southernmost entrance to the skating rink site near Willow Pond Rd., but I kept a steady 15 mph on the rest of the path.
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
Not plowed.
Muddy River Path
12-foot-wide 0.6 mile shared bike/ped path with no intersections
Brookline Park Department and DPW
When I started down the path, I could still see the tracks Trevor and I left last night. Three-quarters of the way to Park Drive, I got out of the way of a snow plow, and the rest of the path was hard-packed powder, about the same as the Jamaicaway path.
B.U. Bridge
The sidewalks were unplowed. Watch out for two pretty bad potholes on the right edge of the Cambridge-bound roadway.
Charles River Bikepath
Narrow, shared bike-ped path with few intersections
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
It didn't look too good from the bridge, and the Cambridge back streets I sometimes use proved to be quite snow-packed last night, so I rode up Memorial Drive to Harvard Square. Harvard (or maybe the City of Cambridge) plows the sidewalks on the side away from the river, so they might be usable if you don't feel up to taking a lane of Memorial Drive. The right lane was narrower than the SUV which honked at me when I took the lane, so I didn't have any qualms.

Let the DCR know they should plow the path after the storms, 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
Plowed to bare pavement, probably by Harvard.
Southwest Corridor Bikepath
Separated Bike/Ped path with poorly-designed intersections
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
Not checked yet.
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
Not checked, but probably plowed.
Red Line Linear Park Path
Alewife MBTA station to Davis Square over Red Line
City of Cambridge City of Somerville
Not checked yet, but probably plowed here and there.
Cambridge Bike Lanes
Striped lanes of varying widths on major and connecting streets
City of Cambridge
The bike lanes are more covered than ever, but I used the Hawthorn St. and Mt. Auburn St. lanes last night.
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
Not checked yet, but might be plowed from Alewife to Arlington Center.
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.
Norwottuck Rail Trail
Northampton to Amherst
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of State Parks and Recreation
Assume that this January 26 report still applies:
The Norwottuck Trail section from roughly Baker St. to S. Pleasant St. was plowed after the Jan 22/23 blizzard, but not after the preceding snowfall. It is thus bikeable, but rough with some underlying ice.
The UMass Bikeway Connector is generally clear of snow.
-Alex von Braun