MassBike Bikepath Snow Plowing Report
Wednesday, February 2, 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.

It's been a week since the last snowfall in Boston, so I thought it would be a good time to report on the paths again. Plowing doesn't just help make the paths passable for a short time afte the snow falls, but it keeps them passable for the weeks that the snow stays on the ground. Since last Wednesday, most of the paths I use have been plowed. Brookline is still plowing; I saw two of their plows on the path south of Route 9 this morning. The DCR plowed the Charles River Monday, after the Globe printed my comments on their lack of plowing in Sunday's City Weekly, though that was probably not the cause.

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 is lots of bare pavement, but there is still hard snow and ice along the base of Hemlock Hill, so beware.
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
The shoulder is usable 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
South of the boathouse, only the pedestrian path has been plowed, so I use it. The bike path from Perkin St. to the Boathouse was plowed but has drifted over, so I use the parallel pedestrian path along the pond and past the Sugar Bowl to Perkin St., which now has lots of bare pavement. From Perkin St. to Route 9, the bikepath is mostly clear, except around the southernmost entrance to the skating rink site near Willow Pond Rd., where there is lots of rough ice which should be slush today.
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
This time, they plowed both the pedestrian and bicycle paths, though the Town of Brookline didn't get around to them until this week. They did a very good job, though, plowing with both a wheeled SnowCat and a full-sized plow, both of which I saw this morning.
Muddy River Path
12-foot-wide 0.6 mile shared bike/ped path with no intersections
Brookline Park Department and DPW
It's got quite a bit of bare pavement now, but still is icy in places. Boston's Park Drive end is all packed snow or ice.
B.U. Bridge
The west sidewalk was plowed to bare pavement Monday, though there is still some rough packed snow on the Cambridge end.
Charles River Bikepath
Narrow, shared bike-ped path with few intersections
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
The path was plowed Monday, apparently with something wider than the usual SnowCat. There is usually bare pavement and enough width, at least east of Harvard Square, so that cyclists and runners can share the path. I shovelled out a three-foot wall of snow at Hawthorn St. this morning to make my trip home easier.

Jon Niehof reports on the section upstream:
The path along Nonantum Rd on the south bank from Maple St. to North Beacon St. is completely clear in places but five feet deep in others. It appears that snow was pushed back from the roadway where convenient in order to make room for more snow should it fall. I'd categorize it as impassable for bicycles and barely passable for hardy pedestrians, as one would have to clamber over snowbanks every hundred feet or so.

On the north bank, along North Beacon St. from Charles River Rd. to the bridge, the path appears untouched since the storm.

West of Watertown Square, the path is untouched on both sides of the river, at least up to the footbridge near Fifth Avenue. The north side has had a parking lot plowed into it. The bridge itself is clear, I suspect by natural means as the approaches remain covered. The new double-wide sidewalk on the south side is plowed a short distance, from Galen St. to the bus shelter at California and Watertown St.

Let the DCR know they should plow the path sooner after snowstorms, 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
Michael Babcock reports on February 1:
swc path has been passably plowed at least from where i pick it up at green street, up to ruggles station where i opt for streets thereafter. that said, mother nature has done the job of exposing a narrow band of pavement along good stretches but there is still plenty of icing the whole way, and bad street crossings as is the norm. of course, the entire stretch behind the boston police headquarters is completely covered in snow and treacherous for us 23c riders.
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
Much of the Huron Ave. bike lane is under parked cars, as are several of the other lanes I've checked. They will come back as the snow melts.
Fresh Pond Bike Path
Parallel to Fresh Pond Parkway in Kingsley Park
City of Cambridge
Geoff Hardy reported on January 30:
The bikepath parallel to Fresh Pond Pkwy is plowed well, down to the pavement, for most of the stretch from route 16 to Concord St rotary (Fresh Pond Mall).
the sidewalks on the overpass on Alewife Brook Parkway (adjacent to Fresh Pond Mall) are passable on foot, but much of it is too narrow for even one bike
Minuteman Bikeway
From Cambridge through Arlington and Lexington to Bedford
Each town
Geoff Hardy reported on January 30:
the Minuteman Bikeway is plowed only up to the parking lot near Alewife T Station (less than half a mile). I stopped there and it looked like no plowing up to at least the first intersection.
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