MassBike Bikepath Snow Plowing Report
Monday, December 12, 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.

Friday afternoon's thunderblizzard brought whiteout conditions as many people were released early from work. It looked like congestion slowed the plowing of streets, but not of the relatively uncongested bikepaths. The first clear pavement I saw on my way south from northwest Cambridge was when I turned onto the Muddy River bikepath from Park Drive in front of the Landmark Center. The Jamaicaway path was also clearer than the Jamaicaway; it was fun to zip past stopped traffic on my bike. Riding a bike on rough ice in traffic is a more hazardous form of transportation than I would prefer to use, and I'm pretty good at it. The plowed paths were the reason I got home in one piece! It looked like the DCR got to the Charles River paths sometime on Saturday: the Boston side path looked clear from Storrow Drive by late Saturday afternoon. The Cambridge side path was rideable, but occasionally quite icy, from the BU Bridge to Hawthorn St. (and probably to the Fresh Pond Parkway, at least).

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 roads were plowed, but the flats, especially along Hemlock Hill, were fairly icy. The hairpin turn at the bottom of the north side of Bussey Hill was snowpacked with no sand.
Arborway "Bike Lanes"
1 mile of wide paved shoulder which is unmarked but usually clear of parked cars during rush hour
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
These were barely clear Friday night, but they looked clear to the curb on Monday morning.
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
By Monday, the path was bare pavement with sand. They even got the curb cuts this time. On Friday night, it was plowed from Route 9 to Perkins St. by 7:30. I saw the truck plowing the bike path from Perkins St. to Kelly Circle while I rode on the already-plowed parallel pedestrian 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
They were plowed, at least on the Route 9 end.
Muddy River Path
12-foot-wide 0.6 mile shared bike/ped path with no intersections
Brookline Park Department and DPW
By Monday, this was mostly dry pavement. Even on Friday night, it was mostly bare pavement, the first I saw in the first 4 miles of my trip home.
B.U. Bridge
The bridge and approaches were pretty clear by late Monday morning, but the Cambridge side was a bit icy
Charles River Bikepath
Narrow, shared bike-ped path with few intersections
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
The Cambridge side path was plowed from the BU Bridge at least to Hawthorn St., a half-mile upstream from Harvard Square. Sometimes the bare/wet pavement was only a narrow strip between patches of rough ice left over from last Monday's unplowed snowfall, and in a few places, the pavement was totally covered by ice. I stayed on my bike for the whole stretch, though. Jon Niehof reports on Monday that the Nonantum Road sidepath was cleared as of 10:30 am, but the Esplanade path from BU to Fairfax St. was decidedly not cleared by 12:30 pm, with an inch of soft ice with a quarter inch of water underneath. It was a deathtrap on foot and not so good on bike (taking out some air might have made it passable).

Ask the DCR to plow the path sooner after every snowfall, at 617-626-1250. They only out their general email on their web site at

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.
Lincoln St. to Cambridge St. MassPike Bridge
Bike/Ped connection from Harvard Square to Allston's Harvard Ave. district via Franklin St.
Massachusetts Turnpike Authority
Cleared by Friday night, but not the approaches.
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 617-626-1250. They only out their general email on their web site at
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
On Friday night, they were as icy as the roads. On Monday, the ones I used were pretty clear. Lanes next to parked cars will probably be more problematic as the cars are definitely further from the curb after this snowfall.
Fresh Pond Bike Path
Parallel to Fresh Pond Parkway in Kingsley Park
City of Cambridge
Plowed by Monday morning.
Alewife Parkway Bridge Sidewalk
Connection from Minuteman Bikepath to Fresh Pond and beyond
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
Icy but plowed.
Minuteman "Commuter Bikeway"

Towns of Cambridge, Arlington, Lexington, and Bedford
This path is not plowed ever.
Contact Clear the Trail to help get the Town of Arlington to plow their section of the trail.
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
No report yet.