MassPaths Bikepath Snow Plowing Report
Wednesday, December 5, 2007

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.

Monday night, it got really cold, so Monday's snow, rain, and slush turned to ice by Tuesday morning. I rode my normal paths, except for the Charles River bikepath, which was barely ridable last night when it was still a bit slushy. The plowed paths have thin layers of ice which might evaporate if the sun and wind work together today. On Wednesday, I took a different route in and found that the DCR does plow some of their 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
There was bare payment on the hills, but it was icy on the flats to the point where studs would have been helpful. I made it through without falling, though.
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
By Monday night, the Arborway was plowed to within a foot of the curb, leaving plenty of room to bike. I learned from talking to DCR staffers that when DCR staff plowed the roads, they got to know every turn and could get close to the curb. Last year, when private contractors took over, they didn't know the roads as well and didn't want to risk running their plow blades into the curb. This year, it looks like they've got the Arborway's contours down well enough to plow plenty of room for bikes.
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 path was plowed all of the way from Eliot St. to Route 9. There was some slush on the trail where cars had driven on it, but overall it was quite clean. There is no danger of drifting from Daisy Field with snow this heavy! By nightfall, there was a thin coating of snow and ice, including some black ice. The same ice was there Tuesday morning, and unless the sun comes out, it will be somewhat hazardous all day. I biked it home Tuesday night without studs, though.
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
Theses paths were plowed by evening, but there was a thin coating of ice forming. Tuesday morning, the ice looked a bit rougher and thicker than on the Jamaicaway path.
Muddy River Path
12-foot-wide 0.6 mile shared bike/ped path with no intersections
Brookline Park Department and DPW
Tuesday morning the path was sanded by a work crew, at least from Netherlands Rd. to the Longwood foodbridge. It was ridable but icy the rest of the way to Park Drive.
B.U. Bridge
Easy connection to Charles River bikepath Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
The sidewalks were plowed very well, probably by Boston University. They were still pretty clear on Tuesday morning.
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 unplowed from the B.U. Bridge at least to Hawthorn St., where I got off. While it had been possible to bike through the inch or two of slush on Monday, the rough ice on Tuesday wasn't really passable, so I took my alternative route through Brookline and Allston.

Jon Niehof reported that the path was plowed along Nonantum road in Newton, and I found it to be plowed from Arsenal St. to the Eliot Bridge on the Boston side, though it got a bit icy at times and the wooden bridge in Herter Park was a mass of rugged ice. The DCR stopped at Eliot Bridge, however, and the more heavily used stretchs of the path in Boston and Cambridge remain unplowed. The sunnier parts were bare pavement, though, and more should clear up in the sun today.

Plowing the lesser-used sections of the Charles River Paths but leaving the parts which are most used by pedestrians, runners, and bicyclists to become dangerously icy is totally irresponsible on the part of the DCR.

Ask the DCR to plow the path during or immediately after snowfalls by calling DCR Community Affairs at 617-626-4973, or email them.

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
This was plowed to bare pavement on Monday and still pretty usable on Tuesday.
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
I biked over the bridge Tuesday night. It was salted and I could ride up the ramp with no problem.
Southwest Corridor Bikepath
Separated Bike/Ped path with poorly-designed intersections
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
David Wean reports on Wednesday:
Southwest corridor last night had plenty of ice. It had been plowed Monday, but the snow and rain we got during the day Monday froze. Some bike-ruts, but not very deep.
Used studded tires yesterday, which were handy for the Arboretum and the path, but they're otherwise loud, slow and annoying, so once the roads are reasonably clear, I tend to eschew the path until I don't need the studded tires to use it. Rode in on Washington St. today all the way.
One warm day should fix it, but when will we have a warm day?
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
If you use this path regularly and want the DCR to plow it, let them know at 617-626-4973 or contact DCR Community Affairs.
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 lanes I've been on are half-plowed or a bit more, but the unplowed part is in the door zone, so that's OK.
Fresh Pond Bike Path
Parallel to Fresh Pond Parkway in Kingsley Park
City of Cambridge
Not checked.
Alewife Parkway Bridge Sidewalk
Connection from Minuteman Bikepath to Fresh Pond and beyond
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
No report yet.
Minuteman "Commuter Bikeway"

Towns of Cambridge, Arlington, Lexington, and Bedford
Jack Johnson reports on Tuesday morning that
...the Minuteman Bikeway in Arlington is being plowed on a trial basis this winter. It was plowed for the first time yesterday (but not sanded) from Alewife Station to the Lexington border, and it's icy in spots due to the freeze last night.

The trial plowing project is happening only in Arlington this winter--not in Lexington or Bedford. More details are posted at
[Now for Lexington, at least from Lexington Center to Arlington.]

Stony Brook Reservation
Hyde Park
4+ miles of paved bikepaths
Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
These paths aren't plowed because they get relatively little transportation use and because they are used by cross-country skiers like me.
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.