MassPaths Bikepath Snow Plowing Report
Monday, December 17, 2007 (updated to Wednesday)

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 started as light fluffy snow at midnight on Saturday, but it kept snowing/sleeting/raining all through the day on Sunday, and we ended up with 8 inches of snow with rain on top which froze overnight. On Monday morning, I tried to ride my normal paths, but none of them were in very good shape. Ice thicknesses varied, and even when there was bare pavement, there were patches of black ice. I fell three times, none of them at very high speed, and will probably ride home tonight mostly on roads, about which Charlie Denison has astutely remarked:

The nice thing is in conditions like this motorists don't expect to be going very fast, so they are very courteous, much more so than usual. No honking, passing with a wide margin, etc. Snow and ice are really like the ultimate traffic calming device!

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 more bare pavement than I expected along the base of Hemlock Hill, but there was ice near the Bussey St. entrance and at the corner where the park road crosses Bussey Brook. There was some ice on Bussey Hill, but I usually found bare pavement to ride on. There was sand at the hairpin turn at the north base of Bussey Hill, but coverage was incomplete and I had to take it very carefully. The road past the Vistor Center had pretty continuous patches of bare pavement, but there was some black ice where yesterday's ice had melted across the road and frozen.

By Tuesday morning, the slippery corners were pretty well sanded, but there was still a bit of black ice near the Bussey St. entrance. I didn't fall today, 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
I didn't check them this morning, but once again someone plowed the crosswalk which I used to have to do with my avalanche shovel.
When I rode home Monday night, they were about half-plowed, enough to keep me away from the high-speed traffic a bit.
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, but it was badly iced over from Kelly Circle to Perkin St. I had to get off my bike and walk most of the way. It was rough enough that it might even be a bit tricky with studded tires. The hill between Perkin St. and Willow Pond St. was salted and sanded, though there was still ice in the shadow cast by the tall apartment building in JP. It was a bit icier from Willow Pond to Route 9, but there was salt under the ice and it broke under the bicycle.

By Tuesday mid-day, the ice on the path by the pond was crushed a bit. I made it all of the way from Eliot St. to Perkin St. without falling. From Perkin St. to Route 9, there was almost always some clear pavement.

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
Plowed but icy.
Muddy River Path
12-foot-wide 0.6 mile shared bike/ped path with no intersections
Brookline Park Department and DPW
The path was plowed over its full length, but salted only upstream of Longwood. It was pure ice from just upstream of the Longwood Ave. overpass to Park Drive. I walked a lot of it with some difficulty.

By mid-day Tuesday, there was sand on the path all of the way from Longwood to Park Drive, lots of it. The surface is rugged but rideable.

B.U. Bridge
Easy connection to Charles River bikepath Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
The upstream sidewalk was plowed, but not rideable until a salted stretch on the Cambridge approach. I walked.

Since the Charles River path was never plowed by the B.U. Bridge, I rode across on the road on Tuesday. The downstream sidewalk was salted and clear.

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 upstream from the B.U. Bridge so I took Putnam Ave. through Cambridge to Harvard Square.

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 almost to bare pavement.
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
By Monday night, the bridge and its approaches were plowed, salted and down to bare pavement, though there was only a wheel-wide slit in the snow bank to get to the bridge from Lincoln St.
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 Tuesday morning:
SW corridor was plowed. Plenty of dry space, but also plenty of ice completely covering stretches, particularly behind police HQ. About half of the crossings are bad (stop and scoot over the piles) though you don't have to lift your bike over any of them.

By Wednesday night, I was able to ride all of the way from Roxbury Crossing to Forest Hills on the path. It was wet, but not icy as long as the temperature stays above freezing.

Melnea Cass Bikepath
Separated Bike/Ped path
Boston Parks or Transportation Deparment
Not checked yet, but probably not plowed.
Harborwalk (Fort Point Channel)
Bike/Ped path along Fort Point Channel
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
City of Boston
David Wean reports on Tuesday morning:
Harborwalk from Gillette to Summer St. was plowed about 4 feet wide, and LOTS of ice, some bumpy, some smooth.
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
The Cambridge part looked clear, plowed, salted, and sanded, on Wednesday.
Danehy Park Paths
City of Cambridge
On Wednesday, the Sherman St. end of the bike side of the Danehy Park path looked pretty clear, though the pedestrian side was icy. The path to St. Peters Field, which I use as a shortcut to Garden St., was plowed but icy on the Sherman St. end, clearer -- salted and sanded -- in the middle, and a bit icy on the way to Garden St. I made it through on the bike, though.
Cambridge Bike Lanes
Striped lanes of varying widths on major and connecting streets
City of Cambridge
With all of the snow we've had over the past week, paths next to parked cars are pretty much gone, with cars parked so far out from the snow covered curb that they fill the bike lanes. Others, such as Mt. Auburn St. where there is no parking, have snow from the road and sidewalk piled in them.
Fresh Pond Bike Path
Parallel to Fresh Pond Parkway in Kingsley Park
City of Cambridge
Chris Porter reports on Tuesday:
The sidepaths/sidewalks along Fresh Pond Parkway near Alewife are in pretty bad shape. It looks like DCR didn't get any equipment out until after everything froze solid.
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
I rode it on Wednesday morning from Arlington Heights to Alewife. There were long icy stretches where I walked between Arlington Heights and Arlington Center, but past my Carberry's stop, I mostly stayed on the bike. Intersections had mounds of snow I had to carry the bike over. The town should have shoveled these out; it would only take a minute, and the path becomes very hard for people with strollers, though I saw a couple of them in this stretch. There are bad icy patches on bridges and in extreme shade. Close to Route 2, the path is salted and sanded, but south from Route 2 toward the Alewife Station, the path is totally unplowed until just past the wooden footbridge. The T has plowed and salted the paths around the station and along Russell Field, to both the Redline Linear Park and Rindge Ave.

The trial plowing project is happening only in Arlington this winter--not in Lexington or Bedford. More details are posted at

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.
Assabet River Rail Trail
Hudson and Marlborough, so far
Town of Hudson, City of Marlborough (so far)
David Wittenberg reports: ... on Saturday afternoon the Assabet River Rail Trail in Hudson, MA was pristine. It had not been plowed, and there had been no traffic (bike or ski) on it where it parallels Main St.
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.