MassPaths Bikepath Snow Plowing Report
Wednesday, January 2, 2008

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.

We got about a half inch of very wet snow during the afternoon of New Year's Day, at least where I live in Roslindale (elevation 175 feet, 6 miles inland). Conditions the morning after varied widely, from ice in the Arboretum to the almost totally clear Charles River path. It looked like the slightly warmer areas may not have had any snow at all!

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 covered with rough slush which was not quite ice yet. I rode through with Jim Connors, who as riding on studded tires, which this morning made me think I should buy pretty soon. I didn't fall, but I didn't feel all that stable, either. There wasn't any sand on the corners yet, but I hope they put some down after it freezes tonight. By Friday, the roadway had enough bare pavement to feel safe cycling, and by Monday, January 7, it was totally clear.
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
The Arborway's shoulders were pretty clear of snow, except near the Forest Hills ramp, where they were pretty much gone. The snow also covered more than have the paved shoulders on Morton St., and the Casey Overpass sidewalk over the Forest Hills MBTA looked like it had never been cleared of snow.
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 sanded and pretty rideable from Eliot St. to Route 9. The slush was a bit softer than in the Arboretum, but it would still have been slippery if not for the sand. By the end of the week, the ice was gone.
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
There was probably some leftover sand in the slush, but I didn't look.
Muddy River Path
12-foot-wide 0.6 mile shared bike/ped path with no intersections
Brookline Park Department and DPW
The path had dry pavement from Netherlands Rd. to the Longwood overpass and was heavily sanded, but wet, between the overpass and Park Drive.
B.U. Bridge
Easy connection to Charles River bikepath Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
The upstream sidewalk was dry pavement all of the way. It looked like it didn't even rain yesterday, let alone snow.
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 clear from the B.U. bridge past Harvard Square, except for some hard frozen snow remaining on the path near Magazine Beach and puddles with ice by the Riverside Boat Club and just upstream of River St. The ice was thin this morning, but will probably freeze solid by Thursday morning. As it warmed up through the week, the path cleared, so that by Monday, January 7, there were only a couple of pieces of really dirty ice on the pavement and lots of dry pavement.

But upstream, the path is not as clear, as Jon Niehof reported on Monday, January 7:
The Nonantum Road sidepath this morning was impassable west of Charlesbank Road, where all the snow from the road had been plowed onto the path in a heap. East of Charlesbank it looked marginally better, but I was already on the road at that point.
The Birmingham Parkway shoulders were plowed clear.

Jon checked out more of the path later Monday: It was too nice last night to come straight home, so I took the long way around. (BU-Harvard Bridge-Elliot Bridge-Watertown). Downstream of Harvard the paths were pretty good except the pile by Magazine St. Beach that you mentioned. From the Elliot through Herter Park was fairly treacherous; lots of water and loose, soft ice. I didn't dismount at any point but did put my foot down and scoot several times (studded tires don't help when the ice shifts under you). By the Arsenal St. bridge the path is completely blocked with snow plowed onto it from the road, but from there through to the Newton yacht club by Charlesbank is much like Herter Park (although the driveway crossings by the rink are awful). Upstream from there I mentioned; big heap in the middle of the path from plowing.

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 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
Unchecked, but probably clear.
Southwest Corridor Bikepath
Separated Bike/Ped path with poorly-designed intersections
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
Tom Revay reported on Wednesday morning that it looked icy from the road, but he saw a cyclist on it. With the temperature right around freezing at noon, this could be black ice tonight.
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
No report yet, but if my microclimate predictions are correct, this is probably pretty clear.
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
Probably clear.
Danehy Park Paths
City of Cambridge
Probably clear.
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 month, paths next to parked cars are narrowed a lot, 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, still 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
No report yet.
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
As of Wednesday, January 9, the path is clear all of the way across Arlington, although the pavement is wet. As for Lexington, it is clear right around Lexington center but the surface soon degrades to foot-printed wet ice and is pretty much impassable to the Arlington line.

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

Upper Charles Reservation
Watertown, Newton, Waltham
4+ miles of paved and unpaved bikepaths
Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
These paths aren't plowed, but our intrepid correspondent Jon Niehof checked them out on Tuesday, January 8: This afternoon I ran from Watertown Square to Bridge St., both sides. Pretty clear; patches of soft icy snow but they're thin and level so probably pretty easy with studs. The path is blocked on the north side just upstream of Watertown Square where a parking lot is plowed into it.
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. They are fun to ride during the first couple of inches of a fresh snowfall, though.
Assabet River Rail Trail
Hudson and Marlborough, so far
Town of Hudson, City of Marlborough (so far)
No report yet.
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.