MassPaths Bikepath Snow Plowing Report
Monday, January 4, 2010(updated Friday, January 8)

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 snowing on Friday, New Years Day in the evening and kept up through Sunday night, dropping a bit less than a foot of fresh snow on Boston at a gradual rate. I shoveled our walks four times! I left home late on Monday morning to give the various agencies time to plow the paths I take to work, and they were all bikeable, though not always easy. Through the week it has stayed cold, but the snow melted off the dark asphalt where it was thinnest. This has lead to bare spots surrounded by smooth ice. Studded tires help a lot, but ice riding skill will usually get you through. Practice, practice, practice!
Here is how the snow looked.

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 park roads were all plowed to packed powder. They weren't icy yet on Monday, but they have gotten worse through the week. On Thursday, they were slippery enough that sand was being selectively spread so pedestrians could stay upright. Sand on the inside of the hairpin turns at the base of Bussey Hill is especially appreciated.
Blackwell Footpath
A half-mile gravel path connecting the Forest Hills MBTA station and the South St. Arboretum entrance
Boston Parks and Harvard University
No report yet.
Washington St. Bike Lanes
A mile of bike lanes on both sides of Washington St. from Forest Hills to Roslindale Square and beyond on Belgrade Ave.
Boston Public Works Department
Mostly clear, except when they are next to the curb and half the bike lane is unplowed.
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 shoulders are plowed most of the way to the curb, especially where they are used for parking. Closer to the Forest Hills downramp, the shoulders are not as well plowed. The sidewalks are plowed but hard-packed powder. The sidewalks across Murray Circle to May St. were plowed to bare pavement, so the west-side Arborway bypass works.
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
Plowed to packed powder. Most of the curb cuts at intersections were salted and clear. Ridable, but not great. It was sanded several times through the week, so it's not too slippery, but there isn't much pavement showing through.
Perkins St. Bike Lanes
1.5 miles of mostly bike/ped-separated paths paralleling a busy 4-lane parkway; two intersections with traffic lights
Department of Conservation and Recreation
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
The lane outbound from JP was very clear, and the inbound one, at least from Chestnut St. to the Jamaicaway, was surprisingly clear considering that it is right next to a high stone wall.
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
The path was plowed south from Route 9 to the parking lot before Chestnut St., but not all of the way to Perkins St.
Muddy River Path
12-foot-wide 0.6 mile shared bike/ped path with no intersections
Brookline Park Department and DPW
Plowed to packed powder, and the new contraflow bike lane on Parkway Road was clear, as was its connecting cycle track. By the end of the week, there was lots of bare pavement.
Commonwealth Ave. Bike Lanes
Connecting the B.U. Bridge to Boston University Boston Transportation Department
These were totally clear to wet pavement near the B.U. Bridge
Brookline Bike Lanes
Town of Brookline
The Beacon St. lanes looked clear and the Harvard St. lanes were pretty usable by Tuesday night.
B. U. Bridge west sidewalk
Boston to Cambridge Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Plowed By Mass. Highway Department or B.U.
Plowed to packed powder on Monday morning, but totally clear pavement by Monday night.
Harvard (Mass. Ave.) Bridge bike lanes
Cambridge to Boston Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Plowed By Mass. Highway Department
No report.
Longfellow Bridge bike lanes
Cambridge to Boston Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Plowed By Mass. Highway Department
Matt Marx reports on Thursday: Longfellow bridge heading into Boston was mostly clear, though the shoulders leading up to the bridge were still stuffed with snow.
Charles River Bikepath
Narrow, shared bike-ped path with few intersections
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
From the B.U. Bridge upstream to Hawthorn St., the Cambridge side path is plowed to packed powder, with extensive bare sections when the path is closest to the river and a bit too much snow where it has collected windblown snow from open fields between the river and the path. From Mark Simpson who rode the Path Tuesday morning from River St. to the Dartmouth St. foot bridge: It was plowed but not entirely clear. There were sections with frozen snowmelt and others where the plowing didn't get all the way to the path surface. The worst spot was at the lead up to the wooden bridge under the BU bridge. About 100 feet before (facing downriver) was entirely unplowed and half the wooden bridge itself. The second half the bridge was largely clear - probably just lack of accumulation and melting as it gets more sun i think. The riding was not bad as long as I took it carefully (i don't have studded tires) and only had to dismount at the unplowed section i just mentioned.
Tuesday night, Mark reported again that The only real change is that the unplowed section at the BU bridge was plowed/flattened (probably by people walking/running/biking by). So it was bike-able but just barely. Maybe someone with more snow riding experience would not find it challenging. I challenged myself to not dismount of even put my foot down and managed to get through! It will probably get more passable as the days go on.
Thursday morning, Corinna Baksik reported on the Boston-side stretch along Soldier's Field Road, between No. Beacon and Arsenal: The path is pristine! and salted too. There's some ice and snow build-up at the intersections.
Thursday night, Matt Marx reported on the Boston side: The Dudley path was pretty good all the way from the Longfellow bridge to Watertown Square except for two spots. The wooden bridge near the B.U. boat house wasn't really cleared - I managed to get through without stopping though. Also, the stretch right before the Eliot bridge westbound wasn't plowed at all; I had to get off and walk 30-50 ft. Once I got under the bridge and back on the path, things were mostly OK after that. Nonantum St was down to packed powder with a little ice here and there but not too much.
By Friday night, there was wide bare pavement from the B.U. Bridge to the Fiedler Footbridge (which had totally bare pavement), with snowy patches upstream from the B.U. Bridge on both sides of the river and around the Weekes Footbridge on the Cambridge side.
Ken Cheeseman adds: I entered the path at the Kenmore Square footbridge, which was clear of snow to bare pavement.
The path itself was well plowed at Kenmore, looking clear east towards Boston. I proceeded west towards Watertown and the path was well plowed with patches of black ice ranging from intermittent to frequent. A little rough going near the BU Sailing boathouse and onto the wooden bridge running under the BU rail bridge. Well cleared all the way to the Larz Anderson Bridge with occasional ice and hard packed snow along the way but all rideable. After the Harvard Boathouse prior to the Eliot Bridge it gets a little rough and the tunnel under the Eliot Bridge, as usual, is very icy just before the entrance. Through Brighton along Soldiers' Field Road the path was still clear and it's best to loop around the Publick Theatre as the path closer to the river is unplowed and just packed down snow from foot traffic. There were even sections that were salted and sanded- not sure how I feel about that given the path's proximity to the river but it made for clear riding much of the way. Scale of 1-10 for plowing with 10 being excellent and 1 being unrideable- I'd give the latest effort an 8.5. Much of the problems with the path in terms of ice are due to poor drainage and not poor plowing. So, the path all the way to Watertown was very rideable with a few sections of 100' or so at times of rough riding but easily doable on studded tires and a mountain bike with not much to slow a rider down overall. Thumbs up to the DCR!

Matt Marx reports that a week later (January 11): ...the Cambridge side of the Charles River path between the Harvard Bridge and MIT is *horrible*. Not even plowed, just a couple of paths and most of those occupied by dead-to-the-world joggers with their iPods blaring so loud I can hear them.
Eric Schuller gives a reason for some of the good plowing: ...much of the Charles River path should remain ~relatively~ clear this year, thanks to a donation from New Balance shoes: Under the agreement, New Balance, which is based in Boston, has pledged to provide funding to support snow removal efforts along the 17-plus mile Charles River path spanning from the Museum of Science area in Cambridge to the Galen Street Bridge in Watertown.

The snow removal will be performed by DCR within 24 hours of the completion of a storm. Because the route runs in close proximity to the river bank, there is limited salting and sanding that can be performed, so the DCR and New Balance urge runners to continue to use caution.

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
Clear pavement with lots and lots of salt on it.
N. Harvard St. bike lanes
Boston Boston DPW
Clear when next to cars, but only half clear when next to the curb.
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
Dry pavement on Tuesday morning
Southwest Corridor Bikepath
Separated Bike/Ped path with poorly-designed intersections
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
By Friday night, it was pretty clear from Roxbury Crossing to Forest Hills with a quarter of an inch or so of fresh snow on bare pavement. It could be ridden without studded tires, but for a couple of very short icy stretches.
South Bay Harbor Trail
Bike/Ped path from the Federal Court House up Fort Point Channel to the Southwest Corridor
City of Boston
Not checked yet, bu I suspect that the section in front of the Crosstown Development near Mass. Ave. will be done, and the path will be clear where it goes under the Expressway.
There will be a 25% design public meeting held by the MassDOT Highway Division to discuss the proposed South Bay Harbor Trail project at Franklin House 11 East Newton Street Boston, MA 02118 on Thursday, January 14, 2010 @ 7:00 PM. The purpose of this hearing is to provide the public with the opportunity to become fully acquainted with the proposed South Bay Harbor Trail project.
Neponset Trail
Mostly paved Bike/Ped path
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Urban Parks and Recreation
Plowed to packed powder, but icy in places as of Wednesday night. If you use this path regularly and want the DCR to plow it, let them know (or thank them when it is plowed) 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 but probably plowed.
Danehy Park Paths
City of Cambridge
Not checked yet.
Cambridge Bike Lanes
Striped lanes of varying widths on major and connecting streets
City of Cambridge
Not checked.
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
Karin Turer reports, that as of Wednesday, January 6, the Arlington center to Lexington bit isn't great - during the last snowstorm they shaved the snow down to a packed inch or so. It was great for xc skiing, walking, and biking (game on with studs or mtnbike tires, a little slippy but okay for the confident rider on slicks) - however, now the snow is melted and refrozen in patches, for an uneven surface. Not so great. Just an FYI since they are technically plowing but its not always perfect. 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.
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. There are marked narrow bike lanes on Enneking Parkway through the reservation, but I didn't notice how clear they were when I dropped by to take snow pictures there this morning.
Assabet River Rail Trail
Hudson and Marlborough, so far
Town of Hudson, City of Marlborough (so far)
Not checked, but probably not plowed.
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.