Saturday, January 9, 2010

Say It Loud: We Like Them Plowed!

Dear Boston,

We were so excited to discover that parts of the Charles River trail have been plowed after the latest snowfall! We thank you for this gesture and ask that you please keep doing it - and, just as importantly, that you please do it consistently, so that the plowed trail is something we can count on when deciding what route to take in the winter.

Also - and we know that we are probably pushing it - but when plowing the trail, could you possibly make the clearing a wee bit wider? At the moment, it is not possible for two parties to pass each other safely, making traveling on the trail somewhat precarious when crossing paths with another traveler.

We do not wish to overwhelm you with requests, and so we will not mention at this time our great hope that some day there will be lights installed on the trail, enabling cyclists to use the route after dark. Perhaps another time we can discuss that, but for now we just wish to express our delight with the cleared snow.

Plowing the Charles River Trail is such a useful, wonderful thing for those of us who ride bicycles in the winter, as well as those who wish to walk or run in the fresh air. Please continue to keep us in mind!

24 comments:

  1. I hope you also sent this to the City - just in case there are a couple of City workers that don't read your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I considered emailing them a link to this, but decided against it lest it be viewed as a self-publicity thing. So perhaps I will write them a letter.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't know. I understand of course that a wider path would be better, but then the plow would have to go back and forth twice [what it does now], costing--again--twice the manpower over the course of winter. I fear Boston/Cambridge have better uses of their plowing funds and have joggers in mind when they clear the Charles paths. But I could be wrong, even whilst I doubt any changes shall occur, letter to city hall(s) or not.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh that picture makes me want to ditch the family tomorrow and ride.my.bike.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What I meant to add is that I am very happy with how well they plowed and salted the roads all over Cambridge and Boston (and many bike lanes) this season thus far and also the speediness of their reaction, often plowing through the night to get ready for (even!) a weekend morning. I didn't think I would say this, but here it goes: I've not seen so much ice melting chemistry and so little ice last winter. That's where I want the plowing funds to continue going. If everything else is done, by all means plow the Charles. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. MDI - Given the width of the plowed space, it does make sense that they had joggers in mind. Two joggers would be able pass each other without stopping or stepping onto the snow, but not two cyclists. Maybe if enough cyclists point out to the city that they also use the trail, it could make a difference. And I agree with you that plowing the roads (bike lanes included) should take precedence over plowing the Charles River Trail. It's just that I think they should do both.

    Vee - Right on! Or take the family with?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Potholes, potholes, potholes. So far, that has been the only challenge of winter riding for me. Cambridge has been okay with that, though not in some areas (Alewife, I'm ******* looking at you).

    ReplyDelete
  8. That little track in all that snow... oh YES!!! Hope they keep plowing it for you :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, looks nice. Good luck for more clearing and lighting.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's my understanding that the New Balance shoe company is actually paying for the trail to be plowed this winter. Otherwise, I don't think the city would bother.

    ReplyDelete
  11. You should definitely contact your city and let them know that you appreciate them clearing the path and that you want it to be wider. Also, try and get other riders in Boston to do the same.

    Can you call 311 in your city? Here we call 311 with any complaints/comments/issues and the city actually listens - sometimes.

    I live in Calgary Alberta and we are really fortunate to have many many km's of pathway cleared by the Parks Dept all winter. In fact, after a snowfall, the pathways are usually cleared before the roadways!

    Here is a pic of one of the offroad paths near the plowed path - fun! http://tweetphoto.com/6480697

    ReplyDelete
  12. Giffen - I'm also having a problem with potholes, namely on Mass Ave in the right lane in the parts without a bike lane around Harvard.

    BikieBike - Wow, is that the Madsen offroading in the snow? Snowtires?

    Anon - I did read about New Balance's involvement on the Biking in Heels Blog, but wasn't sure whether they were responsible for the whole thing or just funded part of it. Would love to read about all this somewhere.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Filigree,

    That stretch seems to intimidate many cyclists. I actually don't mind it -- I play more of a vehicularist there. I don't go too fast, and make sure I have enough room to avoid doors and to swerve around potholes. The cars are usually pretty patient.

    ReplyDelete
  14. That's one problem with properly inflated tyres that we've lately had on our Pashleys. Makes me want to switch to Delta Cruisers pronto where potholes just don't matter. I imagine Fat Franks take this to a whole new level (curb? what curb?), but won't fit the Pashleys.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Giffen - I don't have a problem with the lack of bike lane there, only with the pot holes. For some reason, I am just not very good at avoiding them!

    MDI is right that the Delta Cruisers seem to be a lot better at "swallowing" the pot holes than the Marathon Plus tires.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Filgeree-
    Saw you and the Co-Habitant biking down Mass Ave near MIT on Saturday. Said to my companions- I know her- although we've never actually met- I suppose I feel like I do!

    The potholes at Mass Ave near the cambridge Common are incredible! I think that all the buses make it worse. That area around the bus stop where there are cobblestones is terrifying.

    My understanding is that New Balance is paying for the whole shebang- from the Museum of Science to //www.newbalance.com/performance/running/news/new-balance-will-clear-the-charles-river-pathways-for-runners-in-2010/Watertown square.
    DCR does the plowing, but NB pays for it.

    I also felt that it was just a bit too narrow for comfort, but half a loaf is better than none, and I was happy enough to slow down or even stop to pass the infrequent jogger coming the other way. That said, I was coming home tonight from downtown across the Longfellow, and debated going by the path, but decided to cut across and go through the city because it was just too cold and getting dark.

    ReplyDelete
  17. That's funny, we were probably coming back from Calumet Photo.

    Passing joggers is mostly doable at a very slow pace, but I quit the trail after trying to pass a couple with a stroller. I had to stop and sort of carry my bike in order to make that possible.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Powerful letter, hopefully the city will pay attention!

    ReplyDelete
  19. @ Filigree - indeed, it is a Madsen with Schwalbe studded tires. I find riding it in the snow to actually be pretty good. Not sure if you get to experience "brownsnow" like we have here (due to our freeze/thaw cycle) but i find the Madsen rides great through brownsnow and regular snow - probably because of its extra weight and length.

    Keep On Riding!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh noes we were spotted! :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Forget the City. Take it straight to New Balance. They are more likely to respond.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Does new balance make bike shoes?.. Otherwise they are unlikely to be sympathetic to the cyclist's plight.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Where I live in Sweden they dont plow the bike baths unless there is 5cm (2") of snow. So they just leave 4cm and hope it melts. It creates a very bumpy ride with all the wheel track and footprints! Some streches have been left totally unplowed for 2mos last winter. And often they plow the road for cars after the bike path and that snow is thown up on the bike-lane/path. I am very lonely as a cyclist here in winter! Still they have the guts to tell ppl they should cycle more for the enviromet, but if u do u get treated like a 3 rate citizen.

    ReplyDelete