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  1. #1
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    Clearing the Snow for Bikes

    After a snowstorm, bicycle riders have to wait a little bit longer for an all-clear - The Washington Post

    How does your area do at clearing snow off bike paths/lanes/shoulders after storms?

  2. #2
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    Re: Clearing the Snow for Bikes

    It doesn't. You either live with riding with traffic, or don't do it at all.

    Granted, I live in a semi-rural area, but still. It's rural enough that the idea of a bike lane is laughable, but developed enough that very few people ride bikes because there are too many cars. I'm one of four people that I know have cars, but choose to ride their bike instead.

  3. #3
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    They are pretty quick to clear the road by plowing the snow from the middle of the road into the bike lane.

    If there is no bike lane, they just bury the sidewalk so pedestrians have to walk on the road.

    Fortunately, most the off-street bike paths have no winter maintenance, and foot traffic packs them down to ride-ability within a few days of a snowfall... no fat bike required.

  4. #4
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    If there is a big snowfall they will bring out the giant snowthower attachment to remove snow from the downtown areas. It's pretty impressive when you see a 5 or 6' tall snowblower coming toward you down the street! They throw the snow into a dumptruck alongside. Other than that, the 'last pass" to clean up the shoulders seems pretty uneven, like if they happen to be going by on the way back to the barn, they might put down the blade, but then again they might not.

  5. #5
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    My favorite is how fast after a snowfall they plow the parking lot of the city park, and in the process, create a giant snowbank that blocks the entrance to the MUP.

    Even though the only (legal) use of the parking lot is for visiting the park, and the MUP is the only entrance to said park.

    You can't make this stuff up.

  6. #6
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    DC area snow usually melts fast enough there's not real need to complain (90% of the time I think we'd be better off if they didn't plow, all that really accomplishes is making snow-walls that last longer than than the snow anywhere else - this winter is of course an exception, but if we remember that a typical snowfall around here is <2" and completely melted within 2 days and only happens maybe 2-3 times a year... ).

    Bigger issue is all the crap that the plow moves with it. The bike lanes near me now are covered in gravel and road debris that the plow caught with the snow. It'll be months before they sweep the bike lanes.

  7. #7
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    I can't really speak to Anchorage as I have fairly well defined route that I take here in town. Generally speaking, though, once the roads have been cleared throughout the city, then the city-maintained walkways outside of the downtown core are cleared. The biggest issue with Anchorage is that there is a big intermixing of state and city maintained roads and pathways. The state maintained pathways seem to not get much, if any attention at all. The greenway MUP's generally get groomed for skiing quite quickly after a snow - or the skiers and bikers just get it packed down quickly.

    In the Valley, the MUPs are generally plowed after all of the bourough maintained roads have been plowed two or three times. Though I don't know that they always plow as they are supposed to. I think the MUPs have to be plowed as part of the federal transportation grants that they got to put in new highways, so they generally do the quickest, barely passable job they can. On the one hand I would prefer that they didn't plow, but rather just packed the MUPs. On the other, though, I appreciate that they plow, because for some strange reason, if the MUPs are not plowed the snowmachiner's and ATVer's think that gives them license to ride on the MUPs, which creates a dangerous situation.

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    They generally get plowed about has fast as the roads....but of course not all paths are plowed....just the main ones.

    The bridges for some reason take a day or two longer...

    The on road paths are plowed at the same time as the cars...but usually only get one pass...so you end up grabbing a lane until the salt can melt it off....that can take weeks....

    So pretty good and getting better.

    You still need to be ready to push 6 inches of powder all the way home though.

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    I've watched the priority list for plowing on the street in front of my house. It's got wide travel lanes and sharrows with a center turn lane. When the snow is falling and they just want a basic travel path, they'll only plow one truck-width of space. the center turn lane gets ignored, and the rest of the street width is ignored. The lack of a plowed center turn lane is a bigger problem than plowing the full width of the road for bikes. Sometimes I have to drive around the block so I can make a right turn into my driveway, instead of a left.

    During this time, the actual bike lanes become a depository for the snow and road debris. When the actual snow stops and the priority stuff gets taken care of, THEN they'll go back and start getting the bike lanes. but that just means that they push the snow onto the sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to use the bike lanes. and they usually are walking WITH traffic, so they don't see or hear bikes coming. I think that is a bigger problem overall.

    The area in front of my house is kinda busy for peds, actually. and no sidewalk, anyway. There are a couple of low income apt complexes and a retirement community, and those folks use the bus a lot. There are a couple of stops, a grocery store across the street, and a YMCA around the corner, so lots of peds moving between those sites. I hope that since the city adopted a Complete Streets policy a couple years ago, that when they repave this area, they will STRONGLY consider sidewalks. Of course around here, it's the resident's responsibility to shovel the sidewalks, and the city doesn't enforce that in the first place.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    How does your area do at clearing snow off bike paths/lanes/shoulders after storms?
    They don't even get the main routes plowed if we get >3 inches. Side roads must wait for rain > 32 F to get rideable (rutted white pack with snot). Drivers are complete idiots as most do not have snow tires and so little experience driving in snow. So it is sort of a non-issue. You want to live, you don't ride.

  11. #11
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    My city's really great about clearing the paved mups. It's reliable enough that I take it for granted, and if I come across one that hasn't been cleared it makes me grouchy.

    Streets, not so much. In the last few years whenever they've installed a new bikelane or sharedlane there's been fanfare about how it will be cleared all winter long...only for it not to be cleared at all.

    This year - as an apparent of admission of their previous defeats - they announced a pilot program to maintain a bike lane of at least one metre wide along this route for the entire winter. It's about 7km/5mi long, but it's not near my usual stomping grounds, and it's not a bikelane I think was designed very well in the first place, so I haven't had a chance to use it.

  12. #12
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    Denver is usually awesome at plowing the MUP's. I'm biking by 6:30 am and they are usually plowed already. If not I'll usually at least see a plow some where on my way in. Most of the time the MUP's are plowed before the streets. I'm always amazed.
    Whiskey

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    I went for a ride on the Mount Vernon Trail, I live in NoVA. It was 60 and the shaded parts of the trail still had some snow cover. I was on my roadie and it was sketchy.

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