Since we've had so much snow recently (and I now bike every day) it has annoyed me how badly the snow is cleared. It's not even an issue of snow piling up on the side of the street making the lanes narrower (I actually feel drivers have been more considerate in this situation, so it's probably a wash). It's more the impact on sidewalks* and bike trails that makes it such an issue. I've gotten use to road debris, but snow and ice are significantly more difficult and dangerous. Metro seems capable - remarkably so - of clearing their pedestrian areas, why can't anyone else? Steve Eldridge is bothered by it too.
The only thing that’s clearing the ice in many areas is the sun and not the highway and local road crews. It’s been a week since the big snow/ice event and the only clearing that many curb lanes and ramps [WC: and bike lanes/trails/sidewalks] are getting is because of the heat generated from above.
Part of this is law enforcement. Many sidewalks are supposed to be cleared by the property owners, but no one seems to be getting tickets.
I wonder where all of the local ticket writers are who have been charged with enforcing local sidewalk clearing laws. Even some of the sidewalks around schools are still just sheets of ice.
I don't think the authorities should have to clear every trail in the area. But the key commuter routes (CCT, MVT, Custis, W&OD) should have to be cleared at least as a secondary street would. Bike commuting is becoming a year round activity - if local officials want people to commute by bike, then they need to treat bike commuter routes like any other. Take one of your tree clearing employees and get her to pull one of these around.
Boulder, CO actually treats bikes like cars.
Paths begin being plowed at the same time as streets as soon as snow starts to accumulate. The Broadway Path, beginning at Eben Fine Park running to 55th Street is plowed first, followed by the Foothills Parkway Path and other paths. On-street bike lanes are cleared during street snow removal operations. The Boulder Creek Path is cleared by the city Parks Department. All other pathways are maintained by Transportation Maintenance.
* There are a few places on my commute where sidewalks make more sense than the roads - probably a total of 150 feet
Addendum: There was more on this on Dr. Gridlock this week.
Reader 1: Is any agency responsible for clearing the area's bike trails?
Dr. Gridlock : This is a good question, and I have no idea what the answer is, about who is responsible for clearing bike trails and how well, generally speaking, they do the job.
I would think that in the modern era, bike trails deserve that sort of attention -- not that they should be cleared first after a storm, but certainly a week's delay is too long.
Reader 2: I don't know about the Virginia trails, but the Capitol Crescent in D.C. is usually plowed by the National Park Service. The Maryland side, however, is not; so you can be riding along a nice open trail and then suddenly hit an unrideable packed mess. It's too bad because it just means that some of us end commuting up on the roads slowing cars down for the 2-3 weeks that it will probably take for the trail to finally melt.