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I would like to see DOTs plow all but one lane on each side of multi-lane roads and use the remaining lane as a place to plow the snow to. It would leave the sidewalks free of giant ice mounds. It would limit the disappearing lane effect too. It would, however, inconvenience drivers, heaven forbid.

It'd also "inconvenience" emergency vehicles, especially the larger fire trucks. I don't see that being an option.

What's needed is a better policy for sidewalk clearing, not limiting street clearing.

Unfortunately sidewalk clearing and street clearing are in conflict in many places because of the way we have built our roads. All six lanes of Georgia Avenue have been cleared at my neighborhood. But the sidewalks are against the curb here, with no tree lawns. The snow from three traffic lanes has been mostly just piled onto the sidewalks on both sides, so the sidewalks are now buried under 3-4 feet of frozen "plow wash". You need an ice pick to break it up - a shovel or snow blower is useless.

Increasing fines and assessments against the adjacent home owners for failing to remove this snow from the sidewalk would be grossly unfair and ineffective.
It is unreasonable to expect snow plow operators to never put snow on sidewalks when they are first struggling to clear the roads for emergency access, but the job should not be considered done until they come back and remove the mounds of snow they created that are blocking bus stops, sidewalks and curb cuts.

When I lived in CO, the plows used to push snow to the middle of the road, rather than the sides. It made the middle lanes a bit narrower, but it did eliminate the buried sidewalk issue.

Anybody know if the Mt. Vernon Trail is cleared of snow and able to be biked?

"Anybody know if the Mt. Vernon Trail is cleared of snow and able to be biked?"

On Friday it was untouched except for some footprints and bike tracks. Judging from the lame response by the NPS on previous snow storms, I would be (pleasantly!) surprised if they did anything. This needs to melt...

Can I send the NPS my bill for the Metro rides? It is just so frustrating.

Wilson Bridge trail was at least somewhat clear yesterday...someone had taken a snowblower to it previously, though I couldn't tell you how soon after the storm(s). Someone else was out on the bridge this morning taking photos.


Yes you can. But, you will need a receipt for each trip taken.

Does anyone know the condition of Memorial Bridge?

Eric W. said:
Can I send the NPS my bill for the Metro rides? It is just so frustrating.

I've lightheartedly been wondering the same thing myself about metro. Especially since I justified the expense of replacing/upgrading my unserviceable, bum rear wheel by claiming that it would pay for itself in saved metro fare...

The frustration is huge. I'm on the MVT for a good 4 or 5 miles or so of my commute. Even if I'd seen this post over the weekend, it would take a lot more than a brigade of Washcycle readers with shovels to clear that off in less than a week any sort of reasonable amount of time.

I was thinking about trying to go through Crystal City, up the Old Jeff Davis Hwy, then on N Boundary Dr over to Washington Blvd, walking in spots as needed, and then coming down the Mall. I've ridden this on a weekend for fun and even considered this as an alternate commute route just to shake things up a bit from riding the MVT even when weather is nice.

I'm seriously considering just going for it tomorrow and taking my chances with the conditions. Hell, it took me two hours to get to work on Friday on metro. I could have walked the whole way faster. So, even if I have to walk occasional strecthes along this route, it would certainly be more fun, likely faster, and a about $6 a day cheaper than being herded into a cattle car riding metro to get to work every day for the next week or two.

Thoughts anyone?

That was actually the route I was going to recommend. I'm not even sure you'll have to walk it at points. Crystal Drive might be a faster alternative to Eads. Traffic on S. Washington into DC is bumper to bumper in the morning, so you may be better off doing the vehicular thing than walking on the sidepath.

Thanks, Washcycle. Barring unforeseen circumstances, I think I'll give it a shot tomorrow and see how it goes. Crystal Drive probably is a better option. I defaulted to Eads b/c I normally only come through Crystal City on my way home and Crystal being a one-way, I end up cutting over that way.

I'll report back on conditions in case anyone's interested.


How was the ride in? How was Memorial Bridge?

Apologies in advance for the long comment/post.

Ride report as follows - My normally 30 minute bike commute took me closer to an hour today, so that was a bummer, and there were some obstacles/issues along the way. Details below, all prefaced by me saying that the ride in was a lot more fun and better exercise than sitting on metro would have been.

The Four Mile Run connector trail in Alexandria (from Commonwealth to US 1) was not cleared in any way. I didn't necessarily expect it to be, but I thought it would be more passable (on foot at least) than it was. Lesson learned - stick to the streets and do the VC thing as much as possible. Tomorrow I’ll go down Reed to 1 and then take 1 up into Crystal City.

Crystal City fine and around Boundary Dr A-OK, too. Some potholes and a bit of ice and slush along Old Jeff Davis Hwy, but nothing that can’t be navigated through/around at a reduced speed on a bike.

Remarkably, the bike sidepath along S Washington Blvd was cleared off and a breeze to ride on. That is, until you get to the offramp towards the GW Parkway. At that point I had to take to the road and mingle with the automobile traffic. I got a few honks at me, which I’m sure were the [sarcasm]oh-so-friendly[/sarcasm] sort, though it seemed pretty silly since I was going just as fast as they were and took my turn in line (i.e., I didn’t split lanes, although I was tempted a couple times). Cagers…

Memorial Bridge itself was clear. Even the wide sidewalk on the southeast side (and I’m assuming the northwest, too, though I didn’t get a good look at it) appeared to have only a few patches of snow along, but nothing that couldn’t be averted. The problem is there’s a ten to twenty foot swatch of three to five foot deep snow/plow pile between the road and the access to the sidewalk before you’re actually on the bridge, so I just stayed in traffic here, too.

I should have stayed left at the end of the bridge and stuck with the cars around the west side of the Lincoln and then gone up Henry Bacon in traffic to Constitution, and stayed in traffic there, too. The sidewalks/paths that go around the Lincoln and that make up the East Coast Greenway were more of an East Coast Ice and Snow-way this morning. Passable on bike in places, but not in others. The constant on-the-bike, off-it-again was not fun. I think tomorrow I’ll just ride with traffic as mentioned above.

I’ve updated the map I linked to in my comments yesterday to show my route and some of the conditions along it, as well as how I plan to change it for tonight and the days ahead.

In a word, though, it is do-able. Ideal? No. Do-able? Yes.

I guess I'm not too surprised that the path along the Pentagon was cleared. When I used to ride this regularly I often saw DOD personnel out jogging on it. A friend of mine who worked in the Pentagon said that a lot of the higher-ups use it.

Hi Blind Pilot,

I really don't enjoy taking Metro and would like to get on the bike as well. In knwo we don't just share a first name and last name initial but also a substantial portion of our commute. I would be interested in trying to route with you so I don't get totally lost. What time are you usually on Reed Avenue/ Route 1? I could be there around 7:25 after I bring the kids to the bus.

I'll send washcycle my e-mail so you can get in touch with me if you would like. Thanks for the detailed account!

Do you ride a mountain bike or anything with knobby tires? My bike is a hybrid with 32mm smooth tires, so nothing for snow at all.

Eric W. I am a late commuter - usually going through around the Reed Ave/US 1 area around 8:30 (if not later), but my work schedule is flexible, so we could perhaps work something out.

My ride is a hybrid w/ 35 mm street/road tires, so nothing fancy, and certainly nothing specifically designed for snow.

I'll pass my e-mail on to Washcycle, too. We'll see if we can't figure out a convenient time to meet up.

[cue music]

Commuterlove . . .

This isn't necessarily a commuter trail, and it's far out from the Washington metro area, but I had a meeting with the Luray (VA) town manager some time ago and he told me that when the first snowfall occured after the town first built their greenway, he got tons of complaints when it wasn't plowed. They had to buy special equipment to take care of that problem, and sure enough, that thing is plowed immediately after snowfalls just like the roads.

I am just not brave enough for Washington Boulevard at that point, especially in the evening so I passed. Blind Pilot gets the commuter gold medal! ;-)

What I might try is going up to Arlington, connect from Clarendon Blvd to Lee Highway and cross Key Bridge. That's all the way on streets but nothing really high-speed. Mostly 25, some 30 and maybe a short 35 somehwere.

Does anyone have a status report on the sidewalks on Key Bridge or is it street riding only across the bridge?

FWIW, traffic was at speed along Washington Blvd last night, so I opted to walk the 1/3 of a mile of what is usually bike trail between the Memorial Bridge and the Pentagon, trudging through the snow. Commuter bronze more in order, perhaps?

OK, if you insist! Did you go the same way again? How was it?

Morning is good. If only there was a way to hop over to the sidewalk/trail on the southeast side of the Memorial Bridge. Traffic practically came toa standstill on the bridge itself where I was out in the cars. I wanted to hop off the road and pass everyone on my bike, but there was a snowbank 4 feet high between the road and the sidewalk area that I just wasn't gonna be able to clear, especially with my bike, too.

I'm gearing up for my cross country snow walk after work. ::not amused::

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