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Alexandria will be discussing theirs tonight. I plan to be there.

Your link to the CCT Conditions page is not working, the extension should be .htm, as in http://www.cctrail.org/CCT_Conditions.htm

No serious athlete calls themself a "jogger" . . "runner" would be the more appropriate term.

Also, nobody should deliberately be placing piles of snow IN bike trails as someone did on the MBT at Ft Totten Dr NE / Brookland Ave NE.
As of 2/28, the trail was completely blocked by at least 2 giant (15 ft?) piles of snow. There's no workaround and no way over/through.

This is beyond not plowing a trail! Somebody is treating this part of the MBT as a snow dumping ground.

NPS needs better lawyers. Haven't they heard of sovereign immunity?

Sometimes it isn't about snow removal. I rode the MVT to work today for the first time since January. I was surprised to find a tree across the path near the Slaters Lane apartments. The only other spot where I had to dismount was on the approach to the Case Bridge where some plowed snow obstructed the path.

I'll second the tree across the MVT as John experienced.

5 minutes with a chainsaw would do it.

I agree with freewheel: if there was not (limited) sovereign immunity, then the county should already be in court for the state of the trails or sidewalks.

As for NPS: even more-so for sovereign immunity. Does NPS get sued whenever there is a bear attack, or someone dies climbing El Capitan?

Yeah when I rode the MVT on Friday I saw a tree branch down near the Navy and Marine Memorial. I had a picture of it, but I was sick yesterday and just had to call it quits on blogging and get to bed.

I have been thinking about this quite a bit as you can imagine so a couple comments:

1. The parks issue is tough but solvable. The trails that are part of transportation networks, not primarily for recreational use, have to be treated differently in terms of maintenance 365 days/year (ideally).

So require different policies for snow clearance for trails categorized as dual purpose transportational.

In Baltimore County, it means that the NCR trail, in the rural section of the county, will not be categorized for transportational purposes, but a trail connecting the NCR to Towson and then to Jones Falls Trail in Baltimore City would be categorized as transportational, and a maintenance of way plan for all seasons be developed and executed, just as in places like Minneapolis. (Note that such plans should also include provisions for after hours use by commuter bicyclists.)

This might also be a way for local jurisdictions to provide, through MOUs, service on trails like the MVT, which are normally under the NPS.

2. You are letting off easy the city in terms of snow clearance on bridges. Cities like Baltimore and Annapolis also have people, not just equipment, assigned to do snow removal in important places, such as the bridges on Charles Street and St. Paul Street abutting Penn Station


or major commercial districts:

or bus shelters.

DC should do the same.

You're right. DC should do the same. But if they aren't going to, they could at least ask for help. I guess that's my thinking.

The snow blockage that jacquesmock describes is actually on Bates St where it intersects Ft. Totten Drive, I think. This short street serves a connector from the official (on-street) MBT route along McCormick (between Catholic U and the RR tracks) and the interim route around Ft. Totten. Bates is gated at Ft. Totten, and maintenance workers have piled snow behind the gate, completely blocking access to the street. You can get around this section by taking Taylor St. to Hawaii to Ft. Totten Dr.

Oddly enough, I just received a reply from the NPS Park Superintendent re snow removal on the MVT (after almost all of the snow has now melted). I think it's a form email because it mentions many of the points that others have noted (the wood bridges, cross-country skiing, the claim that the lawyers recommended not clearing any of the trail if NPS could not clear the trail every day, lack of resources).

She mentions a request for additional resources for snow removal but all of the snow is already gone (except maybe on the wooden bridge near Roosevelt Island). Well, at least they replied.

I'm not upset about the email. The problem lies at higher levels of government and budgetary decisions. I'm just happy that I can bike and run outside again on the trails and roads. And I'm really pleased that we'll have highs in the upper 50s and maybe even 60 this Sunday for the Vasa Ride. Nice!

As for the explanation about the lawyers' advice, I can see the reasoning behind it, even if NPS may be misconstruing it. I think the idea is that if NPS clears part of the trail one day, they are tacitly announcing that the trail will now be safe for cycling and running. Then if a cyclist or runner slips and falls on an uncleared patch, that person might raise a big fuss.

Even so, it's a stretch to say that plowing the trail means that the NPS is guaranteeing safe trails the entire winter. I think all they need to do is post a sign that announces that trail conditions may be unsafe because of weather conditions, including snow, ice, sleet and flooding. The NPS can add that they will make an effort to clear obstacles to the extent that resources allow, but that they cannot guarantee completely clear trails in all conditions. I would think that type of sign would be sufficient to cover their butts.

(Even if NPS can't be sued, individuals could lose their jobs if a Congressman or executive branch official thought an employee was negligent in their handling of trail conditions. So it's no so much a matter of avoiding lawsuits as it is a matter of not becoming a political scapegoat and getting fired.)

After last night's Alexandria meeting, I'll be writing up a blog post, especially since a good chunk of the meeting involved discussing snow removal. But a quick takeaway in Alexandria's case is two things: having realistic expectations, and doing more to enforce sidewalk clearing ordinances.

Mrs. Washcycle has done some slip and fall defense work in VA and when I told her what the NPS letter said, her response was a somewhat lukewarm "I guess that makes sense." Not a slam dunk, but not ridiculous either.

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