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I'm also really curious about what has been plowed. I haven't biked to work since Jan. 28, and it has definitely affected my mood.

I can see the 4 mile run and mount vernon trails from the bus/metro that I've been taking in to work and neither look like they've been cleared at all. Given the volume of snow that has to melt, it really wouldn't surprise me if I couldn't bike again until late March or April. And the potholes are going to atrocious, too, thanks to the constant freeze/thaw.

I know NPS is responsible for the MVT, but who would (theoretically) be on the hook to plow 4 mile run?

Custis looks uncleared based on the glimpses I have been able to see from I-66.

I've been dying to bike to work... I hate driving (or being dropped off) every day.

Custis is definitely not cleared. MVT, W&OD, Four Mile Run, Rock Creek, Met Branch in DC, not cleared.

I think the Met Branch in Maryland has been cleared. Does anyone know about the CCT in DC?

I heard that the CCT in DC has been plowed by the NPS. DDOT also cleared the 15th Street cycle track.

I couldn't stand metro anymore, so I've managed to forge out a commute route. They're not bike paths per se, but I can say that the wide sidewalk along the north side of Independence Avenue has been pretty well cleared between the Lincoln and the WWII and is bikeable. Memorial Bridge is clear, too, on both sides, but only on the bridge itself. The connecting trails (like along Washington Blvd back to the Pentagon/Boundary Drive and the MVT) are not cleared at all, except for a little stretch by the onramp from Boundary Drive onto Washington Blvd.

I gotta agree w/ Steve on this one. I thought this morning about how I'm glad my tax dollars are used by the National Park Service to clear roads to help polluting automobiles get to work (through what is technically supposed to be a park, BTW, not just a limited-access highway), but they can't be bothered to clear a 10 foot wide MUP. Thought this about the MVP, but it's applicable to Rock Creek, too, I guess.

Just think of us Westerners. There is no chance in hell the W&OD is going to be plowed out in Loudoun County. I think the town of Herndon does some limited clearing near city hall, but thats a block at best.

Once it gets down to 6-inches, I'm going to try and take the MTB out on what will surely be an icy, white-knuckled 14-mile ride through the suburbs.

In Capitol Hill, the main east-west bike commuter routes (the ones with bike lanes) are East Capitol St. and C and D Streets, NE. Since I recommenced bike commuting last Friday, none of them have been cleared sufficiently to use the bike lanes, although melting and shoveling have uncovered limited stretches. I'm under the impression that DC DoT never instructed the plows to clear far enough to the right to make the bike lanes usable.

If the NPS can plow the CCT in DC then what's their excuse for not plowing the MVT? I would think it's just as widely used.

I should also mention that the Holmes Run Greenway in Alexandria has definitely not been cleared.

Arlington County is responsible for 4-mile run and Custis, although (I think) there's a policy against plowing. Basically, when it snows, they want to encourage winter sports like x-country skiing.

That said, sometimes they clear the trails anyway. I've talked to the guys at the Parks dept. a couple of times about this and I'm still confused on what the official policy is.

I know there's been some discussion of plowing one half the trail to allow for both skis and bikes, but that's a whole other ball of wax.

My guess: we'll have to use city streets until March.

Based on the amount of foot traffic on these trails and the above-freezing temps, I predict most of the trails will be rideable by next week... maybe sooner if you have wide knobby tires.

I just sent an email to NPS about this very issue.

I am irritated that I will be unable to commute to work until enough high-temperature days melt enough of the snow to actually make the MVT usable.

I understand the far fewer individuals using MUP's, etc. Still, after a week and a half there should be signs of SOME kind of snow removal along the trail...particularly in high-use areas. We aren't talking about a wide road with the complication of clearing medians, shoulders, and turn lanes.

It's all about priorities!

It took a full 30 days after the Dec. 19-20 snow before the last stretch of ice pack melted from the CCT (just north of the Dalecarlia Tunnel). We more snow dumped on the trail with the last two storms than in the Dec. storm (about 16-18 inches more). We can easily expect it will take 30+ days again for nature to do the work of removing all of the snow and ice pack.

Interesting Barry -

Why doesn't VDOT encourage x-country skiing on the Washington Parkway after a blizzard?

I'd be happy to chip in to a collection to pay a third party to clear off the Custis and W&OD sections that I use.


Because they want to reserve the parkway for Snowmobiles and dog sleds (duh)!

I understand that there are many who are hesitant about riding on roads, but I think it's important to remind that a good many of these routes have alternate ways of getting around on the roads. While my commute is admittedly rather short, I still haven't missed a single day of commuting by bike (although there were a few days where I had a major assist with the use of my cyclocross bike with the wider tires) because I don't rely on trails or sidewalks.

Chris - agreed.

However, in my case it's either MVT or a nasty section of telegraph road below the beltway and an extra 5 miles on top of the usual 30.

Not really feasible if I want to get home before my wife goes to bed ;).

@Chris, that's true, but if you take trails out of the equation, it gets much harder to cross rivers. Wilson Bridge, 14th, TR, 11th, South Capitol & East Capitol are all now dead to you. Even Memorial is difficult, as noted in the comments of another post. Crossing Chain Bridge means not using the tow path.

There are a number of active threads on the BikeArlingtonForum that may be of interest, here and

I've also heard that Chairman of the Arlington County Board, Jay Fisette has been made aware of the situation.

NPS has not cleared CCT or RCP trails, as of this morning.

Anyone keen on a group, leaving Chain Bridge around 8am along Canal Rd to DC?? We could cycle two abreast and take over a lane. It would be much safer that way, and i reckon the cycle path would be cleared pretty soonafter!

In general I'm not sure that annoying drivers as political protest is productive. If you ride in the road because you have to, and it happens to annoy drivers then that is how it goes.
I like to be able to say that cyclists aren't trying to annoy anyone, they're just trying to get some place safely. Don't make me add a caveat to that.

I'm going out on Saturday morning with a mountain bike and shovel to see how bad the Wilson Bridge and Oxon Hill Farm trails are.

Motoring is for motorheads.

The Trolley Trail and Paint Branch Trail in College Park are not cleared at all and are covered with a thick sheet of ice.

I'm really missing the lane around Arlington Cemetery to get to work (Rosslyn-Memorial Bridge-Smithsonian) - the only alternative to bike is through the Key Bridge which I tried some days ago but found dangerous with all the traffic (and icy sides of the roads). From Lincoln Memorial to the Mall along the reflecting pool it’s not better, yesterday I glided and fell in the long ice sheet. So I don’t find another choice than leaving my bike at home and come to work by Metro. I suspect that it will take some time (weeks to months) before all that snow melts… wouldn’t it be nice if some of us using that lane would be willing to gather to try to clear it? Crazy idea? I think I’m getting desperate to bike to work again…

was the CCT recently plowed? i was there yesterday at the Georgetown end, and it was completely covered with snow.

@Chris, just a guess here, but you probably don't live in Fairfax County, do you?

Not even sidewalks in Arlington have been cleared, so I'm not surprised that the trails have not either. Mt. Vernon was partially cleared after the other storm we got 3 or so weeks ago (in random ways -- 20 feet cleared, 15 feet not cleared and so on).

Today there was someone biking in the right lane of Roosevelt Bridge. Though I thought he was nuts, the trail was packed with snow AND had extra mounds of snow dumped in it from the roads (just like they did to sidewalks), and those mounds were about 4' high. That's going to take FOREVER to melt. Is bad enough waiting for just normal snow, but extra snow being piled up from plow trucks? Just wrong.

I heard the CCT in MD was not plowed. Someone on our bike list at work sent a notification out -- he made it 200 yards before he gave up and turned back around.

I mentioned in a previous thread that the Wilson Bridge trail had been at least partially cleared...

No, I think Rob is on to something. I think it'd be great to see folks organize commuter convoys ala bike to work day, but using alternate on-road routes. It'd be great to see ridership up year round not just when the weather is nice.

Apparently (parts of) the Trolley Trail were cleared today. I'll try to take it tomorrow to see how far I can get.

Maybe I misunderstood Rob. I too would support a commuter convoy.

Key Bridge sidepath appears to be completely clear on the eastbound side. The other sidepath looked like compacted ice all the way.

It is particularly absurd for the Custis Trail not to be cleared since the Custis was for transportation use from day one. Besides, what is more important, people getting to work and school, or cross-country skiing (recreation)?

But the Custis at least has usable on-street alternatives. I especially miss the W&OD, since it is the only (remotely safe) way I can get out to Fairfax to visit my elderly grandmother.

It is definitely very frustrating. My commute includes sections of the Bluemont trail, Custis trail, Met Branch trail, and the Northwest branch. None of those are likely to be snowfree for at least another two weeks. My alternative commute involves metro-ing to NY Ave (where I rent a bike locker) and then riding on the streets from there to my office in MD. Needless to say, it is a far less pleasant commute when I have to fight traffic and/or wind through neighborhood streets.

Honestly, if bike commuting (and this does not even count walkers and runners) makes up 1% of the populace here in the DC region, couldn't we ask for 1% of the plowing budget? I am fairly certain that would be MORE than enough to plow all the MUPS in the region.

The original Steve here. I also posted a less irate version of my email on my blog here if you are interested:

wow. and this is one of the best cities to cycle in the usa...


moreover, connectivity is term we planners throw around; for good reason. most areas are so poorly developed that the transporation alternatives are often...cars only!

and trying to get transporation bicycling taken seriously is such an uphill battle in the usa i know many who have simply given up.

first priority at the bike summit should be to make all road signs advancing bicycle use to read "YIELD TO BICYCLISTS." We need to drop "Share the Road." The research is in and the latter signs are worthless...they dont educate they dont indicate and they dont regulate: thus they fail as road signs.

I've been all over DDOT DC about clearing the MBT. I've actually gotten a few tweets back saying they're looking into it and will let me know. Unfortunately, that's all I keep hearing. That said, I probably look crazy to ddot doing this alone, so if you want DDOTDC to start clearing this stuff, I'd suggest tweeting them at @DDOTDC with suggestions as to what you'd like to see plowed. I'm really tired of not being able to move.

BTW, there is a 20 foot pyramid of snow blocking a section of the temporary MBT. It's not going to melt until May or June :(

Tried to ride the CCT from Georgetown this morning. Not only is it unplowed, but there are trees and branches obstructing the trail every 10 - 20 yards. It’s a mess. Even on my full-suspension mountain bike with studded ice tires it was hopeless. On the good news side of the equation, the snowpack seemed to be down to around 6” so maybe if we get a lot of melting this weekend it will be sorta, kinda rideable next week. I also checked out the C&O and it had a similar snowpack, but at least no trees down on it. I plan on giving it another try on Monday so I’ll update then.

I concur with the feelings of others here, I'm dying to get back on the bike, and it's been longer for me. I'm feeling greatly out of shape and being in an stressful environment, my bike was my stabilizer. Anyway, I'm hoping that Crescent Trail in DC would be cleared all the way through, but now I know there are lots of icy spots which I'm not too keen on riding over.

Well, one trail was cleared. Much to my most pleasant surprise, on my way home last night, I noticed that Alexandria has cleared the Four Mile Run connection between Commonwealth and US1. I'm very happy because this is usually part of my commute route, so at least I've reclaimed that much of it.

When I got over to Commonwealth, I saw that where the path continues on towards Arlandria was also cleared. I turn off at Commonwealth to head home, so I don't know how far up the plowing went. If it's all the way over to Mt. Vernon Avenue, it might provide an alternative to the unplowed Arlington side of Four Mile Run between Mount Vernon Ave/Arlington Ridge Rd and US1.

Bike convoys in the road until the trails are clear. Safety in numbers.


Honestly, if bike commuting (and this does not even count walkers and runners) makes up 1% of the populace here in the DC region, couldn't we ask for 1% of the plowing budget?

[sarcasm]But we "share the road" so we already do get our 1% share.[/sarcasm] Of course, we're not allowed to share 395, or 110, or you-name-it-limited-access-highway, so I totally agree. They should devote at least 1% of plowing resources to help us. Especially now that the roads are about as clear as they're gonna get...

@Clara: while driving US-50 past Iwo Jima at 1:00 Thursday, I saw a platoon of shovel equipped marines digging out the sidewalks around the memorial. Don't know if that helps you.

At least regarding the MVT, I just called the National Parks Service and got routed to the office in charge of the GW Parkway and MVT. Their understanding was that it was actively being worked on, and asked me to check back in on Monday. They said their maintenance people will have checked in by then. So, maybe they are trying to clean up the MVT? The people on the phone were all very nice at the very least.


Please post the names, phone numbers or an e-mail address that you have so we can all contact her. Maybe washsycle can post the info in a separate thread later.

I once submitted a comment through the NPS website about snow removal and I think poking myslef in the eye would have been more productive.

was just on the CCT. there is no way it can be plowed (or at least attempted by DDOT) unless the trees are removed. perhaps it would be easier to ask if they can remove the trees. at this point, if there was no snow at all but the trees remained, you wouldn't be able to bike within a mile of Georgetown.

they did pave Fletcher's Boathouse's lot, which I find extremely annoying

you should have referenced my maintenance of way blog entry. Obviously, this needs to become an issue for transportation generally, and for bicycling specifically.


wrt the NPS trails, the problem is that NPS is a parks organization and not accustomed to thinking about trails in terms of transportation.

A lot of the initiatives for MOW for trails involves "friends" groups. It's easy for me to say 'cause I am fine with riding on roads, but maybe Virginian users of the MVT and MD and DC riders of the CCT need to step up...

Key Bridge?
I'm not by any means trying to suggest that we shouldn't demand that bike paths be properly plowed; rather, I'm just trying to say that we shouldn't be afraid to assert ourselves and take our rightful place on the roadway, and in the middle of the right lane of traffic when prudent to not get side-swiped.

maybe Virginian users of the MVT and MD and DC riders of the CCT need to step up...

By that logic, maybe all the motorized commuters who drive to their jobs should all get out on 66 and 395 and Connecticut Avenue... I mean why does VDOT or DDOT do any clearing of the roads. Just require every citizen to own a shovel and clear all the major roads by shovel brigade.

the problem is that NPS is a parks organization and not accustomed to thinking about trails in terms of transportation.

So why is the GW Parkway all plowed clean and open to all motor traffic. Isn't the GW Parkway supposed to be for recreational driving, not just commuters.

With all the comments being made about plowing, I just wanted to report that, from what I saw this evening coming home, this weekend's weather may be enough to clear a lot of paths. All the paths on Columbia Island between the Memorial Bridge and the Boundary Dr/Pentagon on-ramp that were completely hidden under 4-6 inches of packed down snow and ice just two days ago are now approximately 50% clear of snow w/ exposed asphalt! With temps nearing 50 on Sunday and lots of sunshine, we may have at least some of our trails back to more normal conditions soon. Sounds like CCT's got some more serious issues, though.

I still think it's wrong that we're all forced to wait for the snow to melt from the MUPs while roads have been plowed for a week or more. But at least the melting is slowly improving our riding conditions. I've noticed substantial improvement every day since I started bike commuting again on Wednesday.

Oh, and though I didn't have a shovel, I took the opportunity while walking between Memorial Bridge and the Pentagon to kick the crap out of some of the big piles of snow on the path to break them up so they might melt faster. :-)


You can search the NPS employee directory here (pick GW Parkway for MVT-related people): http://home.nps.gov/applications/directory/

Alternatively, you can call the National Capital Region office listed on this pdf, and ask for the GW Parkway/MVT office: http://www.nps.gov/pub_aff/refdesk/NPS_Org.pdf

Does the NPS actually clear snow from the GW Parkway or does the VDOT?

I don't know about the CCT. The MVT was initiated by citizens not the NPS. And NPS doesn't plan for transportational use. Sure, they should. But they aren't. And despite your reasonable points, in the short run they won't change how the NPS defines its mission and what they spend their too few dollars on funding.

Since NPS is a parks org and its funding is limited, were I in their position, I might possibly do the same thing--only spend money on "parks" related issues. (It's not any different from MoCo Parks Dept. wanting to close underused "community" facilities because those types of facilities are provided by the Rec. dept. and are a distraction and low priority.)

OTOH, it means dealing with the transpo aspects somehow, better than currently. I don't have the time to look into it. But someone else can...

My wife and I had to drive into DC today for brunch, and on the way back across the 14th St. Bridge I noticed that there seemed to be 2 trees completely blocking the biking/walking path right at the end of the bridge on the north side of the river. I didn't get a great look, but it seemed like it would be really hard to get by them, especially if you had a bike with you. Has anyone tried to cross the 14th St. Bridge lately?

I had to walk across the 14th St. Bridge., Feb. 9, the night when the 2nd big storm was just starting. Metro had closed their above-ground lines early so I had to walk home. The tree was blocking the north end of the sidewalk even then. There was also about 16" of snow on the entire path, even before the Feb. 9-10 storm. I haven't been back there since. Some of the snow has probably melted by now but I don't know how much.

I went out with a shovel to investigate my usual commute yesterday (Saturday 2/20). The Wilson Bridge trail was clear, but the Oxon Hill Farms Trail was buried under up to a foot of snow. By way of expressing my annoyance, I shoveled part of it myself, something that really should not be necessary, given that these paths serve areas where the only roads are freeways.

My report, with photos, is at http://jonathankrall.net/crazy_2010.html

A route through Crystal City, around the Pentagon on Boundary Dr, and then over to the Memorial Bridge is now completely bikeable. I took it this morning, and even the paths involved on this route from the Pentagon across Columbia Island have seen the snow all but completely melt away.

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