Like a lot of the country, D.C. weather has been miserable this winter. Cold, wet and slippery. As bitter as the weather can get, commuting by bike is still my best option. Thanks to the D.C. Department of Transportation who has been doing a much better job than ever before in clearing snow from our bike network, winter bike commuting has been much easier. The noticeable increase in the number of additional year round bike commuters is a testament to that.
Many communities still have room for improvement in their winter maintenance. As northern cities continue to work to be more bike-friendly, better snow removal practice and policies from bikeways regularly finds their way into feedback to those who apply for BFC designation. Boulder, CO- one of three Platinum designated communities- brings us an often shared best practice:
Multi-use paths in the City of Boulder are maintained to high-level transportation standards. Separate snow removal crews begin plowing the city’s multi-use paths at exactly the same time that other crews are plowing city streets.
For those still waiting on their community to adopt such policies or for maintenance budgets to increase, is there anything that can be done?
Last winter Bike Pittsburgh! could no longer wait on the city to clear snow from a popular bridge path, and organized a snow clearing party of their own. We’ve also heard of trail friends groups organizing similar shoveling parties. For those of you with the same DIY ethic who want to take on this task alone, you can build your own pedal-powered snow plow with an old bike, a trip to the hardware store and a few hours in your garage. Enjoy the video below, and if you’re inspired to create your own machine, please share your hard work with us!
Jeff PeelPeel joined the League in March 2008 as a Program Specialist for the Bicycle Friendly Communities program. Peel has a BA in American Studies from the University of Southern Mississippi.
State and Local Advocacy Coordinator