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Bikeway to be plowed

Snow removal set for popular path

By Sarah Metcalf
Globe Correspondent / December 14, 2008
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Traveling on the Minuteman Bikeway in the winter months will be easier for all comers - no snowshoes required.

Both Arlington and Lexington have a plan in place to plow the bikeway, one of the most heavily used pathways in the country.

A successful trial run last winter prompted the Arlington Board of Selectmen once again to fund snow maintenance for the town's 6-mile-long section of the trail.

Jeff Roth of the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee, which helped spearhead efforts to clear the trail last year, said the cost came to $2,700. The committee kept track of how many pedestrians and bicyclists used the plowed trail in the winter months, and found it was as high as 100 to 200 people per hour.

Those who used the Arlington portion of the trail last winter faced snowy and icy terrain when they hit the Lexington border, however.

"You'd be cruising along, and it'd just stop," said Sam Nejame, a Cambridge resident who bikes on the trail year-round.

Many Lexington residents urged the town to clear its 5-mile section of the trail, said Peggy Enders, chairwoman of Friends of Lexington Bikeways. Because of a tight budget, the Lexington Board of Selectmen declined to allocate the $4,000 needed.

So Enders' group raised the money privately through donations. So far, about $2,000 has been set aside, Enders said.

Lexington's total bill will be more costly, however, due to bollards, or posts, placed along the town's section. A normal-sized plow cannot maneuver around them, so the trail must be cleared in two passes with a sidewalk plow. Enders said this could drive up the cost to about $6,000 and hopes people who use the path will make donations.

Roth said if Lexington is successful, it may push the town of Bedford to join the trend next year and plow its 1-mile section.

"The idea is to push west," Roth said.

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