DCR Storm Management Plan

Note from Will B:

This issue is a work in progress for us — we are continuing to try to form a clearer understanding of DCR’s plowing priorities and the resources that they have available.

Every winter our office receives questions about snow removal on DCR properties.  DCR and MassDOT share responsible for snow removal on DCR roadways, sidewalks and paths.  A map of the DCR plowing priorities can be seen here.DCR has passed along its Storm Management Plan, which details its snow removal policies:

The Department of Conservation and Recreation follows a comprehensive Storm Management plan for snow and ice season that clarifies locations for which DCR has snow removal responsibility, identifies available snow removal resources and establishes clear operation procedures and policies. The following link lists all parkways and sidewalks that are cleared by DCR staff and contractors as well as those under the jurisdiction of MassDOT. The link also details the priority levels of DCR snow removal priorities. http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/services-and-assistance/winter-storm-mgmt/

Snow Removal Priorities All snow removal locations are prioritized according to the following categories:

  • Level 1 (during a storm event): Primary roadways and parkways* State Police barracks Traffic bridges Potential flood zones Designated sidewalks, pathways, and crosswalks which provide safe passage in the immediate proximity to schools while in-session.
  • Level 2 (dedication of snow removal resources within first 12 hours after storm event): Secondary roadways and parkways State House passage and street parking Sidewalks, pathways and crosswalks providing safe passages to schools, foot bridges, bus shelters, bus stops, T-stations, including median strips and handicap ramps  
  • Level 3 (snow removal response may occur beyond first 12 hours after storm event): DCR-managed ice skating rinks parking lots (12), if open Interior park roads and tertiary parkways DCR facilities and building parking lots Less traveled sidewalks, pathways, crosswalks and multi-use paths**These less traveled sidewalks, cross walks and multi-use paths may be cleared as specific public safety needs warrant.  As resources allow, DCR will attempt to address Level 3 priorities by focusing on sidewalks without immediate abutters.  DCR anticipates the continued cooperation from abutters in clearing the remainder of Level 3 priority sidewalks consistent with municipal ordinances within the metropolitan Boston area. (Note: The  sidewalk category symbol on the DCR online viewer includes sidewalks, pathways and multi-use paths parallel to parkways and the South West Corridor Bike Path and the Charles River Bike Paths.)
  • Level 4 * All parkways under MassDOT responsibility are considered priority level 1 parkways, but are coded in the GIS system as “4” for technical purposes.
  • Level 5 Many sidewalks and multi-use paths are not cleared by DCR in order to provide alternative winter recreational resources, such as, skiing and snowshoeing.  

In addition, please feel free to have constituents call in these types of issues to our Community Relations Line which is at 617-626-4973.

Do not hesitate to contact our office if you notice an area that is not receiving appropriate attention: (617) 722-1280

Andrew Bettinelli
Legislative Aide
Office of State Senator William N. Brownsberger


6 replies on “DCR Storm Management Plan”

  1. Thanks for clarifying how DCR triages snow removal. If I/m reading the map correctly, it appears that the sidewalks around the Fresh Pond shopping centers leading to the Alewife T are Priority 3. As Cambridge develops this area more densely and encourages the use of nearby public transit, plowing these sidewalks promptly is key. Relying on the abutting property owners’ goodwill doesn’t ensure consistent results. Is there any chance the Fresh Pond/Alewife area can be recategorized as Priority 2?

  2. I second Jan’s comment below; last winter, the sidewalks leading to the overpass between Alewife and the Fresh Pond shopping center were not plowed quickly; the cycle track along Concord and around Fresh Pond however looked fine. Any critical links for pedestrians and cyclists (how do we cross those train tracks otherwise?) ought to be a priority for plowing.

    This winter, the Fitchburg Cutoff path (Belmont-to-Alewife) went unplowed after the slushy storm, then froze in place, rendering it if not impassable, really nasty. I was only able to ride it with a studded tire on the front of my bicycle, and my tandem stoker just about had a panic attack as I negotiated it on the way to a New Year’s Eve party.

    Following any nasty snowstorm, I have a tandem outfitted and ready to go out in it, complete with at least a studded front tire and bright lights. I’m happy to take any elected or appointed officials on a “fact finding mission” so they can get first hand experience with how well bike infrastructure is maintained here in the winter.

    I’m not sure how your colleagues think about cycling around here, but you might want them to know that for a 55-year old guy with a 6 mile commute into Kendall Square, biking is a rational decision if you can bring yourself to deal with the rotten infrastructure and intermittently rotten drivers. It’s faster than driving at rush hour, I don’t have to go hunting for parking (much), I very much need the exercise, and I reduce my social impact on Belmont and Cambridge nearly to zero — no pollution, little noise, and far less likely to harm anyone else in a crash. The quality of life in these towns would be nicely improved if more people could be enticed out of their cars. My stoker (aka “spouse”) would bike to MIT if she could figure out a comfortable-enough-direct-enough route, but for now she’ll only do it on the back of the tandem with me driving.

    1. David, get a back studded tire too.

      I personally broke my collar bone when my front studs had traction and my back tire didn’t. It was amazing. The bike did a full 180 degree turn as I went down.

      Less likely on the tandem, but still a risk.

  3. Since I posted my original comment I have heard from Cambridge DPW Commissioner Owen O’Riordan that Cambridge has added clearing the sidewalks over the Alewife bridge to its snow removal list.

    I hope DCR will take responsibility for clearing the Fitchburg RR multi-use path that David Chase commented on.

  4. FYI, someone took clear of the path from Belmont to Alewife, including bridge. It was definitely good enough, even “nice” to my tastes (though I have no taste…).

    So thanks and/or hooray.

    Now if the bike lanes on Beacon+Hampshire were consistently cleared….

Comments are closed.