Q: I noticed that the Boise Greenbelt was cleared after the last snowstorm.
Do they regularly plow the Boise Greenbelt?
A: If youre a bicycle commuter like me, or a walker or runner, you love finding the Greenbelt plowed in the morning.
Just because it snows doesnt mean you have to quit commuting on your bike and contribute to traffic gridlock, or quit your fitness routine.
I really appreciate this city service. The staff at Boise Parks and Recreation plows all of the Greenbelt path (about 20 miles), except for natural area of the Bethine Church Nature Trail.
They start plowing when about an inch or more of snow accumulates on the path.
If snow falls in the evening or overnight, the city staff is called out to start plowing around 4 a.m. on the next work day.
If snow falls during regular business hours, plowing starts as snow accumulates, according to Amy Stahl, Boise Parks and Recreation spokeswoman.
Its good to know that the staff conducts snow removal seven days a week, except for Christmas and New Years Day.
Its a pretty big job. With 2 inches of snow, it takes workers about 5 to 6 hours to complete plowing the Greenbelt. It takes longer with more snow.
Parts of the Greenbelt are treated with de-icer, such as shady areas, bridge approaches, bridges and steeper inclines. One in particular is the section from the railroad bridge across the Boise River to Orchard and Garden streets.
This section is continually in the shade and has icy spots. Believe me, I know. Its on my commute.
The city uses a magnesium- chloride product that is environmentally friendly, Stahl said.
Just because the Greenbelt is plowed and de-iced, dont just go barreling down the path. There can still be slick spots, and youve got to keep on top of your riding.
Theres always a chance of wiping out in winter. I hit a patch of ice on a recent commute and almost lost it. My feet were out of the pedal clips in a second and planted on the ground to prevent sliding on my thigh.
Here are some of my tips for winter Greenbelt commuting:
Always slow down on curves and going under and over bridges.
Watch out for the shady areas. The path can be dry and clear, and you can hit black ice.
Slow down when approaching others. You dont have as much control on ice and snow, and slides can happen suddenly.
Trail tires work great.
Dress for warmth but not for sweat. Layer your clothing as light as possible because youll still be generating warmth while cycling even though its cold. Bulky clothing makes riding more difficult.