The Washington and Old Dominion Trail (W&OD) is mainstay of recreation, fitness and commuting infrastructure for people who live in the Virginia Suburbs of Washington DC. There has been a lot of talk about plans to plow the snow and ice off of the trail since it really gets used year-round. Arlington has done a WONDERFUL job of plowing the trail this year and in many years past. They are truly leading the pack in that respect.
The problem exists, however, that large walls of snow and ice block access to the trail at crosswalks and make it EXTREMELY dangerous for people to use the trail, even when it is snowy. As I said above, the trail gets used year-round... even when it is snow and ice covered. In good weather and conditions, thousands of people per day use the path. When it is snowy and icy like this, the numbers reduce to the hundreds. Their use of the trail is evident.
Yesterday and today I rode past some of these crosswalks to document what they look like. Hopefully this can help raise awareness that even if we don't plow the trail, putting some manpower at clearing the walls of ice at the crosswalks would be a GREAT safety improvement for everyone using the trail.
THIS is the interactive trail map published by the Friends of the W&OD, the volunteer group that helps oversee the trail. The map will help give you references to the photos that I've posted.
Arlington has plowed and cleared the crossings from Mile 0 near Shirlington out to Sycamore Street, near East Falls Church Metro. My quest starts there and heads west through Vienna, VA
Here are the photos from my findings: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pedrogringo/sets/72157641137687124/