Thursday, February 14, 2008

Trudge, trudge, trudge

MN/Dot may have done it. Finally broken my spirit, that is. I sent the following tongue in cheek email yesterday afternoon, thinking it might bring a smile to somebody's face and maybe some results.

Good afternoon,
In the calm before the upcoming snowstorm I would like to remind the good folks at MN/Dot that the Mendota Bridge has a bicycle and pedestrian path on the north side of the bridge. I only bring it up because in the past several months there has been no effort made to clear the pathway after a snowfall. Being a daily user of this pathway, I can only assume this is due to a minor oversight. I'm sure it's not possible that the path was left unplowed intentionally.

According to my records, the sidepath has not been plowed since December 7, 2007. Earlier unplowed snowfalls have been compacted down by repeated use and the path is currently slippery and dangerous, but passable. However past experience tells me that a snowfall of the predicted 4-5 inches coupled with the snow thrown from the automobile roadway by the full size plows will make this pathway unusable. Many, like myself, will resort to driving in situations like this. This will increase the amount of congestion on the roads which nobody is in favor of. Others who don't own cars will leave the pathway and ride or walk on the shoulder of the highway. A dangerous situation for both the biker/walker and the passing auto traffic. Especially dangerous when the walker or biker is forced to travel from west to east and use the shoulder while travelling against traffic.

Thanks in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.

It did snow, but not as much as predicted. Even though the shoulders weren't plowed when I was going to work it was still easy going to cut through all the fresh soft powder. Until I got to the bridge, that is. I rode probably the first 1/4 mile over the bridge and kept going slower and slower. I finally had to stop and walk. I was pretty upbeat about it, and only was 20 minutes late to work.

The way home was the same, but I couldn't even get the momentum for 1/4 of the bridge. I walked the whole thing. I saw several other bike tracks that got to the bridge, slipped and slid and then crossed over the barrier onto the shoulder of the highway. For some reason I couldn't bring myself to throw my bike over this time. Maybe I was feeling especially cowardly. Maybe I needed to be a bit of a martyr. Maybe I needed to feel sorry for myself. But I walked. And tomorrow, I'll drive.

Date: February 14
Mileage: 12
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Triumph
February mileage: 131
Year to date mileage: 440


rigtenzin said...

For what it's worth, I sent them an email asking them to clear the bridge path. I sent it to the general info. address. I couldn't find an address for complaints on the MN DOT website.

Pete said...

You, sir, are a prince among men. I don't care what the guys down at Hiawatha say about you.

jim w said...

I would send a copy to Jim Oberstars office. See if that helps.

Anonymous said...

I gave Oberstar $50 last year for his campaign. Yes, you may casually drop my name into the conversation when you speak to him. When you say "jump!", he'll ask "how high?"