Upham's Corner Online

Snow Removal in Upham's Corner - Big Need for Improvement

Posted: 1/21/2011    Nancy J Conrad

On Wednesday, January 12, 2011, a nor'easter dumped approximately 16 inches of snow in the greater Boston area. Most businesses were closed and the roads were empty except for work crews and a few emergency vehicles. The next day people returned to work, cars back on the road.

For pedestrians the progress was slower.   On Friday we looked at the vehicular and pedestrian traffic flow in the business district.  Vehicular traffic?  No problems.  Pedestrians? Lots of problems.   Why?  Homeowners and businessses are failing to shovel the walkways in accordance with the code. 

List of some of the businesses that are non-compliant.  [Read More]    [Photos]
Summary & Overview
Snowstorm 1/12/2011
Chief Mackan Interview
Snow Removal Issues
Boston Not Pedestrian Friendly
Code Enforcement Chief Michael E. Mackan spoke with Upham's Corner News about how his officers enforce the snow removal ordinance.  
  • He emphasized Code Enforcement's attitude to teach first and punish only if necessary. 
  • He also supported the expansion of the snow removal ordinance to include curbs, fire hydrants, handicap ramps and catch basins. 
  • He highlighted the role of the mail carrier and how easily we forget about the impact that our pedestrian walkways have on their ability to deliver the mail.
[Full interview with Chief Mackan]
Based on the existing snow ordinance and the "snow" conditions in Upham's Corner on 1/14/2011, we identify at least ten areas that are not a sign of responsible behavior on the part of the residents, the businesses, the City, the MBTA and other organizations responsible for snow removal on pedestrian walkways.  These include issues spelled out by the ordinance as well as some that are not: 
  • Width of walkway (too narrow),
  • condition of walkway (snow/ice packed),
  • handicap ramps buried,
  • catch basins blocked,
  • fire hydrants buried,
  • crosswalks not useable
  • stops not cleared
[Read More]
The fact that our sidewalks are not being cleared properly in compliance with the snow ordinance tells you something about Boston's attitude. 

"I shoveled the sidewalks. It's good enough."
"The ordinance doesn't require shoveling handicap ramps."
"Fire hydrants?  You have to be kidding."
"They never ticket anyway."

Businesses and residents are not making a decision to shovel or not shovel based on an ordinance. Each resident and business maintains an attitude - about themselves, their neighbors and their customers. Their attitude is reflected in their behavior.  It tells you something about our sense of community:  MY neighbors, MY street, MY micro-village (Upham's Corner)

Failing to clear pathways in accordance with the ordiance and doing just a little more to guarantee the safety and well-being of pedestrians is a clear indication that Boston doesn't care that much about pedestrians.  Boston is NOT a pedestrian friendly city.

[Read Full article]
We recommend a committee be established to look at how to handle pedestrian walkways following a significant snowfall. Review/enhance standards, determine who is responsible, in what manner and in what time frame for clearing pedestrian walkways following a major snowstorm.  

Consider the following possible action items:
  1. Extend the existing snow removal ordinance to include curb cuts, sidewalk/street boundaries, ADA ramps, fire hydrants, etc.
  2. Set up an educational campaign to residents and businesses.
  3. Increase the penalties.
  4. Convert meter readers into "sidewalk snow readers."
  5. Establish snow removal brigades.
  6. Determine who is responsible for clearing snow from the open-air bus stops.
  7. Service-level agreements with the City of Boston, The Wall and any other third-party responsible for snow removal.
When this is complete, consider extending the efforts to work towards increasing the overall pedestrian friendliness of the City.

Note:  We have turned our recommendations over to Councilor Stephen Murphy's office.  They encourage you to submit feedback.  Give Councilor Murphy's office a call.  Seth McCoy is the contact:  617-635-4376  or seth.mccoy@cityofboston.gov.

[Read full article]

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