Friday, February 08, 2013

Snow Primer

Morning all,

It's been a while since we've had significant snow in the city, so here's refresher with some city and neighborhood information.

Your main source of information is the city's Know Snow web page.  It has snow emergency, school closing and other current information - as well as links to parking and snow removal resources.   The Parking Page will tell you the do's and don'ts of parking during snow storms/snow emergencies, as well as list garages that offer discount rates for residents during snow emergencies.   And face it, with 2+ foot forecast with lots of drifting, putting the car in a garage tonight might be your best bet.  The Snow Removal page has a lot of what I'll summarize below, with the do's and don'ts of snow clearing.

For snow removal, you have to:

  • Shovel your sidewalk within 3 hours of snow ending.  (or 3 hours after sunrise, if the snow continues into the night).  If you've been through this kind of snowfall before, it's easier to shovel multiple times during breaks in the storm rather than shovel it all at the end.  But of course, be safe and use your best judgement
  • If you live on the corner, you have to shovel both sidewalks
  • If you live on a crosswalks, you have to shovel out the crosswalk and have a clear path to the street.  If you live on a corner, both crosswalks need to be done.
  • When you shovel, the path needs to be at least 42" wide.   Having a path 1-shove wide down the sidewalk isn't going to cut it.
  • Sidewalks:   don't throw snow into the street.  Cars: don't shovel snow into the street or back onto the sidewalks.  Snow 'officially' goes between the walking sidewalks and the curb, or between parked cars.  With the levels of snow, putting it somewhere will be a challenge.
  • As mentioned in last weeks' blog post - after your sidewalk is clear, it's your responsibility to keep it ice-free all winter long, as snow can melt and re-freeze at night on the sidewalk.

Remember, tickets issued for not shoveling now have to be paid, or they will be attached to your property tax bill.   You can get a ticket for every day not shoveled.  Plus, with the citizens connect app people have on their phones, any pedestrian who runs into an unshoveled property is going to snap a photo and get the city on your case.  The fine is $50/day for residential and $200 for commercial businesses (although ESNA businesses tend to be pretty good about clearing their sidewalks).

For snow removal, it would be nice if you:

  • Shovel out hydrants, even if not in front of your home.
  • Help out a neighbor who might have trouble with snow removal.  And keep an eye on a neighbor whose only home entrance is a very deep stairwell.  (Yes, some people got stuck in their homes last blizzard)
  • Shovel the sidewalk of a local pocket park.  With this snow, parks/BRA will take a long time to get to such things.
  • If there's a big gap between cars, consider shoveling out a path from the sidewalk to the street.  Pedestrians, drivers, mail carriers, package delivery and garbage men will thank you in the weeks to come.
  • If you can, shovel out the local catch basins/storm drain.   The forecast for Monday is 40 degrees and RAIN.   If snow is covering all the storm drains we'll have flooding, which will then freeze on us Monday night.

For this and future weather alerts, you can sign up for alert emails form the city at the Alert Boston page.  For those on twitter, you can also follow @NotifyBoston and @AlertBoston.  Both of those resources will get you literally up to the minute notices on emergencies and closings and other city changes (like the change in trash times today).

Stay prepared,  stay safe, and see you all out shoveling!

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