Snow shoveling problems in Brighton Center

By | January 22, 2011

A walk of less than 0.4 miles on one side of the street in Brighton Center, showing 20 violations of the City of Boston’s snow shoveling regulations, many of which are the fault of the city itself. Here are the violations, with time stamps in the video:

0:36 437 Washington St. – curb cut (Foster St.)
1:05 427 Washington St. – curb cut, sidewalk (Foster St.
2:44 423 Washington St. – curb cut, crosswalk (Parsons St.)
3:44 419 Washington St. – curb cut, crosswalk (Washington St.)
3:59 414 Washington St. – curb cut, crosswalk (Washington St.)
5:24 389 Washington St. – curb cut, crosswalk (Leicester St.)
5:38 385 Washington St. – curb cut, crosswalk (Leicester St.)
5:50 385 Washington St. – curb cut, crosswalk (Washington St.)
5:50 388 Washington St. – curb cut, crosswalk (Washington St.)
6:00 383 Washington St. – sidewalk
7:06 435 Market St. – curb cut
7:16 Market St. & Washington St. – public square completely unshoveled
7:38 362 Washington St. – curb cut, crosswalk (Washington St.)
9:16 323 Washington St. – curb cut, crosswalk (Waldo Ter.)
10:15 Wirt St. & Washington St. – public square completely unshoveled (Washington St., next to public parking lot)
11:06 Wirt St. & Washington St. – curb cut, crosswalk (Washington St., in front of police station)
11:10 Wirt St. & Washington St. – pedestrian island completely unshoveled (Washington St., in front of police station)
11:56 Washington St. & Cambridge St. – curb cut, crosswalk (Washington St., in front of police station)
12:05 Washington St. & Cambridge St. – pedestrian island completely unshoveled (Washington St., in front of police station)
12:15 736 Cambridge St. – curb cut, crosswalk (Cambridge St.)

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7 thoughts on “Snow shoveling problems in Brighton Center

  1. SnowJoe

    We keep getting snow, the question becomes less of ‘should I clear the walkway’ and more of ‘where am I going to put it’. Not sure what can be done about it, I don’t think the city has the budget to ship the snow out in trucks.

    Reply
    1. jik Post author

      I really don’t think that’s the problem.

      At least where I am, we certainly haven’t yet reached the point where there’s no place to put the snow.

      The most egregious violations of the shoveling rules were on public property, where I would expect the city to truck away the snow if necessary to get it done (but that’s really not what happened; what happened, is quite simply, that the city did not send anyone to properly shovel the property in question).

      There are, in fact, parts of the city from which snow is trucked away as a matter of course. See this article for details.

      And finally, there have been years when there was so much snow that the city started trucking it away from all over the city, so if push came to shove that’s exactly what they would do.

      Reply
  2. Nate

    Man, am I glad I don’t live in the city. I think it’s ridiculous to expect every property owner to be even physically capable of clearing their sidewalks. I’ve seen 5′ high snowbanks from plows across the sidewalk. How is a 65 year old retired couple supposed to tackle that? Even I would have trouble with that.

    Luckily, we don’t even have sidewalks where I live šŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. jik Post author

      How is a 65 year old retired couple supposed to tackle that? Even I would have trouble with that.

      Pay somebody else to do it, or convince a friendly neighbor. I’ve certainly helped shovel neighbors’ sidewalks in the past. Age and ability aren’t the only factors. For example, you’re required to shovel your sidewalk even if you’re out of town when the storm occurs. Friendly neighbors will shovel for you if they know you’re out of town.

      (On the “convince a friendly neighbor” front, I knew I was old when one of the college guys who lives across the street came over while I was shoveling, called me “sir,” and offered to help any time I needed it. :-))

      Reply
  3. Jen

    Someone in (local) city gov’t –now I forget who, it was years ago– said that since the city doesn’t shovel sidewalks (it’s responsibility of the abutting owner) the curb cuts aren’t anyone’s responsibility, and that **ADA does not require the city to shovel curb cuts**. This makes no sense to me, and I said so, but was told that it had never been tested in court and til it was, no one was going to go through the expense of shoveling the cuts. Sidewalk shoveling owners are not even required to cut through the embankment to provide pedestrian crossing, I was told, so if corner businesses shovel in front and leave a pile blocking the ability to cross the street then pedestrians will just have to clamber over.

    Reply
    1. jik Post author

      If you do a little googling, you will find that there are other localities that in fact consider shoveling curb cuts to be an ADA requirement. As you point out, it’s completely absurd to claim otherwise. The city should be doing the right thing, not whatever they can get away with because nobody’s been sued yet.

      The city Web site says, “Clear any snow that may be blocking a handicapped ramp, fire hydrant or catch basin.” I suspect that they are saying it, but not enforcing it (i.e., not issuing citations), because if they enforce it, some disgruntled property owner is going to file a lawsuit claiming that it’s unreasonable for the city to require owners to clear ramps after their plows fill them with banks of snow-turned-to-ice. I think the plaintiff would have a strong case in such a suit, and if the city lost, they’d no longer be able to even ask property owners to clear ramps. Worse, the court might go as far as ordering the city to do it.

      None of this is OK. The city should be shoveling the ramps.

      Reply
    2. jik Post author

      Also, it’s not just an ADA issue. It’s also a safety issue. People are walking in the street because the sidewalks are impassable. That’s dangerous. Sooner or later somebody is going to get hit by a car and sue a property owner and/or the city and/or both for creating unsafe conditions. Better to pay now to clear the snow properly than to pay later after losing a lawsuit.

      Reply

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