Imagine navigating this snow mountain on foot; now imagine trying to do it in a wheelchair

Amy Hunt took this photo at St. Botolph and West Newton streets on Tuesday afternoon. Note that the roadway is well plowed - in part by piling up all that snow right at the corner, right where the handicap ramp is - the handicap ramp that Hunt, who uses a wheelchair to get around in, can no longer see, let alone use.

"When it snows, I’m inevitably stuck traveling in the streets in my wheelchair," she says.

Hunt took another photo this morning, at the intersection of Union Park and Tremont Stret in the South End, where three out of the four curb cuts were inaccessible to her:

Ice mound

"If the city wants zero accidents - and look at Globe, the new speed limit is 20, etc - it might want to include how it plows snow. "

She adds, "The city has been responding to my 311s but it’s every snowstorm, one intersection at a time, I’m kinda done with all the 311ing, I have work to do and a 6-year-old."


Free tagging: 



sometimes I feel bad for those trying to run a city

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Seriously. If you're DPW or Marty (or any city politican, ever), here's what you got:

  • You get killed if roads aren't plowed (and lose re-election)
  • You get killed (and possible ADA suit) if you plow roads but put snow where you can (blocks corners/ramps)
  • You get killed if you break the budget and pay crews huge OT to clear snow piles (that are mostly going to melt next week if left alone)
  • You get killed (and fined) if you truck the snow to the wrong place due to environmental concerns. And it cost more to haul it further.
  • You get killed if you propose higher taxes to pay OT for any of the above


I'm sure everyone can point to their definition of 'waste' in the budget that could theoretically pay for some of this. But in all seriousness, Marty and DPW must feel that they can't win at times.

And I have complete sypmathy for Amy, who can't get around in a wheelchair. That has to be awful. And then it brings me back to the conundrum above.

I do my fair share of complaining, but it can't be an easy job, running a city.


Visit a world class city.

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They have this all figured out.

We keep electing townie, life long Boston residents who are institutionalized in townie way of thinking.

we need new, outside blood to run our city.

I mean, dedicated bus lanes were a no-brainer over two decades ago...we have very few and no plans to put in more.


Not just a Boston problem

I documented one pile in Medford after the last storm that was still blocking the ramp weeks later because a pile that size doesn't melt.

This time? No pile. And that meant that whoever took care of the sidewalk made a nice wide cut.


Right, but where else are they going to put it?

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Can't push it to the sides of the streets, because cars.

It's just not feasible to truck away all the snow, every snow storm, plus as mentioned that costs a lot more.

The only place left, is unfortunately the only "open" area on the street which is the corners.


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Can't push it to the sides of the streets, because cars.

Driving is a privilege and drivers have no right to a parking spot on the street (even if the city did charge for permits).

Walking (or getting around the street in a wheelchair) is a fundamental right.

So none of this BS that the snow can't block parking spaces.


I totally agree

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I totally agree, driving is a privilege, and people should be safely able to walk around the city before we worry about if people have clear paring spaces. That's what I was getting at in my statement.

You know that if the were to usurp a few parking spaces on each street to pile snow people would be up in arms over it.

It's a lose/lose for the city, and the poor bastards that work round the clock plowing.

On Beacon St. in Back Bay the

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On Beacon St. in Back Bay the corners would get pushed into the bike lane which is in between the sidewalk and parked cars... however I was pleasantly surprised to see that the bike lanes, sidewalks, including the corners at intersections were all cleared. Residents/ building managements shoveled the sidewalks, city plowed the street and bike lane and drivers shoveled out their parking spots. Well done all around!

Ten foot rule.

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Ten foot rule.

You are supposed to leave at least 10 feet between your car and a corner.

That is plenty of room to avoid stacking on the wheelchair ramps.

Park illegally? Well, that's the snow's space.

20' from corner should be repurposed as loading zones

Since you aren't supposed to park a car within 20 feet of an intersection, why not redesignate this otherwise useless part of the paved street as an official zone for loading and for ride-hailing drop-off and pick-up? This could reduce double-parking and blocking of bike lanes.

There are thousands of

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There are thousands of intersections of that width in the area. Without trucking snow away this storm, the vast majority of them didn't have their ramps blocked with anything more than a normal plow berm, which the person shoveling the adjacent sidewalk can handle.

Hmm, perhaps community

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Hmm, perhaps community service obligations could be relieved by dropping off a pair of people with shovels and a few guidelines to clear out these snowbanks.

I mean the roadways are meant for throwing money at, because most voters drive, so roads need clearing to pavement within hours, lest bitching commence, but seriously, sidewalks and crosswalks ignored for days if not weeks.

Some fave crosswalk anowbanks are in Cambridge near elderly housing so people have to risk injury to fetch groceries or a cup of coffee and a sandwich normally only a 5-to-10-minute walk away.


Wouldn't it be great if the

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Wouldn't it be great if the city 311 apps added a gigs tab? Pay users who cleanup snow leaves and other debris or otherwise solve problems and document it.


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If they're willing to ticket you for blocking a handicap ramp by parking in front (which they absolutely should), they should also be held accountable for making sure the ramps are accessible to the wheelchair bound.


Re: Bos311

I've noticed recently that they just started to close the tickets without addressing the snow at all, have had multiple tickets where they intentional take a picture of some sidewalk nearby that is shoveled and said "no violation."

Oh and you can't even open a ticket for snow in bike lanes/road. You have to file it under "Other" and like come on, I still have tickets from several storms ago that are open for those.

But according to the apologists on the snow removal thread from Monday, we have to reasonably prioritize snow removal. Ok, so that was Monday and these conditions for pedestrians are still garbage and its Thursday. Something something timely manner right?


I've had the opposite experience

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They've issued tickets for the unshoveled sidewalks I have brought to their attention. Of course, it would be better if the sidewalks were shoveled out, but putting the financial squeeze on the property owners should be motivation to get things cleared.

To the point of this article, the city should ban plow drivers who pile snow up on corners. It's horrible.


For what its worth

All these tickets I'm seeing issues with are for city property, take what you will from that.

Agreed about the plows, its honestly a crime.


Au contraire - I bet they work well

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How many people (and condo buildings) do you think shovel mainly to avoid tickets? I bet it's a bunch.

My building recently got a new contract for snow removal. One of the selling points the contractors use is, "we'll clear your sidewalks to city standards or better to ensure you're not cited"

tickets mostly don't work
By coffeeweasel on Thu, 03/07/2019 - 4:26pm

I've never seen a ticket for an unshoveled sidewalk result in a shoveled sidewalk. At least not on non-commercial property.

I have been ticketed for a

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I have been ticketed for a residential property in Allston. My tenant was responsible for it and didn't do the job.

He paid me back for the ticket.

Never mind ban them, FIRE

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Never mind ban them, FIRE them. They must have some legal loophole that protects them from the U.S. Disabilities Act.

Cut the plows some slack

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Where else could the drivers possibly put the snow that would make everyone happy and be done with enough efficiency so as to not significantly reduce the total plowing output of any given city resource?

Maybe the city needs to have clean up crews come through after the plows but cut these drivers some slack.

How about

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On top of your car?

Seriously, they do this because they are lazy.

Snow Removal

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The effective solution is to remove the snow but the City doesn't have the right equipment, time, or money to do it. They've tried it a handful of times in very limited areas and it proved to be impossible to do on a regular basis.

Dump it in a parking space

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That pile would fit quite nicely in a 7.5' x 18' rectangle known as a parallel parking space.

Removing all the snow is too costly. It's got to go somewhere. Lose one parking space and keep the curb cut open.


This suck, but in Fields

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This suck, but in Fields Corner we can easily one-up you on that one. It looks like the City has decided that sidewalks are a frivolous amenity in our part of Dorchester.

Six weeks ago, we had a parapet wall collapse at 495 Geneva Ave.

Since then, the sidewalk and part of the road have been barricaded and completely off limit. With zero temporary pedestrian accommodations; people are being forced the walk on the path of speeding cars, buses and deadly snowplows.

There are no permits on display, and Steve To, the Weston slumlord who owns the place is providing zero improvement or communication. He obviously couldn't care less.

There have been plenty of reports to 311, ISD, neighborhood liaison etc. No useful response… until someone gets badly hurt I am afraid. Geneva Ave is the main neighborhood thoroughfare in a predominantly low income and minority area; this wouldn't happen in the Lower Mills or Savin Hill part of Dorchester.


Have you tried nextdoor and

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Have you tried nextdoor and asking all the residents in your area to call /email your state/city rep’s office and ask them to do something about it? Also find out who the dpw boss is in uour neighborhood (maybe Gibson street off Dot Ave??) and call/email them too.
It helps. Squeaky wheel gets the grease. But your ate right - many neighborhoods particularly the poor ones - get the shaft

I agree with Ms. Hunt's observations and exasperation with 311

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The city's blocking of handicapped ramps is absolutely inexcusable - it's upsetting that the mayor allows this to continue. There needs to be a set of procedures to assure that this doesn't happen in the first place, and/or that any problems are quickly and uniformly identified by the city itself, not on a piecemeal basis by people using 311.

But it's worth acknowledging that overall, the city's sidewalks are in pretty good shape - and for better or for worse, that's mostly because of private property owners.

On Monday and Wednesday I walked from Downtown Boston to West Roxbury through the South End, Dudley, Egleston, Forest Hills, and Roslindale Village (via Washington St., Robert St., South St., and Centre St.). By Monday afternoon >99% of the property owners along those streets had shoveled their sidewalks to the bare pavement. In an eight-mile walk, there were only a half-dozen stretches of sidewalk where the snow hadn't been removed:

- The undeveloped parcel at the Bartlett Station development just south of Dudley (although on Wednesday I spoke to Nuestra Comunidad, who were quite apologetic and promised to plow it)

- A couple of empty lots on Washington St. between Dudley and Egleston in Roxbury

- A very long stretch of Washington Street abutting the Bussey Brook Meadow across from Forest Hills Station

- The Enterprise Rent-A-Car between Forest Hills and Roslindale Village, which on Monday blocked the sidewalk with snow mountains but which by Wednesday had at least made a modest effort to shovel a narrow but frozen-over passageway

- The sidewalk abutting the Roslindale Village Commuter Rail northern parking lot at Robert Street and South Conway Street

- The Speedway gas station on Centre Street in West Roxbury (where the manager assured me that "it wasn't Speedway's responsibility" to plow the sidewalks).

It is excuseable if you think

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It is excuseable if you think about it. The excuse is that there are a lot of cars traveling through, so they plow the roads. Pedestrians can generally walk around and gingerly step over small piles. And wheelchairs are uncommon.


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“Wheelchairs are uncommon.” Not when it’s you, pal.

One more thing...

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6.8 million people in the US get around with assistive devices — wheelchairs, walkers, canes.

- The sidewalk abutting the

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- The sidewalk abutting the Roslindale Village Commuter Rail northern parking lot at Robert Street and South Conway Street

this is a fucking joke, literally every single storm, the mbta and the city get in a pissing match, and nobody can be assed to deal with it. shameful and stupid.


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It's 10 degrees outside, it's not like people have heat blowers at their disposal to melt the snow/ice.

Not the point

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The point is that the snowplow drivers shouldn't be creating giant mounds of snow where pedestrians and people in wheelchairs would normally go to cross the street.


The city only cares about

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The city only cares about people on 4 wheels, not people on 2 wheels or two feet. They are happy to take property tax money from pedestrians and then spend it all on drivers. If I was a Boston driver I would be embarrassed to be taking all those resources from non drivers. I would be embarrassed that wheelchair ramps are full of snow so that my SUV can go 3 blocks to Dunkin Donuts.


NY Times says "end of snow" is near (as of 2014)

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The planet has warmed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1800s, and as a result, snow is melting. -- "The End of Snow" - NY Times, 2014

Take a good look at that snow, it may never be seen again according to the NY Times. If the snow mysteriously continues to arrive each winter, surely the rising sea levels will cascade down St. Botolph and wash it all away. What happened to the Marty Walsh's expensive "snow melters" that were all the rage not long ago?

Space savers

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That's one expensive and bored space saver..

is today trash day?

It must be

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Someone let you out of the garage.


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the first significant snow event of the year arrived in the second week of March, following a February that clocked in at an astonishing 12 degrees warmer than historical average, during which precious little snow fell because it was mostly above 32 degrees. This is the city’s lowest recorded snowfall in decades, and the two back-to-back storms in mid-March would have been totally beyond belief fifty years ago.

Keep on fucking that chicken, FISH. I never get tired of watching you repeatedly pwn yourself with your complete inability to distinguish climate from weather. Actually, come to think of it, why don’t you stop commenting in these threads; grownups are trying to talk.


Yes, But

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I've grown up here. We used to actually have white Christmasses in the 70's and 80's. Then significant snow wouldn't start until January. Then February - hearken back to 2015. And now this year, March. My moto friends used to be excited if they could still go out on a ride in December. Today that's a pretty regular experience.

Yes, March is still winter, however, winter is starting later and later. Soon we will have a longer growing season. So yay for agriculture and food sources?

Your memories are fuzzy

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But if we only go as far back as the three week period starting on Christmas Day 2017, we can see that indeed it does get very cold and it does snow in December nowadays.

The only hook this winter is that it got warm when it got wet.

Overall, and this does not just apply to you, people who conflate weather and climate end up looking foolish.


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Is not data.

Check out the blue hill observatory's centuries of data and then there will be enough information to discuss.

This is disgusting. Time to

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This is disgusting. Time to raise property taxes to pay for the necessary snow removal within 24 hours of a storm.

The City is pathetic

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when it comes to snow removal. There is no effort to remove a flake of snow from the streets of Boston. Certain sections ie: Seaport and Newbury Street are clear of snow.
Maybe take some of that Community Preservation money and remove the snow not just pile it up at every intersection.

This doesn't just affect a few people

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If your reaction is that there aren't that many people in wheelchairs, there are plenty of other people it affects: the elderly, those who use canes or crutches, those who have disabilities but you can't tell because they don't use any of the above, people pushing strollers, people with little ones who can't safely get over the snow banks on their own and whose caretakers can't lift them over because they're also carrying groceries or pushing a stroller or holding the hands of other kids...

Access to crosswalks is essential. Most of these crosswalks are blocked due to the city's plowing and it's the city's responsibility to clear them. It's not like the snow just happened yesterday.


even ignoring all of that,

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even ignoring all of that, literally anybody, even the most ablebodied person around, should be furious about this. because GOD FORBID, when some jackass who's texting and driving hits you, you aren't in a legal and well marked crosswalk, otherwise it's your own fault for getting hit at 30 miles an hour blowing through a light because "glare"

Another option

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As much as I love 311, 4 years ago during the winter from hell, there was a pile like that at one of the intersections on Washington Street between Forest Hills and Roslindale Square. I e-mailed my city councilor, heard back from him right away (and it was late in the evening) and the next day the pile was gone. My gut is that the DPW will pay attention to a city councilor over a resident. Sad, but the proof is in the pudding.

People are complaining about

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People are complaining about sidewalks not being shoveled but the present ordinance requires the elderly and disabled who can not lift snow, can not stand let alone walk to shovel snow. Not everyone is capable of shoveling snow and not everyone can afford to pay what people are now charging to do this.

Wonder if Ms. Hunt who is complaining about others not shoveling snow herself shovels snow.

The elderly and some disabled persons are not able to shovel snow. The city says it wants to be age friendly but requiring elderly who are not able to shovel snow, who could die trying to shovel snow, and who can not afford to pay someone to shovel city property is not age friendly.

Placing the same burden on persons to shovel city owned property regardless of the value of the property and market value of the sidewalk is also inequitable. It should not fall on private owner occupied homeowners especially elderly to shovel snow on sidewalks they do not own and have no control over. If the homeowner owned the sidewalk they could block it off.

If the city is serious about being age friendly it has to come up with something so as to assure that elderly who are not able to shovel snow, who could die trying to shovel snow, are not required to do so

Perhaps Boston could follow the same program Cambridge does which is for the city to shovel for the elderly. Or perhaps they could require high school students to assist the elderly, or perhaps they could partner with the state and have minor criminals shovel in lieu of jail or fines, or perhaps the city could raise taxes a small amount to pay for shoveling (which if they use city employees would be substantially less expensive), or perhaps the city could require persons they pay to plow snow to shovel sidewalks etc.


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"Wonder if Ms. Hunt who is complaining about others not shoveling snow herself shovels snow."

So, let me get this straight, are you suggesting that Ms. Hunt, who...wait for it...IS IN A FRICKIN WHEELCHAIR should shovel snow? Seriously? Really? I mean, seriously?


Thank you whyaduck!

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There are things no one wants to see me do. Wielding a shovel is right up there.

I don’t think there’s a big reader up there, a skimmer tops, followed by hot reaction. Because the internet.

No I am not suggesting that

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No I am not suggesting that Ms. Hunt should shovel snow, to the contrary my objection is the ordinance which requires Ms, Hunt and all elderly and disabled homeowners to shovel snow even if they are not able to do so and even if they could die if they try to,. Under the present ordinance if Ms, Hunt is a homeowner and does not shovel snow and can not afford to pay someone to do so, she will get a snow ticket. The ordinance needs to be changed,

Not quite

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No one is required to shovel snow. Property owners, on the other hand, are required to have their sidewalks shoveled. One could hire someone to do it, or one could decide that the burdens of home ownership are too great for them and rent, or even move into a condominium with a service contract. Of course, they might also have friends or neighbors who could be persuaded to help out. I am healthy, and I am not required to shovel. The requirement is that my sidewalk be cleared. If I don't clear my sidewalk, other than being a selfish prick who would be impeding people from being able to safely get around, I would be subject to fines from the city, as it should be.

Ms. Hunt might not be able to shovel snow, but with your proposal she would be confined to her house when others are let off the hook from clearing their sidewalks.


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Because you did write exactly this:

Wonder if Ms. Hunt who is complaining about others not shoveling snow herself shovels snow.

So yes. Yes, in a backhanded, passive aggressive fashion you did suggest Ms. Hunt should shovel snow because she was likely not already doing it.

Footnote, for the record. As

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Footnote, for the record. As if 6:00 pm Friday night, Boston Public works we’re addressing this, and several other intersections further east on Saint Botolph Street.

verizon✓ Important Info for 65 or older.

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