Elected Official Wasn’t Pleased With Boston’s Snow Clean-Up Efforts This Winter
City Councilor Charles Yancey wants to get to the bottom of what went wrong after the Blizzard of 2013.
Boston City Councilor Charles Yancey is not too happy with Boston’s performance this winter. Yancey, who represents the Dorchester district, is making his complaints—mainly that Boston failed to do its job by not properly clearing city streets of snow following several major snowstorms—known in a public meeting.
“Many roads, including more than two dozen residential streets and avenues in [my] district, were still obstructed by snow on Sunday, February 11, more than 24 hours after the blizzard of 2013 had ended,” Yancey wrote in a meeting request filed with the city of Boston.
Yancey called for the public hearing to discuss why the city didn’t adequately clear away snow from those neighborhoods. “Many of the … streets and avenues had apparently been untouched by snow plows,” according to Yancey. Members of the City Council’s Committee on City, Neighborhood Services and Veteran Affairs will meet with Yancey and other department officials on April 2 to discuss the snow removal practices and ways to improve them, so similar problems don’t plague the city next winter.
Yancey pointed out that even Mayor Menino was unsatisfied with some of the Department of Public Works’ snow removal efforts, and demanded an explanation from city workers immediately following the 2013 Nor’easter.
The city is fully responsible for de-icing and plowing 850 miles of roadway with more than 500 pieces of equipment during and after storms, according to the city’s website. The excessive snowfall in the past few months has led to Boston surpassing its snow and ice removal budget. The city has already spent roughly $18.1 million on snow clean-up, which is $1 million over the initial budget. City officials expect to dole out more money as bills from plow contractors continue to come in.
Roadways weren’t the only problem in many neighborhoods, however. While city employees are responsible for clearing the streets, it’s up to constituents and business owners to shovel the sidewalks.
MuckRock.com, a local journalism watchdog website, compiled a list of the areas in Boston that didn’t abide by city rules and regulations following recent snowstorms, including winter storm “Nemo,” and pinpointed them on a map. The data collected by MuckRock showed that Dorchester received the most citations from the city for not properly shoveling snow once the storms stopped, which is required by law.
“The city’s snow ordinance states that residents and commercial properties must remove snow and ice from sidewalks and curb ramps within three hours of snowfall or three hours after sunrise if the snow fell overnight,” according to Muck Rock. After the 2013 blizzard, $2,000 in citations were handed out around the city, most of which were in Dorchester. Our guess is that this data will only add fuel to Yancey’s fire.
Below is a graph that shows when (and how many) citations were issued over the span of a few days in Boston, courtesy of MuckRock: