Where The Sidewalk Shoveling Ends

These neighborhoods might not get the snow-removal job done, based on past snowstorm data.

Last February, after Nemo dropped 25 inches of snow on Boston, the city’s Inspectional Services Department handed out a staggering 2,400 citations to residents and businesses that didn’t follow the rules and regulations for shoveling sidewalks and pathways.

And as the year’s first blizzard-like storm hits the Bay State, those who don’t comply could face a similar fate.

Based on statistics gathered by MuckRock, a local group dedicated to sifting through public records and information, following Nemo last year, there were specific neighborhoods in the city that were the worst offenders when it came to failing to clear away snow from the sidewalks in a timely fashion, as requested by city officials.

Boston’s snow shoveling rules state that snow, slush, and ice has to be cleared from the sidewalks and curb ramps abutting property within three hours of snowfall ending, or three hours from sunrise if snow falls overnight.

If a property owner doesn’t adhere to these rules—thousands didn’t in 2013 after Nemo—they could be slapped with a penalty ranging from $25 to $200, depending on the size of the property, and what type of shoveling rules they violate.

“More than 1,000 of the 2,414 tickets were issued in the four days after [Nemo], more than 90 percent of them citations for unshoveled sidewalks. Less than 20 percent of the tickets for shoveling snow into the street went to commercial properties, the bulk being issued to private residents,” researchers from MuckRock noted in March 2013, after compiling their data.

So which areas racked up the most tickets the last time Boston was smacked with a significant snowfall? While a big chunk of the tickets were handed to residents within the first few days, according to MuckRock’s numbers, seven of the city’s 22 wards received nearly 50 percent of the overall tickets in the three weeks following Nemo.

The Wards included:

Ward 18 (Hyde Park, Readville and parts of Roslindale and Mattapan): 337 citations

Ward 20 (West Roxbury and part of Roslindale): 182 citations

Ward 22 (Brighton): 176 citations

Wards 21 and 22 (Allston and Brighton combined): 334 citations

The graph below shows the percentage of tickets issued to specific Wards and neighborhoods in the weeks after Nemo, with Ward 18 clearly leading the pack when it comes to blatant disregard for snow removal efforts. It’s important to keep in mind that each day a sidewalk isn’t shoveled after the snow stops is considered a separate and distinct violation, according to the city’s rules. So some places may have been hit more than once with a fine in the weeks after Nemo dropped snow on Boston:

Image via MuckRock

Image via MuckRock

A second graph constructed by MuckRock last year breaks down the types of citations, based on how hefty the penalty was, which is a good indicator of whether the properties were residential, or if they were commercially owned. The larger fines are usually attributed to properties that are bigger or are businesses because fines increase as the size of a property goes up.

Based on the data provided, it’s obvious that most citations were in the $50 range, which means they were houses or apartment complexes with fewer than 16 units:

Image via MuckRock

Image via MuckRock

To further the scope, MuckRock also created a map that pinpoints the streets and neighborhoods where residents and business refused to do their part, and didn’t put a shovel to the concrete to clear the way for pedestrians, resulting in the issuance of a citation. The map shows where tickets were issued between February 9 to February 27, 2013: