Here is the winter of 2012 - 2013 information on what you need to know during a snow emergency in Boston. We posted this early in the year but have moved it to the top of the page postition for this storm. If you checked in for our daily feature, it will be right below.
We'll update this article with news items as we receive them throughout the season. Subscribe to the comment feed for this post to be notified when we update this information, or follow us on Twitter.
"Daytime posted street sweeping for Wednesday 3/20 is canceled. Overnight sweeping also canceled (overnight 3/19-20.)"
Update 03.19.13 @ 7:30 AM from From the City Of Boston website:
The City of Boston, "Urges Caution, Asks Commuters to Use Public Transportation For Commute Due to Significant Ice and Sleet
Boston Public Schools: Closed Tuesday 3/19.
BCYF: Open 9:00AM-6:00PM. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult at drop-off.
Street Sweeping: Posted daytime and overnight street sweeping canceled tomorrow, 3/19.
No snow emergency and parking ban at this time."
Updated: 3/19/13 7:00AM: From @MassDCR "DCR PARKING BAN @ RevereBeachBlvd, WinthropShoreDr + Ocean Ave"
General information you need to know about any snow emergency.
- "Use public transportation when possible and avoid driving vehicles on slippery roads to keep roadways clear for plowing equipment and emergency vehicles.
- Property owners are reminded to salt and sand sidewalks, stairs and pedestrian ramps to prevent slippery surfaces.
- Residents are encouraged to shovel out hydrants and catch basins near or abutting their property to assist our public safety agencies and protect against flooding.
- Please check on elderly or vulnerable neighbors who may need help.
- Use caution when walking near buildings that may have falling snow or ice
- Parking rules are strictly enforced during snow storms. Do not block driveways, crosswalks or ramps, and do not park within 20 feet of an intersection"
Winter storms have an impact on our lives and the city distributed "Winter Weather Facts 2012-2013" brochures to households last December to help us learn what to do. The city says,
Before The Storm
If you haven't alread done it, click over and sign up for notifications by the City's Emergency notification system. It could save you a parking ticket or a tow.
Really great neighbors will locate and note the landmarks to find their nearest fire hydrant and work with one another to dig around it and keep it clear for the entire winter season. This community action can save lives and homes.
If the storm drain near your home is blocked with leaves and debris, you can clear it to prevent flooding when the snow melts.
Find your winter boots, shovels, windshield scrapers, sand, salt, and ice melt. (For the sake of dogs who walk barefoot on sidewalks, please choose a "Paw Safe" option when buying de-icing products.)
And, if you have a car, you may want to park it somewhere that is not signed as a "Snow Emergency Route." Here is a list of the major arteries for the Downtown Boston area with parking restrictions.
Heavy snowfalls can increase the risk for roof collapses. Here are the city's Tips for Protecting Your Roof.
Snow Emergency Parking in Boston Neighborhoods
With a warning that parking regulations will be strictly enforced, the city asks of residents:
- "Don't park within 20 feet of an intersection, or further than one foot from the curb."
- "During a snow emergency, don't park on streets with signs declaring "Emergency Snow Artery" or "Tow Zone- Snow Emergency"."
- "Disabled cars blocking the roadway must be removed as soon as possible."
- "Cars parked in driveways must not extend to the sidewalk or street."
- "Resident parking stickers must be visible within 24 hours after the end of a snowstorm."
- "Any spacesavers® left in on-street parking spaces that have been shoveled out must be removed 48 hours after a snow emergency has ended."
- "After exceptional storms (snowfall exceeds two feet), the mayor may prohibit parking on the odd side of secondary roads and only allow parking on the even side, until crews can clear the snow. This is rare and has not happened since 2003."
If your Car is Missing
- You can check to see if your car has been towed on this page from the city's site.
- If your car is towed, here is a map with the location of the tow lot.
- The tow lot phone number is (617) 635-3939
There are off street parking spaces available to residents during the storm.
Go to the bottom of the parking page, www.cityofboston.gov/snow/parking, choose your neighborhood, and you'll see a list of available parking lots and garages and what they charge under this program. Prices in private garages range from $1 to $12.50 for 24 hours. In some sections of the city municipal lots are free for those with resident stickers. All of these are on a first come, first serve basis.
Once snow falls, you see how seldom some cars in Boston are moved. We walk by cars that sit, snow-covered, for weeks on end. If you do dig out your car, you are not supposed to put the snow onto the street or a cleared sidewalk. That adds to the fun of the job.
If you live in a section of the city with a tradition of space savers, the city says those must be and will be removed 48 hours after a snow emergency has been lifted. For those new to this game, "space savers" are chairs, trash cans, and other objects that are placed in cleared and empty parking spaces to save the spot for the person who shoveled it.
Once snow, slush, or ice is on the ground someone has to remove it from sidewalks.
In the city of Boston and most surrounding communities, that someone is you or the people you hire to do it for you.
There was a Supreme Court Ruling in the state. The Boston Globe says this means, "property owners now can be held liable for injuries that are linked to any snow and ice on their land, regardless of whether the conditions were caused by nature or a city plow." Here's a link to the full story on that ruling.
In Boston, the rules can be downloaded on this page from the sidebar headline that says, "An Ordinance Regarding The Prompt and Complete Removal of Snow and Ice From Sidewalks and Abutting Curb Ramps":
Between sunrise and sunset, if your building has six or fewer units, you have six hours to remove snow.
If your building has more than six units, you only have three hours.
And the degree to which you remove the snow, slush, or ice is laid out in the city ordinance.
"Removal of any slush or snow should be conducted along the full paved width of such sidewalk and in a manner that ensures the orderly flow and safety of pedestrian traffic upon such sidewalks. Removal of any slush or snow shall be conducted in a manner that clears the full paved path or a minimum of forty-two (42) inches wide."
In the case of ice, it says:
"Removal of any ice shall be in a manner consistent with the requirements of the preceding sub-section, except that any such owner, manager, or tenant shall be deemed to be in compliance with this paragraph if such ice is made level and completely covered with sand, sawdust, or other appropriate material to prevent slipping."
As to where you put the snow from your own stairs and walkways, that gets tricky because the ordinance says:
"No person shall remove slush, snow, or ice from privately-owned real property and place it upon any sidewalk or street."
French Toast Alert System
If you're new to the area or haven't been paying attention, you may not know this term. French Toast Alert comes from the rush to grocery stores for basic provisions (milk, bread, and eggs) when storms are predicted. Here's a link to the master page of the official French Toast Alert system for this area.
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Writers: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photos: © 2009 Penny Cherubino
Snow Emergency phone numbers in Boston:
Main number: 617-635-3050
24-Hour Hot Line: 617-635-4500