Aldermen discuss snow removal, etiquette

On March 7, 2013, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

Snow removal management and “etiquette” are on the minds of city leaders in the wake recent blizzard.

Snow removal management and “etiquette” are on the minds of city leaders in the wake recent blizzard.

By Jim Clark

Various issues concerning snow removal – and some problems arising from this activity – were discussed at last week’s meeting of the Somerville Board of Aldermen.

While the sheer volume of the white stuff that fell in the recent winter months proved to be overwhelming by some of the work crews and residents tasked with clearing public and private spaces, questions and comments regarding best practices needed to be addressed, according to several of the Board’s members.

Ward 1 Alderman Bastardi expressed concern that the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has categorized Somerville as a level 3 area, prioritizing snow removal in a less thorough way than a level 2 designation would provide.

“It is my hope that by asking the DCR to reevaluate the way that they prioritize Somerville that we will become a priority 2,” Bastardi said. The level 2 status would, as defined by DCR, upgrade service to include “sidewalks, pathways and crosswalks providing safe passages to schools, foot bridges, bus shelters, bus stops, T-stations, including median strips and handicap ramps.”

“I don’t understand why Somerville is a priority 3 to begin with,” Bastardi said. “If we reprioritize to a [level] 2 they would have to do it within 12 hours of a snow event. Last snowstorm, it took them seven days to clear the sidewalks.”

Alderman Trane of Ward 7 further lamented the situation, citing conditions along Rt. 16 where snow had been piled so high onto sidewalks that it created dangerous conditions for drivers and pedestrians.

Questionable performance by DCR was further noted by Ward 4 Alderman Lafuente, who said that certain city residents actually had their lawn sprinklers ripped up from the ground during snow removal activities. “They’re obviously not being attentive to the community,” Lafuente said.

The Board adopted a resolution asking the state delegation to petition the DCR to elevate the status of the city from level 3 to level 2.

In a related matter, Alderman Trane and Alderman Sullivan submitted a resolution that the Board of Aldermen ask the Administration to continue to educate residents on the city’s snow removal policy and encourage neighbors to work together, especially during snow storms.

Alderman Sullivan discussed the fact that several residents in his ward complained of mistreatment by their neighbors when it came to dealing with snow removal issues. “Some of it might have been people not knowing about snow removal policy,” said Sullivan, who noted that many residents were blowing and dumping snow onto their neighbors’ property or onto the wrong side of the street. The practice of holding parking spaces by placing chairs or barrels on the streets was also mentioned.

“I got a lot of calls and complaints also,” Alderman Trane added. “It is basically about snow etiquette. What do you do with the snow? How do you handle it fairly without blocking your neighbor’s driveway?”

“It causes issues,” Trane continued. “Neighbors get back at neighbors, and it turns into a Hatfield and McCoy type of thing, where one time friends and neighbors suddenly hate each other because of a snowstorm.”

The resolution urging that “snow etiquette” education be improved upon was approved by the Board.



3 Responses to “Aldermen discuss snow removal, etiquette”

  1. A. Moore says:

    If people need to be taught snow etiquette there is something wrong with them. I do part of the houses on each side of me as much as I can, more if I was younger. Plus help others that can’t. Thats what being neigbors is supposed to be about. Most were good on my street except around the corner where Obama used to reside, which a call to 311 did not get any action that removed the snow. Then some corner houses did not make an exit to the street otherwise is okay here. We still have enough of the older generation which help each other. Shouldn’t have to be told, but I suppose it’s a different world out there.

  2. j. connelly says:

    The Aldermen, Bob Trane and others bring up an impoortant point about DCR. Seems like since we took over the fields and maintain them DCR has lowered their priority of their sidewalks/roadways in the Somerville area.

    DCR just replaced sidewalks along RTE 16 and repaved the roadway so it still remains DCR resposibility. Time for our state Senators/Reps. to make some phone calls. Where the state installed bikepaths, shouldnt they be clearing and maintaining them also.

  3. Good for Maureen requesting that Somerville be better prioritized by DCR!

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