Walsh to city folks: Be ready to pitch in to help this winter

Mayor Martin Walsh asked the city’s residents to be neighborly and help each other out this winter during a press conference with city officials and employees in the city’s Public Works lot on Frontage Road last Friday.

“We’re here to talk about the city’s preparation for the 2019-2020 winter, about how the city is doing its part. And we’re asking Bostonians to help us as well,” he said. “We know that the most important thing we can do in the winter is to make sure that we’re prepared before, during, and after the storms.” 

He added: “The cold weather is particularly dangerous for our homeless individuals, especially those suffering from mental health problems, disabilities, or substance use disorders. We’re working with our shelters and street-outreach providers throughout the city and the commonwealth to make sure we have safe, warm emergency shelters for everyone in need.”

The Public Works Department (PWD) currently has 48,000 tons of salt on hand for treating city streets during weather events along with 110 pieces of in-house snow clearing equipment. The department can also place more than 600 additional pieces on the roads during serious storms. 

As part of their neighborhood plowing operations during winter storms, the PWD allocates pieces of equipment to clear snow from Boston’s dedicated bike lanes.

“Preparing for winter is a team effort, and our preparations for winter start long before the salt hits this lot,” said Chris Osgood, the city’s chief of Streets, Transportation, and Sanitation. “In a typical winter in Boston we’ll see between about 43-44 inches of snow,” he said. “But you can’t really measure the severity of a winter or the importance of snow operations in inches of snow. We prepare for every storm and the threat of every storm.”

Walsh and Osgood went over rules on clearing snow: 

Property owners must fully clear snow, sleet, and ice from sidewalks and curb ramps abutting the property within three hours after the snowfall ends or three hours after sunrise if the snow ends overnight.

Do not throw snow onto the street. Fines associated with improper removal of snow can be found at copyofboston.gov.

Remove space savers within 48 hours after a snow emergency has been lifted. Please note: Space savers are not allowed at all in the South End.

The mayor also highlighted the Senior Save program that helps seniors replace their heating systems, the 311 hotline, and the BCYF heating center. “We want people to work together and show what it means to be neighbors. We’re asking people to respect each other as neighbors, and we must remind people that they’re not alone,” he said.

A winter weather guide will be sent out to residents by mail shortly. For more information and resources, visit boston.gov/snow.