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Councilor would exempt Chuck Turner, other residents over 60 from having to clear their sidewalks of snow

City Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury) wants to exempt Boston homeowners over 60 and people with disabilities from the requirement to shovel their sidewalks after snowstorms.

In a request for a hearing that will go before the council tomorrow, Jackson says:

Shoveling can lead to serious health problems for the elderly and disabled, including respiratory illness, heart attacks, falls, broken bones and death. ...

The current shoveling laws force elderly and disabled residents to choose
between being fined and health risks.

His proposed ordinance does not require over-60 and disabled residents to find somebody to shovel their walks in their place. However, they would have to file with City Hall for a shoveling exemption.

In 2007, Jackson's predecessor, Chuck Turner, refused to shovel his sidewalk, not because of his age - he was then 66 - but because he claimed nobody in his neighborhood used sidewalks.

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Comments

Why doesn't the city plow its own damn property like it does for drivers?

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Yes, the only reason the city plows is for those selfish drivers.

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What a self-centered and ignorant comment! God forbid someone have a heart attack or an apartment building catches fire. Ambulances and fire engines need the roads to be cleared for emergencies which happen throughout the day in the city!

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How do emergency workers get from their vehicle, to the heart attack victim or fire location?

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Shovel your sidewalk, Felicity. We all do it. My mother is 70 and she still does it. Obvioulsy, if you're at risk for a heart attack or are disabled you should hire someone or ask your neighbor to help you. Stop being lazy: shovel your sidealk or move to Florida.

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to require abutters to maintan property they don't own and have no legal right to restrct the use of.

Does the City require abutters to fix broken street lights on the sidewalks, or to repair cracks in the sidewalks, at the abutters expense? No. So the same should apply to snow removal.

And if it means firing a few ISD hacks or not spedning money to update a perfectly servicable web site, or not having municipal employees responding to postings on Twitter, to get the money to properly maintain PUBLIC property (sidewalks), then so be it.

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When the economic engine shuts down.

All drivers should own plows, kids should walk 5 mi to school and 10 mi back (barefoot) and mbta riders should shovel out the tracks.

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There are only two ways the sidewalk is going to get plowed: either the city can require that the property owner take care of it directly, or the city can collect taxes from the property owner and then use that money to hire city employees or contractors to take care of it.

Which do you think is a better deal for the property owner?

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The latter would be a considerably better deal for individual property owners. Rather than a dozen individuals with shovels chipping away for an hour at their individual 20 foot section, a single city worker with an industrial sized snow blower could clear a whole block in under a minute.

And there would be the added benefit of the job being done the WHOLE way EVERY time, unlike what happens now where virtually every block in the city is guaranteed at least one stretch of sidewalk that hasn't been shoveled, making the whole sidewalk "system" basically useless for the elderly or disabled.

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This.

Boston's patchwork mishmash is insane. In several other cities in the area (I'm in Manchester, NH), they just blow down the sidewalk with Bobcats and other sidewalk-sized snowblowing/plowing equipment. Even during the snowpocalypse last year they got it done. It took three days after some of those blizzards, and they were out there 24/7 ramming 8' snow piles (made by the street plows) with their equipment, but it got done.

Meanwhile the biggest city in the region expects every single property owner to go out and clear his little 100' stretch of sidewalk with his own shovel.

And now rather than fix the system, they want to create exemptions for people they feel bad for, so the sidewalks will be an even more inconsistent mess.

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things run by the commonwealth government always perform well in the snow

in all seriousness, however, they should 100% be responsible for doing the sidewalks. hire or find somebody. i wont even hold back- i am so fucking tired of having to walk in the street for huge stretches of land because theres solid ice for dozens of feet of sidewalk.

i do not care how it gets done, but i've called the police non emergency number a few times because of conditions that force me off of the sidewalk for a considerable amount of time.

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the property owner. So they should NOT be requiring that the property owner maintain PUBLIC property at their own expense.

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Would you prefer that the city collect MORE to pay for this?

I don't understand the logic of: Lower taxes + increased services = my math works out great, right??

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Current Taxes = Necessary Services. Unless you believe that a new web site, forcing bars to attend hearings for shootings that occurred off-premises, etc. are a better use of resources than clearing PUBLIC sidewalks of snow.

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So now x% of residents no longer have to shovel their sidewalks--and would have ZERO responsibility to ensure someone else does it for them? Do they still have to stop at red lights? Can they now park wherever they want?

I understand the physical demands of shoveling make it so many elderly & disabled residents can't do it, but isn't the alternative that they hire someone? ...If they can't afford that, I'm sure we could means-test (if it came to that) but it's dangerous for EVERYONE in the community if the sidewalk is always icy & around the same homes. (I would think they'd still be liable for a legitimate slip-and-fall injury, too.)

C'mon Tito, think sh!t through before saying things out loud! Next it will be a proposal that old people don't have to observe traffic lights, if it's within 15 minutes of the start of NCIS or Matlock.

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C'mon Tito, think sh!t through before saying things out loud!

Exactly what I was thinking. (Along with, "And someone voted for this guy?")

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He wants to pay gangbangers for behaving well, so I'm not surprised at all.

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Maybe he could pay the gangbangers to shovel out the elderly/disabled?

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To help fund that. However good luck getting drug dealers to show up!

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Nobody is saying disabled or elderly homeowners have to do the shoveling themselves, just that they're responsible for having it shoveled. The city shouldn't be in the business of making it MORE difficult for pedestrians. Hire a neighborhood kids. Engage a professional. Consider it an unpleasant but necessary part of regular home maintenance.

Considering how easy it is to get a handicapped parking hanger, I can imagine shoveling exemptions being quite common if this lame-brained proposal passes. And if it ever does, I'd be curious to see what happens when somebody slips on a coveted "exempt" sidewalk and is injured. Somebody has got to be legally liable. The city?

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It's true that elderly and disabled people can't do their own shoveling, (Chuck Turner just doesn't want to), so why doesn't the City Council come up with a way to help them get their sidewalks shoveled instead?

Uber for shoveling, lots of "community service" credits for high-school kids who volunteer, a simple city web page to get people to volunteer to help - there must be lots of other ideas.

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That ship sailed long ago, sonny.

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in my neighborhood, grown-ass men walk around trying to make money shoveling sidewalks/driveways.

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So hire some grown-ass men then. Why the drama?

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My area was almost all elders when I moved in, but that changed massively about ten years ato and now there are teenpacks looking for work.

The problems come when the schools are not shut and there aren't the roving packs of teens and pre-teens looking for something to do.

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How about this for a deal: if you are over 60 the city will shovel for you but you have to take a driving and vision test every year if you want a drivers license. I'm guessing that won't fly even though it would save lives.

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How about you get a city issued space saver for each 60+/disabled person you shovel out, or snow tires for your bicycle. Shoveler's choice.

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...and shove it?

Seriously, what the hell good is a "city issued space saver"? What would it be, some piece of crap with the City of Boston seal on it that you could use to permasave any spot you want on a public street? All in return for shoveling out one parking space? What kind of spoiled brat has this sense of entitlement?

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What would it be, some piece of crap with the City of Boston seal on it that you could use to permasave any spot you want on a public street

And just what is a resident parking permit. Some piece of crap with the City of Boston seal on it that you can use to give you preference to occupy any spot you want on a public street.

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It was a joke. The above poster suggested the city shovel for people and in return give them a driving and vision test (which sounds absolutely ridiculous).

I made an equally ridiculous suggestion, I didn't say shovel out parking spaces. I said shovel out an over 60 or disabled person.

Cool your jets.......

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Although this is open to all sorts of abuse (in terms of who owns/lives in the building).

I also have not read the actual proposal.

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Yay! Irresponsible homeowners can just make sure other are killed and injured! God forbid you hire someone! Or move to a place that you can manage!

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Either we all have to shovel or no one has to shovel. You cannot have a patchwork of uncleared houses mixed in if you expect people to be able to walk down the sidewalk. This would be like saying there is no parking on this busy street unless you are old and then it's OK.

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Exactly. You know what I do when at least 20% of sidewalk space is improperly shoveled or not at all? I walk in the street (which of course has its own safety concerns).

Maybe I can hand out Councilor Jackson's number to any impatient drivers.

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Maybe I can hand out Councilor Jackson's number to any impatient drivers.

Definitely do this.

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While I sympathize with the difficulties of shoveling - I'm 60 myself, and last winter when I was seriously ill and had surgery I wasn't able to do my share of the shoveling at my house - I think this is a terrible idea. Sidewalks in Boston should be cleared of snow after a storm - no exceptions. However, it would be wonderful if the city could provide some assistance to those who can't shovel themselves, maybe on a sliding price scale.

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You don't deserve to be in government in any capacity.

You know what else can "lead to serious health problems for the elderly and disabled, including respiratory illness, heart attacks, falls, broken bones, and death?"

People who don't shovel their sidewalks.

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I know last winter was very difficult on many people with handicaps...specifically because sidewalks weren't clear. There is a couple near me that both use wheelchairs/scooters and were forced to work from home during that time because they couldn't get from their apartment to the train. It was completely impossible. Either sidewalks weren't shoveled at all or people dug out 12 inch trench paths. Seems shortsighted.

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So...I have to shovel a full wide 36' path to bare cement or I will get a ticket. The reason for that is so it is clear in case a disabled individual (i.e. wheelchair bound) needs to pass my property. But the same disabled individual does not have to have their path cleared so they can leave their property? Why do I need to provide acess for them when they won't be able to leave their own property?

Why doesn't the city instead set up a vonunteer registry to match elderly and disabled homeowners with volunteers who are willing to clear their sidewalks? I already snowblow the walks for 2 of my elderly neighbors when I'm out doing mine because I'm aware of their need. Encouraging civility is a much better path than eliminating responsibility.

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Why doesn't the City maintain the sidewalks THEMSELVES instead of forcing abutters of PUBLIC property to do it at their own time and/or expense.

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The city has nowhere near the resources to remotely do that. Unrealistic gripe.

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If they have the resources to plow the full width of the road a dozen times during a snowstorm so the road is passable at all times, then they have the resources to come through once at the end of a storm with a little sidewalk plow. You need to look at this on a per-property basis- how much cost and effort is it for someone to shovel their sidewalk by hand, vs how much is it to pay for 10 seconds of the cost of a sidewalk plow and operator?

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If they have the resources to plow the full width of the road a dozen times during a snowstorm so the road is passable at all times[...]

You're joking, or dreaming, or talking about some city that ISN'T Boston. They couldn't even keep Commonwealth Avenue clear last winter. I had a taxi driver refuse to turn off of Brighton Avenue to take me to my house because the side streets were so inadequately plowed. He forced me to walk the rest of the way home (in the street, of course, because the sidewalks weren't cleared) even though I was only a few days out of the hospital.

Seriously - I wish that Boston had sidewalk plowing available. I also wish that the city - and the state - would make sure that the sidewalks of their own properties were properly cleared. But given the fact that they can't even clear the streets and actual snow REMOVAL is still a new concept around here, I'm afraid that homeowners and other property owners are stuck taking care of their own sidewalks.

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They pay plenty of people to not work and plenty of people which barely work pushing paper in city jobs. Cut that spending and pay people to shovel.

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they can't even plow streets, which is a thing that is already their job. adding additional tasks assures none of them will happen.

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just throw it on the to-do list for globe reporters and editors, they can do it while they do their other job that isn't their job. problem solved, and at no expense to anybody!

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to update a perfectly good web site. And how much is the City spending sending out inspectors to write tickets to people who don't agree with the City's policy of "forced private labor" for snow clearance of PUBLIC property.

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Right after that last snow, I ran through Newton and West Roxbury. One city has municipal shoveling, while the other puts the onus on property owners. Guess in which city I had to run on the streets?

You can do that in your town, but people actually use the sidewalks in Boston.

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What you don't seem to understand is that the sidewalk is going to be shoveled at the property owners' expense either way, whether the city requires the property owner to shovel it, or whether the city requires the property owner to pay taxes so that the city can hire people to shovel it. There ain't no free lunch.

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is that the sidewalks are PUBLIC property. Therefore, the CIty has both an obligation and a responsibilty to maintain the PUBLIC property with their own resources and at their own expense.

And the argument that the City will have to raise taxes to accomplish this is pure BS.

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but get hung up with an administrative headache with requiring CORI checks for volunteers and even for those elderly or disabled homeowners that request service. (Seemed to be the experience in Somerville).

Some JP residents were using a platform called Snowcrew last year to volunteer or request help: https://snowcrew.org/

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I think it is also for anyone, disabled or not, that would need to pass by your property. If I am out for my run or a walk, I don't want to have to climb a snowbank if I reach your house. Nor should I have to.

And there is a volunteer registry of sorts that pops up during bad weather for those who are so inclined to help shovel out others in the City of Boston.

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Really, you are 3 feet wide? I'm so sorry.

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Apparently you are unaware that wheelchair users also use sidewalks.

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White cane users

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Sorry, Tito, but it's an all or nothing deal. Either everyone must shovel or no one does. Plus 60 seems awful young to be exempt from shoveling. Not everyone in their 60's is on the verge of being "elderly". Just how old is Tito, anyways?

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I clear off the steps of my elderly neighbors every winter. Clear out the sidewalk in front of their place too! I get more annoyed with the businesses who don't shovel.

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I realize there's no chance this would happen here - it has the proverbial snowball's chance in Hell, if you will - but I used to live in Melbourne, Australia. Any time there was a mess on the sidewalks, roads, etc., the city council (a term that means something slightly different Down Under, but it's not unrelated to our sense of the term) sent sanitation workers to clean it up. Garbage, tree branches, whatever the case: these things were not permitted to remain in the public's way for long.

Isn't it pretty to think such things could happen here?

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Time to move. Perhaps to a condo with a maintenance crew.

I hate to be harsh, but there are elderly people in Boston who don't drive. If the sidewalks are unshoveled, they are trapped.

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Quincy does not require homeowners to shovel AT ALL. No, not even last winter. And we aren't some outer suburb with no pedestrians. A couple kids were hit by cars last winter after being forced to walk in the street.

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Do the property owners actually own and have legal control over who can use the sidewalks?

NO. So the property owners should not be mandated to matain the sidewalks (and they aren't, with the idiotic exception of snow clearance).

It's a very simple concept that many people have yet to grasp.

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People grasp what you're saying. They just don't agree and you're pulling a temper tantrum.

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