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Citizen complaint of the day: Boston does a good job clearing its roads; its sidewalks, not so good

Sidewalk vs. road in Franklin Park

Franklin Park road clear to asphalt; sidewalk, clear to ice.

Concerned citizens are filing 311 complaints about unplowed sidewalks, several days after the storm, such as this sidewalk through Franklin Park, next to a meticulously plowed road, and this stretch between the harbor and another clear road on Atlantic Avenue in the North End:

Atlantic Avenue sidewalk untouched by snow shovels

The Franklin Park filer adds:

This has not been shoveled and is dangerous to walk on which us forcing people to walk on the street which is even more dangerous.

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Comments

Parks and waterfronts are there for cars to drive through.

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Voting closed 49

And scooters and dirt bikes to plow through Franklin Park!

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Voting closed 34

I wouldn't be surprised if this was the responsibility of the parks dept. instead of DPW.

I wish the city could just streamline all this kind of stuff so roads and sidewalks are cleared efficiently. Like why can't DPW clear bustops and bill the MBTA for it?

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Voting closed 62

why can't DPW clear bustops and bill the MBTA for it?

Each has their own turf, and headcounts are determined by the amount of turf. Efficiency is not a consideration.

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Voting closed 24

In any case, a city agency is likely involved (unless it is DCR), and 311 is pretty good at sorting that out.

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Voting closed 12

When it comes to uncleared sidewalks, 311 is pretty good at waiting for the snow to melt and then issuing a "closing, no issue found" reply.

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Voting closed 56

A report I filed Friday afternoon was closed at 4:30 the following morning. They also have quite a loose definition of "shovelled", which apparently includes clearing space a foot-or-so wide on sidewalks that see a heavy amount of two-way pedestrian traffic.

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Voting closed 23

Or my personal favorite: "Administratively closed"

There were a few houses on my old street that never did any sidewalk clearing. They'd always let it turn into a icy rut, storm after storm. Most of them would get ticketed or the inspectors would show up way late. Two houses always, no matter what, no matter how horrible and dangerous the walkway would be, got "Administratively closed". Always wondered what their connection was.

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Voting closed 16

Jurisdiction should not be an excuse anymore - 311 was created to figure it out and deal with it.

We are well past the era of the MDC.

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Voting closed 20

Parks always does a terrible job. They make a crappy first pass, then come back days later to 'clean proper'. Of course by then it's usually iced up.

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Voting closed 12

Is there actually a sidewalk there?

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Voting closed 11

And it gets used often.

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Voting closed 41

Think this is State land, got a ticket from a statie

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Voting closed 14

But the park is city owned.

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Voting closed 27

The worst is private business that get a plow to clear the storefront and push the snow onto the sidewalk. There was a tiny state parklet in dorchester with 2 benches and a plaque for a soldier killed in battle. The next door gas station would push all their snow into the tiny park tipping over the iron fence and blocking the sidewalk which forced all pedestrians into Columbia Road.

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Voting closed 31

Has City of Boston owning the park, terrible job. In my area they actually cleared only 1/2 of the sidewalk on the entire park frontage...yep, out to the major roadway if you picked this side of the street...or cross over with no cross walk. Also, at another corner park right down the road, did 2 sides and skipped the third...sidewalk now filled with about 3 feet....great job...best ever

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Voting closed 20

Sidewalk neglect is a perennial problem, and this morning was a particularly harrowing wonderland of frozen slush and black ice. I'm sure the powers-that-be are content to hold out for Christmas when torrential rain is expected to render the issue moot, but in the meantime, walker beware.

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Voting closed 40

.... residents buy cars. Not something the city should be encouraging.

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Voting closed 28

They could give a fat rat's ass about the sidewalks of property they are supposed to maintain. The little City land by where I live, I guess the homeless camp people left, maybe due to the weather, so no shoveling has been done. I just walk in the street to get where I'm going. Used to it. I learned long ago that calling & complaining gets you right back where you started - NOWHERE.

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Voting closed 21

There should be a way for the homeless to shovel and accept donations for it.

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Voting closed 9

Maybe the Franklin Park Coalition has more pull than the people who live in the neighborhoods it surrounds. They should see it gets taken care of by WHOMEVER'S JOB IT IS.

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Voting closed 15

Srsly it’s their job the city/state clears the sidewalks they own? What’s your real gripe?

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In past years the Parks Dept has fully plowed the loop path around the golf course, and with some advocacy, all the main entrances. Franklin Park Coalition has requested this practice continue and encourages park users to send a message via 311. The more people in need of a safe path, the more likely they are to plow.

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Voting closed 9

I was out in the car some on Sunday and Monday, so... 3-4 days since storm ended.
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City and DCR did a mediocre job this storm. News had been saying some areas shorthanded on plow/salt crews and contractors? I hadn't believed at first - pre-salting and early plow runs seemed good - but started to wonder as I saw leftovers. Maybe shorthanded or people covering unfamiliar routes? Maybe conserving OT budget so not doing any followup work?
Boston - local back roads that are two-way streets were down to 1&1/2 lanes. Intersections bad, seems they swung wide at intersections because they didn't know where curbs were? I was on Dot Ave at W Broadway - plow had lanes clear, cleaned bus stop clear to the curb to easily fit two buses in beside the Red Line stairs, and then swung out at the light so the left turn lane was the only one completely clear of snow.
DCR- Morrissey was meh. Intersections and turning lanes not cleared. Morrissey itself had right lane half-full in a lot of spots

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Voting closed 16

Drivers have no standing to complain. Pedestrians are literally risking their lives because they have to walk in the street. Try using a wheelchair on those sidewalks.

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Voting closed 24

Not complaining, just sharing my general appraisal in a conversation on the topic.
If I had an actual complaint, I'd direct to people who could do something about it - like 311 or some other contact path - instead of kvetching indirectly on a blog.
In the areas I've been, pedestrians haven't been walking in the street because property owners did a decent job on sidewalks. The only wheelchair user I've happened to see in the last couple of days was in the road, yes, but no idea what was going on in his head - the sidewalk he rejected was straight, level, clean ten feet side-to-side, and the curb cuts at either end of the block were clear, too.

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Voting closed 11

Pedestrians, those who have walking difficulties or are in wheelchairs are typically considered the least important. Cyclists and motorists are catered to.

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Voting closed 34

Maybe I should have posted something about the city removing barriers for the Mass. Ave. bicycle lanes because drivers kept crashing into them and figured that was an easy way to improve motorist safety, the bicyclists for whom the barriers were put in be damned.

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Voting closed 53

As representation of your argument that cyclists are not catered to? Really now? Gee, I still remember all the hallabaloo about the bike lanes and the Longfellow Bridge. If I remember correctly there was some concessions there? Here you go. You might of forgotten:

https://willbrownsberger.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Longfellow-Stakh...

And we have this as recent as 2019:

https://mass.streetsblog.org/2019/09/26/kendall-square-is-getting-rid-of...

And

I just saw a local TV station reporting of bike lanes being plowed with video. So, I would have to say, perhaps you are not getting everything you want but you have better roads for biking since 2014.

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Voting closed 19

Longfellow bridge isn't City of Boston property.

Note that, in the winter, I have encountered a lot of chair users who take to the cycling accomodations where they are cleared because the sidewalks and particularly crossing spaces at corners are a huge mess.

I have no problem with this, but bike lanes are clear only because it serves motorist parking. Says a lot about city priorities (and your comment above speaks loads about the whole "lets you and him fight while car owners hog all the resources" attitude in general).

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Voting closed 23

As a cyclist, I'm not at all happy that the flex posts remain on the Longfellow through the winter.

Why? Because that means there's a long pile of snow (a plow berm) in the buffer. Also known as a perpetual black ice generator. Plow piles uphill from a cleared lane are a recipe for melting and refreezing every night.

Conventional bike lanes will be clear and dry starting a day or two after a storm, while bike lanes downhill from a plow berm remain an icy mess for WEEKS.

I wish the cycling community would realize that in some situations it's better for bicycling to remove cycling-related roadway devices, and that you're not necessarily joining the enemy team in the bikes-vs-cars war by advocating for it.

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The articles you linked don't seem to have anything to do with snow.

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The document on Will Brownsberger's site says:

"Snow Removal
- DCR is currently responsible for the removal of snow on the Longfellow Bridge.
- Vehicle travel lanes will be cleared of snow during storm events.
- Snow removal on the bike lanes will not take place until after post-storm cleanup of vehicle travel
lanes is completed.
- The flex posts will remain installed during the winter months."

As I posted earlier (but it hasn't been approved yet), as a cyclist I think keeping the flex posts during snow season is a terrible idea. Since the posts mean the buffer can't get plowed, there's a snow berm along the buffer, which will keep generating black ice in the bike lane for WEEKS after the general lanes are clear and dry.

This is why roads have crowns and snow is plowed to the sides. You don't want to be in a lane that's downhill from a pile of snow.

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Voting closed 14

I assume you're talking about the Mass Ave/Albany Street concrete blocks.

They were removed because they were a terrible design. They weren't marked, so they were hard to see. And there were more than 10 rollovers in the short time these barriers were there, which is unheard of for a bike lane separator.

I don't understand why most cyclists are angry that they were removed. I'm a cyclist, and I get no personal benefit from cars hitting barriers and rolling over. And a barrier that's invisible to drivers is also invisible to cyclists. It was only a matter of time until a cyclist hit those barriers and suffered a major injury.

The point of a barrier should not be to cause maximum damage to as many cars as possible. It should guide cars (and bikes) to a stop without flipping them over or redirecting them into other traffic. Of course the best barrier design is one that cars never hit at all.

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Voting closed 9

The city's negligence is right up there w/ the neighbors.

Shoveling means your whole sidewalk; down to pavement - not just a 6inch "path."

How about putting down some sand or something down after your "shovel" job so your neighbors don't take a tumble. That would be nice. While you're at it if you have elderly or neighbors with mobility issues help them out or call the city to help them out. Know where the drain is? Shovel it!

Lastly, how about not throwing your snow into the street? We can't walk on the sidewalks b/c of the poor job done so we walk on the street...only to be met w/ super spreaders of snow into roads already plowed so your precious car can have a bigger space on the street.

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Voting closed 12

The sidewalks next to the playground in my neighborhood are the last things to be cleared.
If we waited that long to do our walk we would get a citation.

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Voting closed 29

Like clockwork, ever year we see this. You think after endless complaints year after year a plan would be put into place. But like space savers, its a hot potato issue.

In this case, its "who's property is it" and "who's contractor is responsible to clear it" as often it's not in-house staff.

It just becomes a buck that is passed over and over again and nothing is ever done.

Its the same deal with cleaning out MBTA bus stops. City owned bus stop but MBTA service. Who should clear, and specifically, how fast should they do it.

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Voting closed 22

By the time the blame game is over pedestrians will have already made a walkway with their own feet.

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So what's the Mayor's plan of action on this?

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Voting closed 10

You're funny

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