We sent a letter and gave live testimony this week at a City Council committee hearing on sidewalk snow clearance (more background from Streetsblog Mass). Our full comment letter is below, you can also watch the entire 2+ hour video, or just jump to City Councillor Matt O’Malley’s shout-out to WalkUP Roslindale or WalkUP Roslindale member Matt Lawlor’s testimony toward the end of the hearing. In brief, sidewalk snow clearance is critical to better walkability in Boston and our current system is completely broken. Read on for more.
SEE UPDATES BELOW REGARDING LOCATIONS/DATES/TIMES
With the first flakes now falling, we here at WalkUP Roslindale are standing ready to launch the WalkUP Roslindale Snow Clearance Collaborative 3.0 once again for the upcoming winter of 2019-2020. By way of reminder, the WRSCC focuses on clearing snow and ice from bus stops on key routes in and around Roslindale. This year, we will once again look to clear bus stops in key locations and incentivize participation by partnering with our very own Roslindale Village Main Street (using funds provided last year by District 5 City Councilor Tim McCarthy and the Roslindale Business Group) as follows:
- Anytime there’s a snow event greater than 4” (just over 10 cm), we will pick a suitable morning or evening time as soon as possible after the snow stops flying to meet up at the locations identified below and then descend on and shovel out the identified stops.
- The incentive we’re offering will once again be $10 Rozzie Bucks coupons for everyone who shows up and lends a hand.
- BTW, Rozzie Bucks are a great deal — good at many stores and restos in the square and the farmers market to boot!
Scheduled locations/captains are as follows:
- Washington/Cummins – Steve Gag and Greg Tobin [DONE ALREADY]
- Washington/Archdale – Ben Bruno [DONE ALREADY]
- Washington/Cornell – Sarah Kurpiel Lee – Tuesday, December 3, at 4:45 pm
- South/Walter – Matt Lawlor – Wednesday, December 4, at 7:00 am
- Corinth/Cohasset – Alan Wright – Tuesday, December 3, at 3:00 pm (look for Alan anywhere on Corinth from Washington to Belgrade)
- Washington/Brahms-Blue Ledge – Rob Orthman – Tuesday, December 3, at 8:00 pm
We will firm up these locations, captains, and timing as we see just how much snow we get. Thanks all!
Friends,based on Boston Yeti’s latest observed movements, it looks like we will be called once more to rise up and clear snow for our neighbors come Thursday morning. Stay tuned here for more details as the storm event unfolds in the next 24+ hours. In the meantime, be safe and keep on keeping on, just like the Yeti.
Yours truly, The WUR Management.
We have already exceeded the 4″ (10.2 cm) benchmark for being called into action, so WURSCC v. 1. 4 is very much on for this evening and we will be looking to clear key bus stops at HP/Cummins and in/around Roslindale Square in anticipation of getting back to business and school tomorrow.
Accordingly: Meet either
(i) Rob Guptill TONIGHT, March 13 @ 7:30 pm, at the northeast corner of Washington Street and Cummins Highway (RCC); or
(ii) Matt Lawlor TONIGHT, March 13 @ 7:30 pm, at the northwest corner of Hyde Park Avenue and Cummins Highway (Atlas Liquors).
Please dress warmly and bring your own snow/ice clearance equipment and supplies (shovels, picks, icemelt, etc.) to the extent you can. Thanks and hope to see you there tomorrow morning to do some more community service this winter.
Snowfall from last night/this morning’s storm has exceeded our 4″ (10.2 cm) benchmark, so we are going to check on and, if necessary, clear our identified key bus stops:
Accordingly: Meet either
(i) Rob Guptill TONIGHT, March 8 @ 7:00 pm, at the northeast corner of Washington Street and Cummins Highway (RCC).
(ii) Matt Lawlor TOMORROW, March 9 @ 7:00 am, at the northwest corner of Hyde Park Avenue and Cummins Highway (Atlas Liquors); or
Please dress warmly and bring your own snow/ice clearance equipment and supplies (shovels, picks, icemelt, etc.) to the extent you can. Thanks and hope to see you there tomorrow morning to do some more community service this winter!
…for our small, but dedicated army of snow clearers to be called into service tomorrow. Forecast is currently for 1 to 3 inches of wet snow. We will get the message out if that changes on the upside. That is all. Good evening!
Overall, and no surprise to anyone, but there was a lot of snow out there this morning. The vehicular portions of streets were generally in good shape thanks to the city’s long-standing practice, so thanks go to the city’s own crews and their team of contractors responsible for plowing those areas. The sidewalks and the bus stops on them were another matter. The stops themselves on Hyde Park Avenue were in decent shape, though plowed in. At the other stops we cleared, the conditions at the start ranged from bad to horrendous. Clearly, more advocacy and work are needed to bring more attention and resources to clearing the walking and transit-related portions of streets — the sidewalks and bus stops — that are the city’s responsibility and enforcing the obligations of private property owners on the balance of our sidewalks. Plenty of folks we saw out this morning either walking or waiting for the bus were doing so in the cleared vehicular parts of the streets because the sidewalks and bus stop areas were unusable. This is hardly news if you’ve walked around Roslindale after a major snowfall. But it’s now 2018, combating the manifest impacts of climate change on this coastal city should be a top priority, and we need to move faster to encourage the shift to more walking and transit use that GoBoston 2030 is meant to promote. More needs to be done a lot faster.
So, my crew (Greg Tobin and yours truly) started the morning at Hyde Park Avenue and Cummins Highway. The first bus stop we hit was on Hyde Park Avenue going northbound:
Sidewalk was clear on the other side of this. Pretty good start.
Next, we confirmed Greg’s good shoveling out on Cummins going westbound before Hyde Park Avenue and on Hyde Park Avenue going southbound after Cummins:
Then things started to significantly deteriorate. We walked up Cummins from Hyde Park Av., over the bridge over the MBTA/Amtrak tracks (the sidewalks on the bridge were shoveled and treated – right to the presumed property line), and dug out the 2 bus stops (east and west on Cummins) — neither of which or the sidewalks leading to them had been touched. Plowed in and completely unpassable, so the best we could do was create landing pads for the 2 stops:
We then made our way over to Roslindale Square to join Steve Gag and Rob Orthman and finish up their work at the major bus stop at Washington Street, heading northbound, at Cummins, in front of the Roslindale Community Center. When I passed by in the morning, the sidewalk had been partially shoveled but the shelter hadn’t been cleared and there was no way to access buses when they stopped – plowed in. Here we can see Steve and Greg working on clearing the corner and several shots of the cleared bus shelter and paths to board buses, and then below that, the cleared stop in front of the florist on South Street:
Finally, on the way home, I first walked up South Street and encountered a massive, sidewalk-blocking snow mound on South Street abutting the Village Market parking lot. Hopefully this has been cleared by now.
And then, to finish off the WURSC Collaborative 1.2, I dug out a landing pad for the stop where multiple buses come in at Robert/Belgrade/Corinth, on the same side as the commuter rail station. As can be seen from the photos, the sidewalk on Belgrade was completely plowed in and I can report that no clearing had occurred this evening. It is to be hoped that this sidewalk and bus stop will be cleared as soon as possible.