Here's a page of information with links to more details on what you need to know in a Boston Snow Emergency. We used to do a new page every season. Now, we'll try to keep this page updated until we see a need for a fresh post.
And, we'll update this article with news items as we receive them throughout the season. To find out when we've updated this information, follow us on Twitter.
Updates will appear here:
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General Information You Need to Know about Any Snow Emergency
- "Use public transportation when possible and avoid driving vehicles on slippery roads to keep roadways clear for plowing equipment and emergency vehicles.
- Property owners are reminded to salt and sand sidewalks, stairs and pedestrian ramps to prevent slippery surfaces.
- Residents are encouraged to shovel out hydrants and catch basins near or abutting their property to assist our public safety agencies and protect against flooding.
- Please check on elderly or vulnerable neighbors who may need help.
- Use caution when walking near buildings that may have falling snow or ice
- Parking rules are strictly enforced during snow storms. Do not block driveways, crosswalks or ramps, and do not park within 20 feet of an intersection."
City of Boston Snow Information
Winter storms have an impact on our lives and the city has set up a "Snow Information" page with the latest information on things like declared snow emergencies, parking bans, trash schedules, school closings, etc.
Before The Storm
If you haven't already done it, click over and sign-up for notifications by the City's Emergency notification system. It could save you a parking ticket or a tow.
Adopt a Hydrant - Really great neighbors will locate and note the landmarks to find their nearest fire hydrant and work with one another to dig around it and keep it clear for the entire winter season. This community action can save lives and homes. Sign up here!
If the storm drain near your home is blocked with leaves and debris, you can clear it to prevent flooding when the snow melts.
Find your winter boots, shovels, windshield scrapers, sand, salt, and ice melt. (For the sake of dogs who walk barefoot on sidewalks, please choose a "Paw Safe" option when buying de-icing products.)
And, if you have a car, you may want to park it somewhere that is not signed as a "Snow Emergency Route." Here is a list of the major arteries for the Downtown Boston area with parking restrictions.
Heavy snowfalls can increase the risk for roof collapses. Here are the city's Tips for Protecting Your Roof.
Snow Emergency Parking in Boston Neighborhoods
With a warning that Parking Regulations will be strictly enforced, the city asks of residents:
* Remove disabled cars blocking roadways as soon as possible.
* Make your resident parking sticker visible within 24 hours after the end of a storm.
* Park in discount garages in your neighborhood with valid resident parking sticker visible. Arrive up to two hours prior to the start of the snow emergency and leave two hours after the emergency is lifted; otherwise you will be subject to standard parking rates.
* Follow all other parking regulations during snow emergencies; they will be strictly enforced. Parking meters remain in effect.
* Follow winter weather driving tips.
* Park on a posted snow emergency artery during a declared emergency. You will be ticketed and towed.
* Use space savers more than 48 hours after a snow emergency has been lifted.
* Park within 20 feet of an intersection or further than 1 foot from the curb.
* Park in crosswalks or in front of fire hydrants or ramps.
* Park in front of driveways or extend your car from the driveway over the sidewalk or street."
If Your Car Is Missing
- You can check to see if your car has been towed on this page from the city's site.
- If your car is towed, here is a map with the location of the tow lot.
- The tow lot phone number is (617) 635-3900
There are off-street parking spaces available to residents during the storm.
Go to this page, choose your neighborhood, and you'll see a list of available parking lots and garages and what they charge under this program for those with designated resident stickers.
Prices in garages range from $2 (Boston Common Garage) to $15.00 for 24 hours. In some sections of the city, municipal lots are free for those with resident stickers. All of these are on a first come, first serve basis.
Once snow falls, you see how seldom some cars in Boston are moved. We walk by cars that sit, snow-covered, for weeks on end. If you do dig out your car, you are not supposed to put the snow onto the street or a cleared sidewalk. That adds to the fun of the job.
If you live in a section of the city with a tradition of space savers, the city says those must be and will be removed 48 hours after a snow emergency has been lifted. For those new to this game, "space savers" are chairs, trash cans, and other objects that are placed in cleared and empty parking spaces to save the spot for the person who shoveled it.
Once snow, slush, or ice is on the ground, someone has to remove it from sidewalks.
In the city of Boston and in most surrounding communities, that someone is you or the people you hire to do it for you.
There was a Supreme Court Ruling in the state. The Boston Globe says this means, "property owners now can be held liable for injuries that are linked to any snow and ice on their land, regardless of whether the conditions were caused by nature or a city plow." Here's a link to the full story on that ruling.
In Boston, regulations for Snow Removal from Sidewalks are available on this page.
Snow Emergency phone numbers in Boston:
Main number: 617-635-3050
24-Hour Hot Line: 617-635-4500
French Toast Alert System
If you're new to the area or haven't been paying attention, you may not know this term. French Toast Alert comes from the rush to grocery stores for basic provisions (milk, bread, and eggs) when storms are predicted. Here's a link to the master page of the official French Toast Alert system for this area.
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Writers: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photos: © 2008-2015 Ed & Penny Cherubino