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City reminds residents to review snow emergency and removal policies

Posted by boston.com  December 14, 2013 10:00 AM

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The following was submitted by the City of Somerville:

Try as we may to avoid it, the inevitable New England winter is fast approaching. To help prepare new residents and seasoned veterans, Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone issued a reminder this week to all residents and property owners to review and familiarize yourself with the City’s snow removal and snow emergency policies and procedures, which can be found at www.somervillema.gov/snow. The City’s policies include regulations for snow plowing, property owner and city responsibilities during and after snow events, parking restrictions during snow emergencies, and much more. Residents are also encouraged to sign up for or update your contact information in the City’s Alert system to receive notification by phone, email and/or text message in the event of emergencies or with important information for your neighborhood.

The City is also currently seeking community members who would be willing to volunteer to assist elderly and disabled residents who may not be able to shovel sidewalks during snow storms this winter. Interested residents will be added to a contact list for residents in need of assistance, with priority given to senior citizens and residents with disabilities. To sign up for this important community service, please contact 311.

General Snow Removal Information:

The Somerville Department of Public Works and its contractors are responsible for clearing public streets, sidewalks abutting public property, walkways in municipal parks and open spaces throughout the City. Streets will be treated with salt and sand prior to or during snowfall as appropriate. Snow will be plowed to the curb (where possible). While we do our absolute best to avoid plowing extra snow onto sidewalks and driveways in this process, sometimes it is unavoidable, particularly in a very densely populated community, and we are truly sorry for those instances where it does happen

Owners, tenants or other occupants of any building abutting a public way must shovel the sidewalk and accessible ramps in front of their property, in accordance with the City Code of Ordinances. Once snowfall has ended, residents/property owners will have six hours between sunrise and sunset to clear snow and ice from sidewalks. Per federal ADA requirements, sidewalks must be shoveled to a minimum of 42 inches wide where possible. Failure to comply with this ordinance will result in fines, which may be issued on a daily basis in increasing amounts. Please note that residents may not shovel snow onto City streets. Additional information and requirements for shoveling can be found at www.somervillema.gov/snow

Snow Emergency Policies:

A snow emergency may be declared whenever four or more inches of snow are predicted. City officials closely monitor storm forecasts through various means, and will use all available information to make an informed decision as swiftly as possible. Once a snow emergency has been declared, residents will be notified via multiple lines of communication, including:

  • Citywide alerts;
  • City Cable TV (Channel 22 for Comcast customers, Channel 13 for RCN customers) and Educational TV (Channel 15);
  • Local TV, radio and print media;
  • Postings on City social media feeds, including:
              Facebook: www.facebook.com/SomervilleCity; www.facebook.com/311Somerville
              Twitter: @SomervilleCity; @311Somerville
  • City website: www.somervillema.gov  
  • Flashing blue lights activated at 22 key intersections in the City (when lights are flashing, a snow emergency is in effect). 

Parking Regulations During a Snow Emergency:

Once a snow emergency is declared, vehicle owners will have four hours (unless otherwise noted) in which to move their vehicles to the odd-numbered side of the street (unless otherwise posted), or they will be ticketed and towed.  Municipal and school lots will be made available at no cost to residents during snow emergencies. It is important that vehicles only be parked on one side of the street as noted above to ensure plows can make all roads accessible and safe, particularly for emergency vehicles. 

“As we work to keep our City safe, clean, and accessible, we ask you to please help us do our part by following our snow removal and snow emergency regulations, shoveling out fire hydrants in your neighborhood if possible, and consider volunteering to help friends, neighbors and loved ones who may not be able to shovel their sidewalks and steps this winter,” said Mayor Curtatone. “Winter weather has its challenges, but we take pride in the safety and appearance of our City year-round. So we hope we can work together again this winter to achieve that goal as efficiently as possible.”

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