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Boston snow emergency: Parking ban, school closure, trash pickup delay

The snow emergency in Boston starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

A huge front end loader is put into position in front of a massive salt pile at the Boston Public Works yard on Frontage Road. Workers will start loading snow plow trucks with the salt beginning at 8 p.m. Wednesday night as over a foot of snow from a blizzard is expected in greater Boston. John Tlumacki / Boston Globe

Mayor Marty Walsh has declared a snow emergency in Boston beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday ahead of the major snowstorm that’s set to slam the area overnight.

It’s the first significant storm to hit Boston since March 2019, Walsh pointed out at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

“Let’s stay safe and look out for our neighbors,” Walsh said.

Parking will be banned on main roads and public school parking lots during the emergency, and the city will be towing cars that violate the temporary restrictions. Free and discounted parking for residents is available at certain public garages, and space savers are allowed during the snow emergency — except in the South End.

The storm is expected to heavily impact the normal morning commute. Walsh implored residents and commuters to stay home on Thursday, asking companies to allow their employees to work from home. Those who must travel should use public transportation, he said.

“If you are driving tomorrow, be extremely careful for ice patches that might be out there,” Walsh said.

It will be the first major storm during the COVID-19 pandemic, so snow-clearing procedures will operate differently to ensure safety. Walsh said employees and contractors will start work remotely in the field instead of receiving assignments together in public works facilities.

Boston Public Schools will be fully remote and will end two and a half hours earlier. BPS meal pick-up sites will not be open Thursday, but they are open until 6 p.m. Wednesday. Some mobile COVID-19 testing sites in the city will also be closed Thursday.

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Boston City Hall and all City departments, the Boston Centers for Youth & Family, and all branches of the Boston Public Library will be closed to the public Thursday.

Thursday and Friday trash collection will both be postponed by a day, and street sweeping is canceled starting at midnight.

Walsh reminded property owners that they’re required to clear ice and snow in front of their house and that handicap ramps, catch basins, and fire hydrants should also be shoveled out.

He asked residents to check on elderly and housebound neighbors and offer to shovel snow for them and said that homeless or vulnerable people in the cold should be reported to 911.

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