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Snowstorms, city place burdens on residents

Melvin B. Miller | 3/22/2018, 6 a.m.

The recent snow storm raised the question once again of the rights and duties of those who live in the path of the nor’easter. Do those who shovel out the parking space at their expense, or with their exertion, have priority access? Are homeowners required to keep the sidewalk in front of their homes free of snow?

Much of the problem comes from the fact that there is often no place to put the snow in a heavy storm. On streets that prohibit parking when a major storm comes, the snow plows remove the snow up to the curb and often push it onto the sidewalk. Then the abutters are required to remove the snow, even though they did not put it there.

Elsewhere, the plows come down the middle of the street and push all the snow against the parked cars. Even though parking may be permitted on the street, car owners then have a major problem digging out from the barrier created by the plows. Drivers have to shovel out themselves, or pay someone else to help them.

In many neighborhoods the residents know who has done the work to create a parking spot, so they accommodate one another. But trouble arises when someone tries to claim a spot created by someone else. Mayors have tried to resolve the problem by restricting the number of days people can put a placeholder in their spot. However, an arbitrary number of days will not resolve the problem everywhere. Let the neighborhood decide. People will know when normal parking access has resumed.

Plowing can become more efficient but the cost of snow removal ought not impose a financial burden on city residents.