When did natives of the Caribbean take over key public works positions in Massachusetts? That has to be what happened, otherwise how else to explain the haphazard approach to clearing this white fluffy stuff that falls from the sky in these parts at least a couple times a year?
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh came in for a lot of heat for his decision to move forward with the parade celebrating the New England Patriots Super Bowl victory as other parts of the city struggled to dig out from under a record-setting week’s worth of snow. The parade went off without a hitch, allowing Walsh at least some sigh of relief.
Walsh insisted no resources were removed from other neighborhoods to clear out the parade route, but try telling that to drivers in Dorchester who got stuck in gridlock because Dot Ave was a single lane that got jammed up when school buses trying to leave the parking yard couldn’t budge. The ensuing traffic jam left a line of cars back onto Columbia Road, onto the Expressway, and back into the O’Neill Tunnel.
Or maybe Walsh needed to talk with the parents walking their children to school along busy Melnea Cass Boulevard because the sidewalks were still covered by three feet of snow. Or the Green Line riders who couldn’t get the E train past Brigham and Women’s Hospital because the roadways forced traffic onto the street rail lines, blocking the progress of trains and forcing buses to take over.
But it wasn’t just Walsh who was the victim of snow blindness. The state Department of Transportation decided that rush hour Wednesday morning was a good time to close down the HOV lane on the Expressway to repair a pothole. The ensuing funneling of all those extra cars, as well as the increase in volume from those heading into the parade and those who didn’t trust public transportation (see Gabrielle Gurley‘s Download from Wednesday), made the normal slow-moving commute into a mind-numbing crawl. A spokeswoman said the hole in the ground in Neponset was causing some flat tires, triggering the emergency patchwork.
Outside the city, suburbs are struggling to get the kids to school on time – actually, just getting them there, period, so no one is going to class over the Fourth of July – but clogged sidewalks are making the task difficult and parents angry. With cutbacks in transportation money, more students are walking to schools on slippery roads and even those who wait for the buses have to do it on snow-slicked streets because there is no sidewalk to stand on in many locales.
Some communities such as Somerville are finally starting to shame those who shirk their civic duty by not shoveling off the walks in front of their houses. In Brockton, officials have delayed the opening of schools by an hour for at least the remainder of this week over concerns for student safety.
“Students walking to school or bus stops during the first-tier of our three-tiered busing system are walking very early in the morning and the delay provides them with an additional hour of daylight and greater visibility and safety,” School Superintendent Kathleen Smith told parents in an automated phone call.
Which brings us back to the idea of tropical natives in charge of snow removal. If they’re going to take over here, perhaps we can rent out their houses down there.
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