City Councillor Charles Yancy (District 4) submitted the order for the hearing, scheduled for Monday, March 4, 1 p.m., in the Iannella Chamber on the fifth floor of City Hall, which demands that the Council closely examine the city’s snow removal policy and the cause of the “drawn-out” removal process, as well as the extent of the city’s responsibility to remove snow.
“Twenty-four hours after the last snow fell, I found no less than a dozen streets that never saw a plow,” said Yancy. “I’m not pointing my fingers anywhere, but I do think it’s our responsibility to find out what happened and why we were not as successful as we try to be.”
According to Yancy, more than two dozen residential streets in his district, as well as other roads throughout the city, were still clogged by snow more than 24 hours as the storm ended on Feb. 11. The council member said his office continued to receive calls from constituents more than 48 hours after the end of the storm.
Yancy isn’t the only one seeking answers. Mayor Tom Menino also called for an explanation of the delayed snow removal process and a review of snow removal contracts.
The Public Works Department is responsible for plowing and/or de-icing more than 850 miles of city roads and employs more than 500 pieces of equipment, according to Yancy and the city’s PWD website. The department follows 200 plowing routes, with the city’s main roads and highways designated as the first to be cleared, followed by streets used by buses and other forms of mass transit. Side streets, public alleys and dead-end streets are the remaining areas to be cleaned.
Yancy also indicated that slow snow removal might have hindered emergency response teams who rescued the third-floor occupant of a house fire on Mather Street.
The councilor said he hopes the hearing will prevent similar problems in the future and reshape the city’s response program.
“Inaccessible roadways may create public safety and public health hazards for residents who reside on these streets. Those seconds, minutes and hours can mean the difference between life and death,” Yancy said.