Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from Kathy and Shannon!!
Reindeer, both male and female have antlers. The male reindeer drop their antlers in the fall, but the females carry theirs until their calves are born in the spring.
Since Santa's reindeer all had antlers, including Rudolf, and they were very busy on Christmas Eve, what with all those rooftops and all, Santa's Reindeer must all have been female!
May the spirt of the reindeer be with you all in this season of Peace and Goodwill!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Snow Removal on Pearl Street, Cambridge Style


And here is the other side of the story! The dump truck is filled to overflowing. I was told the snow will be dumped on New St, near Dahaney Park. I wonder when the decision to use this location was made? The City was told quite a few years ago to stop dumping snow into the Charles River Estuary, and they then plowed and dumped it into Handiacpped Parking Spaces. I objected, and when the City continued with the practice I filed a Complaint with MCAD for unlawful discrimination.

The City really needs to think this whole thing through better. We should have a snow lot, and perhaps melt the snow, perhaps we could even get energy from this. When I used to ski, and spent time in Quebec City, they often recieved 24" of snow every two days or so. They brought in snow lifts, that worked like an escalator, runing down the streets after the plow, lifting the snow up the "ladder" where it "fell" into the dump truck that followed it. Cambridge knows where the narrow streets that carry bus traffic are located, and they should plan accordingly. This snow should have been removed on Friday, last week, after the unexpected 8" we recieved.

Hoping we will only get a dusting is NOT A PLAN!!!

Will the shovels be used to clear snow from curb ramps?

Sometimes the large equipment used by DPW inadvertantly knocks huge chunks of heavy street treated snow into the already shoveled curb ramps , blocking access. I have documented this problem several times. This has been a matter of discussion at Cambridge Commission for Persons With Disabilities, where folks are repetedly, and eronesoly told that private property owners are responsible for clearing snow from City sidewalks and curb ramps. Please referr to previous snow and curb ramp posts.

Below is a photo of a DPW truck with shovels. When I asked if the snow that fell into the curb ramps would be removed, I was told "Thats what the shovels are for." However, I observed the shovels being used to "pull down" snow from plowed up piles onto the street so the snow could be collected in the bucked and deposited into the dump truck. I haven't been back to check the curb ramps yet today, as, gee wiz, its snowing again!!

Six Hours after signs without dates were posted on Magazine and Pearl St this car was towed

Wed evening this car was towed by the City of Cambridge from Pearl St at Lawrence St. Emergency no parking signs had been posted only six hours earlier in the same day, at 3pm. I called DPW, and the Cambridge Police to voice my opinion that yes, we needed to remove the excess snow that had encroached upon the street to the point that the MBTA bus could not travel down the street without having an accident and brushing into cars parked on either side. However, I explained that many folks who had cars parked pon the odd side of the street had gone to work before the signs were posted, or were working double shifts, and had not yet returned home from work.

DPW trucks trundled along Pearl Street around 8 pm announcing Cars parked on the odd numbered side of the street must be moved or they will be ticketed or towed. Only folks who were home could here this anouncement. I find it patently unfair to peanilize residents who park their cars on the street because they do not have driveways for the City's failure to plan better.

Here is one of the signs planted in snow banks anlog both Pearl and Magazine Street. There is no date nor time, but all residents I spoke with who turned ont to see the planned mass towing opperation informed me the signs were not there before 3pm. I called a City Councillor and the Chronicle, and the police, again, and apparently this mass towing event was nipped in the bud, because, as I was told later by DPW snow removal crew, we didn't get the signs up in time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

City dumps salt/sand on top of unshoveled 4" thick carpet of snow turned to ice

Believe it or not, the City came to my home, after my testimony In City Council Monday evening, and after the late Policy Order about how the City might get the snow off the sidewalks that abutt the properties of taxpayers who are disabled, or seniors, and on the City's Snow Exemption Program. The photos above show what they did when they finally got there!

Did they shovel the snow, or remove the ice? No!!

What they did was dump tons of salt treated snow on top of the 4" thick frozen solid snow turned to ice carpet! Most of the treatment stopped short of the sidewalk taht passes across the driveway. "We don't do driveways" is the infamous motto used by DPW. Of course the driveway is not the issue, the sidewalk that passes across the driveway is the issue! DA!!!

So, as you can see, huge chunks of frozen and ineffectively treated snow continue to block the passage way, whice is barely a foot wide, and which continues to be a hazard to any passerby, and in inpassible barrier to anyone using a wheelchair.

It is impossible for my service dog to walk on the sidewalk in front of our own house, because her feet get severly burned when this much salt is used. Although I have asked the City to modify its proceedures re using excissive salt vs shoveling the snow as other reasonible folks do, the City continues to ignor any request for reasonable modifications to their policies, and just does as they please, and only after public testimony, photos, and pressure from City Council!

Please do see previous stories on this. And leave comments of your own as you like!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cambridge City's Snow Exemption Program

In the photo above you can see that the carpet of tramped down snow turned to ice has melted down to 3" deep. No one can walk on this, much less People With Disabilities, or Seniors. The City of Cambridge has a duty to shovel the snow from the sidewalks that abutt the properties of our most vulnerable citizens. However, the City has failed.

Here is a photo of the dahanhewy Park crew skedadleing after they discovered that the siodewalk was solid ice. They tried a couple of shovel strilkes at the solid 3" thick ice, then gave upo, jumped in the pick up and took off. I just caught them as they were taking off down Pearl Street.

Marie Liman, DPW informed me today, that the DPW was no longer responmsible for clearing snow and ice from the sidewalks abutting property of folks on the City's Snow Exemption Program. She explained that the Paul Ryder, 617 349 6229, at the Dept of Human Services was responsible. I found out from Anita Rhodinburg (sp) that this crew was responsible for

1. Dahany Park, all the parking lots there, and the abutting sidewalk there.

2. Blanchard Rd sidewalk abutting the golf course.

3. Ringe Rd abutting the cementary.

4. 8 Child Care Centers located at the Public Schools

5. 65-75 Sidewalks abutting properties of folks on the City's Snow Exemption Program.

As you can see from the photos, no one cleared any snow from this sidewalk, nor did they treat it with anti icing. Innfact no one has cleared snow nor treated for icing after any of the 3 storms we had this year.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sno go in Cambridge MA

Here is a sidewalk that has not been shoveled. It is covered with tramped down snow that has turned into a slippery, icy, hazard. Whose sidewalk is this? This is the sidewalk of a Person With a Disability who is on the City's Snow Exemption Program. to clear snow and ice from the sidewalks and curb ramps abutting their property. This is a good idea, because it keeps taxes down.
The City is required by State Law to clear snow and ice from the sidewalks, but the State allows the City to use the local option, and assign to property owners the duty of clearing snow from sidewalks and curb ramps that abbut their property.
The City has a program for People With Disabilities, and frail Seniors, who are unable to shovel snow, and who have limited income. The City will shovel the snow for those who qualify for the City's Snow Exemtion Program. Currently there are about 70 folks who qualify.
However, the City fails to actually come and shovel the snow. The sidewalks then become a dangerous barrier along sidewalks that have been cleared by other property owners. Everyone who passes by sees a property owner who has not cleared the snow from the sidewalk in front of their property. Folks on the City's Snow Exemption Program, CSEP, are therby publically humiliated!!
I have recommended that the City adopt a voucher system. Folks on the CSEP would recieve vouchers for snow clearance, which would be based on how long their sidewalk is, and could use these vouchers to have someone shovel the snow on the sidewalks abbuting their property at the same time they shovel their own property. It would get the sidewalks done in a timely way, and free up City staff to pay attention to curb ramps and parks that the City is also responsibe for.
Why does the City refuse to consider vouchers for the CSEP?