Where people got tickets for not shoveling snow after the February blizzard

MuckRock has put together an interesting chart and map based on data about tickets issued by city inspectors for failing to shovel sidewalks after the February blizzard.

Via Matt Carroll.



Free tagging: 


Inaccurate chart?

The chart seems to be inaccurate - it states that there were only 14 tickets issued (over what period of time?) in Allston/Brighton, but the map shows 30 tickets issued in the GAP neighborhood alone, let alone the rest of A/B. Am I missing something?


Thank you - I managed to look right past the separate listings for Allston & Brighton...still, I can't think of a good reason for three separate categories there.

Maybe the Allston/Brighton

By on

Maybe the Allston/Brighton category is for places on the border. The one that I and many others don't even know where it is.

I also thought the number was absurdly low until I saw the other categories, because my neighbors suck at the whole sidewalk-clearing thing. My building is usually the only one with a cleared sidewalk on my street after it snows.

Close to the Eire?

By on

Park the city car, write a few tickets in the neighborhood, then duck into the Eire for hot pastrami and cold beverages for the remainder of the day. Notice Downtown, Back Bay, the South End and "Boston/Wat" got almost no tickets as they are all too close to City Hall. No risk of Menino or his henchmen coming to supervise on the Milton/Quincy line.

Chart is inaccurate

Once again the chart seems to be inaccurate - look at the map, which shows MANY more tickets than the chart accounts for in Downtown, the Back Bay, etc. For one thing, there were quite a few tickets issued in Beacon Hill - no idea where those are accounted for on the chart.

adjusted for population per neighborhood?

By on

adjusted for population? Is this just # of tickets per neighborhood, if so isn't Dorchester the most populated, so you would expect it have more tickets than say mission hill even if the rate was the same.
Another factor would be people per sidewalk to shovel, since the back bay is going to have more people vertically per front of sidewalk, so 1 ticket would be written for a 40 person building with an walk unshoveled sidewalk, while in Dorchester most units are single family to 3 family, so 40 people who had an unshoveled sidewalk in front of them would be spread over a dozen or more sidewalks that would be ticket-able.

Post changed

By on

It's still interesting data, but because of the uncertainties about the data, I've deleted the Dorchester references.

Fallacy of raw numbers

The chart needs to be adjusted for population variance. Dorchester shows three times as many tickets as JP, but has 3.5 times the population. Therefore, JP is worse.

Fallacy of idiocy

By on

Population doesn't matter, *property* density does.

12 people in a triple decker where the landlord doesn't shovel the entrances (required by law) and sidewalks (ditto) is no different ticket-wise than a single-family, yet there's anywhere from a 6:1 to 4:1 difference in "population."

I called city hall half a dozen times and filed several Citizens Connect tickets for my next-door neighbor who lives on a major road everyone else for blocks around was shoveled, and his chunk was completely undone. It only became passable because of snow melt.

Never saw a ticket appear on his property. Don't they get slapped on the door? It should be a giant fluorescent envelop that says "PROPERTY VIOLATION"

Fallacy of bad chart

By on

There are far more basic issues with that chart than the lack of pop variance adjustment. You mention the 'raw numbers' - did you look at them? They are completely at odds with the finished chart on Muckrock's site. Someone there failed 5 grade math class (or has a weird axe to grind).


By on

We would need to see the number of tickets issued per capita for each neighborhood. Dorchester is the largest neighborhood so of course it would receive the most tickets. When you look at the map it actually does seem to be pretty evenly distributed.

Some numbers

By on

Dorchester accounted for 477 tickets out of 2,202 issued in total, or about 22%. Its population of about 100,000 is about 17% of the total population of around 600,000 (but, hmm, maybe the city's population is higher than that now - I might be a decade behind - in which case Dorchester's percentage of the population would be even lower).

Hard to determine Dot's pop

There is no single accepted definition of what is Dorchester, and I've seen population estimates running from 92,000 to as high as 134,000. Does the 477 apply only to the 92,000? The 134,000? Somewhere in between? We have no idea. The chart is useless.

Some better numbers

By on

The data set lists 462 Dorch citations, not 477. And more importantly, the population of Dorchester was last pegged by the Census burea at around 128K, or about 23% of Boston's 563K.

That would make the ticket per captia almost dead-on average for the city.

As I said above, Muckrock.com's graph is f'ed up and does not reflect the data set they apparently used. I've marked that site as 'unreliable".

Proves the point

Tell me something I don't know - the South End is the best neighborhood in the city (and world) and we do everything right.

Thank you, bye.

citizen's connect

By on

It looks like the building I reported via Citizen's Connect got a $100 ticket. This makes me happy since they did absolutely no shoveling until about a week after the storm. However, all Citizen's Connect shows is "ticket closed". I think the city doesn't realize that people want to know the actual outcome of the case. Just seeing the ticket closed with no explanation is frustrating.

I may or may not have experience with parking tickets in Boston

By on

Maybe "ticket closed" means that the person who got issued the citation paid it? I've never gone to court over a parking ticket. I accept my penalty, pay the ticket and think to myself "Welp, maybe some kid at an elementary school just got a pencil because I paid my $25 fine."

I would assume that after the City processes my payment, the status changes to "Closed."

Dorchester Lazy

By on

Actually, I was appalled at how lazy people in Dorchester - for me the areas of Savin Hill and Fields Corner - were with shoveling. Yes, it was a lot of snow, and no, there is not a ton of places to put it, but, the effort by most people was AWFUL. If you live in New England, you dig. You clear your sidewalk, you are out days after moving snow as it melts. You make the effort! Some people dug a single track and called it good. As the snow melted, it filled in with ice. Did they salt it? Nope. More then a few neighbors I talked to kept talking about how they were waiting for the City to come remove the snow. That's a load of crap. Maybe if we were lucky, they'd come clear some of the side streets, but that's not an excuse for not shoveling. Ridiculous. If I was the inspector, I'd be more stringent, and issue more tickets.

"Ticket closed" in this case

By on

"Ticket closed" in this case refers to the Citizen's Connect help ticket. Standard lingo for helpdesk or other ticketing systems. Does not refer to the actual statutory ticket a person receives for a violation.


By on

Yes, except every trouble ticket system I've interacted with gives you more detail than just "case closed".

It's their way of saying,

By on

It's their way of saying, "Fuck off, I ain't gonna deal with this complaint."

Open source parking ticket data

In some cities, you can see where parking tickets are being given out, real-time (apparently).

With this information, someone has calculated how likely you are to get a ticket in any neighborhood at any time.

Here in Boston, I bet you'd have to file a Freedom of Information Act to get the data, but with it, you could see if any one neighborhood is getting a "free ride" and also when and where the meter maids - sorry, parking enforcers - are out.


even worse

By on

Not only would you have to file a FOIA, but the city would probably give you the data in the form of PDF files on a disk or something.

Chart and table removed?

This post is now displaying:

[Google logo]

500. There's a problem.

Fusion Tables is not able to complete your request.
The team has now been notified of the issue.
Thanks for your patience.

"Fusion Tables is ... " ??


I'm seeing both the chart and the map, so either they've been restored or the problem is on your end.

500 errors just totally suck

By on

They indicate something wrong with a process or script or program on the server, but it's so vague it's pretty much useless for diagnosing what happened.