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?

Maybe the Allston/Brighton

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?

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?

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.

Fallacy of idiocy

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

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).


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

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).

Some better numbers

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".

citizen's connect

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.

Dorchester Lazy

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.


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

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

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.