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Bureaucratic inertia forces pedestrians to walk on ice across from Forest Hills station

Dangerous sidewalk across from Forest Hills MBTA station

UPDATE, Friday morning: Kate Hutchinson reports a crew from Barletta, the company doing the Arborway project, cleared the ice.

With both the Arborway and the T stop undergoing major construction work, pedestrians heading towards South Street from Forest Hills are supposed to cross Washington and continue north.

But apparently the city, MassDOT and DCR can't decide who's supposed to shovel the walk, so nobody has.

Sara Jones took this photo last night.

Despite complaints to the city and the two state agencies, she reports tonight that the sidewalk still hasn't been shoveled. So maybe it's just as well we're not expected to get much snow this weekend, but that's little comfort to Jones, who is in her third trimester of pregnancy, so a fall on the encrusted mess would require a trip to the hospital:

Neighbors and I have now complained to every agency. Stop the buck-passing.

Neighborhoods: 

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Comments

Tuesday, all day, Community Service subjects of the Quincy court were shoveling the sidewalks along the bridges over the expressway at East Milton Square and by the Home Depot in Quincy. You know, the bridges that once saw a pedestrian back in the 1960's.

Does anyone in state government, you know, talk to each other?

Sara, get on the phone to your larger house than approved State Senator and raise hell. Remember, you're paying for all of this.

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larger house than approved State Senator

???

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Typical. In my neighborhood we have a few spots where multiple agencies all own a few feet of sidewalk, so none of it gets cleared. The worst is by the train station, where the DCR, MassDOT, MBTA, and city each own about equal parts. None of them shoveled a single time last winter.

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In MA it is par for the course when a bit of real estate is everyone's responsibility it's no one's responsibility. The state agencies will engage in a circular, "it's _________ responsibility" and wash their hands of it until the it falls apart. But if the "it" is suddenly reassigned to one specific agency then suddenly everyone is pissed "their" turf is to be taken from them.

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Sidewalks by parks, on bridges, by government buildings, etc. etc. are not shoveled. It happens every winter. And nothing changes. The state and the city are both responsible and they just don't care. At least private owners are sometimes cited with a ticket. Charlie Faker doesn't care and for that matter no state employee cares. Mayor Marty doesn't care and for that matter no city employee cares.
Lawsuits if someone gets injured? They don't care. The money will come out of the taxpayers pockets, so Faker and Marty dont care. And neither did their predecessors.
I'd love to see Marty's fake snow removal score on his new toy online scoreboard. You can be sure it won't include sidewalks.

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At least private owners are sometimes cited with a ticket

Even though they don't actually own the sidewalk their property abuts. This BS of "maintain property you don't actually own or have no actual control over" is long overdue for a legal challenge.

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Has she reached out to WalkBoston.org? They've been really great about getting DCR to do their job. I mean, it's total bullshit that we have to constantly remind DCR and MassDOT to do their job, but if you alert WalkBoston they will hold the agency accountable.

http://www.walkboston.org/contact-us

They're also on Twitter @walkboston and very responsive!

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Last year, the only thing that finally reminded the DCR to do some snow removal was someone literally falling off the BU bridge because the snow on the sidewalks had piled up to the point that the barriers on the edge of the bridge were only a foot or two higher than it. They never bothered making an effort to clear the other bridges at all.

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I had to report the DCR Tuesday for not clearing the sidewalk on the Mass Ave/ Harvard bridge. They didn't clear the bike lane either, and snow season has barely begun.

Last year I had to report them and MassDOT on a weekly basis. Summer St bridge was never cleared. Southampton St bridge between Andrew Station and South Bay was never cleared. The bridge on Cambridge St in Allston near the on/off ramps doesn't get cleared. The area near Hynes at Mass Ave and Boylston is never cleared.

Park Street bridge wasn't cleared.
http://www.universalhub.com/2015/memo-massdot-he-votes-your-budget

And if you report to 311, they just wait for the snow to melt and say "no vio." It's really frustrating!

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Before MassDOT, the sidewalks on Boylston above I-90 were cleared by the Turnpike Authority, and they did a worthy job, as I recall. Now it's nobody's again.

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Yup I have to constant complain to DCR about the fact that they didn't do snow removal on the sidewalk of the Charlesgate East overpass. They seem to always remember to plow the sidewalk across the street along the Fens but god forbid they do the island at the intersection and the other sidewalks.

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DCR should be an agency focused on its core mission of conservation and recreation and be out of the handling roads and sidewalks business - they prove time and time again they cannot manage the latter.

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The flip side is that the "parkways" through DCR land shouldn't be roads in the first place. Hell, the Esplanade at Charlesgate is 535 feet wide, and yet park users are afforded 15 feet cantilevered over the river.

DCR is no good at roads -- so let's start removing roads from park land. We need some so that long linear parks don't become massive barriers, but we'd do well to restore our parks to become resources for park users, not motorists.

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I've always thought they should make local cities responsible for all these and then bill the agencies. Some are such minor pieces of real estate that it's not worth the effort and not cost effective.

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WalkBoston sent this out on Twitter.

http://eoeea.maps.arcgis.com/apps/SimpleViewer/index.html?appid=4a64ec9c...

It's a legend illustrating DCR vs MassDOT areas. Note how many bridges are left blank.

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I will see if they can help get the sidewalk shoveled at Highland Station in West Roxbury. And maybe even keep them from blocking the pedestrian entrance with snow piles.

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Yup WalkBoston was contacted in response to this post. They contacted the MassDOT project team, who then apologized because the contractor was supposed to be clearing the snow but didn't realize it. MassDOT cleared up the confusion and the contractor cleared it, and will continue to as long as construction is ongoing.

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Someone is going to have to take one for the team:
- Get hurt
- Sue the state
- ?????
- Profit

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its no women in their third trimester of pregnancy.

i'd throw in criminal negligence charges for good measure, too.

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Boston should look at how real cities deal with such issues. Do you think NY would tolerate this shit?

And this is not the only location where "state property" is the excuse to do nothing.

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It's not better in NY. They might give even less of a shit.

In NY, when you file a complaint, they respond by telling you to fuck off. Whatcha gonna do about it?

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If a car or a helicopter doesn't need to go there, the city doesn't need to give a damn. Nobody wins "Most Walkable City" awards in months with "R"s in them

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Okay, so I was quite vocal before all this began that traffic was going to be a nightmare. In the end, from the point of view of someone who does not drive through the area at the height of rush hour but does take the bus, things have not been that bad.

Of course, for those who don't drive through the area, it has become a nightmare. They tore up the sidewalk on the north (west) side of New Washington Street about 6 months ago and replaced it with... nothing, save signs telling you to cross the street since the sidewalk is closed. Of course, at one of the crossings, they took down the pedestrian light but were nice enough to keep the fading crosswalk there.

Then is the great consideration they gave to bus riders. They tore down the great busway roof as quick as possible, but who knows if they will ever construct the new location, which of course is twice as far away from the station as the old one. That means that people are stuck in waiting shelters akin to the ones they have on Washington Street in West Roxbury, and people are jammed in the areas making the traffic flow, both people and buses, horrendous.

Therefore, I am not surprised that various state agencies are basically ignoring the sidewalks. Par for the course on this project.

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no one is afraid to lose their jobs.

The following is a non-partisan statement: Regularly having uncontested elections is not conducive to having an accountable and responsive government.

The following is a partisan statement: This mess is all the democrats' fault because they're in bed with the unions and pass laws that make it impossible for any manager in state government to hold his people's ass to the fire.

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I don't think any state employee whose job it is to remove snow would get the union to fight this. In fact, there's probably some overtime involved, which would mean you'd have multiple unions clamoring to shovel this snow.

No, the reality is that with entrenched bureaucracies the buck is always passed, which mean the DCR and MassDOT will both utter the classic phrase "it's not my responsibility."

But yeah, democracy only works when the officials are answerable to the electorate. On that point I agree with you. Perhaps if some state rep could get some legislation passed putting the ultimate responsibility for state sidewalks on a single agency, this crap would not happen.

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were involved he'd be able to find out pretty quick whose wallet to go after

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If you think our state and city are a mess go check out some red states and how they are run. Basically third world countries except they are morbidly obese.

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My experience as a motorist going through here at rush hour has been far better than expected, I agree completely. It frankly has not be an issue at all other than the first week of the Casey coming down.

My experience as a pedestrian going through here at rush hour has been the complete opposite of the above. Trying to cross Washington Street coming out of the Blackwell Path at the Arboretum is a real-life game of Frogger Seinfeld-style.

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WHY DID THEY RIP DOWN THE SHELTER??? AND THEN THOSE TINY GARBAGE HUTS???

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They're building a new upper busway, which will partially extend over the parking lot. Whether they had to get rid of the old shelter so early in the process is a good question, but ultimately, there will be a new, longer upper busway (in part to handle the 39), covered with a nice, new flat roof that will never ever leak when it rains or when accumulated snow melts.

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... the massive, long, flat roof -- especially after last year's snow issues. I guess this ugly and impractical design must have been cheaper than building something more in character with the old bus shelter.

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All the squawking about bridge versus at grade. All the talk of townie versus newcomer. All the talk about cars versus bicyclists. And in the end this whole thing is going to have a huge effect on bus riders, which, to the best of my knowledge, was never discussed before (in the media, at least.)

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... clearly don't count. :-(

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When in doubt, step up and help out, people. When push comes to shove, whether you believe in an afterlife, or karma, or just making the best use of your short blip of life on earth, if you think it might be your responsibility to do something that will probably help other people, go ahead and do it. Heaven, good karma, or the simple knowledge of a job well done will be it's own reward.

There is no political party that can resolve the problem of the lack of empathy in the USA today. So I dare you- do something nice, but invisible today. Be the person that refills the napkin dispenser in your workplace kitchen. Be the person that wipes down the counter in the public bathroom. Be the person that shovels the sidewalk half the way up the block from your property. Be a person.

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I think that's great that you are volunteering to make this area leas treacherous for pedestrians! Post pics please!

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I do a lot of extra things in many places, but are you suggesting we carry snow shovels (and ice choppers) with us when we take the bus, so we can fix those neglected sidewalks? Or, when I was a bicycle commuter, that I strap a snow shovel and ice chopper onto my bike so I could clear the bridges and bike paths along my route? Your urging people to do more for others is laudable, but in this case, I think it's misplaced.

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Last year in Hyde Park and West Roxbury, but that doesn't excuse whichever government agency is responsible for this ludicrously short stretch of sidewalk (it's maybe 20 feet) that pedestrians are now forced to use at what is currently one of the worst intersections in the city to navigate on foot.

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Clearing sidewalks - particularly those that are indisputably not part of someone's private property or business - is supposed to be one of the services provided by a government agency. The fact that they haven't done a fucking thing, when we've barely had any snow, is unacceptable. Are private citizens expected to do the government's job for them every time it snows? Especially if that job only benefits the poor suckers out there walking, not driving?

It's all well and good for us all to help each other out, but there are things that these state/local agencies are supposed to do, and it's a scandal that they haven't.

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Half the sidewalk along the northern edge of English High is covered in ice at this point. It's obvious nothing was done to clear the sidewalk.

Can we expect anything from elected leaders and their appointments that are more focused on spending millions tearing things down such as the North Avenue bridge, or whoring the city to the Olympics and car racing while public transportation continues to disintegrate?

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Route 203 aka Morton street and gallivan Blvd which runs from the Casey overpass to Neponset Circle is managed in its entirety by MassDot - sidewalks green space and street. They plowed the sidewalks this storm and looking forward to them maintaining them all year round.

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Generally, contractor IS responsible for the site until the job is complete and it's turned back over to the agency that owns it.

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