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Chicago official says his city can't really be world class until it copies something Boston is sort of doing

Looks like we have competition for fretting about whether or not we're really world class. The Chicago Sun-Times reports one city alderman (like one of our city councilors, only with more ald) is backing a pilot proposal to have city crews plow certain sidewalks rather than relying on recalcitrant property owners because that's just what a world-class city would do. Like Boston.

Toronto, a sister city to Chicago and similar in size, already plows its sidewalks. Boston, Minneapolis and the Upstate New York cities of Syracuse and Rochester are “either doing it or talking about requiring sidewalk snowplowing,” Villegas said.

“If we’re gonna be a world-class city, then let’s act like it by providing world-class service to our residents. They deserve this,” he said.

Wait, what, you say?

In fact, Boston Public Works did start a sidewalk pilot last winter, but just to clear off corners and ramps, and just in Downtown Crossing. But it's looking at expanding that to street corners in the city's 20 Main Streets commercial areas, with an expanded fleet of Bobcats it bought last year.



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…. Boston really was that world class.


But it professes to want to be, does that count?

who wants Chicago to be like Boston. We have a mayor who wants to make Boston like Chicago. They have a mayor who was run out of office in the last election because she ruined Chicago. People need to stop telling others how to live and let politicians ruin cities on their own.


Name one thing the mayor of Boston is doing to make Boston like Chicago.


That's probably it.

(She's also from Chicago …)


People need to stop telling others how to live and let politicians ruin cities on their own.

What does this even mean? All ideas must be new ideas? You should never follow the lead of anyone else? If someone else is doing something, you can never do it yourself?


So whatever happened to these? I recall thinking that it would be a waste since a winter like 2015 happens so rarely in Boston. We are not a world-class-snow city like Montreal.


Edit: This was supposed to be a reply to the Bobcat thread.

Not sure how often we will have amounts of snow that require a fleet of bobcats to clear handicap ramps. But can totally picture a Public Works dumptruck, a bobcat on a flatbed trailer, and 5 crewmembers being dispatched to clear 4" of snow off of a sidewalk handicap ramp.


Disdain for DPW aside, what method do you favor for clearing handicapped ramps? The fleet of guys with shovels would have a tough time with the plow-berms left by a storm like yesterday's in the subs. The plows left a 3-foot iceberg at the end of my driveway, and my shovel just bounced off of it. I used a chainsaw to carve it into blocks I could carry off.


They are extremely versatile, especially for snow clearing. You can use the original bucket to push and lift/move snow. You can put a plow blade on it, you can get a snowblower attachment, you can get the big brush attachment that can clear light snow (and dirt). AND the equipment is also useful for non-snow work, unlike the single purpose sidewalk plow units.


If you have a good interconnected sidewalk network and some local storage spots for the equipment, it should be easy enough to just drive the Bobcats along the sidewalk (plowing as you go) until they get where they need to be.

(and if we don't have those things, those would be good investments if we're going to beef up sidewalk snow clearing - which we should.)

I used to live in a village in upstate New York that had two bobcats. They cleared every sidewalk for 1600 homes and the bike paths, so everyone could still walk and bike all year round. They were especially great for cutting through the berms from the plows at the corners. They didn't do a perfect job, and they sometimes tore up your turf, but they would come through in the spring and reseed those spots for you. They used them the rest of the year too for other things. Incredibly versatile machines, and it was so wonderful to have continuous, clear sidewalks.

Definitely this idea of "world class cities" doing things is inane.

I've been saying for years the Boston should or shouldn't be doing things because the residents want them done or not done (and in some cases because we can or cannot afford them,) not because New York or Madrid or Phoenix does them.

And I will take the time to note the Canadian cities, or at least the ones I've been to in the winter (Montreal, Ottawa, and the mentioned Toronto) don't do a good job clearing their sidewalks. I have a rating system for my sidewalk shoveling, and I refer to the thankfully rare times when I had to leave a quarter inch of snow in places due to how things fell or when I was able to get out to clear as "Canadian grade."

Montreal does a lot better than Boston on this front.

One difference is, the city of Montreal owns sidewalk-width snowplows and uses them, even in residential neighborhoods.

Montreal has much better winter infrastructure than Boston or New York -- and needs it.


If you have a moment, go to YouTube and view videos from a Montreal native - Elton McFall aka Retroolschool. There are plenty of snow removal videos, plus some insights (warning: language) on the STM, the local transit authority in Montreal. The best videos are the ones referring to their newer buses, to which he calls "scrap."

Link: https://www.youtube.com/@retroolschool/videos

I came here to make the same comment. Montreal actually does a great job in this aspect. If you want to model yourself after a City, let it be Montreal!!

I will say that Montreal does an amazing job clearing the streets after a storm, but the difference between walking down St.Catherine after 6 inches of snow and walking down Boylston Street after 6 inches of snow shows that perhaps Boston's methods are a bit better. Too much slush left behind, and there's a tolerance for that little compacted and uneven bit to remain.

The point is that if another city can do it, and it provides a real value for their residents, that it should be considered. It's an attempt to get out in front of the common naysaying of "well it's not how we've always done it and besides it could never work in a city like ours".


I just hate the whole "if we would be world class we would do x" crap.

I think the claim is that all world-class cities clear sidewalks, not that all cities that clear sidewalks are world-class. No offense to the lovely city of Syracuse.

The do sit at a higher elevation after all.

Chicago's public radio station WBEZ took over the Chicago Sun-Times to keep it alive and merge two news operations together. Perhaps WBUR or WGBH could take over the Herald before it disappears entirely?

Nah,let the Herald and Howie Carr wither into oblivion, they deserve it.