Should People Older Than 60 Not Have to Shovel in Boston? City Council to Discuss Proposed Ordinance

Should Boston residents 60 and older not have to shovel the public sidewalks in front of their homes? On Tuesday, the Boston City Council will discuss District 7 City Councilor Tito Jackson’s proposal to exempt anyone older than 60 from having to shovel.

Sidewalk shoveling, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015.

Currently, Boston requires all homeowners to shovel the sidewalk in front of their home within three hours of snow stopping and they can be penalized $50 per day for not shoveling.

Jackson’s proposed ordinance says “Shoveling can lead to serious health problems for the elderly and disabled, including respiratory illness, heart attacks, falls, broken bones and death.” It adds that, “The current shoveling laws force elderly and disabled residents to choose between being fined and health risks.”

There is no mention in the ordinance of who, if anyone, would shovel the sidewalks of elderly residents exempt from shoveling.

The Committee on Government Operations will discuss this proposed ordinance on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 10 am on the 5th floor at Boston City Hall. This meeting is open to the public and residents may testify.

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  • Monster

    The city is always trying to find jobs for teens…shoveling is perfect. Sign ’em up. Uber for shoveling. But 60 is too young for a free pass…if you can’t retire from work, you can’t retire from keeping your sidewalk clear.

  • Hugo_JP

    And if those 60+ years were exempt, exactly who would be responsible for cleaning those sidewalks? Oh, a whole new city bureaucracy perhaps.

    • AlanThinks

      Tito is going to volunteer to do it, maybe?

      • Monster

        I love Tito, and I think his heart is in the right place here (legitimately old and infirm people do have a hard time shoveling), but I think this is a problem begging for a more creative solution than this.

  • Malena

    This is a tough one especially if we have a lot of snow like last year. I think 60 may be too young but then again, I have a neighbor in her 30s who is disabled and she has to rely on volunteers. It doesn’t seem right that as a society we can’t have some kind of mechanism for people who genuinely can’t do shoveling. How about if every neighborhood had a listof such people with one person who monitors it and seeks volunteers or paid helpers. At the beginning of the season they could contract with local individuals who would be willing to be on call to go shovel a particular house (or a volunteer). For peopleconcerned for safety,they wouldn’t have to interact with whomever it was. The owner could kick in a few bucks towards the arrangement. If the City happened to ticket them because it didn’t get done early enough, they could appeal based on already being on that list. I know it seems like another layer of bureaucracy but at least this one would have a direct purpose and answers a real human need.

    • Gladys

      That’s nice of you to clear your neighbor’s sidewalk.

  • Jameson

    This is poorly worded. We don’t require anyone to shovel, we make them legally responsible for snow removal on abutting sidewalks. You can hire someone, use a snow blower, ask your kids, or include it in a rental agreement for your tenants.

    • Trans Global Girl

      I agree. Regardless of age, one is required to keep up their property as far as safety is concerned. Snow is just one of the items. Unofficially, it would be great karma to help out your neighbors who physically can’t shovel or afford to pay for it.

  • Paul

    If you can afford to own property in Boston, you can afford to pay someone to shovel it. What if someone 60 or older walks on that sidewalk, slips, falls and breaks a hip? That’ll cost more than a shoveling