By Paula Ebben

BOSTON (CBS) – Fighting city hall over a ticket, but it has nothing to do with a car. The ticket is for not clearing snow from the sidewalk, and in this case it carries a $200 price tag.

The city of Boston has fined hundreds of residents and businesses over the last week. The message: We know shoveling is a pain, but it’s also a safety issue.

Seventy-six year old Lorraine Walsh has lived in South Boston most of her life. She actually likes to shovel. But the freezing conditions after the last couple of storms made it tough.

Lorraine Walsh (WBZ-TV)

Lorraine Walsh (WBZ-TV)

“Really windy if you remember. Fifty five miles an hour all the next day,” she says.

She shoveled what she could and threw down ice melter, but then found an unwelcome surprise in her door- a ticket for $200. “I don’t think it was fair because it was icy and it was difficult to get up,” she says.

“The rules are, three hours after a snowstorm we’re asking residents to shovel their sidewalks and businesses to shovel their sidewalks and if you can’t shovel it, get somebody to shovel it for you,” says Boston Mayor Marty Walsh when we asked him about the case.

CHECK: City Of Boston Snow Rules

The normal fine for a homeowner is $50 and $200 for a business. Lorraine’s is the higher amount because her family runs a small insurance business out of the house.

Lorraine Walsh shovels the sidewalk outside of her South Boston home (WBZ-TV)

Lorraine Walsh shovels the sidewalk outside of her South Boston home (WBZ-TV)

“I do intend to call and I will write an appeal letter. We’ve never had a ticket like this before so I don’t know how strict they are with it, and whether I have a chance of appealing it or not, but I hope,” Lorraine says.

Mayor Walsh, no relation to Lorraine Walsh, says he feels bad, but that safety has to come first. “The last thing we want to do is penalize people and write fines, but if we don’t, we won’t have people shoveling sidewalks and we’ll have situations where people can’t get passed on the sidewalk,” he says.

“Give us a little flexibility. Consider a warning. We realize it was windy and there were ice problems so we’re going to give you an extra day, that type of thing. That would be fair, wouldn’t it?” asks Lorraine.

Mayor Walsh also suggests that Lorraine file an appeal with the city, and acknowledges that the city doesn’t want to put an additional burden on a senior citizen.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kendall Buhl reports

Paula Ebben

Comments (13)
  1. David Keith says:

    Darn straight! Next time pay someone $25 to do the right thing for you,

  2. John Brennan says:

    Eff you. Who owns the sidewalks? The city does. When the sidewalks need repairing, who does it? The city does. If the city knows it’s a safety issue, step up and clean them yourself, Mayor. Afterall, you own them.

    1. I agree but the problem here is if she is living in a non-residential neighborhood then she may get screwed. Businesses are required to take care of there storefront the same day. Now if she has known from the beginning that she was responsible for it then she doesn’t have a leg to stand on. But I would have to say they need to give a little more time like 72 hours to do it in a case like fridged temps and the like. I for one wouldn’t live anywhere that requires me to take care of the cities property! So if I got a ticket like that I’d shove it up their butts!

  3. I am on the West Coast. Boston should be helping their neighbors instead of fining them. Instead of giving someone a ticket and expecting money like an old Scrooge, get in there and help an old lady shovel her sidewalks. Boston this has gone countrywide and we all know what a crummy cold-hearted city you are now and we don’t even want to visit.

    1. You must live in a temperate area with no snow. Every city that routinely endures big snow storms has similar ordinances, including cities in the west. Places like Bend Oregon have huge snow falls and residents are required to have their sidewalks cleared by something like 8:00 am. Then the snow plow comes by and plows a bunch of snow back over the sidewalk so out comes the snow blower a second time. That is the routine when you live in the snow belt. Try proposing a repeal of those kinds of ordinances and see how your neighbors react. Don’t expect a lot of support. Just saying ………………

  4. That is city property. Does the city pay her for the service of clearing the sidewalk or give her a refund from her property tax? Doesn’t the city have employees with those sidewalk clearing machine? Seems to me that this snow clearing is the responsibility of the City Of Boston. My town of Bridgewater has employees with the snow clearing machine. Maybe Boston use some of their corrupt money and hire employees or contractors for snow clearing just like the roads. After all, it’s the City’s property.

  5. If she falls and breaks her hip, the City going to pay for that? Only in America.

  6. I came home today and I got one too, just not quite as expensive.. BUT in my case the plows covered the entrance to the sidewalk with a 8-10′ pile of snow so i didn’t bother. now i have to shovel it AND pay. LAME!

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