Wu Talks Winter Preparedness in the City

Mayor Michelle Wu held a press conference regarding winter preparedness in the city on December 13, where she provided residents with resources for staying safe during the cold and potential snow to come.

She said that the city’s Department of Public Works, along with other departments, have been making preparations for the upcoming winter season. The press conference took place at the Public Works Yard at 400 Frontage Road, where some of the city’s 40,000 tons of salt is located.

Wu said that the city has “164 pieces of in-house snow clearing equipment,” and has the capability to put 800 pieces of equipment in use for larger storms.

There are also 18 pieces of new equipment, she said, including five small dump trucks, four large dump trucks, and nine pickup trucks, all equipped with plows and salt spreaders. There are also some new plows to replace ones that are old and worn out.

Wu also said that Public Works employees will be following COVID restrictions to keep themselves and others safe, and have a system where employees and contractors are allowed to start work remotely to “avoid large group gatherings at our facilities,” she said.

“As we are headed into snow, if a snow emergency is declared, please be sure to move your vehicle if necessary,” Wu said.

Additionally, she reminded residents that snow removal and de-icing of sidewalks in front of private property are the responsibility of the property owner. She encouraged residents to help out and check up on their older neighbors or those with disabilities, and to help shovel out fire hydrants.

“This is a time when we can truly work together and show what it means to be a city of neighbors,” Wu said.

Eligible seniors can also receive help with things like utility discounts, home repairs, and fuel assistance, as well as transportation, health insurance, and food access, Wu said. She encouraged seniors to reach out to 311 for access to the city’s Age Strong Commission. Wu said that additional 311 call takers will be on hand during snowstorms.

A Winter Weather Guide will be mailed out to residents this week, Wu said, which includes more information and resources in English and 10 other languages.

She also encouraged residents to sign up for the AlertBoston system, either by visiting boston.gov/alertboston or by texting ALERTBOSTON to 888-777.

Tenants are also encouraged to reach out to their landlords or property managers with any issues with heating, and if they are unresponsive, reach out to the city’s Inspectional Services Department at 617-635-5300.

When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wu encouraged residents to continue to get tested, and recommended vaccinations and boosters as well.

Chief of Housing Sheila Dillon said that organizations like Pine Street Inn, St. Francis House, the Boston Public HEalth Commission., and others have been working on resources for unhoused people this winter. Right now, there are more than 1000 emergency shelter beds available for men, women, and young adults. She said these organizations are “making sure everyone who shows up at the front door has an accommodation.” She also said that the city is aiming to “house as many individuals as we can before the winter months” to help reduce demand in the shelters.

Chief of Civic Engagement Aisha Miller also spoke about space savers, reminding residents that they are only permitted when a snow emergency has been declared, and are banned altogether in the South End. Residents have 48 hours after a snow emergency ends to use space savers.

For more information about winter in Boston, visit boston.gov/snow.

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