While standing around a plant in Worcester yesterday, one of my co-workers grabbed a tape measure and looked like he was randomly playing with it. Until he held in a way that one end touched the floor and the other came to just above my hips. He then said “that’s the snow we got this week”.
The winter storm from earlier in the week remains the hot topic in and around Boston; quite simply because you can’t avoid the impact. Boston was hit with over two feet of snow earlier this week – notching up the 6th largest snowfall in a storm in Boston’s recorded history, and the largest for a January storm. Worcester, where I was visiting yesterday and where I will be all week, they got their largest snowfall in recorded history — 34.5″.
I got home to Dorchester on Thursday morning to a new level of frozen hell I wasn’t at all prepared for. Yes I have lived in places where we have seen a lot of snow, yes I should be used to shoveling, you don’t have to pile that on … but what I wasn’t ready to face is ‘where the heck was I going to park?’
My condo didn’t come with parking (the building as a whole has a driveway for two cars, but one each is given to the other two units – and I get the backyard for the pup). So I am relegated to street parking, which as long as I knew people who live in Boston is as long as I knew that street parking is an adventure. My street, Edison Green, isn’t big enough for all the people who want to park,.so many of us park ‘kinda illegally’ in a space where two streets merge creating an open road triangle. Typically, this isn’t a problem because you can fit a lot of cars in there without blocking the road, and there always seems to be enough spaces for everyone.
The storm changed things, A LOT! Boston has over 800 miles of streets, and while they have a massive fleet of snow removal vehicles, snow removal is a misnomer right now. Plows can move down the streets, but the snow has to go somewhere – and right now, they can’t get the big shovels or dump trucks in to move the snow. Even if they did, they would be focusing on the big roads that are still slowly digging out as well. For Edison Green, this means that snow is piled up on both sides of the street up to five to six feet high. Digging those cars out must that were here during the storm must have been a massive task. Not just from the sense that someone had to move feet of snow off of the car, but you have to put it somewhere – meaning you have to get it on top of that five foot pile, with your five foot pile. Then when you clear the snow, you have to maneuver your car, which is tight enough on Boston streets when there is no snow. For the cars that were here during the storm that have been dug out, they leave these huge holes in the mass of snow surrounding the patch of curb.
With that much work, the biggest fear would be that after you cleared that massive hole for your car that when you get home – someone else is parked there. So, each hole is blocked off with either a street cone, or a lawn chair, or a box, or something to mark it as saved. The city actually allows this. An ordinance saying you can do that for up to 48 hours.
When I came home, I noticed the situation and started to sweat it immediately. Literally, panicking that I wouldn’t find a spot – and if I did, it would be a ticking timebomb of waiting to get towed. I actually got really lucky – at first coming across a big big spot cleared completely with no one putting up something to save it. In fact it was too big. The entrance had room only for one car, but the space was wide enough for a second if one allowed itself to be blocked in. There wasn’t a doubt that I was free to take it for when I got home, but there was also no doubt that taking it would be a real ‘dick move’. My plan B wasn’t that bad. This space made for two with one car entrance … well, I could make a second entrance. It mean taking a hole just big enough for someone to walk through and breaking it open for a car to fit. It’s still nasty difficult to get in and out. If someone is parked across the street from me, I usually have to do what I call a “Nascar turn”; in other words, turn into the snow drift so my car bounces off of it and whips around. Needless to say, I wouldn’t recommend it if you are trying to maintain the finish on your car – but I don’t see why anyone would bring a nice car down the streets of Dorchester for this exact reason.
Another storm arrives tomorrow, and we will see how much worse this becomes. Maybe we will see if the overall snow removal plan is to “let it melt” or actually clear things.