With hundreds of snow equipment and thousands of pounds of salt at the ready, Mayor Marty Walsh said that Boston is prepared for the upcoming winter.
“It’s that time of year again,” Walsh said Wednesday at a press conference at the Public Works Department. “Our winters, as we know, in the city can be tough, but the people of Boston are even tougher than the winters. We’ve lived through winters that seemed like they would never end, certainly in 2015.”
Forecasters have alluded to an extra-snowy season, with the Farmer’s Almanac predicting “snowier-than-normal” conditions in the Northeast this winter. The city is preparing for, and alerting residents on how to deal with, the worst.
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Officials have stockpiled 44,000 tons of salt in neighborhoods across the city, “ready to be deployed in advance of a storm,” said Chris Osgood, the city’s chief of streets.
The city will typically be using rock salt, Osgood said, but will brine certain key locations with a salt solution in advance of any blizzards.
The city also has 200 pieces of snow and ice equipment waiting in the wings, from large snow plows to machines that spread salt. There are also 500 contracted plowers that the city can call in for more severe instances.
This year, officials said, the city is focused on installing a new GPS fleet tracking system that will help support the hundreds of plowers clearing the streets in the midst of a storm.
“So as people call us to tell us their streets haven't been plowed, we'll be able to see what the situation is and why they haven't been plowed," Walsh said.
In the event of school closures, officials will try to alert families of cancellation the day before, so parents can make arrangements for their children’s care.
“Last year, we had five snow days. I know the young people of our city are hoping for a lot more than five; we’re hoping for a lot fewer than five,” Walsh said. In the event of closures, Boston Centers for Youth & Families will be open to children age 7 and older.
Walsh also touched on the Boston-favorite topic of space savers, reminding residents that space savers are only allowed when the city announces an official snow emergency, and only for 48 hours after the snowstorm has ended.
Even during snow emergencies, however, space savers are not allowed in the South End, which previously decided as a neighborhood to ban the practice.
As always, officials encouraged residents to rely on the city’s 311 system for information and aid in the event of storms, from finding places to park during snow emergencies to helping out any homeless people who may be spotted outside during the cold. More information can be found at boston.gov/winter.