WalkBoston Comments on 2022 MassDOT Snow and Ice Control Program EEA#11202

WalkBoston Comments on 2022 MassDOT Snow and Ice Control Program EEA#11202

February 6, 2023

Secretary Rebecca Tepper
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Attn via email: Eva Vaughan

Re:  2022 MassDOT Snow and Ice Control Program EEA#11202

Dear Secretary Tepper:

WalkBoston commented on MassDOT’s Environmental Status and Planning Report (ESPR) on Snow and Ice Control in 2018 and again in March 2021. Our 2021 comments were incorporated into the Certificate issued by EOEEA in 2021.

WalkBoston has continued to follow MassDOT’s efforts regarding the clearance of sidewalks, curb ramps and traffic islands that are under the agency’s jurisdiction, and we are pleased that the 2022 ESPR includes several new commitments to sidewalk snow clearance.

One important step that MassDOT has taken since 2021 is the provision of grant funding of up to $50,000 to help municipalities purchase snow removal equipment for pedestrian and bicyclist facilities through its Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program. While not directed to MassDOT owned sidewalks, this program should help to increase sidewalk snow clearance on municipal sidewalks.

As stated on page 15 of the ESPR, approximately 43% of MassDOT roads have adjacent sidewalks amounting to approximately 1,300 miles of sidewalks located mostly in the central village and downtown areas of various communities. The new steps called out by MassDOT in the ESPR (pages ES-5 and 15) are the following:

  • New for the 2022/23 winter, MassDOT plans to hire more “seasonal” snow and ice employees that report directly to MassDOT to help with sidewalk clearing as well as other activities.
  • MassDOT will continue to evaluate vendor reimbursement rates and pay codes to enlist more contractors for sidewalk maintenance services and better reflect the variable snow removal efforts for large storms versus smaller storms.

When MassDOT reports on the outcomes of its 2022 ESPR we ask that the following information be included so that WalkBoston and others can see how successful the new efforts are at providing safe and accessible sidewalks.

  1. Provide a map showing the location of the 1,300 miles of MassDOT sidewalks, and indicate which of these miles were covered by work orders for clearance by MassDOT or its contractors.
  2. Include sidewalk clearance responsibilities in the table showing MassDOT SICP roles and responsibilities (Table 1.2 on page 6 of the report)
  3. Provide information about the cost of sidewalk snow clearance provided by MassDOT or its contractors – similar to that provided in Table 1.9 for lane miles.

We look forward to continuing to work with MassDOT on this important public safety and mobility issue.

Best regards,

Brendan Kearney

Deputy Director of Advocacy, WalkBoston

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