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editorial | CLEANUP SNAFUS

Folding all lawn chairs

WINTER STORMS are often frustrating for city residents, and last weekend’s blizzard was no exception. But the situation was made worse by a plowing performance that wasn’t up to snuff (or fluff) and by vandalism born of parking-spot grievances.

Boston residents should expect some inconvenience when a storm dumps two feet of snow. But this cleanup fell far short of Mayor Menino’s stated expectation that every street be plowed within an hour after a storm. Some side streets weren’t cleared for several days. What’s more, a website intended to let people track the progress of the plowing crashed under the demand.

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Part of the problem was that plows concentrated on major streets during the storm itself, to the neglect of the side streets. By the time the storm was over, some side streets were so choked with snow that they could only be cleared with heavier equipment like front-end loaders, which were in short supply. If lighter plows had kept pace during the storm itself, those streets would have been much easier to clear afterwards.

The mayor has apologized, promised a thorough review, and vowed that the city will incorporate the lessons learned. If so, the extra inconvenience won’t have been for naught.

Meanwhile, Boston police say there have been more than a dozen incidents of vehicle vandalism related to parking disputes. Retaliation of that kind has a long history in Boston, but there’s no justification for it, even during the period when people are allowed to save spots they’ve shoveled.

And that period is relatively brief — 48 hours after a snow emergency, by city policy. Afterwards, parking is once again open to all, and chairs and crates and cones should be removed.

Noting that it’s a felony to vandalize a vehicle, the department says it will be conducting serious investigations of these incidents. Residents with relevant information can offer anonymous tips by calling 800-494-TIPS or by texting the word TIP to 27463.

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