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The Boston Globe

Metro

Snow makes for stormy relations on Boston streets

Piles of snow blocking parts of Perrin Street forced people into the roadway Wednesday, a situation seen in other parts of the city, too.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Piles of snow blocking parts of Perrin Street forced people into the roadway Wednesday, a situation seen in other parts of the city, too.

Jessica Moscat of Dorchester has no ­other option: Seeing hardened snow piled high on sidewalks and towing a toddler in a stroller, she has to walk on the road.

Passing drivers, she said, have not been happy.

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“They beep the horn at you,” Moscat, 26, said as she crossed Dudley Street. “And you’re like, ‘Where am I supposed to go?’ ”

As the city recovers from a storm that dumped more than 2 feet of snow, pedestrians are finding that their travel routes have been diverted to road shoulders, and motorists, navigating snow-clogged streets themselves, are not always pleased to share the road while having to dodge other vehicles.

On Wednesday, even after most Boston streets had been plowed, at least with one pass, signs of blizzard-induced traffic abounded.

The snow has made some drivers impatient.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

The snow has made some drivers impatient.

On Dorchester streets narrowed to one lane by snowbanks, unsuspecting drivers suddenly found themselves face-to-face with cars coming from the other direction.

In South Boston, a convoy of school buses narrowly threaded the path between two walls of snow.

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And in Brighton, drivers came to sharp stops at intersections, blinded to oncoming traffic by graying snow mountains. In an effort to get in or out of driveways, some maneuvered with seven-point turns.

It was, some Boston residents said, chaos.

“The banks are so big; you’re just zigzagging down the road,” said Rachel Gordon, 26, who regularly drives on ­Colliston Road in Brighton.

She is terrified, she said, of running someone over. At ­every intersection blocked by a mountain of snow, she brings her car almost to a complete stop to be sure that the coast is clear.

“I slow way, way down,” she said.

For pedestrians, a swath of Roxbury where hip-high piles of snow covered the sidewalks and much of the roads proved difficult to traverse.

Late Wednesday morning, Charles Williams and Carrie Perkins walked down Fairland Street — the street, not the sidewalk — when a gray sport utility vehicle approached from behind, then pushed past, edging them into the snow bank.

Williams banged on the window with his right hand.

“Wait!” he yelled at the SUV’s driver, as it swept on. “Let me get off the road!”

Williams, 47, was frustrated with drivers who, he thought, had become frenzied since the blizzard.

“It’s like they’re trying to run you over,” said Perkins, 43, who ducked into a valley ­between two snowbanks as the SUV passed. “The cars — they’re flying by. They don’t want to ease over.”

Letter carrier Mike McBride says he’s good to pedestrians while driving because he knows all too well how hard the walking is.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Letter carrier Mike McBride says he’s good to pedestrians while driving because he knows all too well how hard the walking is.

A few blocks away, on Perrin Street, Yvette Rankins looked out from her doorway, amused. The two-way street, narrow to begin with, had shrunken in width because of snowbanks, leaving just enough room for one vehicle to get by parked cars.

But which direction of traffic would get the right of way? Every few minutes, cars making their way down the street entered into a game of chicken. Each time, at the last moment, one vehicle would pull into a previously claimed parking spot, occasionally pushing a chair or garbage can onto the curb.

In the doorway, Rankins shook her head.

“It’s not safe,” Rankins said, especially for members of her family who walk in the street and dodge cars coming from two directions. The narrow strip of plowed road, through the middle of the street, she said, was totally inadequate for a busy neighborhood thoroughfare.

She had ordered her 14-year-old grandson not to wear his headphones, she said, to better dodge cars that might whizz by him.

“I don’t see why they can’t get people out here to fix this,” Rankins said.

City officials will continue to identify sections of the city that need closer attention to snow removal in the coming days, Transportation Commissioner Thomas Tinlin said Wednesday, adding that he ­encourages commuters to use public transit in coming days to help make room for plows.

Mike McBride was also ­exasperated about driving amid the snow piles in Brighton, but was perhaps more sympathetic to those walking on snow-filled streets.

“I try to be nice to pedestrians,” McBride said, “because I’m usually one of them all day long.” He has worked for 20 years as a mail carrier.

Workplace hazards don’t come much more dangerous, he said, than picking his way through the ice alongside cars to reach mailboxes and deliver letters.

“It’s been no picnic,” McBride said, “that’s for sure.”

John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Martine Powers can be reached at mpowers@globe.com. ­Follow her on Twitter ­@martinepowers.

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