Carrots and sticks in snow removal

A man shoveled along Commonwealth Avenue.

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A man shoveled along Commonwealth Avenue.


In the aftermath of major storms, snowy, icy sidewalks often prove a serious danger to pedestrians. The record 2,400 tickets Boston issued property owners for not shoveling sidewalks or for dumping snow into the street after the February blizzard should be an unfortunate reminder of owners’ responsibility to clear sidewalks near homes and businesses. The tickets may have stung a bit, but should be applauded as a necessary step toward improving public safety.

The tickets, issued for more than two weeks after the storm, also reflect a more responsive city government. Lodging a complaint is now much easier through a new 24-hour hotline and Citizen Connect, an online application. Collection of fines, mostly from $25 to $300, has become smarter, too, with unpaid penalties now attached to property owners’ tax bills. The revenue from the fines, totaling more than $200,000, can be used to prepare the city for future storms.

Through greater enforcement, the city has made clearing up these perennial winter safety hazards a priority. Let’s hope property owners begin to do the same.

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