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Pilot snow-clearing program coming to downtown Needham

Needham recently announced a pilot snow-clearing program in the downtown business district aimed at helping customers and employees better access restaurants, stores, and other local businesses during and immediately after snow and ice storms.

Under the program, the town will assist in plowing sidewalks in the pilot area of the business district once there is 2 inches of snow or ice accumulation.

Under town regulations, business owners and tenants in the downtown are responsible for clearing snow and ice from the sidewalks in front of their establishments, and that will remain the case for those in the pilot area. But through the initiative, the town will offer its assistance once the minimum snow and ice levels are reached.


Officials noted that the town cannot alone manage all the snow clearing itself, so businesses are asked to be participants in the effort.

The town will perform its clearing with a stand-on sidewalk snow vehicle that is more maneuverable than a traditional sidewalk plow. The vehicle was purchased through funds appropriated by Town Meeting last year.

The pilot area includes sidewalks on both sides of Great Plain Avenue between Chapel Street and Highland Avenue, and on both sides of Chapel Street and Highland Avenue between Great Plain Avenue and May Street. The town will review the results of the pilot at the end of the winter to determine whether to continue it next winter.

John Laidler can be reached at laidler@globe.com.