Greater City Providence

“You never know if they can slide into the street, get hit by a car.”

We could live in a city like this too. Check out the full story on

This month’s blizzard has brought a flurry of tickets, 173 yesterday alone, compared with 20 issued in all of December 2009. And officers are out today looking for more violators.

“If I find a violator, I’m going to write a ticket,” Tankle said Monday, as he patrolled South Boston in his truck. “I guarantee it.”

“I guarantee it.” Not, “Who me? That’s not my job!” No, “I guarantee it.”


The West Exchange Center on Federal Hill has cleared the sidewalks all around their buildings, but when it comes to their parking lots, the snow clearing turns decidedly auto-centric.

A path from the parking lot to the street, where employees arriving by car can then cross the street and go into their offices.

The sidewalks around the parking lot”¦ Well, I guess none of their employees walk to work”¦ BUT I DO!

Downcity tonight at Exchange Terrace and Francis Street pedestrians line up for a chance to climb through a tiny gap in the snow pile and get to the crosswalk.

I’m assuming the Yellow Jackets actually cleared this then a plow came along and pushed snow from the street back onto the sidewalk blocking the entrance to the sidewalk. Yellow Jackets have been all over the place clearing these situations.

Also, a reader reports:

Old people are walking in Street on Fruit Hill Ave trying to get to Stop and Shop on Manton. Very few sidewalks have been cleared as of 1:30 pm Dec. 29. Even St. Thomas Church has made no effort to clear sidewalk.

Very Dangerous!

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • I got a great big smile on my face as the officer stuck the ticket in the door of the house where no one had made an attempt to shovel. I’m sorry, I think I may have something in my eye because I’m tearing up a little. It’s just so, so beautiful! If only it could happen here!

  • Well, maybe where you live. On Federal Hill the cops won’t do shit about snow. But then I’m sure my place has snow piled in front of it because I wasn’t there to clear it out.

    The biggest issue is that the city is reluctant to kick people when they’re down. They don’t want to annoy absentee landlords, nor the old people.

    I suggested the mayor form a CEDR type winter program. Equip kids with the tools necessary and have them hit the sidewalks of the elders for a pittance, or maybe $10 or $20 per sidewalk for those who can.

  • Who are they kicking when they’re down? Surely people who are out of work have time to shovel some snow. Heck, they can probably make some money offering to shovel snow for other people too. It may sound heartless of me to think like that, but it’s true. I’m sure the people who are out of work and have a car had time to shovel out their car, but left the sidewalk because it doesn’t affect them.

    Old people are a different issue and there are ways to get around that. But the fact remains that it’s up to the person who owns the property to be sure the snow is removed, regardless of age.

  • I take issue with Jim and carfree. There are plenty of reasons that a ticket is a miserable way to deal with this problem (I still think it is the best option). For example, when I used to live near Hope and Forest Streets I lived next to an old lady who could barely walk. Her son used to come shovel her snow but then he moved away. I took up the task as a neighbor after that (her sidewalk space was not substantial and I kind of like shoveling). People who would otherwise shovel take vacations, businesses too.

    I think one of the big problems is the lack of neighborhood cohesion. When I lived in Chicago in a row house we never had a problem. There were enough concerned neighbors that if someone’s sidewalk was un-shoveled it would just get done with the expectation that if you were gone yours would get done. What I see in PVD is the same people never shoveling and then neighbors either not helping or giving up. I guess the take home is know your neighbors and be a good one.

  • The issue of the old lady is answered by a form she can fill out that gives her free assistance from the city to have her sidewalk shoveled. The city should work with neighborhood associations, even, *gasp* help people form them in underrepresented areas. Then the city can work through those neighborhood groups to get free assistance in shoveling. If, for whatever reason, there is no one available, the city should send a couple of public works people to, at the very least, shovel the required sidewalk path and a path from the sidewalk to the mailbox for the mailman. We pay enough in property taxes, it’s the least they can do.

    As for people on vacation, you are still required to remove or have someone else remove the snow from your sidewalk. It’s a public safety issue. In cases where the person is physically capable, the city and neighborhood associations should require a donation to the neighborhood association or payment to an organization to have the snow removed. This payment should be the same for all homeowners regardless of the amount of road frontage.

    Businesses and commercial property owners don’t get out of it at all. They either remove the snow, pay someone on their own to remove the snow, or they get fined. No questions asked. Businesses should WANT to remove the snow from their property. After all, in a city, it’s how people get there. The city could provide the businesses with a list of some local snow removal companies.

    All city and state sidewalks should have snow removed by the city.

Providence, RI
5:16 am8:08 pm EDT
Feels like: 70°F
Wind: 9mph S
Humidity: 52%
Pressure: 29.86"Hg
UV index: 0
77°F / 61°F
68°F / 64°F
81°F / 61°F