On Monday, as residents cleared their walks and driveways for perhaps the one hundredth time, a Journal photographer asked if he could take their picture.
“No way, because I’d have to give an obscene gesture so the City knows what I think of their efforts,” responded one irate resident, moving a shovel full of snow from one area to another. Frustrations have reached a zenith within the general public, and angry responses at public meetings, on social media and within the grapevine have become dominant from Revere to Boston to Everett and beyond. Chief among those criticized are mayors and city managers, who probably aren’t given enough credit for the fact that nearly 65 inches of snow have fallen on the region since Jan. 26.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh has taken a heaping of criticism from the public, and Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo hasn’t been immune either – especially on social media.
Rizzo said the two mayors have communicated about the situation, sharing their troubles.
“I texted Mayor Walsh the other day, saying ‘Great first year,’” said Rizzo with a laugh. “He responded, ‘Brutal.’ Thankfully most people are reasonable and understand what we have here. Most people understand that it’s going to take time. We’re getting through it. Our Public Works and private contractors are plowing and really exhausted, but they keep doing the job. I don’t think we can ask any more from them.
“If people need to vent, by all means then, but people should understand our major goal is to maintain what we have – meaning to keep the roads open for ambulances and fire apparatus – and we’re having trouble doing that,” he continued. “We’re hearing that Thursday is going to bring another four to five inches.”
With more snow on the way, and a record amount falling in a short timeframe, Rizzo and other public officials in the area have asked the public to be patient, help by shoveling hydrants and realize the heavy task that cleaning it all up will be.
“We have 45-55 pieces of equipment out there,” he said. “A lot of it is starting to break down because of the heavy load and then we lose an hour or so with that piece of equipment. The thing we’ve been trying to drive home…and will continue to ask for is that the public has patience with us and that they not set unrealistic expectations. This is going to be a long clean up effort…Once these storms stop, we’re still going to have some pretty big problems. Just because the storm stops at 4 a.m., people shouldn’t expect to wake up and see plowed out driveways and streets down to the asphalt.”
The state record for the most snow in a 30-day period was 58.8 inches of snow, set in 1978. In Revere, as of Tuesday morning, there had been 64.9 inches of snow – as measured by the National Weather Service at the Revere/Eastie border.