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Snow Shoveling Etiquette

“Excuse me, but that was my spot….”

Are you annoyed by the winter habits of your neighbors?  Do you have a neighbor that abuses his/her parking space saver privilege, or are they a spot stealer, a non-shoveler or someone who abandons their car in the winter?  As you know, we all live in a town known for its tight-knit community and we should strive to get along with our neighbors.  You might have experienced some inconsiderate and maybe even some downright rude behavior during the winter – so we at Caught in Southie would like to help you out and offer some etiquette when it comes to shoveling.

Common Courtesies:

  • You should always shovel out in front of your house.  Clean off your stoop and the sidewalk area directly in front of your home.  Spread ice melt if the area is slippery.  Put your snow in neat piles near a tree or street corner.  If you own your home, not only is it a courtesy but it’s also the law and you can be fined for not shoveling. Shovel out in front of your house before you attempt to shovel out your car.
  • When shoveling out your car, form neat piles on the sidewalk (see above courtesy) in a common area. Don’t throw your discarded snow onto someone else’s car or home.  After you have successfully shoveled out your car and cleared off a section of the street – you can put out a space saver for 48 hours after a snow emergency has been lifted.  Don’t throw your snow in a bus stop or onto city streets. That’s not allowed.
  • If you live near the elderly, do the right thing and shovel out their sidewalk/stoop.  If everyone on your block joined together and shoveled their sidewalk, just think how neat and clear it would be for pedestrians.  Lord knows we don’t need pedestrians walking in the city streets because there isn’t a clear path.  It’s difficult enough maneuvering a car with all the snow piles so you don’t need to contend with pedestrians with no other option but to walk in the street.
  • Be respectful of your neighbors spot savers.  If someone put in the hard work to clear out their parking spot – they deserve to keep it for 48 hours after the snow emergency has been lifted.
  • If the 48 hours are up, give up the spot saver.  We all have been guilty of this – hanging on to prime real estate of our own personal parking spot, but fair is fair and usually the 48 hours is a good gage of how long we need to “own” our spot.  Kindly remove your space savers after the 48 hours are up.
  • Make an effort to shovel out your car.  We must admit how annoying it is to see a car encased in a catacomb of snow and ice long after the snow has stopped falling.  A week after a storm, and no effort to shovel out your car, and that’s just rude.  Why on earth do you have a car in the first place if you don’t need it?  You are taking up valuable parking spots in a neighborhood that has a very unbalanced car to parking spot ratio.  It’s rude and lazy and gives off the impression that you do not care about your property or your neighborhood.
  • Get to know your neighbors.  While you are out shoveling, why not introduce yourself or offer a smile – everyone likes a smile.  If you are walking to get a cup of coffee from the coffee shop, ask if your neighbor would like one.  Better yet, surprise them with one.  Be a good neighbor and your neighbor will usually reciprocate.  Just think, if you are friendly to them, they might be less likely to steal your spot and more likely to shovel your sidewalk.

The key elements to being a good neighbor is being polite and respectful of those around you.  Keep that in mind during this winter season and you’ll have a happy and peaceful neighborhood.

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and Caught in Dot and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.