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Snow Info: Emergency Policies, Parking Rules, Shoveling Requirements


―Property owners must shovel sidewalks by 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14

―Mayor Ballantyne ordered halt to ticketing, no cars towed, waives snow emergency tickets due to radical shift in forecast


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  • Property owners must shovel sidewalks by 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14 
  • Mayor Ballantyne ordered halt to ticketing, ordered no towing, waived snow emergency tickets due to radical shift in forecast

The City of Somerville's snow emergency will end today, Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 10 a.m., and normal parking rules will resume at that time. The information below offers tips to avoid ticketing and towing as well as strategies for being a good neighbor and staying safe. 

Due to the significant turn-around in the forecast, Mayor Ballantyne halted snow emergency ticketing  late Monday night, ordered that no cars be towed for the emergency, and she waived all snow emergency tickets issued on Monday. Please note, snow parking rules protect public safety by allowing safe passage for plows and emergency vehicles; residents should not count on parking ticket waivers for future storms. 

CARS IN LOTS: Residents parked in municipal lots during the snow emergency have a two-hour window to move their vehicles after the end of a snow emergency. Cars still parked in municipal lots after 12 noon on Tuesday, Feb. 13, will be subject to ticketing and towing.

PERMIT VISIBILITY: Please note that by 12 noon, Wednesday, Feb. 14 (24 hours after the end of the snow emergency), residential or visitor parking permits must be cleared of snow and visible or the vehicle may be ticketed. 

SNOW REMOVAL FROM VEHICLES: Please note that by 12 noon, Thursday, Feb. 15 (48 hours after the end of the emergency), your vehicle must be fully cleared of snow to avoid ticketing.

SIDEWALK SHOVELING: To allow safe passage for all and to avoid being ticketed, property owners must clear snow from their sidewalks by 1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 14 (within 6 daylight hours of the end of snowfall). A path down to the pavement and at least 36-inches wide is required to allow wheelchair passage. Do not shovel into the street or bike lanes. Please remember to also treat your walks in the coming days for ice that can form overnight as meltwater refreezes. Be sure to stay warm and take frequent breaks while shoveling. Review cold weather safety tips at

SHOVELING ASSISTANCE: If you are a senior or are otherwise physically unable to shovel, please call the Council on Aging at 617-625-6600 x2300 during normal business hours to sign up in advance for assistance during the NEXT storm. 

BIKE TRAVEL: Crews are working to remove snow from bike lanes. Shovelers, do not shovel snow into the road or bike lanes. Cyclists, please wait for lanes to be cleared, use caution when riding a bike post-storm, and consider using other modes of transportation if you must travel until pavement is fully clear of snow and ice. 

HOW TO HELP: Check on Neighbors, Shovel Hydrants, Use Your Driveway, Park Considerately   Please consider assisting neighbors who may need help with shoveling and consider checking in on elderly neighbors or others who may need additional assistance. Our crews are also working to shovel out fire hydrants and catch basins. If you are able, we greatly appreciate any assistance in shoveling hydrants and catch basins in your area. Finally, parking is often tight following a storm. If you have a driveway, please use it, and if you park on the street, try to maximize room for others.


Closed/Canceled Tuesday, Feb. 13:

  • All Somerville Public Schools and school offices closed  
  • All school activities canceled
  • All Somerville Public Library branches closed
  • Tuesday trash and Christmas tree pickup will be delayed until Wednesday, and trash pickup will remain on a one-day delay for the rest of the week
  • Recreation Department activities canceled
  • Kennedy pool closed
  • All in-person City meetings and activities canceled
  • All City Buildings closed
  • Virtual Meeting of the Job Creation and Retention Trust canceled
  • All City Buildings closed

Open/On Tuesday, Feb. 13

  • Virtual City Council committee meetings will take place online
  • Virtural meeting of the Somerville Commission for Persons with Disabilities will take place online

Open Wednesday, Feb. 14

  • Everything open per usual
  • Trash pickup will remain on a one-day delay for the rest of the week

HOW TO RETRIEVE YOUR CAR IF TOWED: Call the tow company, Stephen's Automotive, at 781-395-0808 if your car was towed. Cars are towed to the Dilboy Stadium parking lot in Somerville on Route 16 (110 Alewife Brook Parkway).

THANK YOU & MORE INFO: We appreciate your patience and cooperation during this storm. For more information on post-snow policies, please visit

For more information or to make a non-emergency service request, please dial 311 (627-666-3311) or visit the City's website, 311 may also be contacted via, @311somerville, and the 311 app for iOS or Android.


Don't miss out on important information. Sign up to get alerts about detours and construction, major events, snow emergencies, and more. It's up to you how we stay in touch; you can choose to get City alerts via phone call, text message, or email.

Once a snow emergency is declared, the City will send alerts to residents through multiple communication channels, including: 




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Disclaimer: Database glitches resulting in your not receiving messages pertaining to parking restrictions, including snow emergencies, do not automatically qualify you for dismissal or reimbursement of tickets and/or tow fees. Please review signage on your street, pay close attention to temporary signage, and review our parking policies and snow emergency policies.



During a Snow Emergency: 

Park on the Odd Side During Winter 2023/24 Snow Emergencies, Unless Otherwise Posted: When winter begins in an odd-numbered year – like this winter, the winter of 2023-24 – parking is only allowed on the odd-numbered side of the street during a snow emergency. There are a small number of exceptions. These exceptions are noted by signs on that street. For an explanation of why some streets have posted exceptions to the general rule, click here

Once a Snow Emergency is Declared, You Have 4 Hours to Move Your Car: You have four hours after a snow emergency is declared to move your car to the odd-numbered side of the street, or to municipal lots (map) available for resident use during a snow emergency. Parking is not allowed in school lots during snow emergencies. But you can park at meters on the odd-numbered side of a street during a snow emergency, as long there is no sign stating otherwise.

Municipal Lots: During declared snow emergencies, you may park in City-owned parking lots including at City buildings and metered municipal lots in City business districts. You may not park in school lots. See this map of available municipal lots. If you do use City lots, please note that all cars must be moved within two hours of the end of the emergency. Snow emergencies can be lifted at any time, including during work hours, so if you are unable to move your car out of a City lot at potentially short notice, please consider finding alternative parking. 

Meters and time-parking rules are not enforced during snow emergencies: You do not have to pay for meters or stick to meter time limits during a snow emergency. Just be sure if your metered space is on the street, that it's the odd-numbered side of the street, unless otherwise posted. During snow emergencies, the City also does not enforce an ordinance prohibiting cars from being parked in the same spot for more than 48 hours. 

Tufts University Parking: Tufts offers free, covered, off-street parking for Somerville residents who live in Wards 6 and 7. During declared snow emergencies, Somerville residents who live in Wards 6 and 7 can park in the Dowling Garage at 419 College Avenue in Medford. Important: Vehicles must be registered with the Tufts Transportation Office using the Snow Emergency Parking Form

  • Parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis and is not guaranteed.
  • Vehicles must exit the garage within two hours after the snow emergency concludes.
  • Staying beyond the two-hour limit will result in parking charges.
  • For more information, contact Tufts Community Relations at 617-627-3780 or

After a Snow Emergency: 

  • You must move your car from City parking lots within two hours after the snow emergency ends! Do not park in a City lot during a snow emergency if you will not be able to dig out and move your car on short notice.  
  • Enforcement of permit parking rules will resume within 24 hours after a snow emergency ends. 
  • Enforcement of the rule prohibiting cars from remaining in the same spot for more than 48 hours will resume within 48 hours after a snow emergency ends. 
  • You must shovel your car out within 48 hours after a snow emergency ends. Visit the Snow Shoveling Assistance Program page if you need help shoveling. If you are able, consider helping neighbors who struggle to shovel.

Don't Get a Ticket! Or Be Towed!

The City really doesn't want to ticket or tow your car. It costs us more than we charge, takes lots of valuable staff time, creates challenges for you, and you get mad at us. But we have to keep the roads clear for emergency vehicles and plowing. So, to avoid your vehicle being ticketed and towed, please, please learn and follow all of the above Snow Emergency parking rules for both during and after a snow emergency. Fines include: 

  • Failure to Move Car to Proper Side of Street: $100 
  • Tow Zone / Obstructing Plow: $100 
  • Parked within 10 feet of Fire Hydrant/Designated Fire Lane: $100 
  • Parked within 20 feet of an Intersection (state law): $100 

How to Retrieve Your Car If Towed

  • The towing charge is $132 (subject to change), along with a $35 per day storage fee.
  • Call the tow company at 781-395-0808 if your car gets towed. Cars are towed to the Dilboy Stadium parking lot in Somerville on Route 16 (110 Alewife Brook Parkway). 

Keep That Chair in Your Dining Room, Parking Space Savers Are Not Allowed!

  • The City prohibits the use of “space savers,” or objects put on the street to reserve parking spaces, per Section 12-18 of City Code of Ordinances.
  • Objects used to save parking spaces may be collected and disposed of. 
  • People who claim spaces may face the glares of frustrated neighbors.
  • People who don't shovel their space, but then park in a nice clean space cleared by a neighbor, may also not be super appreciated.
  • Please, everyone, shovel your space, so we can all get along – and park – after a storm. 

All property owners are responsible for removing all ice and snow from sidewalks and accessible ramps that abut their property. This applies to residents and businesses. Sidewalks must be cleared within six daylight hours after the snow stops. Failure to shovel properly or on time, may result in a ticket. The City offers a Youth Shoveling Program to support seniors, persons with disabilities, or persons with medical conditions. 

To comply with all city snow shoveling rules: 

  • Sidewalks must be cleared within six daylight hours after the snow stops.
  • Shovel a path at least 36 inches wide down to the pavement on sidewalks and ramps.  
  • Do not shovel snow onto city streets unless the temperature is 40 degrees or warmer, it is during daylight hours, and snow and ice is broken up and spread evenly on the street so that it melts more quickly. 
  • These rules apply to all snowfall or icing, not just when a snow emergency is declared. 

Don't Get a Ticket!

Fines for not complying with the above rules are $100 for a first offense for owners of one- two- and three-unit houses, $200 for a second offense, and $300 for all subsequent offenses. Fines for commercial property or residential buildings with more than four units are $150 for a first offense and $300 for all subsequent offenses. 

Don't get liened!

In designated areas, City crews may also clear sidewalks in front of private properties beginning 24 hours after the snow stops falling. Snow removal will be prioritized following the guidelines under “Plowing Procedures.” The City may impose additional fines and place liens on properties where the City has to clear the sidewalks. 

Report Unshoveled Sidewalks:

Report un-shoveled sidewalks to 3-1-1, by calling 3-1-1 or 617-666-3311, emailing, or downloading and using the 311 app. You may also report issues via Facebook ( or Twitter (@311Somerville, @SomervilleCity). 

Snow Shoveling Support Program:

The Somerville Youth Shoveling program is a paid opportunity for youth to help local seniors, persons with disabilities, and persons with medical conditions after a snowstorm. Seniors and other qualified persons pay a subsidized fee to youth for shoveling services for both their own property and for their adjacent sidewalks.  

Seniors interested in signing up to receive the al a carte service should contact Debby Higgins at the Somerville Council on Aging by emailing or calling 617-625-6600 x 2321. Youth looking to sign up should contact Youth Services Coordinator Dan Harris by emailing or calling 617- 625-6600 x2406. 




The Somerville Public Works Department and its contractors clear all 462 streets in the city, as well as sidewalks abutting public property, walkaways in parks and open spaces, crosswalks, curb cuts and intersection pedestrian landings. Plow drivers do their best to avoid pushing snow into driveways and onto sidewalks, but doing so is often unavoidable -- especially in more densely-populated areas. 

Snow removal is prioritized a follow to ensure the fastest snow removal: 

  • Streets 
  • Municipal and school parking lots and access routes 
  • Public bus stops (281 stops, divided into 4 Routes), ramps, and bridges 
  • City squares including traffic islands 
  • Public sidewalks abutting municipal property including schools 
  • Public sidewalks and crosswalks abutting bus stops 
  • Public sidewalks abutting private properties. 
    • If sidewalks abutting private property remain un-cleared after 24 daylight hours from the end of the snow emergency (or accumulation of snowfall if no emergency was declared), the City may dispatch crews or contractors to the address for snow and ice removal. Additional fines may be assessed and charged via a lien placed on the property in question. 
  • State property 

During snow emergencies, our crews work around the clock to ensure our streets remain safe and accessible for all residents. Please note that many factors may contribute to some amounts of snow accumulating on your street before a plow can return to re-plow, particularly in storms with larger accumulations and/or with heavier snow.  

Snow-removal requests received via social media and through 311 are tracked in real-time and communicated to the Department of Public Works. Requests are prioritized based on severity and emergencies first and foremost. However, we do our best to respond to each and every request as possible. If you would like to log a request or ask a question of our City crews, please call 311, or log onto one of our social media feeds. 

Community Path during Snow and Winter Weather Events

The Somerville DPW and its contractors work to keep the community path safe and accessible throughout the winter season. However, during significant winter weather events or snow emergencies, select portions (notably the viaduct over the MBTA tracks in East Somerville) or the entirety of the path may need to be temporarily closed.

For more information on temporary closures and other winter impacts visit


Stay Safe

Read Our Extreme Cold Safety Tips





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