Belmont business owners want the town to always clear snow

A series of winter storms reminded Belmont business owners of the difficulty of getting customers around snowbanks and into shops and restaurants. It’s been 10 years since the city took care of clearing piles of snow to make way for parking and pedestrians. According to Belmont Director of Public Works, Jay Marcotte, this service was discontinued in 2012 due to budget cuts.

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Snowbanks limit parking space along Trapelo Road at Cushing Square.

“I’ve lived in this town all my life and remember when the DPW used to make downtown spotless,” said Deran Muckjian, owner of The Toy Shop of Belmont on Leonard Street. “Current conditions are having an effect on our business. It is very difficult for our customers to park, to get out of their cars, especially on the passenger side. Cars cannot park near curbs, so overtake, sometimes covering the bike The Center is not user-friendly with piles of snow limiting access on both sides of the street.Muckjian also has specialty toy stores in Winchester and Lexington.

In Cushing Square, Peter Boyajian, owner of Real Estate 109, also remembers the service. “As far back as I can remember, the city would post signs on snowbanks announcing their removal about two to four days after a big storm,” he said. “These snow banks cause blind spots and absolutely affect parking and the ability of customers to easily access stores.”

Boyajian continued, “Property taxes in Belmont have gone up 10-20% in just one year. With the little snow we have received over the years, I think the city can budget for this service again. Schools shouldn’t be the only The only program in town. Many business owners live and own property in this city and both deserve equal consideration. »

Next to Real Estate 109, Vicki Lee Boyajian, former owner of Vicki Lee’s, agrees. “Snowbanks and limited cutouts for people to cross make it very difficult for customers to shop,” she said. “We live in New England and I think winter shouldn’t mean people have to stay home every time we have snow. I also know that snow banks like those monstrous ones we’ve had last week that when they melt they wreak havoc on our storefronts with major flooding. It would be so appreciated if the city could work on this and clear the excess snow from the commercial areas.

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The comments come as Boston announces it is piloting a program for city employees to clear snow from sidewalks. The move comes as Councilman Kenzie Bok pushes for a systematic snow clearing program for sidewalks, crosswalks and ramps after storms.

What Belmont is doing to help businesses

When asked to comment on snow removal in Belmont, Board Chairman Adam Dash elaborated on what the city is providing to help local businesses:

“The city clears snow from streets in malls, but has not cleared or removed snow elsewhere since 2012. The estimate to perform this additional snow clearing in 2012 was that such snow clearing would cost approximately $80,000 to 100 $000 a week, and that was in 2012 dollars, so the cost would be much higher today, the city just doesn’t have that kind of money.

“The city greatly values ​​its businesses, and we have been actively trying to help during these difficult times. We have closed Leonard Street to allow outdoor dining and retail shopping at Belmont Center, we have waived parking fees at the height of the pandemic, we began offering free parking for seniors so they can patronize local businesses, and we created an economic development committee that makes recommendations on what the city can do to help our local businesses. Over the past few years, Trapelo and Belmont Center have been provided with infrastructure improvements to beautify them.”

There has been no official request from residents or business owners to reinstate the snow removal process which ended in 2012.

Business owner would like to see snow removal program reinstated

Still, business owners see a need for the program. Donata Barber is co-owner of Belmont Consignment Furniture on Belmont Street. Staff have the additional burden of having to move large pieces of furniture during the winter.

“Unfortunately, snowbanks and narrow roads greatly affect the day-to-day operation of Belmont Consignment Furniture,” Barber said. ” Since [most recent] blizzard, we had to deal with the constant problem of goods moving in and out of our store. It is extremely dangerous, if not impossible, to lift furniture onto snowbanks two to three feet or carry it several steps further to find an opening in the snowbank that is not blocked by a parked car. Parking along Belmont Street and Vincent Avenue is also a hazard as the streets are much narrower and you are forced to open your door into busy traffic lanes. Anything the city can do to help would be greatly appreciated.”

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