Snow Clearing Pilot Program in Downtown Business District

Town of Needham, Massachusetts
 Media Release

Office of the Town Manager
 Town Hall, 1471 Highland Ave, Needham, MA 02492

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                            Tuesday, January 14, 2020    


Needham Department of Public Works Announces Snow Clearing Pilot Program in Downtown Business District

Program Aims to Make Downtown Businesses More Accessible During and After Winter Storms

Needham—Tuesday, January 14, 2020 – The Needham Department of Public Works today announced that it has launched a pilot snow clearing program in the Downtown Business District to help customers and employees better access restaurants, retail stores and other businesses in the area during and immediately after snowstorms. The pilot program is a joint effort of the Town of Needham and the area’s commercial businesses. 

In order to improve accessibility for pedestrians, on-street parking, and vehicle traffic flow, the pilot program establishes standards for snow and ice removal from sidewalks for abutting commercial property owners. At the conclusion of the winter season, various snow clearing equipment and operational plans will be evaluated to determine success. 

While the Town will deploy snow clearing equipment in the downtown area during designated snow and ice events, commercial business owners, tenants, occupants or agents in charge are still responsible for snow and ice removal as mandated by the Town’s Commercial Property Sidewalk Regulation, Article That regulation remains in full effect throughout the pilot.

“Snow and ice storms can adversely affect our local business and make it hard for customers to visit the shops and restaurants they rely on,” said Rick Merson, Director of Public Works. “Through this pilot program, we’re working with business owners in the downtown area to try to minimize the impact our winter weather plays on their daily operations and make it easier for customers to access their stores.” 

As part of the snow clearing pilot, the Town received approval last year from Town Meeting to purchase a stand-on sidewalk snow vehicle that is more maneuverable than a traditional sidewalk plow. The machine has a 42" plow, a 34" snow blower, and a 38” broom. It enables the operator to push through and relocate snow as it goes through difficult snowbanks, faster than a push-behind snow blower. 

The Town will clear a five-foot pathway adjacent to the building or curb line during business hours in the pilot area once sidewalk plow units are dispatched under the following stages of the Town’s current program:

Stage 2 – Modified De-Icing Chemical Operation 
Stage 3 – Full Plow Operation 
Stage 4 – Snow Removal & Hauling Operation

The Town will also complete a full removal from the sidewalks in the pilot area during Stage 5 – Snow Removal and Hauling Operation of the Town’s current program.

Pilot Area (see attached map)

The length of sidewalk in the Downtown Business District pilot area is 4,250 feet, including 16 curb cuts and 560 feet of Town Hall Common Sidewalk.

The pilot area includes:

Sidewalks on both sides of Great Plain Avenue between Chapel Street and Highland Avenue
Sidewalks on both sides of Chapel Street and Highland Avenue between Great Plain Avenue and May Street


* Contact:

  Cyndi Roy Gonzalez, 

Pages from MAP DowntownSidewalkClear