Many cities around the nation have laws on the books mandating that property owners shovel adjacent public sidewalks within a certain amount of time after a snowfall.
In the nation’s capital, the District of Columbia’s snow-shoveling law is often considered something that is rarely, if ever, enforced. (Washington City Paper, following a 2010 snowstorm, graded the snow-clearing compliance of a variety of notable local residents, including elected officials.)
In Boston, where the city takes its snow clearing efforts very seriously, Secretary of State John Kerry was fined $50 on Thursday for not having the sidewalk in front of his Beacon Hill home shoveled following this week’s massive blizzard. The action was prompted by a submitted complaint via the city’s Citizens Connect website.
The State Department released a statement explaining the situation, according to the Boston Herald:
"Diplomats—they're just like us. Secretary Kerry was working overseas while the blizzard packed a wallop back home, and unfortunately his snow removal company misconstrued yellow hazard tape along the sidewalk—put up to warn of falling snow and ice overhead—as police tape and thought that part of the sidewalk was off limits.
"Once they understood they were allowed to enter the area," the statement adds, "the contractors finished the sidewalk late (this) morning. The snow has all been shoveled now, the Secretary will gladly pay the ticket, and let's hope this is the last blizzard of the year."
In addition to holding Boston residents accountable for snow shoveling, Mayor Marty Walsh also put city agencies on notice saying that they would be ticketed as well for not shoveling their public rights of way.