Red Brick's Guide to Winter in Boston

Winter in Boston can be a magical time for all….. it can also be a total nightmare - especially if you’re new to town! So we’ve compiled some of our favorite tips and tricks to make this your best winter ever - or at least get you through to the other side! …How many days until spring?


If you have a car:

- Pay attention to “Snow Emergencies”, this is when the city temporarily restricts parking on streets so plows can access them. The city takes these Snow Emergencies seriously, and will ticket and tow your car if left out. You can set up personalized alerts on the website to alert you when Snow Emergencies go into action.

- A number of garages offer free or discounted rates during a Snow Emergency. You can move your car to a participating lot 2 hours prior to a declared Snow Emergency, but you must also remove your car within 2 hours of the City lifting the ban, otherwise you’ll be subject to the standard parking rate. The following local garages participate in the program

Boston Common Garage at 0 Charles Street. $2 for every 24 hours. (617-954-2098)
You must be a Beacon Hill, Back Bay or Downtown resident to receive the discounted
rate. Visit the office garage with your proof of residence to get the discount and park.

Auditorium Garage at 50 Dalton Street. $10 for every 24 hours. (617-247-8006)
You must be a Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Downtown, South End, Fenway or Chinatown                             resident to receive the discounted rate.

Motor Mart Garage at 201 Stuart Street. $10 for every 24 hours. (617-482-8380)
You must be a Boston resident to receive the discounted rate. Visit the office garage                                                                                                                                with your proof of residence to get the discount and park.    

Other things to note while using a car around Boston during a snowstorm:

- Help plows and emergency vehicles do their job, by parking at least 20ft away from any intersections, and as close to the curb as possible. Fold mirrors in when leaving your car.

- Try not to block sidewalks, fire hydrants or driveways with your car. If you don’t think a spot is legal, it’s best to keep looking to avoid a ticket, or worse, a tow.

- Clear your muffler before starting your engine, snow should be cleared at least one foot around your muffler to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

- Clear off the top of your vehicle before driving, this will prevent accidents that could happen from snow or ice falling off your car and hitting drivers behind you. The City of Boston can ticket and/or fine you if they catch you driving with too much snow or ice on your car.

- “Space Savers” are legal in most neighborhoods (however they are illegal in South End!) but they must only be used in a declared Snow Emergency. You have 48 hours to use a space saver after the emergency ban is lifted, after that it must be removed from the street.


If you own a house or condo:

Property owners face certain responsibilities during winter in Boston. Most condominiums will have a property management team who will take care of sidewalks, regulating the heat and taking care of trash - but for single family owners and some condos in the city you must pay attention to the following guidelines:

- Snow must be shoveled from sidewalks within three hours of snowfall ending (or three hours after sunrise if it snows overnight) the sidewalks must be able to accommodate a wheelchair or stroller.

- Remove as much ice as possible and treat with sand, sawdust, cat litter or a similar material.

- Help your City by shoveling out handicap ramps, hydrants or storm drains.

- Remove ice and snow from fire escapes or any emergency egresses.

- Maintain heat in your building or unit at all times, and keep an eye out for any open windows or seal leaks to prevent pipes from bursting. (Bonus tip: know where your water shut off valves are, in case of a pipe burst, being able to turn off water quickly can save you thousands of dollars in damage!)

- On trash day, clear and area at the curb or place containers in front of snow banks so crews are able to remove your trash safely and effectively.

If you rent:

Just because you rent, doesn’t mean you’re totally out of the woods when it comes to winter preparation. Here are a few key tips for renters during these colder months:

- Keep an eye on radiators to make sure heat is flowing efficiently and regularly. If anything seems wrong with your radiators or if the heat dips below 64 degrees, call your landlord/property manager.

- Use solar heat to your advantage! Keep blinds and shades open on sunny winter days to trap heat, and consider investing in heavier window fixtures to keep heat trapped inside on cold nights.

- If you have control of the heat in your apartment, make sure temperatures stay above 64 degrees (even while traveling, going to work or sleeping) to avoid having your pipes freeze.

- Consider purchasing a draft stopper at your local hardware store (Charles Street Supply, 54 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114) to help trap heat from drafty doors.

- Know who to contact in case there’s an emergency, your landlord and/or property manager is here to help prevent disasters from happening so don’t feel embarrassed giving them a call!


And finally, what may be the most important tip of all:
layer, layer, LAYER! : )
Happy Holidays from the Team at Red Brick Real Estate!