Skip to Content
Streetsblog Massachusetts home
Streetsblog Massachusetts home
Log In
Street Design

It’s #Sneckdown Season

'Sneckdown' illustration

Photo by Doug Gordon, annotations by Transportation Alternatives.

Editor's note: this story was first published after a storm in December 2020. We're featuring it on the homepage again today to encourage readers to post new #sneckdown photos on social media after this weekend's blizzard.

Last week's storm has created major hassles for pedestrians trying to navigate buried sidewalks, but there's one silver lining: it's left thousands of "sneckdowns," places where snowbanks have narrowed down the roadway and forced cars to slow down considerably (a "snow neckdown").

Streetsfilms editor Clarence Eckerson first documented “naturally occurring neckdowns” in 2006.

“The snow is almost like nature’s tracing paper,” Eckerson told the BBC in 2014. “It’s free. You don’t have to do a crazy expensive traffic calming study. It provides a visual cue into how people behave.”

In the Boston region, there's been a flurry of Twitter posts with the #sneckdown hashtag published since last Thursday's storm:

Twitter user "Matt Carphree" reminds us that digging out sidewalks and crosswalks is a great opportunity to build new sneckdowns:

This sneckdown, on Cambridge Street in Charles Circle, just happens to part of a "priority bike corridor" under the city's GoBoston 2030 plan:

Finally, on a more somber note, an example from College Avenue in Somerville, where a city employee drove his pickup truck into Dr. Leah Zallman in early November:

Fortunately, this intersection and several others in the area are slated to get new crosswalks and traffic-calming sidewalk extensions in an upcoming city project.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter