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.

 

 

 

 

 

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

A Black man in a dark navy suit holds a microphone while listening to a curly-haired white woman in a red suit while she gestures with one hand and holds a microphone in the other. They are sitting on a stage in a conference room in front of a light blue banner that reads "NACTO Designing Cities 2022"

An Inside Look at Federal Highway Officials’ Efforts to Encourage Safer Streets

|
The annual conference of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) conference in Boston earlier this month offered a sort of homecoming for Stephanie Pollack, the former leader of MassDOT who left for Washington in early 2021 to lead the Federal Highway Administration in President Biden’s administration. Pollack’s return to Massachusetts coincided with the […]