Snow Makes Navigating Streets and Sidewalks Difficult for People in Wheelchairs Around Boston

Last week's storm left behind massive amounts of snow on streets and sidewalks in the Greater Boston area, resulting in dangerous conditions for everyone, including those who rely on wheelchairs to get around.

For Erin Murphy, getting from her Cambridge home to her job in the South End of Boston is a trek, but doing it after a snow storm is downright dangerous. She usually takes the T to the Tufts Medical Center stop then wheels the six blocks to her work.

Five days after the storm, there were two impassable curb cuts that sent Murphy right into the busy street. She said she can’t get her wheelchair onto the sidewalk if the curb cuts aren’t clear.

"This is really tricky here," she explained. "The curb cut is very slushy and there’s no way for me to get across. I’ll have to go into the middle of traffic. This is a pretty high traffic area, too, so it’s concerning to me."

There are snow mounds that make it impossible for drivers to see her, poorly shoveled sidewalks that can derail her trip, and the salt and slush that seep through her gloves.

"One thing that happens when I have to go throught a snow pile like that, it soaks my gloves and there’s a lot of salt intertwined," Murphy explained. "My hands right now are burning."

Murphy traverses harrowing streets with determination and not an ounce of agitation. She says this is just life and she practices gratitude.

"I feel grateful I have a job to go to, classes I enjoy, and have friends who are so good to me. It outweighs all of this," she said.

NBC Boston reached out to Boston city officials to see who’s responsible for removing the snow. The city says they’re responsible for city streets and sidewalks, but property owners are responsible for the sections of sidewalks and curb cuts that abut their property and if they don’t clear them, they’ll be fined.

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