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In Southie's Andrew Square, 'Enough's Enough' With The Harsh Winter

Commuters get on the 16 bus to Forest Hills at Andrew Square station Tuesday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Commuters get on the 16 bus to Forest Hills at Andrew Square station Tuesday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
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This week, WBUR reporter Zeninjor Enwemeka took a look at how Bostonians across the city are coping with the historic winter weather.

After weeks of dealing with multiple snowstorms and a transit system wrought with delays and cancellations, many in Boston continue to be frustrated by this winter season.

In Andrew Square, the feelings ranged from aggravated to annoyed Tuesday.

"I'm just cold and annoyed," Charlene Tate, 26, of Dorchester, said.

Tate is a student at UMass Boston and works as a student teacher at Joseph Lee School in Dorchester. She said the weather has lengthened her commute to work, even though she lives close by.

"For a 20-minute commute, I normally leave 20 or 25 minutes in advance," she said. "[Now] I've been leaving like an hour in advance."

The recent storms have also led to several snow days for Boston public schools, which Tate said puts her April vacation plans in jeopardy.

"Right now we're going to school until June 30 and they’re either going to make us do Saturday school or take away April break," Tate said. "They’ve already taken away Bunker Hill Day and Evacuation Day."

The snow days also mean she'll have to play catch-up with her students, who are preparing for testing, which she said has not been pushed back.

Commuters await the next bus at Andrew Square Station Tuesday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Commuters await the next bus at Andrew Square Station Tuesday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Others are leaving even more time for their morning routines.

"Right now I'm actually leaving two hours earlier than I used to," said Troy Provost, a freshman at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology. "Usually my classes start between 10 and 11, so I’m leaving my house at 5:30 a.m. My normal time [to leave] would be 8 o'clock."

Provost lives in Brookline and relies on MBTA buses and trains to get to school.

Nadia Agourram, 19, said she also starts her day earlier to get to her job at American Provisions, a high-end food store in South Boston.

"This is actually my first winter in the north, so it’s been rough to say the least," she said. "Trains are delayed or canceled and it takes me another 30 minutes to get to work adding on to my already 40-minute commute."

Agourram moved from North Carolina in October and now lives in East Boston. She said she commutes to work by taking the Blue Line and the Red Line to Andrew Square, where she then catches the 5 or the 10 bus.

She said the weather has made her rethink moving to Boston, but "I’ll stick it out and see" she said.

Meanwhile, others are strongly considering moving south.

"I want to move down to Florida," said Indio Brooks, 48, of Roxbury. "That's my initial goal, to get out of here. I was born and raised here, [but] I’m tired of it."

Brooks does landscaping and said the weather has also dried up his work opportunities.

For some, though, the weather has brought on longer working hours.

"I keep asking myself, 'When's it going to end?' — the snow and everything," said Larry Regan, 26, of Everett. "I was saying to my friend [when] we were driving, I can't remember since I've been born a snowbank that's taller than a pickup truck. It's just like enough's enough."

Regan works for the MBTA's commuter rail in the mechanical department, where they clean and maintain the trains and have been working to break up ice. He had just come off his normal graveyard shift of 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., after getting four hours of sleep and working a 32-hour shift after the most recent snowfall. He said he understands people's frustrations with the transit service.

"I know people are aggravated with the service and everything, but they gotta give us a little bit of time to get caught up with the weather because we haven't gotten a break," Regan said. "I know they haven't either and it's tough because people gotta go out and make money, but we gotta do the same thing."

Larry Regan, a mechanical technician for the commuter rail, just finished a graveyard shift removing ice from commuter line trains. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Larry Regan, a mechanical technician for the commuter rail, just finished a graveyard shift removing ice from commuter line trains. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Regan said he also relies on public transit to get to work and has ended up walking from JFK/UMass station to the rail yards at Widett Circle in South Boston due to delays. He has also slept at work during the past couple of snowstorms. He said the transit crews are trying to deal with aging trains as best they can.

"I know the management over at my work, I don’t think they've left since the first storm," Regan said. "People are sleeping on cots at my work right now because they’re just trying to keep up with the demand of service."

While the snow has been a headache for many, it has benefited others.

"Business has been very good between the tow truck drivers, the plow drivers [and] transit employees that are still coming in," said Dunkin Donuts assistant manager Joe Vadala.

The Southampton Street shop is open 24 hours and Vadala said they haven't had to close after any of the recent snowstorms.

"As long as we have a skeleton crew, we never close," he said. "You can bank on that."

Vadala said some of his employees that use the T have had trouble getting into work, but many live in the area and just walk. Those that live close by and aren't able to get to work by foot get picked up with the company's delivery van, Vadala said.

And the extra snow can sometimes mean earning extra cash.

"I don't really like the snow, but it's good for the money," Miguel Natal, 23, said. "I get a chance to make some money shoveling. I shovel cars out, driveways [and] sometimes sidewalks depending on my clientele."

For the past couple of years, Natal has helped people shovel out in Cambridge, Medford and Somerville.

"I have old clientele, new clientele and friends that need help, so I just go around and get some work done," he said.

Natal, who recently moved from Somerville to Boston, said he may charge $40-$50 for a driveway, but it really varies depending on the job.

On his way home, Miguel Natal gets on a #16 bus with his shovel after performing a couple of shoveling jobs in Cambridge. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
On his way home, Miguel Natal gets on a #16 bus with his shovel after performing a couple of shoveling jobs in Cambridge. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

For many people in Andrew Square Tuesday, less snow, more cleared streets and an end to the harsh storms would be very much welcomed.

"We're Bostonians, we’re New Englanders, we should be used to this," Regan said. "But ... it's getting a little bit ridiculous. I hope it ends soon."

Related:

Zeninjor Enwemeka Twitter Reporter
Zeninjor Enwemeka is a reporter who covers business, tech and culture as part of WBUR's Bostonomix team, which focuses on the innovation economy.

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