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City Of Spokane Marks Start Of Snow Season

Mayor Verner says City is prepared; encourages residents to do the same

Release Date: 11/19/2009 11:00:00 AM

Contact: Marlene Feist, 625-6740

With last week’s snow flurries and snow in the forecast, the City of Spokane is officially marking the start of snow season. The City has been preparing for snow and is encouraging citizens to take steps to prepare as well.

“For the last two years, we’ve seen heavy snowfall in our community, and we felt it was important to update our citizens on the City’s preparation for winter weather,” says Mayor Mary Verner. “We have revised our approach to snow removal and are launching this approach as a pilot project for the 2009-10 winter. This program requires both the City and its citizens to be more proactive when it snows, and we believe that everyone will be more pleased with the results.”

The City’s revised approach to snow removal is designed to improve safety for motorists and pedestrians, ensure emergency responders can reach citizens, and enhance movement for pedestrians, motorists and economic activity.

As part of the plan, the City has purchased 11 additional truck plows and has committed to enhancing snow removal efforts, stepping up sidewalk snow removal around City-owned property, and enhancing communications efforts with citizens. Citizens and business owners, meanwhile, will be asked to follow parking restrictions and keep sidewalks, vehicles, hydrants, and storm drains clear of snow.

Details of the plan, along with a map of residential snow plow routes, can be found in the Nov. 19 Inlander and Spokesman-Review Voice sections. In addition, this information has been sent out in the City’s November utility bills and is available on-line at spokanecity.org.

Under the plan, the City defines the snow season as Nov. 15 to March 15. During this time, the City may declare a snow emergency when weather conditions warrant.

A Stage 1 Snow Emergency is declared when 2 inches of snow are on the ground and 4 more are anticipated during the current snow event; a Stage 2 Snow Emergency is declared when 6 inches of snow are on the ground and more is anticipated in the current snow event.

A Stage 1 Snow Emergency will require citizens to move parked cars off of all arterials and STA fixed bus routes, while a Stage 2 Snow Emergency will require citizens to park on one side of the street in residential areas. The parking changes will allow plow drivers to open up streets better, allowing for easier and safer travel during heavy snows.

Removing snow from sidewalks within 24 hours of a snow storm also is critical. A committee of citizens, local school representatives, Spokane Transit Authority representatives, and City employees looked at an enhanced approach to sidewalk snow removal that would eventually require tickets for those who failed to comply. This year, the City is asking for voluntary compliance.

In addition to revising our snow removal plan, the City has made additional preparations for winter weather in recent weeks, including:

  • Installing the plow blades on the City’s dump trucks.
  • Purchasing de-icer and sand.
  • Stocking up on tire chains, shovels, and other winter equipment.
  • Ensuring contracts are in place with private contractors who would supplement City snow removal crews during Stage 2 snow emergencies.
  • Changing our employee schedules in the Street Department to provide 20-hour-a-day coverage.
  • Beginning 24-7 monitoring of weather conditions.

The City also would like to encourage residents to consider what they need to do to get ready for winter in the Inland Northwest. Among other things, residents should:

  • Make sure they have adequate snow supplies at home—shovels, along with sand or de-icer are a good start.
  • Ensure that vehicles are equipped for snow. Tires should be aggressive enough for winter weather and throw a few basic supplies in the trunk, including a blanket, a shovel, and some traction sand.
  • Check with your neighbors who might need assistance keeping their driveways and sidewalks clear of snow and ice. Offer to help them throughout the winter season.
  • Familiarize themselves with the parking restrictions during snow emergencies. Those who park on an arterial or fixed STA bus route must move their cars within 6 hours of a declared Stage 1 snow emergency. During a Stage 2 snow emergency which includes a full-City plow, residents need to park on the odd side of the street for the 2009-10 winter in residential areas until the plows complete their work.

Citizens may comment on the snow removal pilot project by sending an email to snow@spokanecity.org or calling the City with their comment at 755-CITY.

Snow removal information and routes.

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