The City of Spokane’s official snow season has begun and with it comes a plan for how to deal with the winter months.
The city has 105 employees on its snowplow teams. Many of them have gone through several years of training to learn how to work all the equipment.
“Our teams have been tuning up equipment, ordering up supplies or deicer and sand and practicing right here behind us on the snowplow obstacle course,” said Spokane Mayor David Condon last month.
The city outlined key components of the plan, which includes obligations that the city will uphold and what is expected of residents
The city promises that when it snows, even if it is only one or two inches, that crews will plow all streets, including residential. Crews will complete the plow work primarily during regular day shifts on Monday through Friday to hold down costs.
Utility crews will also help the Street Department with efforts sooner and more equipment will be available on a regular basis for plowing.
During a larger snowfall of four inches or more, the city will “up” the effort and bring in more crews and equipment. Those crews will be on the street around the clock until plowing is finished, with a goal of completing the work in three days.
Crew members will work 12-hour shifts during large snow events.
Driveway Berms and Sidewalks
City spokesperson Marlene Feist says the Street Department has outfitted 16 pieces of equipment with gates that allow plow drivers to avoid placing snow across driveways or alley access points.
The gates are aimed at reducing driveway berms in residential areas, but Feist said they are still a possibility, especially on frequently plowed arterials.
Crews will also plow away from the curb to help keep snow away from driveways and sidewalks, and snow may also be pushed into the center median in some cases, Feist said.
Property owners are responsible for clearing the sidewalks adjacent to their properties. The city asks that they clear a 36-inch path to allow school children, people with disabilities, bus riders and other pedestrians to move safely in the community. The goal is to complete this work by 9 a.m. after a snowfall.
Those who cannot clear their snow, such as seniors or those with disabilities, can call 311 to connect with volunteer services that could help.
The city also has certain expectations of residents when it snows, particularly when it comes to parking.
Residents are asked to park on the odd side of the street in residential areas until March 15 in order to make it easier for plow drivers to do their work.
On-street parking downtown will be prohibited between midnight and 6 a.m. on snowy days so parking bays can be plowed. Vehicles parked during prohibited times are subject to towing.
Signs indicate the rule, which encompasses the boundaries of Maple to Division Streets and I-90 to the Spokane River. Parking options for snow days are available under the freeway and in off-street surface parking lots.
Recreational vehicles, boats and trailers must be moved off the street to winter storage locations or be subject to towing, Feist added.
Another important winter driving note: when driving near plows, pass on the left. The driver might not see you if you’re driving on the plow’s right.