City details snow season plan

Snow season staffing begins this week

Brian Coddington, Communications Director, 509.625.6740

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 12:28 p.m.

New electronic variable message signs added to some of the City's main arterials and expanded use of text messaging alerts will improve communications during winter weather conditions as we head into the official snow season.

Snow season staffing begins this week as the City positions itself to take preventative steps ahead of anticipated winter driving conditions and plans to clear snow and de-ice during the 2013-14 winter season. The snow season runs from Nov. 15 to Mar. 15. A “snow event” is declared when weather conditions warrant it.

“Our focus is improving safety for public travel, ensuring that emergency responders can reach citizens and keeping people and commerce moving through the community,” said Mayor David Condon.

Electronic variable message signs have been added along the Division Street, Third Avenue and Maple/Ash corridor, which are main City arterials. Those will be used to communicate with drivers about expected road conditions and closures.

The City uses a variety of other methods to notify citizens when a snow event is declared. Those include local media, the Spokane City website, Facebook and Twitter at spokanecity, City Cable 5, and neighborhood email distribution networks. Citizens can also call the City's snow line at 509.456.2666. Citizens can sign up to receive text alerts for their respective neighborhood to include Browns Addition, South hill, Downtown, North side, East Spokane and West by texting 509.385.5775 and follow the prompt to choose a location.

Arterials, bus routes, hospitals and medical districts, and neighborhood business districts are de-iced and snow removed first. Snow conditions and weather forecasts guide the City's de-icing and snow removal plans as defined by “snow events.”

A “stage one snow event” is defined as when two inches of snow are on the ground and four more are anticipated during the current snow event. A “stage two snow event” occurs when six inches of snow are on the ground and more is anticipated during the current snow event.

During a stage one event, citizens must move parked cars off all arterials and fixed bus routes within six hours of City declaration of a snow event. Cars parked in residential hill areas also must be moved to the odd side of the street within six hours.

A full-City plow is initiated during a stage two event. During a stage two event parked cars in residential hill areas must be moved to the odd side of the street designated by the property address within 12 hours. The “snow corridor plan” may also be implemented if City crews cannot effectively keep arterials clear because of weather conditions. Crews will concentrate on identified routes that citizens can rely on until conditions improve.