City's Official Snow Season Beings; Here's the Plan

Kirstin Davis, Public Works & Community and Economic Development Communications Manager, 509.625.7773


Thursday, November 18, 2021 at 11:47 a.m.


The City of Spokane began its official snow season this week. The City’s Street Department crews are prepared for the coming winter weather; the department has normal staffing levels and will deliver on the City’s snow response plan as usual.

“Snow season is here, and we hope this information can help our citizens prepare for winter weather,” says Mayor Nadine Woodward. “We are committed to delivering on our snow response plan, and as always, ask for the patience and support of our community.”

Now is a good time to provide an overview of the snow response plan. Residents also can find information in their November utility bills. Here’s a CityCable 5 video on snow preparations, and here’s how to find information on the web. Here’s a look at the key components of the City’s snow response plan:

Plowing

  • When it snows, even if it’s just an inch or two, crews generally will plow all the streets, including residential streets. To hold down costs, crews will complete this “maintenance plow” work primarily during regular day shifts Monday through Friday. (Remember, actual street conditions, temperatures and the forecast play into decisions.)
  • Utility crews will supplement Street crews for larger plowing efforts, and more equipment will be available on a regular basis for plowing.
  • During a larger snowfall of four inches or more, crews will move to 24/7 operations to complete a full-City plow, with a goal of completing that work in about three days.

Driveway Berms & Sidewalk Snow

  • The Street Department has outfitted 17 pieces of equipment with “gates” that allow plow drivers to avoid placing snow across a driveway or alley access. 
  • The gates will greatly reduce driveway berms in residential areas, but berms are still possible, especially on arterials that are plowed frequently.
  • Changed plowing techniques also will help alleviate berms and snow pushed onto sidewalks. Crews will plow away from the curb a bit to help keep snow away from driveways and sidewalks. Snow also may be pushed to center medians in some cases.

Parking

  • Residents are asked to park on the odd side of the street in residential areas for the snow season, which runs from Nov. 15 to March 15. The goal is to make it easier for residents to comply with parking rules and aid plow drivers with their work.
  • Residents must move recreational vehicles, boats, and trailers off the street to winter storage locations. These vehicles are subject to towing. At all times, these vehicles are limited to 24 hours of continuous parking on the street. Passenger vehicles are limited to 72 hours of continuous on-street parking.
  • Downtown when it snows, announcements will be made to prohibit on-street parking between midnight at 6 a.m. so parking bays can be plowed out. Nights with downtown parking restrictions will be announced on the City’s web page and social media pages and sent to media. Residents can also call 3-1-1. Signs are installed in the downtown, indicating this rule within the boundaries of Maple to Division and I-90 to the Spokane River. People can park at meters under the freeway during such times. Off-street surface parking lots also are an option as is parking outside the downtown snow event boundary. Vehicles parked during prohibited times are subject to towing.

Collaboration on Sidewalks

  • Property owners remain responsible for clearing the sidewalk adjacent to their properties. The City is asking residents and businesses to clear a 36-inch path to allow school children, disabled individuals, bus riders, and other pedestrians to move safety through the community. The goal is to complete that work by 9 a.m. after a snowfall.
  • The City will remove sidewalk snow adjacent to its properties, too.
  • Not everyone is capable of shoveling. Neighbors are asked to help one another with snow clearing. Seniors or disabled individuals also can call 3-1-1 to help get connected with volunteer services that may be able to help. A call to arrange assistance can be made now.

Communication

  • The City will share information before and during the snow season, providing information to the local media and through a variety of communication tools from social media to CityCable 5 to the City’s web site.
  • The City’s online plow progress map will be updated during 24/7 full-City plow events to give residents better information on snow plowing progress.
  • Residential routes are named to closely follow the City’s neighborhood boundaries to make it easier for people to understand where plows are.