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Marlene Feist

The Gift of Snow Gates

Marlene Feist, Public Works Director of Strategic Development, 509.625.6505

Monday, July 23, 2018 at 2:51 p.m.

Ho, ho, ho! Are you ready for snow? Since 90-degree days make some of us long for the chill of winter, we thought we’d bring our citizens a little Christmas in July gift.

The City of Spokane has announced that it will more the double the number of snow gates in its fleet to 16. The gates allow our plow drivers to avoid placing snow across a driveway or alley access.

Last year, the City piloted the use of the gates, installing them on a total of seven pieces of equipment and rotating their use in neighborhoods throughout the City.  Our citizens loved them.

“We heard you. We hope the addition of this equipment will make winter just a little easier in our community,” says Mayor David Condon. “This is a great example of why we must continually re-evaluate our operations to deliver better outcomes and greater satisfaction with our services.”

The snow gates are installed on graders and front-end loaders, which are paired with a truck plow in residential areas when the amount of snow warrants neighborhood plowing. The use of the gates on front-end loaders has been particularly effective so we’re buying two more of those, too.

Street Department officials point out that the new gates won’t completely eliminate driveway berms, particularly for those who live on arterials that are plowed more frequently, but they will dramatically reduce the berms throughout the City. 

The use of snow gates was just one piece of a revamped snow response plan that the Street Department rolled out for the 2017-18 winter. More plowing in more areas sooner was the centerpiece of that updated plan.

When it snows, even if it’s just an inch or two, crews plow all of the streets, including residential streets.  We do that extra plowing on the day shift, Monday through Friday, when crews from our water and wastewater utilities are more available.  During these times, we now will use gates in all residential areas. 

When it snows more than that, our crews move to 24/7 operations. We have worked to complete a full-City plow in about 3 days—that’s about a day less than before. During these times, we’ll try to avoid creating berms as much as possible while still striving to meet time commitments.

Merry Summer!

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