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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Community Comment

Spokane Streets a Farce!

Good evening, everyone...

City of Spokane snow removal crews today have finished their first all-City plow and have completed removing the snow berms downtown. Tonight, they are picking up streets that were missed and are working on their second round of residential plowing. Spokane City News, December 23, 2008, 7:07 PM PST.

Today I drove nearly 60 miles, 20 inside Spokane Valley. While on a normal day, such a statement would generally not merit more than a wrinkled brow or perhaps a sniff of insignificance, since it would normally take me less than three hours to cover the entire area. Unfortunately, due to the condition of the city streets, it took me nearly six hours, excluding the amount of time I spent waiting on various accidents to be cleared from the thoroughfares. I began driving at 8:05 AM and returned home at 7:02 PM. Most of the accidents I witnessed fell into two categories: 1. hills and intersections where it was physically impossible to stop a moving vehicle due to ice on the roadway and 2. total idiots who were driving far too fast for conditions.

I have spoken before about my all-weather driving experience, and I have driven in towns of comparable side to Spokane three days after a major snowfall many times. We were not prepared for a storm of this magnitude. In fact, we were ill-equipped for a storm of any magnitude based upon my driving experiences today.

Hills and major intersections throughout the majority of places I drove had no traction sand applied, leaving the roads snow-packed, icy and very dangerous. These areas include twenty-ninth, Grand Boulevard and High Street on the South Hill, North Nevada from the Freeway to Wellesley, Greene Street Hill, Mission Boulevard, Boone Street from Division west to its terminus, all side streets off North Division from Foothills to Francis and all side streets on hills north of Francis from Division.

In all, I saw the aftermath of six accidents, excluding two jackknifed tractor trailers who got high-centered on snow berms turning off main thoroughfares onto side streets, one on Ruby, the second on Trent near Argonne. From listening to the police scanner, I gather there were many other trucks and tractor trailers that had similar issues. At both these sites on North Ruby, tremendous traffic jams occurred from the lane closures, and on North Argonne it took nearly two hours for a tow truck to arrive. It was frustrating for everyone, and simply unacceptable.

During my six hour drive throughout Spokane, I did not see a single snow plow, sanding truck, road grader or other snow removal equipment. However, I did see two City of Spokane Police cars that were not stuck. Now that is priceless.

Having experienced the road conditions today, and having read the Spokane City News released by City Hall this evening, my only comment is balderdash and poppycock! I would have thought the City of Spokane would have learned some essential lessons about snow removal and abatement after the debacle last winter's storms left behind. We are facing another major snow storm expected to move into the area by mid-day tomorrow and lasting until perhaps as late as Christmas Day night, and in my opinion our streets are still not safe to drive, based upon reasonable winter driving conditions.

Get some sand on the hills and major intersections! People are being hurt by unacceptable driving conditions.


Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.