With more people working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Spokane city officials are reminding residents to make way for snow plows this winter.
The city is once again imploring residents to park on the odd side of the street during winter and immediately move recreational vehicles and boats off the street and into winter storage.
“We really need help from the community,” Mayor Nadine Woodward said.
Despite the limitations the pandemic has placed on the city budget, Woodward said at a press conference on Friday that the city will continue to prioritize its response to snowy weather.
City residents have made it clear they “want more plowing, in more areas, and sooner,” Woodward said.
“An efficient and effective snow response is vital to the safety of our pedestrians, to our commuters, and despite the strain on our annual budget right now – especially because of COVID – we have prioritized spending on snow efforts,” Woodward said.
This year, the city has added to its fleet an additional snow gate, a tool popular with property owners that prevents plows from creating snow berms in front of driveways. The city now has 17 snow gates.
The Streets Department is also adding a “wing blade” to its repertoire, allowing crews to maneuver into and plow tighter spaces in older neighborhoods with narrow streets. If it works well, the city will consider purchasing additional wing blades.
The city will add a new station to measure street temperatures at higher elevations, allowing it to more adeptly respond to storms like Friday’s, when the South Hill saw inches of snow and downtown received nothing but rain.
The city also will also establish two new stockpiles of deicer and sand, allowing road crews simpler and more efficient access to the materials while responding to a storm.
Following a snow storm, cars must be parked on the odd side of the street in residential areas. Downtown, cars must be moved off the street between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m.
Scott Simmons, the city’s director of Public Works, urged businesses and residents to clear the sidewalks and ramps in front of their properties to make way for pedestrians after a snowfall.
During and after a snow storm, residents can track the progress of city plows on the city’s website.
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