City releases updated snow removal plan - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

City releases updated snow removal plan

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SPOKANE, Wash. - Following two years of record snowfalls, the City of Spokane is rolling out a revised approach to snow removal as a pilot project for the 2009-10 snow season. 

Spokane Residents are encouraged to offer comments and suggestions throughout the winter, resulting in a permanent plan for the 2010-11 snow season.

The revised approach is designed to improve safety for motorists and pedestrians, ensure emergency responders can reach citizens, and enhance movement for pedestrians, motorists and economic activity.

"We heard from our citizens, and we are responding," says Spokane Mayor Mary Verner.  "We have developed a program that requires both the City and its citizens to be more proactive when it snows, and we believe that everyone will be more pleased with the results."

As part of the plan, the City has purchased 11 additional truck plows and has committed to enhancing snow removal efforts, stepping up sidewalk snow removal around City-owned property, and enhancing communications efforts with citizens. Residents and business owners, meanwhile, will be asked to follow parking restrictions and keep sidewalks, vehicles, hydrants, and storm drains clear of snow.

Under the plan, the City defines the snow season as Nov. 15 to March 15. During this time, the City may declare a snow emergency when weather conditions warrant. 

A Stage 1 Snow Emergency is declared when 2 inches of snow are on the ground and 4 more are anticipated during the current snow event; a Stage 2 Snow Emergency is declared when 6 inches of snow are on the ground and more is anticipated in the current snow event.  

A Stage 1 Snow Emergency will require citizens to move parked cars off of all arterials and STA fixed bus routes, while a Stage 2 Snow Emergency will require citizens to park on one side of the street in residential areas.  The parking changes will allow plow drivers to open up streets better, allowing for easier and safer travel during heavy snows. 

Removing snow from sidewalks within 24 hours of a snow storm also is critical.  A committee of citizens, local school representatives, Spokane Transit Authority representatives, and City employees looked at an enhanced approach to sidewalk snow removal that would eventually require tickets for those who failed to comply.  This year, the City is asking for voluntary compliance.

"To make this work, we're going to have to help each other," says Mayor Verner.  "Seek out those in your neighborhood who might need assistance moving their vehicles, shoveling their walks, or getting basic supplies this winter.  That's the Spokane way."

- City of Spokane

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