New Spokane snow removal plan implemented - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

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New Spokane snow removal plan implemented

Last year's epic snowfall left many thinking the City had to improve its snow removal plan (Photo: File / KHQ) Last year's epic snowfall left many thinking the City had to improve its snow removal plan (Photo: File / KHQ)
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SPOKANE, Wash. - With up to four inches of snow in the forecast for Spokane, City officials believe they have a better plan to handle snowy streets this winter, after consulting about a dozen different cities from across the nation.

Central to the new plan this year will be new parking restrictions that will go into effect in the event of a Stage 2 snow emergency, defined as 6-inches of snow on the ground with more forecasted to fall within 24-hours. In such a case, vehicles will be required to park on the odd side of the street to allow room for snowplows to clear driving lanes.

For those parking on an arterial or a bus route, the restrictions go into effect earlier than what would be required in a Stage 2 emergency. When City officials declare a Stage 1 emergency, which is two inches of snow on the ground with more forecasted, drivers will be required to remove their vehicles from those roads within six hours of the snow emergency declaration.

To improve the snow removal process, the City purchased an additional 11 snowplows this year. All plow trucks will have chains for their tires, the de-icer is already purchased and private contractors are already lined up in the event the City needs to call them in to help.

The way snowplow drivers will clear streets will also change this winter. In response to numerous complaints about snow berms piled up on sidewalks last year, plow drivers will move their blades further away from sidewalks, according to Street Department Director, Mark Serbousek. Moving the blades back from the edge of the street will supposedly keep snow from piling up on sidewalks.

Keeping sidewalks clear will also be a new emphasis this year. Mayor Mary Verner has asked everyone – from residents to business operators – to do a better job of clearing snow and ice off walkways. And not only walkways, but also from around fire hydrants and storm drains.

"The last two snow seasons the phenomenal outpouring of assistance from neighbor-to-neighbor and friend-to-friend is really what kept our city going, and we expect to be able to call in our citizens to do that again," said Verner in a news conference on November 19.

The new snow removal plan is a result of months of investigation done by city officials who looked at cities around the country from Denver to Minneapolis for a model.

"What we came up with is kind of a middle-of-the-road approach," said Serbousek. "It's not the worst, the most extreme, it's not the easiest by any means. But it's kind of a middle-of-the-road approach."

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