Friday, January 14, 2011

Letter Writer Praises Streets, Condemns Sidewalk Snow

Spokesman-Review Letter to the Editor
Thanks for Plowing

I, too, would like to thank our city for a job well-done in keeping our streets plowed. Yesterday the dear retired man on the corner snow-blew our entire block, leaving the sidewalk from one corner to the next snow-free. I so looked forward to my walk to the bus-stop this morning thanks to his efforts (yes, there really are pedestrians in this town).

Sometime during the night, though, the city plows threw all the dirty snow from the streets right back at us, leaving knee-deep filthy mounds all along the sidewalk that our neighbor had just cleaned up for us.

Once again I was forced to walk down the middle of the street. Have you ever walked down Wall, Queen and Monroe (main arterials) during rush hour traffic? What an exhilarating challenge! Your city plow drivers might be inconsiderate brutes, but, yes, Spokane, you’re doing a wonderful job keeping the streets clean of snow. Kudos!

Nadine Yingst Joubert

Well this letter to the editor certainly has a little of everything. The bad thing is that I can't tell if she's being sarcastic or not. She praises Spokane for keeping the roads clear, yet calls our city plow drivers 'inconsiderate brutes.' Hmmm... I tend to think they're just doing their jobs and it's not like they actually take pleasure in watching people struggle with the mounds of snow they create.


Charles said...

I agree about the inconsiderate snow plow drivers burying the sidewalks. I was shoveling on Wednesday afternoon when the snow plows came by I was standing close to the corner and they slowed enough to not bury me, but the walk on the other side of my lot was under about 6 inches of heavy packed snow. After you have shoveled that kind of snow a few time you get very upset with the snow plow drivers. What bothers me the most is they have the FIVE foot wide bike lane to put the snow, but prefer the sidewalks instead.

SRTC Staff said...

The sidewalk vs. bike lane snow storage argument is one I've heard many times. Some of the plow drivers I've talked to have said they are told to get the street as open as they can, meaning the snow has to go somewhere, and the only place left is the sidewalks. I just tried looking through the City's Snow Plan to see if they have a policy on bike lanes or sidewalks (besides that residents are required to shovel their own) but couldn't find anything. My computer keeps locking up so I didn't get all the way through it though.

Rachel said...

As a winter bicyclist, I don't mind seeing the snow stored in the lanes. Not that many people are riding, and we can ride in the street. Sidewalks, on the other hand, are more important to have cleared. I've seen a lot of people walking down the street because it was the only option. They are left jumping back into the snow bank to let the cars pass, and then back into the street to walk another block before the light changes and they have to hop into the bank again.

One complaint that we really have is that businesses don't seem to make clearing their sidewalks much of a priority. I live in West Central and a lot of people walk around here, but they're forced to the walk through the street or parking lot of businesses because they didn't bother to clear their sidewalks.

I always try to shovel my sidewalk as soon as I can, purely out of consideration for people walking by. I wish this were more of the general mindset. Neighborhoods are much better than business districts, which seems odd.

SRTC Staff said...

What scares me is when you see people in wheelchairs in the street because the sidewalks are covered in snow. With all the snow we got early on this winter, I saw a lot of that. Unfortunately, folks in wheelchairs can't jump back into the snow bank to get out of the way of cars. I noticed that the City of Spokane has started including with all of their snow info a reminder to shovel sidewalks, both for businesses and home owners, but it seems like more emphasis needs to be put on it for businesses. I took the bus in from Liberty Lake a couple weeks ago and had to literally wade through a snow bank to get to the stop in front of the McDonalds. A woman on the bus said she had called the restaurant asking them to clear their sidewalk and didn't get a response.

About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.