Saturday, January 3, 2009

Seattle WA + Snow = Insanity

My blog buddy Kim, put a link on Twitter that I want to share with you. It's from the Seattle Times. Kim recently was my guest blogger and wrote a wonderful post called "Snowmageddon" Thanks again Kim!.

Here are some of the highlights of The Seattle Times article. Hopefully the snow has since melted.
"Seattle refuses to use salt; roads "snow packed" by design

Seattle's strategy for clearing roads relies on sand and de-icer, not salt, which is a more effective method of melting ice and snow.

"Plowed streets" in Seattle actually means "snow-packed," as in there's snow and ice left on major arterials by design.

"We're trying to create a hard-packed surface," said Alex Wiggins, chief of staff for the Seattle Department of Transportation. "It doesn't look like anything you'd find in Chicago or New York."

The city's approach means crews clear the roads enough for all-wheel and four-wheel-drive vehicles, or those with front-wheel drive cars as long as they are using chains, Wiggins said.

The icy streets are the result of Seattle's refusal to use salt, an effective ice-buster used by the state Department of Transportation and cities accustomed to dealing with heavy winter snows.

"If we were using salt, you'd see patches of bare road because salt is very effective," Wiggins said. "We decided not to utilize salt because it's not a healthy addition to Puget Sound."

By ruling out salt and some of the chemicals routinely used by snowbound cities, Seattle has embraced a less-effective strategy for clearing roads, namely sand sprinkled on top of snowpack along major arterials, and a chemical de-icer that is effective when temperatures are below 32 degrees.

Seattle also equips its plows with rubber-edged blades. That minimizes the damage to roads and manhole covers, but it doesn't scrape off the ice, Wiggins said.

That leaves many drivers, including Seattle police, pretty much on their own until nature does to the snow what the sand can't: melt it.

The city's patrol cars are rear-wheel drive. And even with tire chains, officers are avoiding hills and responding on foot, according to a West Precinct officer."

Click here to read the entire article.

Sometimes I'm glad that I live in Rochester! ;o)


Vodka Mom said...

I got snowed in when I was visiting my sister in Mystic! It was GORGEOUS and HELLISH at the same time!!

Happy New year.

LadyBanana said...

I read about this somewhere else as well... crazy!

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Vodka Mom,

"GORGEOUS and HELLISH at the same time!!"

LOL! That's exactly it! You have a way with words! When we had an ice storm last year it was beautiful. Just so long as you stayed off of the roads and sidewalks. ;o)

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi LadyBanana,

You have to wonder! Let's hope that WA doesn't get anymore snow. Sheesh! ;o)

twofinches said...

I lived in Seattle for two years for college/ It is a city of very long, steep hills. I can't imagine trying to drive up or down them with such snow packed conditions. I am as concerned as anyone about the potential of harm to the environment but I stop short of risking human life in order to keep salt out of the Sound!

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi twofinches,

Exactly! It's environment vs human life, and they pick environment! That's the insanity!

S'onnie said...

Once again I am glad I live in a city where it snows so rarely this is something we never really need to worry about.

I don't agree that they are putting the environment before people but I do appreciate the fact that unlike many cities they are actually thinking of the environment anyway!

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi S'onnie,

Well, if you ever want snow I can send you truckloads of it!

dmarks said...

Seattle + Snow = "Damn. I broke my leg slipping on a patch of frozen coffee"

meleah rebeccah said...

Ive never been HAPPIER to live in New Jersey!

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi dmarks,

Well no more coffee for them! ;o)

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi meleah rebeccah,

Right! I have to wonder about those leaders in Seattle.

Michelle Gartner said...

I could have swore I left a comment the other night- must have gotten distracted by the little ones... I think. It was probably something to do with that wouldn't fly in Wisconsin. If they didn't take care of the snow properly we would be shut down.

EastCoastLife said...

Happy New Year!

I cannot take cold weather. This would probably kill me. hehe....

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Michelle Gartner,

Those darn kids interfering with blog commenting! Ha ha!

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi EastCoastLife,

I hope that you have a very Happy New Year!

Tammy said...

I'm from Canada and I live in the country here. We use sand here, but salt in the non-rural areas. Roads get really slippery without salt.

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Tammy,

Yes, sand just doesn't do the trick when it's below freezing.

Lilly's Life said...

Its hard to imagine all that snow given its hot and summer here but I lived in Scotland for a while and used to snow.

It seems rather a strange strategy and lets hope no-one gets killed. I guess everyone has to get bigger cars which is no good for the environment either.

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Lilly's Life,

Strange strategy indeed! I laughed at the part where the police had trouble getting around so had to respond on FOOT!

Dr. Deb said...

That pictures gives me frostbite!

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Doc. Deb,

LOL! Brrr!

Tina said...

that picture looks really scary! imagine if you were to slide back down one of those hills in your car :0

thanks for stopping by my place and commenting :)

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Tina,


I know, it's too dangerous. But it would make for nice sledding.

Janet Campbell said...

Great picture. I always thought that Seattle was flat because of the skyline on the Frasier show *duh* until I went there and found it's very much like San Francisco! I love it there!

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Janet Campbell,

I didn't know anything about Seattle until I read about it, & from my guest speaker & blog buddy Kim. ;)