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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: City Preparing for Winter 2010-2011

11/9/2010  2:15:00 PM
Katherine Schubert-Knapp (Mayor’s Office), 206-684-5225

City Preparing for Winter 2010-2011
SDOT to keep streets clear using salt, salt brine pretreatments and technological upgrades

SEATTLE – With an updated winter storm plan, the City of Seattle today announced its preparations for the coming winter.

“SDOT has prepared a new strategy for winter storms,” said Mayor Mike McGinn, “as well as improving our coordination with other agencies.”

“We have salt and salt brine stockpiled and equipment prepared for when snow falls this winter,” said SDOT Director Peter Hahn. “Our plan is to stay ahead of storms by pretreating streets and keeping key roadways open for Metro’s buses before and after snow falls.”

Designed in consultation with King County Metro Transit and other key partners, Seattle’s winter response plan calls for keeping roads open, buses moving and critical emergency services accessible. Highlights of the plan include:

-Using salt brine pretreatment before snow falls to reduce snow’s ability to stick to streets, using salt during storms to melt snow more quickly, and limited use of sand to help vehicles maintain their traction, all in line with industry best practices;-SDOT has 30 plows and four anti-icing/de-icing trucks available, has stockpiled 2,200 tons of salt and 46,000 gallons of salt brine, and has agreements with local companies and regional agencies for additional resources;

-An updated winter response plan website with road closure information:;

-Significant improvements to facilities and equipment to include GPS technology, vehicle mounted temperature sensors and increased ability to predict incoming weather;

-An increased emphasis on clearing city managed pedestrian pathways and landings;

-Close coordination among agencies – SDOT, Metro, and SPD are prepared to provide a liaison in each other’s control/operations rooms when conditions warrant it, to enable quick and clear coordination among them; and

-An improved organizational structure and significant training for winter storm response.

One significant change will be the plowing of snow and ice toward the curb and not the center of the street. Plowing to the center creates barriers which block the roadways and prevent vehicles from being able to make left turns. In addition, snow piled in the center of the street contributes to icy conditions because it doesn’t allow melting snow to reach drains. Though plowing to the curb may block driveways and cars which are parked on the street, requiring people to shovel out their driveways and vehicles, this is the best option for keeping our roads safe and passable.

The city encourages people to help keep roadways clear by using Metro service as much as possible. Metro advises people to use transit service on the City’s priority snow routes and to check online for service:

Clearing the sidewalks in front of residences and businesses is the responsibility of the property manager, resident, or business owner. City officials ask residents and business owners to take an active role in helping keep our sidewalks clear and passable by shoveling and salting their sidewalks.

Seattle City Light has a new, online map to let people see power outages throughout the City and to determine how quickly a customer can expect a response. This information is updated every 15 minutes: In the event of a massive power outage, the response time function may be disabled due to the volume of outages. Customers should stay tuned to KOMO 1000 and KIRO 97.3 Radio for comprehensive up-dates.

Seattle residents are also asked to help keep storm drains clear to reduce the likelihood of flooding. When storm drains are covered by leaves, snow/ice, or other debris, water cannot get into the drain system and accumulates on city streets, resulting in possible flooding and erosion.

Finally, garbage and recycling pickup schedules may be affected by snow. Seattle Public Utilities will keep people updated via their online webform: Unless you hear otherwise, put your trash and recycling out on the normal day. If it is not picked up, put it out again the next day. If it is still not picked up, then bring it inside until hearing from SPU.

For more information on winter weather preparedness, please visit the Take Winter by Storm Website:

What Seattle Residents Can Do To Help During/After a Snowfall:

-Prepare in advance by having a snow shovel, salt, food, and water (for 3 days) in stock;

-Help and look out for your neighbors, friends, and family members;

-Shovel and maintain the sidewalks in front of your residence and/or business;

-Keep local storm drains clear so water can flow into them; and

-Limit use of your personal vehicle as much as possible.

Important Phone Numbers:

-Seattle Customer Service Bureau #: 206-684-CITY (2489)

-SDOT phone # 206-684-ROAD (7623)

-SPU phone #: 206-684-3000

-City Light Power Outage Hotline: 206-684-7400

-King County Metro: 206-553-3000

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Seattle Department of Transportation

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