Frequently Asked Questions

How does the City select the streets that will be treated with salt or plowed during a storm?

When it snows, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) crews maintain a network of pre-selected key routes that provide reasonable access to most city areas and are key routes for regional transit. SDOT equipment is busy 24-hours a day clearing major arterial streets. SDOT does not plow nonarterial streets.

How is the snow plowing performed?

Snow is plowed to the side of the street so that when it melts the water will be more likely to stay off the roadway. If temperatures drop at night causing the water to freeze again, there will be less ice on the street. However, when snow is pushed to the side of the street, it may accumulate on sidewalks and in front of driveways requiring residents and businesses to clear it from alongside their property. It is advisable not to park a car on a street that is a snow route because when plows pass by, the car may be buried in snow requiring the driver to dig it out.

Who is responsible for clearing the snow off sidewalks and driveways?

Residents and businesses are responsible for clearing snow and ice from  the sidewalks next to their property. They are also responsible for snow removal on their property, including driveways, parking lots, or other areas.

What kind of communication takes place among the state, county, and city?

SDOT works in cooperation with state, county, and city agencies as well as Metro Transit, Community Transit, Sound Transit and the Seattle School District. Managers from these agencies meet each year to plan how they will coordinate their work. During snow and ice events they share information and assist each other.