Speed the plow: Spokane wants your bright ideas about how to improve snowplowing

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As the city looks to rejigger its street plowing policies, they want to hear what you care about most. - SPOKANE CITY SURVEY
  • Spokane city survey
  • As the city looks to rejigger its street plowing policies, they want to hear what you care about most.

OK, smart guy. If you have so many opinions about Spokane's snowplowing process,  why don't you come up with some better ideas? No, seriously. The city wants to hear your thoughts on snowplowing.

Of course, with the sun shining and the birds of spring twittering, it's easy to forget about the dark, days of Spokane snowfall a few months ago. If you need to jog your memory, here's an Inlander story, about the community frustrations with the street department over snowplowing that preceded the ouster of the department's former director.

In a press release, city spokeswoman Marlene Feist gives a shout-out to all the frustrated citizens who complained over the past few months.
This past winter was the wettest on record and much of that precipitation fell as snow; the City completed three full-City plows to respond to those conditions. Throughout the season, citizens relayed concerns about how the City manages snow on streets and sidewalks. Concerns ranged from dissatisfaction with the berms deposited at the end of driveways to how long it takes to complete a full-City plow to a lack of compliance with requirements to remove snow from sidewalks.
To do that, the city is asking you to fill out an online SurveyMonkey poll. It lists more than a dozen possible suggestions, like improving the speed of all-city plows or starting an all-city plow at lower levels. Then it asks you to rank how big of a priority implementing a certain idea or improvement would be for you, on a scale of 1 to 4.

Other ideas include "Don't push snow back onto sidewalks," "Eliminate parking restrictions in residential areas" and "Keep driveway approaches clear — no berms."

Some of the ideas involve cracking down on scofflaws, like towing vehicles that are breaking parking rules during a snowplowing event, or ticketing property owners for not shoveling.

Other questions ask the survey-takers to prioritize. Should the city prioritize downtown clearing? Snow in business centers? Streets immediately around schools? Bus-loading zones? Removing center berms?

And finally, the survey asks you for your own thoughts and comments.

“Snow is part of life in the Inland Northwest, and we are taking a fresh look at how we can improve mobility for vehicles and pedestrians during inclement weather,” Street Director Gary Kaesemeyer says in the press release. “We are reviewing best practices from other cities, evaluating our equipment, and considering staffing needs to refine our approach to address the citizens’ most important priorities.”

The survey will be available for the next two weeks.