West Seattle snow and ice: City’s official no-salt explanation

(Monday photo, courtesy of Creighton)
With the uproar today over the city not using salt on roads, after this Times article (which we and sixty-skabillion other sites have linked to in the past 20 hours or so), we asked Rick Sheridan at SDOT if there is an official city statement, just to get their side of the story. Here’s what he e-mailed back:

The City of Seattle has not used salt as its principal de-icer since the mid 1990s. Instead we use a chemical de-icer that is effective, more environmentally friendly and less damaging to vehicles and roads. Salt, when it runs off from roadway surfaces, is harmful to vegetation, waterways and wildlife. Fresh water habitat, which shelters fish such as salmon, is especially impacted. The other significant problem is the corrosive impact of salt on metal and other man-made materials. It corrodes cars, city equipment, roadways, and our many bridges and viaducts. So the use of salt comes with a very heavy price tag.

The City of Seattle uses a de-icer, Geomelt C, that provides similar benefits without all of salt’s problems. It has worked effectively in all of Seattle’s recent winter storms, to include the big storm of 1996. The City of Portland and the Oregon Department of Transportation use the same approach. Our de-icer helped clear primary arterials citywide, such as Fauntleroy Way SW and the West Seattle Bridge, and is now part of our efforts on secondary arterials throughout the city.

On a slightly related note, we also asked for a little more info on this grader, which we didn’t recall hearing about or seeing before today (photo’s from California/Thistle at mid-afternoon):

Here’s its backstory:

The road grader is from SDOT’s vehicle fleet. SDOT purchased it within the last
year for grading projects, and snow and ice removal. It typically serves in the northern part of Seattle on Aurora Avenue, a long straight roadway, and is utilized when we have significant accumulations of snow and ice. Given needs elsewhere in the city, SDOT deployed it to Elliott Avenue, downtown and West Seattle. It is great for straight roads and hills (due to its traction). The grader is one of many vehicles we have working on snow and ice clearing in Seattle.

It was seen today on SW Thistle and SW Holden (both hilly and straight).

62 Replies to "West Seattle snow and ice: City's official no-salt explanation"

  • eigenwijs December 23, 2008 (8:37 pm)

    It’s interesting that the state DOT has determined that salt *is* safe enough on the environment to use – I5 isn’t that far away from the Sound. And also, I think Portland and its environs are having the same issues with icy roads we are. I have several friends down there that are beyond frustrated with undrivable roads. Geomelt C really doesn’t seem to be worth its, um, salt…

  • Johnston December 23, 2008 (8:39 pm)

    Mr. Sheridan, with all due respect, sir, it’s my opinion that your new ice melting system sucks!

  • Johnston December 23, 2008 (8:41 pm)


  • Scott December 23, 2008 (8:45 pm)

    Back a couple of years ago when Snoqualmie Pass was closed due to rock falls on the roadway, the state said that the loss of revenue was 1 Million per day… anyone want to guess what the loss of driveable roads is to the Seattle economy?
    Salt the roads, once in a while isn’t going to be a serious issue to the enviroment, the snow melt will dilute the salt sufficiently by the time it reaches the streams.

  • HT December 23, 2008 (8:51 pm)

    Johnston: you saw that on Channel 67 today, didn’t you? I agree with you, by the way. The statement that “It has worked effectively” is purest horse hockey. Either Geomelt C doesn’t work, or it hasn’t been used at all, because almost all streets, including a few arterials, are still clearly frozen and all but impassable.

  • el_grego December 23, 2008 (8:54 pm)

    Given how rarely a lasting snow occurs in Seattle, and given how seriously the city is affected by even a small snowstorm, I don’t see why salt is a bad choice. It’s not like we’re going to douse our roads in it for five months out of the year like they do in the Midwest – using it a couple times a year isn’t going to cause much damage to anything and it would go a long way to returning the city to normalcy.

    If snow became a constant winter problem here, yeah, I could see salt becoming an issue.

    How many of us are still snowbound? My car is still buried and every day I go look at my street and see that despite the fact that it was finally plowed, it’s still impassable due to ice and/or compacted, glazed snow. A pass or two with a salt truck would fix that – having lived in Chicago for twenty years, I can attest to that.

  • GeneseeHillMike December 23, 2008 (8:57 pm)

    How can environmental issues of salt — whatever those are — trump every sort of snow/ice accumulation situation in Seattle. Mr. Sheridan of SDOT doesn’t give any facts, just a short conclusory opinion, i.e., salt comes “with a very high price tag.” Could we have some FACTS. Most of us have lived in other parts of the country where salt has been used successfully for decades. We know it can corrode the underside of vehicles, but have never heard that it is a big environmental hazard. If so, it seems like the Sierra Club or one of those groups would have sounded the alarm long ago. And, if we are talking cost, it has to be weighed against benefits (or countervailing costs), as everyone who has posted on this topic has pointed out. That sort of ordinary, common sense seems to have alluded SDOT. Where is their cost/benefit analysis for situations like we’ve seen this past week? Seems pretty clear that the safety and commerce benefits outweigh what is a small, temporary environmental impact (the sand arguably is worse for the environment). This feels like a decision that was made in the abstract by a bureaucrat who was pushing politics over objective analysis and who got away with it because it is so seldom that we have conditions like this week to test the policy. Let’s hope the same mentality doesn’t overtake our police, fire, military, and other emergency services when it comes to planning for disasters.

  • MrJT December 23, 2008 (9:02 pm)

    Isn’t salt mined out of the earth ?

  • Molly December 23, 2008 (9:06 pm)

    I have wondered why salt isn’t used on roads here for the last 10 years (since I moved here). It just seems insane.

  • Mary December 23, 2008 (9:16 pm)

    Lacking rock salt for home use last week, I looked up a bunch of info about different de-icers and found that there are different chemical de-icers out there for different temperature ranges and conditions.

    I don’t care what we use but our streets have been sorely needed *something* more than what we have had. I’d like a less callous response from the city than simply “don’t drive if you don’t have to” and the buses — well, the darn things have to drive the same cruddy roads …

  • sammy December 23, 2008 (9:19 pm)

    I live in Arbor Heights, and the roads are garbage, but all I needed to do was get some chains for the 2WD and we were out and about. Seattle prides itself on its environmental record; here is an opportunity to live up to our reputation by making a tough choice…the city shouldn’t salt, and we should be comfortable, if not proud, of that choice.

  • OP December 23, 2008 (9:19 pm)

    Yes, God forbid we use something from the earth to de-ice our roads. We must appease our eco-guilt lest we cheese off St. Al.

    BTW: The Times stated that the salt was 5x more expensive than the sand. However from a cost efficiency standpoint, I wonder just how much more expensive it is to use salt vs. sand when you add in the hours lost due to work, overtime for plow drivers, accidents, gas for the plows and so on, not to mention reduced emergency response times, lives lost due to weather, etc.. Just sayin’….

  • Mary December 23, 2008 (9:22 pm)

    Belated report:

    Arrived back to 32nd/Thistle around 6pm after an afternoon drive to Beacon Hill, First Hill, SoDo, and back home. Thistle to and from Delridge was okay both coming and going although not for the faint of heart, even for this former Alaskan resident. Noticed that Holden Street is closed from Delridge. Curious, since the police street is nearby, but glad for Thistle being open. Be careful on Thistle for there are big potholes in the ice that can send you in an unplanned direction.

    Beacon Hill was okay, a bit challenging, but not so bad once you’re on top. Side streets were another matter and we did see several stuck vehicles.

    First Hill was the real time consumer. The roads weren’t great but the traffic and the idiot drivers kept us in that area for about two hours. Finally made it to SoDo by taking Jackson Street to I think 7th Avenue, then Airport Way to Holgate. Used the overpass on 4th Avenue to cross to 1st Avenue by the stadiums, lower WS bridge to Delridge, then Thistle back to home sweet home.

    Hope this late report helps someone with route planning …

  • Mary December 23, 2008 (9:22 pm)

    Police *station*, not street. Sorry.

  • transplantella December 23, 2008 (9:23 pm)

    Forget salt, that stuff is junk.

    Giant piles of the de-icer is what we need. Spread on EVERYTHING. It can last for many hours especially in barely sub-freezing temperatures, it melts new falling snow, and prevents icing for as long as 24 hours–or more.

    De-icer rocks.

    What are these people thinking??? This is not a woodland village, THIS IS A CITY. Full of people. People choose to live in cities and not villages because they can make a living in the city. You want remote tranquility, and a pristine environment, and no income? Plenty of places in the world to find it, but cities are not that place.

    Cities need to be kept open and running 24 hours a day even in adverse circumstances. Cities need leaders who are committed to maintaining an urban throb and efficiency. Community leaders who cannot or will not commit to their responsibilities should be sent to Siberia where they can can enjoy a pristine wilderness till the end of time.

  • Mac December 23, 2008 (9:37 pm)

    In the midst of this high-strung bellyaching about the impact of salt on our economy and environment, it should be pointed out that Canada has made it a point to reduce the use of salt on roads. I hear they get some snow sometimes.

  • Mollsworth December 23, 2008 (9:39 pm)

    Eigenwijs- off topic…maar, ben je nederlander?

  • JenV December 23, 2008 (9:42 pm)

    similar benefits my ass

  • todd December 23, 2008 (10:01 pm)

    The condition of these roads is doing far more damage to my vehicle than salt ever would. The bumps were so rugged my SUV was getting thrown, jostled and tossed about uncontrollably. I’m sure the shocks and brakes are suffering for it. Not to mention I’ve nearly involuntarily sideswiped at least a dozen other vehicles today alone.
    In New England if the roads were left in this condition 3 days after a snow storm the city officials would be forced to resign in humiliation.

  • FriendO'Dingus December 23, 2008 (10:02 pm)

    Salt is NOT easily removed from your vehicle. It gets in every nook and cranny of the underside/inner body work of your vehicle and stays there permanently…eating away at the metal surface year around for years to come. One use on our roads is all it takes. Plus, no amount of salting our roads is going to get your car out from under a foot of snow. That requires getting off one’s duff and actually digging it out yourself. As Sammy pointed out above, if you needed to get out you could by simply buying chains, and be willing to get your hands dirty by putting them on and taking them off. I got out several times with a RWD pick up, and I don’t even have chains. Roomie got to work everyday he needed to downtown by using the tracker before walking 7 blocks to the stop on Delridge, and calling me at home to ask me to look at the tracker for him before he left his office to come home. 120 on Third, 21 on 1st, even the 54 once…just depended on whichever one was arriving in downtown first, then he would make sure and intercept it. Granted, the last week has challenged the staus quo, but such is life. The city/state/federal govt. cannot now, nor will ever in the future, be able to mitigate every inconvenient thing which may happen. This is no Katrina, this is no California wildfire, this is no Midwest flooding. It’s a three event snow storm which happens from time to time (once every 12 years apparently). Roll with it.

  • J.See December 23, 2008 (10:06 pm)

    I don’t think the point is that other places with lots of snow use it, I think the point is salt once every few years in a crisis isn’t going to be as much of a negative impact on the environment as the big gas guzzling 4 wheel drive SUVs that are on the road every day (and the large percentage of the cars on the road during this mess). And as for the de-icer, I’m all about it, but ONLY if it gets used more and we don’t run out so that only certain roads get it. I wouldn’t mind following through with my holiday plans, which at this point are pretty much canceled, never mind the 3 missed workdays because our city can’t get the streets cleared at least for some buses.

  • Tom December 23, 2008 (10:09 pm)

    I used to live in Detroit, which got tons of snow every winter and which used massive amounts of salt to clear the roads. My dad used to drive junker cars, and when I asked him why he didn’t drive a better car, he told me the salt corroded cars and he didn’t want to waste the money on something that would just rust to pieces.

    I think Sammy raises a good point. I know other cities are cutting way back on their salt use for similar environmental reasons. We’re not the only city that’s doing this. I don’t think we can just say that we’ll make good choices for the environment except when it’s going to cost too much. The environment has to still be considered, even in situations like this. We shouldn’t start getting dragged into the false dichotomy of business vs. environment – that’s not the issue here.

    I’m not even sure the issue is salt vs. no salt.
    It seems to me that the whole way Seattle responds to snow is based on our typical snow pattern of snow and melt, snow and melt. So they plow the main streets, don’t scrape the ice off the streets, throw down some sand, and wait for it all to melt the way it usually does. That’s the pattern we’ve always followed.

    But our weather this year doesn’t fit the usual pattern, so we can’t go by the old playbook. Maybe we need a new emergency plan, for times like this when we get unpredictable weather. Maybe we need a few hundred tons of salt on hand, for just such an emergency like this. Maybe we need to invest in a hundred snowplows that can easily be mounted on city trucks on short notice. Or maybe we need to triple the use of GeoMelt C.

    All I know is that right now, their strategy for responding to this snow has been an absolute failure. And for Ron Sims to be tweeting clueless messages like “You got to love this snow. It is soooo beautiful!” (an actual twitter post from Sims) is just boneheaded and shows that he has no idea what’s happening on the ground. Ditto for Greg Nickels and his “the city has done an excellent job responding to the snow” jazz. What city is he looking at? His neighborhood is at a standstill. His city has ground to a halt. What is he thinking?

  • J.See December 23, 2008 (10:10 pm)

    Friend O’Dingus – FYI, not once in all of this did the tracker even work for me. Don’t act like people didn’t try to get to work or that we are all just wussy or too lazy to get out there. It was a lot more than 7 blocks for some people to get to a running bus these last few days. And as for chains, tell me where and I’ll buy them. I’d love to be able to celebrate Christmas with my family, but at this point we’d probably just cause an accident trying to get out of our neighborhood.

  • Kayleigh December 23, 2008 (10:17 pm)

    I don’t think it makes much sense to get hung up on salt vs. de-icer. We don’t have enough equipment to spread either one. And the way some Seattle-ites howl when their taxes are raised, and given the cutbacks and worsening economy…well, I imagine the city is doing the best it can with the resources it has.

    Another problem is that many employers (like mine) refuse to close, so that we either try to make it in or we take vacation pay (if we have it; many people don’t) or lose money. Come on—waiting 3 hours for a bus? Walking 5 miles in the snow and slush? How is this reasonable even for a young healthy person?

  • eigenwijs December 23, 2008 (10:34 pm)

    Mollsworth – mijn ouders komt uit Nederland. U?

  • FriendO'Dingus December 23, 2008 (10:36 pm)

    I agree J See…some areas in West Seattle are a lot farther than 7 blocks from an adverse weather metro route. If I’m not mistaken though, these are the same areas that are hit hard in every snow storm, and are always difficult to reach by metro when it snows. Perhaps having a set of chains handy before such an event is in order? The first storm was projected days before it hit.

  • jiggers December 23, 2008 (10:44 pm)

    I bet double chins (Nickles) street is salted and looking very clean.

  • el_grego December 23, 2008 (10:46 pm)

    I’d kill a panda to get salt on my street (Holden – which has been closed since Friday at least).

  • FriendO'Dingus December 23, 2008 (10:58 pm)

    Hey El Grego, not be smart or anything, but didn’t I read earlier that Holden from 35th to Delridge Way got scaped by the road grader this afternoon? Did that help you out at all?

  • Jmn December 23, 2008 (11:03 pm)

    Nederlanders eigenwijs, dat wist ik niet.

  • Mary December 23, 2008 (11:05 pm)

    Friend O’Dingus – as of about 6pm, Holden Street from Delridge was CLOSED. Not just one but TWO street closed signs.

  • Jmn December 23, 2008 (11:07 pm)

    Seems we need a Dutch blog on this site.

  • FriendO'Dingus December 23, 2008 (11:11 pm)

    Hmmm…I live just up the hill from there and haven’t even tried to go out that way, so thanks for the update. I was feeling hopefull after reading that the grader scraped it. Any sign that it really was scraped from Delridge to 35th?

  • Mary December 23, 2008 (11:11 pm)

    Count me with Tom and Kayleigh. I’m getting tired of everyone talking about rock salt as if it is the only method of de-icing available. It is not.

    In forty years I’ve NEVER seen snow like this. Most of us can endure a few days of it but we are going on two weeks. Will Seattle citizens finally be convinced to invest in a better solution for such unusually difficult conditions? It remains to be seen. I think it would be a fantastic investment compared to nearly shutting down the city.

  • FriendO'Dingus December 23, 2008 (11:23 pm)

    Please forgive me if this posts up twice. I hit post and it never showed up, so I am trying again.
    Hmm..I live up the hill from there near EC Hughes and I havent even tried to go out that way for a week. Thanks much for the update. May I ask, does it look at all like it was graded this afternoon from Delridge to 35th?

  • Liveon47th December 23, 2008 (11:31 pm)

    47th Ave. SW (the street Mayor Nickel’s lives on) is NOT plowed, and is no better than most other streets in West Seattle. Kids have effectively closed the street a few blocks away and made it their personal sledding hill. Those of us who grew up here know this is a once in a decade event. I, too, am inconvenienced. But, as FriendO’Dingus aptly states, “roll with it!” In a few days it will all be over.

  • TP December 23, 2008 (11:36 pm)

    MrJT–isn’t uranium from the earth? why don’t we just sprinkle that on our streets too?

  • bob December 23, 2008 (11:51 pm)

    Chains should not be an alternative to salt (or metal snow plows). Chains should be illegal because too many people don’t know how to use them. The highways and streets are currently littered with piles of chains that have fallen off. Hit one the right way and it will wind around your axle.
    Furthermore chains on pavement tear up the roads and cause more damage than metal snow plows would.

  • Stuart December 23, 2008 (11:54 pm)

    For anyone who thinks a little salt isn’t going to hurt anything, you might want to look up the phrase “salting the earth” on Wikipedia.

    I think Kayliegh’s right: salt or no, the City just doesn’t have the equipment needed to deal with an event like this.

  • que December 23, 2008 (11:54 pm)

    TP – Then it would be easier to drive during the long nights that we have this time of year. Driving along the gently glowing streets… Mmmmm… Beautiful…

  • que December 24, 2008 (12:01 am)

    On a more serious note, the snow removal in this city is appallingly bad. We are now days into this last snow event and even the arterials in WS are still horrible. Metro is suffering from a massive “craniorectal inversion” problem with the lack of ability to communicate cancelled busses or what snow routes they might be taking and their chronic unreliablity in inclement weather. People rely on them when they can’t take their cars and they frankly are not to be relied upon.

    Whether it be salt or de-icer, there must be a better answer than this. Salt every once in a while cannot possibly be that harmful to the Sound. Clearly not enough of their de-icer of choice is being used (or it isn’t worth it’s salt as it were).

    The snow has been allowed to cripple the city’s economy for over a week in what are already tenuous economic times. People WANT to go and spend money at this time of year and CAN’T. Small businesses are going to be the one’s to pay for this penny-wise-pound-foolish decision by the city.

  • WSB December 24, 2008 (12:07 am)

    Followup story has just appeared on the Seattle Times site:

  • Scott B. December 24, 2008 (12:28 am)

    As I said after 10:30am on Tuesday after SDOT revealed that they were “even using the grader at night,” they should have had that grader going at least during daylight hours, but they may not have had a skilled operator for it.

  • Mary December 24, 2008 (12:41 am)

    Friend O’Dingus:

    We used to live within 2 blocks of Holden and now are just off of Thistle. It was dark at 6pm-ish and I couldn’t really see the condition of the road. I haven’t looked at it at all from the 35th Avenue side.

    Thistle, on the other hand, was workable and 35th has been pretty good most of this entire snow escapade, all in all. If you can find a way to get to Thistle you can probably make it to Delridge okay and out from there. There’s a small hill at 35th and Thistle facing eastbound that could prevent a challenge if you have to start from a stopped position so I recommend getting onto Thistle from another street.

    One last note – the side streets off of Thistle have snow berms that you will have to cross to actually get on and off Thistle. They are high in some places and ground clearance and traction could be an issue. Bring a shovel if you can just in case.

    Hope this helps you and anyone else. I have no idea what changes there have been since about 6pm, however.

  • Trisket December 24, 2008 (12:44 am)

    Mr Sheridan’s statement is indicative of an organization that really doesn’t have a clue. The statement is patronizing in that we are expecetd to believe, without question salting our roads once or twice every thirty years to respond to heavy snow and ice “comes with a heavy price tag”.

    In 1996 the de-icer DID NOT WORK. The roads were horrible for weeks! In 2008 the de-icer STILL DOESN’T WORK.

    Also, didn’t Cruncian come from Oregon Transportation? If she did such an excellent job in Oregon, why isn’t she still there? Why are we taxpayers paying Cruncican 180K + and 30 vacation days per year? What VALUE is she providing? What are we getting?

    I can tell you what I’m not getting… I’m not getting to work. I’m using up my vacation days because our holier-than-thou city leaders feel salting our roads “comes with a heavy price tag”.

    Mayor Nickels– Someone must take responsibility for this mess. Will you be replacing Grace Crunican or will we be replacing you?

  • transplantella December 24, 2008 (1:03 am)

    Snow/ice can be moved/melted if the government has a will and a way. Heavy on willpower. If you want it moved you’ve gotta MAKE IT HAPPEN. It’s not just going to meekly go away.

    From today’s Moscow (Russia) Times:

    “….city officials deployed a battalion of snowplows and other snow-removal vehicles in the middle of the night to clear roads,

    Some 8,000 vehicles were deployed to move snow and spray snow-melting chemicals mixed with gravel on roads around the city, said Marina Orlova, spokeswoman for City Hall’s housing and communal services department.”

    It can be done, but apparently not in Seattle…..


  • jt December 24, 2008 (1:40 am)

    Part of the problem is that it’s so *warm* here, even through all of this. Snow is no big deal to drive on, but the amount of ice that forms, partially mets, and re-forms makes this mid-west natives toes curl.

    When my Minneapolis friends start talking trash about our having problems with this I invite them to imagine their neighborhoods randomly tilted 10-30 degrees from flat.

    Of course, they could invite me to imagine Seattle proposing that we pay what it would take to have enough equipment sitting there and ready to go, just in case. Then we’d laugh and laugh.

    As for Salt: Our friend the new-car salesman is *all* for it. The Minneapolis friends who have earned nice chunks of change taking road-trips out here and driving non-salted cars back to sell are way against it.

  • Scott December 24, 2008 (3:11 am)

    3AM and it just started snowing again… now where did I leave that salt???

  • seth wolfson December 24, 2008 (5:04 am)

    the DOT is full of it, i use fauntleroy to the ferry, and thier method did not clear the road in the least, california is a joke, and the cattle tracks cause is ruining cars.

    for someone who lived in areas (PA,NY,NJ) that used salt, it really never did much to cars since it was only used a few days out of the year (you pay for the undercoating anyway), and i am sure the buses that almost went over the edge the other day would not have been the least bit upset if some grass died to save them the horriable affair they went through.

    personally i could care less if they de-ice with puppy skulls and salmon if it would make my drive safer, as well as the money hourly employees lost.

    and finally, wait until this joke of a mayor sees the cost of the damage from the melting snow from the deluge of the water all at once compared to the gradual melt that salt would have caused.

    enjoy your last term as mayor NIckels.

  • momtoone December 24, 2008 (5:31 am)

    This situation is terrible! I am lucky to have a job where I can work from home if need be – what about people who don’t get paid if they don’t show up for work? What about the elderly or disabled who can’t get groceries? How man will suffer because of delays in fire/emergency medical response?

  • HTS December 24, 2008 (6:36 am)

    “What are these people thinking??? This is not a woodland village, THIS IS A CITY. Full of people. People choose to live in cities and not villages because they can make a living in the city. You want remote tranquility, and a pristine environment, and no income? Plenty of places in the world to find it, but cities are not that place.”


    We moved here a few months ago from the northeast, and I am going to keep my rant to a minimum(okay, maybe not)…but we HAD to get to downtown yesterday because I needed medical attention. If we didn’t have 4WD and a lot of snow-driving experience, we would have been totally out of luck. Downtown resembles mogul-covered ski hills. The roads around medical facilities are a disaster. 35th looks like it hasn’t been touched by a plow. On the way home, we found out why. We passed ONE plow during the entire trip, and it was careening down 35th, pushing snow into the middle of the street! I couldn’t believe my eyes.

    A strategy of compaction is a load of poo. Compaction works in Colorado and Switzerland where it SNOWS all winter long. Not where it rains on top of snow and then freezes. SDOT, are you insane?

    So here is my quick and dirty advice to make myself feel better:

    Plow. I mean really plow – push the snow to the SIDES of the road where it belongs. Call Boston if you need advice. Bring in plows from all over the state of WA – they could get the job done in a day.

    Sand the side roads that are icy, compacted messes – so people can safely drive and get where they need to go.

    Salt really won’t help at this point. It would have helped in the beginning of this debacle, but not now.

    I would also like to post a note of support to the merchants. We could not get out to safely holiday shop, otherwise we would have patronized your establishments. Instead, because delivery trucks were making it to us last week, we ordered online. However, now Fedex can’t make it to our house…so no visit from Santa :(

  • AsianBradPitt December 24, 2008 (6:37 am)

    So, that explains the no salt. How do you explain the stupid rubber snow plows? I watched a snow plow come down California Avenue and turn onto Alaska way heading East, which is one of the worst road conditions. Nothing happens!

  • homesweethome December 24, 2008 (6:59 am)

    We lived in the east as many posters here. We moved here with the same cars we had there that endured snow de-ice chemicals and salt every winter – and guess what? The cars are fine. Every city has reduced the amount of salt they use on roads – but every other city has an emergency plan it seems of what product to use, when. Of course no other city would let city streets pile up like this. I personally will not be voting for anyone who’s currently in office if this is what they consider emergency management. Can anyone imagine the response to an actual major natural disaster?

  • mar3c December 24, 2008 (7:11 am)

    trisket: hate to nitpick, but in ’96 the snow was gone within 4 or 5 days. it snowed, it snowed again, then temps shot up and everything flooded. including the interstate.

  • Rick December 24, 2008 (7:44 am)

    I think it’s time to appoint a blue ribbon commissions to study the situation. (It’s not a “problem” if it doesn’t affect me). By the time a course of action has been decided upon (decided is a little too strong,let’s use implied), Al’s global warming will have saved the day. Problem solved.

  • J.See December 24, 2008 (8:09 am)

    Friend O’Dingus – My response about getting chains, albeit a little late, is that I don’t personally drive/have a car. It is the people driving me to holiday plans that I was needing chains for. So, short of slogging through snow for hours to get somewhere else to catch a bus or walking all the way downtown, I’ve been pretty much stuck. And it isn’t fun, I’d rather be at work.

  • MNGirl December 24, 2008 (8:35 am)

    I finally found a silver lining in the cloud that has existed since I was laid off a couple months ago…I don’t have to take days off from work with no pay because I couldn’t get to work…now I’m being paid my severance pay and get to stay home. My heart goes out to those who have had to take their vacation time or not get paid because they can’t get to work. It always irritated me that the exempt employees got paid even if they couldn’t get to work but we non-exempts had to give up our salary for those days or use vacation time that we were saving for a real vacation.

    Now, off to shovel the street!! Why what for a plow that will never come. Gotta keep a sense of humor about this all – Merry Christmas and Happy 2009!

  • DavidG December 24, 2008 (9:36 am)

    This is punishment for having the nerve to drive ourselves into the city, and not in a tunnel. Please keep voting the same officials in who have never worked for an hourly wage, but a salary, so they can afford to skip work, or “work from home”.

  • FriendO'Dingus December 24, 2008 (9:46 am)

    Hi J See, I just called Roxbury Auto parts on Roxbury. They have them in-stock and for sale. Since I didn’t know the tire size in question, I could only ask in general, but he said they have a variety in-stock to cover most tire sizes. Plus with this rain and above freezing air tempature, I my money would be on the roads clearing up substantially by late this afternoon. Hope that helps you make your holiday plans.

  • Mr Disgruntled December 24, 2008 (12:46 pm)

    Driving downhill on 35th Ave SW near the golf course entrance this morning there is a sheet of ice on that downhill slope that the DOT better deal with soon otherwise somebody may get hurt.

  • al December 24, 2008 (1:19 pm)

    Are all the problems we’re encountering really due to the cities decision not to use salt? It seems to me that there has to be more to this story and the public has just been led to this conclusion by the media’s oversimplification of the situation. It seems like they could just as easily have focused in on the lack of trucks or the decision to not scrape all the way to the street surface or any number of other shortcomings. The whole salt debate just seems like a bit of a red herring to me… almost as if the politicians are hiding behind environmental concerns and hoping we won’t notice their overall lack of preparedness.

  • Megen December 24, 2008 (2:50 pm)

    I don’t have a problem with them using salt vs. de-icer. If they didn’t do the compact plowing it would be better. If 4 times a year they use plows with a metal bottom its not going to destroy our roads. In WI we use the metal bottom plows and our roads are perfectly fine. I read in the article about their “Compact” plowing and I am mortified. The plowing to the center of the roads is dumb because no one can ever make left hand turns. Thats why I couldn’t go to work on Monday.

    WSB- Have you ever thought of trying to compile our comments/complaints and sending them to the DOT or anything like that? Maybe it would open their eyes a bit more to the situations in our area? Just a thought…

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