Seattle snow aftermath: New city report, plus a plan for new help

(WSB photo from December 2008)
This just in from the city – councilmembers and the mayor have agreed to “hire an independent consultant to manage a plan” for future snow response. That’s in the wake of the issuance of a report on how things could work better, given the problems and challenges during our recent winter storms. We’re looking for a copy of the report itself (the Times has some highlights)

ADDED 5:50 PM: Here’s the 10-page report. After the jump, the official news release, which arrived first:

City Council President Richard Conlin, City Council
Transportation Committee Chair Jan Drago, and Mayor Greg Nickels
announced today that the City will hire an independent consultant to
manage a plan for improving the Seattle Department of Transportation’s
response to snow emergencies. The decision to develop a more detailed
and thorough work plan is the result of the completion of a City Council
staff report summarizing additional actions SDOT can take to implement a
more systematic plan for managing the City’s response to severe snow
and other emergencies.

Among other findings, the report recommends:

– Develop clear policies and procedures for prioritizing, responding
to, and documenting plowing, shoveling, de-icing, and other needs
– Implement and embrace everyday practice in using the Incident
Command System structure to actively manage and make “big picture”
strategic and policy changes as necessary during emergency operations
– Conduct a comprehensive review of SDOT’s Winter Storm Response
Plan in comparison to plans from other jurisdictions, and evaluate the
department’s overall preparedness for future emergencies and

“The collaborative efforts between the Council, City Auditor, and
SDOT have enabled us to identify more substantial, long-term areas of
improvement to the City’s emergency response plan,” said
Councilmember Conlin, chair of the Council’s Environment, Emergency
Management and Utilities Committee. “We look forward to
implementation of specific, advanced tools to better manage SDOT’s
emergency response, and appreciate the Executive’s willingness to join
in getting professional assistance in developing and implementing a work
plan for improvement.”

“The Council’s review tells us that SDOT’s After Action Report
didn’t adequately address the issues with the snowstorm,” said
Councilmember Drago, chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee.
“We need more sophisticated methods to help us keep our roads
travelable and our city reasonably functioning in severe weather

“I appreciate the review and agree that an outside consultant can
help improve SDOT’s work plan,” said Mayor Greg Nickels. “Our
mutual goal is to ensure better response in weather emergencies, and
that we have the skills and equipment to make that happen.”

The consultant hired by the City will work with SDOT to address the
issues raised in the Council’s report. The consultant will also
further examine corrective actions identified in SDOT’s After Action
Report, identify whether there are other areas for improvement, and
develop and assist SDOT in implementing a work plan.

7 Replies to "Seattle snow aftermath: New city report, plus a plan for new help"

  • Mr.JT April 29, 2009 (5:37 pm)

    Really, we are so fortunate that they picked this city to work for instead of NASA.

  • Diane April 29, 2009 (7:27 pm)

    re “The Council’s review tells us that SDOT’s After Action Report didn’t adequately address the issues with the snowstorm,” said Councilmember Drago, chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee.
    Understatement of the century
    if this had been Katrina, we would all be dead
    you think I exaggerate? I think not
    there are MANY in Seattle who cannot believe no one has been fired over this
    lives and livelihoods were so deeply impacted
    does the report say how the consultant will be chosen, and how much paid?

  • snowblows April 29, 2009 (8:49 pm)

    I’m still traumatized from snow pics.

  • Michael April 30, 2009 (1:24 am)

    Too bad we didn’t have some sort of transportation that didn’t rely on the roads in such a hilly location as Seattle. Like maybe a monorail or something…maybe all this anger should be redirected at your fellow citizens who have prevented us from getting snow-resistant mass transit for decades now.
    But no, we’ll somehow expect the government to just swoop in and make our roads magically driveable while historic amounts of snow fall, in total ignorance of the geography of our area. I look forward to a “snow fee” on my car tabs in perpetuity.

  • KT April 30, 2009 (8:19 am)

    Diane – We still have the ability to fire Nickels over it.

  • MNGirl April 30, 2009 (8:51 am)

    I grew up in northern Minnesota -that alone should qualify me for this job!! Put the plows on the trucks, use a bit of salt, and plow where the snow falls. etc. Why are we hiring a consultant when we have a dept full of folks who know how to plow and could probably give the powers-that-be lessons in how to manage this system!

  • Save Our Streets Seattle April 30, 2009 (12:16 pm)

    Michael, there’s a MAGICAL substance called salt. You may not have heard about it since it’s been around for like EVER.

    Also, the Mayor and SDOT Director both have more or less admitted that they NEVER went outside except to give lie-filled press conferences for about 18 days. I agree that this was Seattle’s Katrina-lite Wake-Up Call.

    Nickels and his lazy sycophants would let us ALL die in a serious disaster like an earthquake, chemical accident, or -ahem- pandemic.

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