West Seattle ice/snow aftermath: How do you think the city did?

(Photo by JayDee, taken near The Junction last Wednesday)
Tomorrow morning, the City Council’s Transportation Committee, chaired by West Seattle-residing Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, is scheduled for a preliminary discussion of how the city handled last week’s snow and ice. How do YOU think it went? You are of course welcome to discuss it here, but most importantly, there’s a simple way to share your opinion with the city – just go here. P.S. While Councilmember Rasmussen’s focus is on issues such as keeping major streets passable, there are other city services you might want to discuss: For example, the city’s Chief Technology Officer Bill Schrier (also a West Seattleite) has written about “Tech Lessons from the Seattle Snowstorm.” This was the first tryout, for example, for the “which streets have been plowed/de-iced” map. Back to tomorrow’s discussion – the committee meets at 9:30 am (agenda here).

52 Replies to "West Seattle ice/snow aftermath: How do you think the city did?"

  • transplantella January 23, 2012 (1:42 pm)

    Better, much better.

    The snow plow went up and down my street every day, even after the snow was gone (too bad for the sledders and snowboarders though).

    Our 54 bus ran and could be found. Off schedule and late, but still running.

    This is all a HUGE improvement over Snomageddon where we never saw a snowplow on our street for two weeks and Metro had no idea where their buses were.

  • bridge to somewhere January 23, 2012 (1:53 pm)

    I would say the city did better than the last time, although I would also say the storm was much less powerful. I do, however, think the city and the region need to figure out ways to minimize damage to the electrical system. I’ve been in many cities in my life, but this is the only one where I seriously worry about having to go without power for several days every time the wind blows.

  • Mark January 23, 2012 (1:53 pm)

    As a 25-year resident of West Seattle, relative to past snow events, the City did a very good job. There seems to be more hands on monitoring and response.

    It still cracks me up that our former internationally-famed global warming mayor got ousted because of a snow storm….

  • Cranky Westie January 23, 2012 (1:57 pm)

    Weren’t we promised anti-snow lasers and hovercraft buses?Wasn’t McGinn (and his beard) elected on an anti-snow, anti winter weather platform? I’d like a non-binding, city wide referendum on this issue. I still have chains on my car and I am running out of food for the coyotes: send help.

  • T-Rex January 23, 2012 (1:59 pm)

    Very Very Good! And although off subject, we the people did well by listening and STAYING HOME!!!!!!!!!

  • A J R January 23, 2012 (2:08 pm)

    I never left home, so it didn’t matter.

    McGinn is still an idiot.

  • Jtk January 23, 2012 (2:09 pm)

    So many are fast to criticize and not fast to say WELL DONE. I think they did a good job with what they had available. It was WAY better than Snomageddon of last year.

  • Mike January 23, 2012 (2:10 pm)

    I think most the services did a poor job. I drove back from Vancouver BC on Thursday afternoon- I only saw 3 plows the entire way. 2 were on the side of 125th talking to each other. There was a few inches of slush from Mt Vernon to West Seattle that could have been easily scraped away by the snowplows. Very poor planning and execution.

  • Ben Dover January 23, 2012 (2:12 pm)

    I think the city did a better job but it also warmed up sooner. Also, I wish the plows would have focused on arterials after the “main” roads were plowed.

  • msc January 23, 2012 (2:16 pm)

    I thought they did a great job!! Thank you Seattle!!

  • Underwhelmed January 23, 2012 (2:20 pm)

    Much improved. It was great seeing the roads plowed and sanded early and often.

    The only complaints I had were with bogus weather forecasters who were off on their predictions. By foolishly believing their predictions I cost myself wasted time and money.

  • Doug January 23, 2012 (2:39 pm)

    I thought the street-clearing was fine.

    I had problems figuring out which bus I could take though, because one bus using the stop closest to me was canceled, and the next stop I could walk to was just plain skipped for the duration.

  • chas redmond January 23, 2012 (2:43 pm)

    Agreed with transplantella – city seemed to be following its snow plan pretty much according to plan. I’d give them a B+ for effectiveness and an A for information dissemination. The tweets in particular were most informative – both from SDOT and from King County Metro.

  • Kathy January 23, 2012 (2:45 pm)

    I felt they were more pro-active in communicating about what they were doing and setting our expectations. I know my street will never be plowed and they were up front about side streets not being plowed. They also let us know what they were doing each day. I think it was better.

  • Noelle January 23, 2012 (2:57 pm)

    LOVED the Salted,Sanded, and Plowed roads! Loved the well stocked stores, full of shovels, gloves and sleds. Loved Metro’s bus reroutes and chained standard size bus use. (The extra long busses never do well in snow) Loved the news for keeping up with all the weather changes. THANK YOU West Seattle Blog! I do wish the side walks were more taken care of by Seattle-ites. Walking outside was a little dicey for a few days.

    Over all 2012 gets a “B” from me. 2008’s no salt use sloppy snow mess was an “F” in my book. Seattle did a Very Good job in 2012! Like night and day!

  • genessee hill January 23, 2012 (3:07 pm)

    One word – SALT. It’s not that hard – for the 1-2 times a year we need it, liberally lay it down folks…there is a reason every snowy climate in the country uses it…it WORKS. We would have had school on Friday for sure with a simple salt application on the main roads. 2 applications a year will not harm the salmon…heck, ask Chicago, they lay down TONS of it a year and Lake Michigan seems to be doing fine.

  • questionable January 23, 2012 (3:10 pm)

    The city did fine. The citizens need to grow up a bit however.

  • newnative January 23, 2012 (3:14 pm)

    I think the city did its best. The only ongoing issues I noted were buses (county) . Some were using chains, some weren’t. Some were using snow routes, some weren’t.

  • newnative January 23, 2012 (3:23 pm)

    @Questionable, I refrained from saying that but it’s true. Many people did their best to be helpful and go to work. But a lot of people used the snow as an excuse to be lazy, truant, and melodramatic.

  • rockergirl5678 January 23, 2012 (3:28 pm)

    The WS Bridge was definitely much better and kept open too – which is greatly appreciated so we could get in and out of West Seattle. Major arterials were good too for the most part. I don’t think City of Seattle is responsible for I-5 or I-90 but both were not so great until Friday – that appears to be the state’s responsibility though. Streets in Bellevue area were much worse than West Seattle so I’d say a vast improvement considering the various conditions we encountered. Also since this was a “short” term situation and not as bad as 2008 it was not as hard to deal with long term. Good job overall.

  • Cowpie January 23, 2012 (3:32 pm)

    The City rocked! I found myself leaving my bike at home and taking the bus to Kirkland. I had no problem catching the bus at the junction and again in the downtown tunnel. Sure it made for a longer day, but it was safer and kept my car off the streets.

  • Monosyllabic Girl January 23, 2012 (3:34 pm)

    Overall, a vast improvement from Snowpocalypse ’08 and the Snovember ’10 highway parking lot. Still some issues with the busses, but the PLOWS! They finally got their act together with street clearing.

    I actually think the citizenry was much better behaved this time around. Could have been the preparation and advance notice… could have been more folks just staying home and drinking beer and playing video games instead (oh, that might have been just me).

  • Magpie January 23, 2012 (3:36 pm)

    Nickels would still be mayor had he done so well.

  • jiggers January 23, 2012 (3:45 pm)

    I thought they did lot better in keeping the bus service moving than last time out. I let those bus drivers know that personally and thanked them for coming into work and keeping us on the move.

  • Snow Wimp January 23, 2012 (4:01 pm)

    Comparing snowstorms is like comparing apples and oranges.

    I give the City of Seattle an “A”. Just like I gave them last time. And the time before that. And the time before that.

  • smokeycretin9 January 23, 2012 (4:15 pm)

    True Magpie!

    All in all, a fairly good response.

  • OP January 23, 2012 (5:14 pm)

    Better, much, much better.

  • sheba January 23, 2012 (5:27 pm)

    In my opinion the city totally surrendered. It will melt, is not a plan, its capitulation.
    How we perceive the city’s response is a directly related to ones level of expectation. Mine is much higher.

  • nnnnn January 23, 2012 (5:59 pm)

    I thought the city did a great job keeping the arterials and main streets clear, and communicating what was going on. I was also impressed with Metro–the snow routes were posted and followed for the most part. It was easy to find a bus and the ones I got on all seemed to be able to move along the sanded, salted roads very well.

  • nnnnn January 23, 2012 (6:06 pm)

    @newnative: I’m sorry, but I don’t really think it’s fair to say everyone who stayed home one or more days was “lazy, truant and dramatic” unless you know their situation. Especially given prior year’s snow situations–for instance, taking 5+ hours to get from Pioneer Square to West Seattle last year, which was what happened to me and why I was reluctant to go into work Wednesday and why I left early Thursday (with my boss’s blessing, I might add).

    Now that we;ve seen how well the city did this year, most of us will probably risk it next year.

    (WSB, if you think my comment is too rude please feel free to delete it. Thanks!)

  • snowball January 23, 2012 (6:08 pm)

    the worse they do clearing the roads, the better – if they actually knew what they were doing, i wouldn’t have had a 1 day work week last week. i love snow days!

  • Kayleigh January 23, 2012 (6:20 pm)

    I think the city did better as well. But please, people and businesses, SHOVEL YOUR SIDEWALKS! It’s not that hard. If you are disabled and can’t do it, ask for help. Other cities manage to keep their sidewalks clear. Seattle can too. I almost fell on the icy sidewalks downtown, and I’m young and able-bodied. Sidewalks on California were even worse. (and to those of you who shoveled: thank you!)

  • Bligs Mander January 23, 2012 (7:03 pm)

    I think they get an A this time around. They really seemed very ready for what was coming.

    The Seattle Public School system gets an F for the Tuesday and Friday debacle. But that’s another story.

  • elisabeth January 23, 2012 (7:09 pm)

    I shoveled my front steps, front walk, and sidewalk. Neighbor borrowed shovel and did his as well. But walking around WS I found the shoveled sidewalks much more treacherous than the unshoveled, crunchy stuff, what with the subsequent freeze.

  • observer January 23, 2012 (7:30 pm)

    I have to speak up and admit that this particular round of snow response by the city was outstanding from where I viewed it.

    Went outside to take an earlier bus, waited at the stop in snowy conditions for THREE minutes on Thursday, and here came a mostly empty bus.

    Upon return to West Seattle later in the day I was in the frame of mind to take the first W.S. bus that arrived. After three buses (and no surprises that way) and one less busy arterial to cross, I was home perhaps 20-30 minutes after what is normal.

    It seems that ideas were there, and implemented efficiently by drivers and other Metro personnel. It was even impressive to see some (presumed-to-be) Metro ‘chains guys’ standing on downtown streets inspecting every bus that went by.

    Among the more impact-free snow episodes I’ve lived through here, and in stark contrast to that 2008 fiasco which had me standing out on the (same) icy road in blizzard-y conditions for more than TWO HOURS with no hint of a single bus passing.

    Bravo!! (so much so that my instinct was to not speak up unless something is wrong… as is too typical of most citizens)

    (glad I got this chance to tell of my satisfaction)

  • Christopher Boffoli January 23, 2012 (7:40 pm)

    I second Kayleigh. Some of the sidewalks around the Junction were a nightmare.

  • JN January 23, 2012 (8:03 pm)

    I agree with almost all of the comments above. Road clearing was very good, esp. in regards to previous years. However, the sidewalk clearing was ABYSMAL! If you rag on the city for taking the stance that it’ll melt in a few days, then you should be out walking the walk and shoveling your sidewalks vigorously. There is such a little area of sidewalk for each property owner that it should be no problem to keep it clear for people to walk on.

  • sb January 23, 2012 (8:03 pm)

    Thank you Seattle DOT! I made it to work in Renton everyday and my commute to and from I-5 was the best it’s ever been. The West Seattle Bridge on Wednesday morning at 6:00am had absolutely NO evidences of snow thanks to the de-icer. Thursday morning was not as good but I was an hour later and the 1/4″ of ice was certainly a force to be reconned with. Huge improvements!!

  • Fiwa Jcbbb January 23, 2012 (10:38 pm)

    I have one of those jobs I have to be at rain, sleet, gloom of night, etc. I also have a 4 wheel drive truck. When it snows I park on the arterial up the hill, and have a “flat route”. I’m not one of those personal responsibility right wing tough guys, but you have to be equipped to be out in that weather. I have no idea what the impact to the sound and streams will be, but the use of salt and deicer on the arterials was nice.The truck plows through slush easily, but glad we didn’t try to take the front-wheel sedan out. The city did better, but the real credit for making this snowstorm a pleasure to drive in goes to all the fine folks who stayed home.

  • W.S. maverick January 24, 2012 (6:01 am)

    horrible I think, they still forget about west seattle. the rest of the city wasn’t much better. very unorganized as always

  • old timer January 24, 2012 (6:58 am)

    Congratulations and sincere thanks to all the City and Metro workers who made the snow abatement plan work.
    From my point of view, they did a fine job.
    I am grateful for all their efforts.

  • Transplantar January 24, 2012 (7:41 am)

    To all those people who talk about how disorganized they were and they had higher expectations… What else were you expecting? Considering this is a city that has to deal with snow MAYBE 3 days a year I felt they did pretty well! And this is coming from a transplant out of the Midwest, where I think my hometown of about 27,000 people has as many snowplows as Seattle. But the average yearly snowfall there is measured in feet, not inches. Do you really want the city to spend our tax dollars like that?

  • sam-c January 24, 2012 (7:56 am)

    I think they did a good job, though this snow didn’t really compare to the Dec 2008 snow. another vote for shoveling sidewalks. think I saw 3 properties that did. it was tough walking on sidewalks where all the plowed snow was piled. with almost knee deep snow on the sidewalks, i walked in the street and kept my eye out for cars.

  • emjay January 24, 2012 (1:34 pm)

    @ W.S. Maverick – just curious how you think they forgot West Seattle? The main roads were sanded and plowed so often I couldn’t beleive! It was like we had our own personal West Seattle plowers…! Yes there was still slush on the flat parts of roads, but what can we expect? I think they did a fine job getting all the snow and ice off the WS roads. You have to expect commuting and getting around when it snows to be a little longer and slower… it’s just part of not living in the desert!

  • Bthompson January 24, 2012 (2:58 pm)

    I thought they did a fine job. What helped also was that people heeded the governor and the state patrol and decided to stay home and not compromise their safety. The place i work at however lacks any kind of empathy and is now doing ridiculous investigative interviews to those who didnt show up for work during those snow days. They expect people to show up for work and yet didnt even have the decency to plow their parking lot.

  • Nic January 24, 2012 (5:17 pm)

    I’m from the Midwest. This city has a lot to learn about preparing and cleaning up for snow. I’ve lived here for 7 years and I love Seattle but when it snows the city does everything half assed. Salting the night of the snow, plowing during the snow even on the highways around the area would have been better options since we knew it was coming for three days. It felt like it was more of a wait and melt decision. I don’t even ride the bus but all of my friends that come to downtown said 3rd Ave wasn’t even plowed. A friend saw a bus driver slide into a woman at the cross walk. We need a better system to make it safer for drivers and riders. At best with one eye closed the city gets a C.

  • Snow Wimp January 24, 2012 (5:29 pm)


    You must work at Seattle P&DC.


  • Snow Wimp January 24, 2012 (5:37 pm)


    I hear you. You don’t grade on a curve, obviously.

  • raincity January 24, 2012 (8:45 pm)

    One thing to consider for next storm is the ferry queuing area along fauntleroy – it was in the lane of traffic since the side was not plowed.

  • Bthompson January 25, 2012 (12:35 am)

    @Snow wimp, yup, i sure do. Work the swing shift there.

  • ME January 25, 2012 (7:04 am)

    I’ve lived here my whole life … this is the FIRST time I remember the main streets actually being cleaned off pretty darn well! Usually only one lane down the middle of 35th is semi cleared, this year they had both lanes cleared and no pile of snow down the middle!

  • MMB January 26, 2012 (8:45 pm)

    Yep – I thought the City did well, especially considering how the weather gurus had trouble keeping up-to-date on what Mother Nature had in store, and just when. We stocked up on groceries in plenty of time and hunkered down. We were fortunate that it wasn’t worse.

Sorry, comment time is over.