Should Seattle buy more snow plows?
SEATTLE – You hear someone say it every time the snow falls in the Seattle area.
“Why won’t they plow my street?”
“Why doesn’t the city have more plows?”
Following the 2008 debacle that some argue ultimately cost Mayor Greg Nickels his job, the city did a major revamp of its system and started using salt in addition to the plows to melt the ice. That new system got its first major test a couple weeks ago with back-to-back snow and ice storms. For the most part, the city fared better than four years go.
A new nationwide study by The Atlantic looked at cities across the nation, comparing the size of their snow plow fleets. The Atlantic found Seattle gets an average of 7.3 inches of snowfall per year and has 0.36 snow plows per square mile. Compare that to Chicago which gets more than 5-times as much snow and has more than six-times as many snow plows.
“The city (Seattle) is better prepared for another long-shot storm, but it’s not prepared like Chicago is. That just wouldn’t make sense,” writes the article’s author, Emily Badger.
Spokane has about four-times as many plows per square mile as Seattle, but it also gets nearly 7-times as much snow. New York City, which averages about four-times as much snow as Seattle, has more than 7 plows per square mile. That’s by far the largest fleet in the country.
Badger writes Seattle only has about 30 plows and the budget for those is usually decided on in the summer. The plows are strategically used to clear main arterials and bus routes. The plan does not include hitting residential streets.
Read the full article and see how other cities handle the snow by clicking here.