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City will use salt, clean up sand more quickly

Mayor Greg Nickels reversed course today and said the city will use salt on the roads in emergency conditions, work more closely with Metro Transit and hire additional contractors to clean up sand after the storm.

The policy change came after the city got a lot of flak for its policy of packing down snow, using sand  and some liquid de-icer in spots instead of clearing streets.

“In normal Seattle winters, this practice has served us well. But the three storms that we experienced this month dumped more than a foot of snow,” Nickels said during a press conference today. “This time, liquid de-icers were not enough. People were frustrated, and so was I. By amending our salting practices, we will be able to clear more roads faster, while maintaining our environmental commitment.”

Watch the full press conference here.

The mayor also said they’ll hire two private contracting crews to help five city crews clear up sand left over on streets. Looking at just Greenwood Avenue, they’ve got some work ahead of them, as sand covers the center turn lane and the bike lanes on each shoulder.

Also, the city will have crews out taking care of missed garbage collections on New Year’s Day.  Though this doesn’t affect our neighborhoods, Thursday customers will have garbage picked up Friday and Friday customers will have theirs picked up Saturday.