Where was SDOT in the snow on Monday?
As you are probably aware, it snowed substantively for the first time this winter Sunday night and Monday morning. Many people living in the Seattle-area stayed home from work instead of braving the elements. Those who did drive around the Seattle area were treated to some icy roads.
It was particularly icy on Eastlake Avenue. So slick, in fact, that a King County Metro became stuck and blocked part of the road for a considerable amount of time.
How long you ask? The bus driver said four hours. It was quite the sight to see 710 ESPN’s Brock Huard and KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson, Todd Herman, and Chris Sullivan attempt to try and push the bus to safety.
The question I pose in this piece is why were their efforts necessary?
According to the Seattle Department of Transportation’s website, it is responsible for delivering a “high-quality transportation system for Seattle.” Does that mean taking care of icy roads?
I called to find out and it was affirmed to me that Eastlake Avenue is a city road in which SDOT deicing is required.
That wasn’t the oddest part of my phone call with SDOT, however. In speaking to a dispatcher I was transferred to, he assured me that they do take care of Eastlake, and in fact, they’re deicing the road right now.
There are two problems with that statement: The first being, a quick look out my studio window proved they were not deicing the road. The second problem: there wasn’t any ice on the road anymore. Apparently the sun is now employed by SDOT. I didn’t see that press release.
Where was SDOT in salting the road on Monday when Eastlake Avenue was one giant slip-n-slide? I’m glad they’re supposedly on top of it now when there’s no work to be done.
But when commuters needed them, they weren’t there. When a bus looking to transport Seattleites to their respective locations was stuck, no one was there to help them. It’s not like they didn’t have an advanced heads up there was going to be inclement weather on Sunday; it was forecasted a week out.
There are two explanations for SDOT dropping the ball on Monday: Incompetence or lack of interest.
We are all aware new director Sam Zimbabwe would love it if we just ditched cars, buses and trains and commuted to and from work via bike. Wait, does that not work if you’re coming from outside the city?
There’s snow in the forecast Friday and Saturday. Let’s see if SDOT makes any adjustments. I wouldn’t hold your breath, though. I would, however, chain up.