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Intrepidation

Seattle's plow crews not trying to clear snow from roads by design

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seat_rds-icy.jpg

http://www.autoblog.com/2008/12/27/seattle...-roads-by-desi/

Not long ago, Washington state's Department of Ecology was making noises about not letting people wash their cars at home because "what goes on the street goes into the creek." Now the state is on the opposing side of Seattle's efforts not to let harmful chemicals wash into the freshwater streams feeding into Puget Sound.

Seattle is not using salt to clear the roads because it doesn't want the salt flowing into waterways. As well, the city's snow plows have rubber-edge blades that can clear snow, but can't get the ice off the road. Seattle's DOT cheif says the city is trying to "create a hard-packed surface" of snow. It will then lay sand down over the hardpack in order to offer enough traction to cars, and employ a soy-based de-icer only good for temps below 32 degrees.

The hitch: only 4-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive cars with chains have any traction. That means that even the police can't drive on many roads. If the police make a call to a location on a hill, they park at the bottom and walk up the hill. As well, the police are having to respond to literally hundreds of collisions and disabled vehicles.

The state DOT has taken a much different tack: it is using sand, salt, metal-edged plows, and chemical de-icer in its battle with the elements. Seattle is now experimenting with a "silver bullet" concoction that is saltwater from a cheese factory, calcium chloride, and de-sugared molasses.

[source: Seattle Times]

Edited by Dodgefan
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Whats worse, using salt and sand that will washing into the water or the junk being left by hundreds of car accidents including liquids (oil, coolant,etc). These people are crazy.

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I swear to God, it's not going to be global warming that kills us, it's going to be environmentalists.

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Well if they're trying to indict RWD in snow under "environMENTALly friendly" removal techniques, it backfired... look at the previous-gen FWD Malibu, stuck sideways on the hill.:lol:
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If environment has such a prime concern, they should have forced everybody to use public transportation. Buses would not have needed to have the roads plowed and safety of individual drivers would not be a concern.

With only buses and heavy vehicles operating, they could have the liberty of letting the snow just melt naturally, thus saving environment completely from the "harmful" chemicals.

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If environment has such a prime concern, they should have forced everybody to use public transportation. Buses would not have needed to have the roads plowed and safety of individual drivers would not be a concern.

With only buses and heavy vehicles operating, they could have the liberty of letting the snow just melt naturally, thus saving environment completely from the "harmful" chemicals.

Buses are affected by icy roads also, though...there were two buses that couldn't stop on an icy hill and ended hanging over a freeway last week in Seattle..

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I remember a couple winters back we had several big storms between Xmas and February in Denver..the city and some of the burbs ran out of mag chloride and started using salt. Their was a storm nearly every Thurs-Friday for about 6 weeks, and some smaller residential streets were never plowed. I was glad to have 4 wheel drive, never got stuck in the Jeep. Almost set a record, IIRC--something like 63 days w/ snow on the ground (very rare there, usually we get a storm, big snow, and it all melts off in a few days).

Edited by moltar
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Buses are affected by icy roads also, though...there were two buses that couldn't stop on an icy hill and ended hanging over a freeway last week in Seattle..

Well almost nothing with pneumatic tires will stand chance on ice. But at least two buses are less than hundreds of people driving small cars falling like foliage.

These environmental concerns sometimes are ridiculous. Have these people thought that the sands will wash into rivers and lakes too and cause sedimentation? Moreover, if the sand is not native, or is contaminated, it may even cause pollution.

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Well almost nothing with pneumatic tires will stand chance on ice. But at least two buses are less than hundreds of people driving small cars falling like foliage.

Yeah but if one of those crashes it can hurt or kill more people than a couple of cars.

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Yeah but if one of those crashes it can hurt or kill more people than a couple of cars.

It is not a couple of cars in this case. It is piles of them. On another note, driver error might also be a possibility for those two buses. :)

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This is pretty ridiculous. I have no problem with their trying to plow snow and make roads dribeable in an environmentally-friendly way, but Seattle needs to perfect this magic bullet and then use it before just deciding to stop plowing roads. Irresponsible.

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Ya gotta remember, Washington state (Seattle mainly) is one of the, if the THE, most far left liberal state in this country. This really isn't much of a suprise.

Edited by BuddyP
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I hate driving in Seattle in good weather conditions. The hills, cramped parking, and poorly constructed/designed roadways would make it a nightmare to drive in with low traction. As far as Seattle's DOT goes, the methods they employ probably work fine under normal circumstances. It doesn't snow a whole lot here, it mostly just rains. The snow storm caught everyone off guard I think. Usually we get a few inches of snow spread out over January, February, and March. Ice usually doesn't form. But in the last 2 weeks we've had something like a foot of snow, and temperatures from 10-20°F. Very unusual. It seems as those Seattle's DOT was caught with their pants down and simply don't know what to do. They could use salt, but I doubt they are equipped or prepared to do so on such short notice, and there would be the political backlash.

Thankfully I don't live in Seattle.

From the comments, they seem to think that is video footage from a city in Oregon.

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So much of what I see municipal politicans doing these days is obfuscation to counter their own incompetent decisions in the past: why would storm sewers flush directly into the lakes/ocean anyway? With all the chemicals and crap on our sidewalks/streets these days they should be treated first, then returned to the water table.

This is one area where Toronto has seen the light and even recently built a huge catch basin in the west end so that during a storm the water would pour into the basin from the area streets and collect there until the treatment plant(s) can catch up.

Politicians of all strips are blaming everything on progress so they can spend our tax dollars on what they (and their pet lobbyists) think is important.

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I hope you're being sarcastic. This article may be good press but the one about their incompetence with clearing snow is not flattering.

Indeed I am, the point I'm making is if these people are so educated, how the hell did they come up with something so......stupid?

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Indeed I am, the point I'm making is if these people are so educated, how the hell did they come up with something so......stupid?

Gotcha, and that is quite a mystery.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/200812...iterateuscities

Looks like Seattle is getting all kinds of great press these days.

Yes...good list. Good to see Denver on that list also. Alas, Phoenix is probably on the 10 least literate cities list.. :(

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Ya gotta remember, Washington state (Seattle mainly) is one of the, if the THE, most far left liberal state in this country. This really isn't much of a suprise.

Look at a Congressional map, and you will see quite a few red districts. Check your facts.

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Well if they're trying to indict RWD in snow under "environMENTALly friendly" removal techniques, it backfired... look at the previous-gen FWD Malibu, stuck sideways on the hill. :lol:

Seriously.

What lame-o "anti-RWD" propaganda.

Complete B.S. btw, unless their cops are total losers who

have ZERO hours training in their C.V.'s and Chargers in

the winter conditions, and yes kill all "environmentalists",

they'll have a much lower "carbon footprint" once dead!

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Look at a Congressional map, and you will see quite a few red districts. Check your facts.

A "few" red districts in a Congressional map doesn't equat to the largly left population of the state. Just look at the Governor.

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Indeed I am, the point I'm making is if these people are so educated, how the hell did they come up with something so......stupid?

Ever heard of the phrase "Hell is paved with good intentions"? We'll, Seattle was paving Hell and then it froze over.

It’s my understanding, Bellevue and several over nearby cities (including WADOT as mentioned in the article) used salt and other chemicals to de-ice the streets (thankfully.) Seattle became a frozen island for a few days. Sad thing is, international environmentalists blasted Seattle for the move because salt will dissolve, but sand just turns into sediment... an environmentally dangerous situation in Seattle for creeks & streams. As Siegen said, this doesn't happen often. We're sea-level and the snowline rarely falls this low. Salting the roads once wouldn’t have dramatically impacted the area. I was told Seattle did finally test the concoction mentioned on the roads and it worked pretty well. We’ll see how Seattle does the next time.

Oh well. We ended up with approximately 15” at my house. I worked remotely for a few days. When I did venture out, my Buick performed fantastically. I almost became stuck in a parking lot once, but disengaging Traction Control took care of that issue.

We made it into town to see ‘The Color Purple’ at the Paramount Theatre, but missed ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ at 5th Ave Theatre due to the snow & ice. Grrghh… Christmas was white. All things considered... not too bad.

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