The City of Spokane declared a Stage One Snow Event hours after the snow stopped falling, and now many residents are asking why the city took so long to send in the plows.
Monday's snowfall came as a big surprise to everyone, including the National Weather Service. City officials say Monday's focus was to clear main arterials, emergency and bus routes. Now the focus has been shifted to residential hills, which is why the city declared the Stage One.
Five inches of snow fell in Spokane Monday, making it the snowiest day so far this winter. The evening commute proved to be challenging and city crews were out plowing main roads and hills. But the city didn't called a Stage One Snow Event until the morning after, at 7 a.m. Tuesday.
"It really wont have made a difference, we have continued on the hills and the emergency routes, and bus routes, that would have been our focus yesterday, we wouldn't have probably gotten to the residential routes anyways," city spokesman Brian Coddington said.
During a Stage One arterials, bus routes, hospitals, residential hills and neighborhood business districts are plowed. But it's not a full city plow, so residential streets aren't touched.
"We have 2,200 lane miles throughout the City of Spokane and a good size but limited fleet of equipment, in terms of deicers and sanders, so we want to be sure we are putting our resources where the most traffic is occurring," Coddington explained.
City officials say they were as proactive in plowing as possible; city residents, however, disagree.
"I'm kind of disappointed," Rachel Christiansen said. "I came here from Nebraska, we would get blizzards and everything would be plowed right away, here I'm not really sure what goes on... I haven't really seen any plows."
"I think they are not really focusing on the right places," Elena Laplante said. "I would grade them like a D."
While some are disappointed with the city's efforts, some think they're doing a solid job clearing the roads in a timely fashion.
"I would give them an A," Daryl Williams said. "They did a good job on the arterials."
"I think that they knew what to do when it kept coming and kept coming," Howard Riebe said.
A lot of people want to know why they haven't seen plows in their neighborhood, why doesn't the city plow residential streets? City officials say plowing in the neighborhoods aren't as high of a priority as major travel routes as they have to prioritize services and resources.