Understanding that its new snow removal plan, which includes the use of designated “snow routes”, will come as a surprise to some people this winter, the City of Yakima will lean toward notification and education during the first snowfall that results in the plan being initiated.
With a focus on speeding up the City’s process of getting streets cleared of snow as quickly as possible, earlier this year the Yakima City Council revised its snow removal plan and established snow routes. The snow routes are primarily centered in the downtown core. When a snowfall reaches three inches in depth, a “Snow Alert” will be issued by the City letting car owners know they need to move their vehicles from the designated snow routes as soon as possible. With cars off of those streets, the work of plowing crews will be faster and safer.
To see a map of the snow routes, along with the rest of the priority plowing routes throughout the city, click on the following link – https://www.yakimawa.gov/apps/snow-routes/.
Cars that are not moved off of the designated snow routes can be towed and their owners fined $50 per violation. But the City does not plan to enforce the new snow route rules right away.
“It’s going to take some time for everyone to become familiar with how the snow route concept works,” said Communications & Public Affairs Director Randy Beehler. “For the first snowfall that requires the new plan to be initiated, we’re going to focus on helping people get up to speed with what we’re trying to accomplish. We’ll use flyers that we’ll place on cars, businesses, and houses in the downtown area, announcements to the media, information on the City own communications platforms, and other means to get the word out,” said Beehler. “The ultimate goal of the snow removal plan and the snow routes is to get the community moving again as soon as we can after a big snowfall.”
The City Council decided to revise the City’s snow removal plan after having heard complaints about how long it sometimes took to get downtown streets and main arterials plowed. Under the old plan, downtown streets were sometimes the last to be plowed. Car owners were given plenty of time to move their cars from downtown streets, which resulted in plows having to maneuver around them or simply avoid streets that had a lot of cars parked on them. The new plan makes getting downtown streets cleared of snow a priority.
“Utilizing the snow routes approach will require the cooperation of people who park along those streets,” said Beehler. “Once the system is understood, we’re confident that the community will be happy with the results. Our streets will be safer to drive on more quickly than what Yakima has been used to,” said Beehler.
When snow is falling, people can find out if a Snow Alert has been issued by looking at posts on the City’s various communications platforms, paying attention to local media reports, or can call 575-3012.