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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 8, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Seattle snow job

Time to take responsibility

I am sorry that Seattleites have become such a bunch of whiners that they think snow is a disaster. It’s not. It’s an inconvenience, made worse by the lack of reliable public transportation, a population that apparently can’t take care of itself, and a pitifully self-absorbed view of entitlement.

Ask a Katrina survivor if having your trash on the curb for two weeks is worth the rants and raves we’ve heard. Ask a flood victim who lost everything if not being able to get to the store justifies the anger and sense of betrayal we hear in people’s voices these days.

I guarantee you that if the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) had voted to buy 10 more snowplows in July — at the expense of some other service — there would have been public outcry that it was unjustified.

We all need to take responsibility for our community’s well-being and be prepared to take care of ourselves and each other.

— Cai Hadfield, Auburn

One definition please

In response to the failure of communication between Metro and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) about plowing the streets [“City never responded to Metro’s plea to plow,” page one, Jan. 7], I think part of the communication problem is that “plowed” means different things to different people. When Metro Transit general manager Kevin Desmond asks for streets to be plowed, he is asking for the streets to be cleared down to bare pavement as soon as possible. This is what most people mean by “plowed.”

When Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels or Grace Crunican of SDOT says the streets have been plowed, they are saying that the plows have been used to pack the snow down on the streets so that only four-wheel-drive vehicles and front-wheel-drive vehicles with chains can drive on them. This leads to long-lasting ice, especially if the weather stays cold, and makes it very difficult for buses to get around. This is a bizarre interpretation of the word “plowed.”

The city needs to change its plowing policy to focus on clearing streets. Even with only 27 plows, major streets could have and should have been cleared.

Eight to 12 inches of snow over several days is not a natural disaster; it should be manageable.

— Sandra Perkins, Seattle

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