Plow warnings prevent cars from being bermed
By Trevor Parus
According to Robert Quinn, professor of geography, the Spokane-Cheney area is going to experience what’s known as “La Niña”.
La Niña is a weather pattern developed in the eastern equatorial pacific ocean that has cooler sea surface temperatures. These cooler sea surface temperatures generate colder, wetter winters.
“We’ve developed this La Niña pattern, so that would tend to steer us towards the colder, snowier type of winter pattern,” Quinn said.
“I think we’ll have above-normal snow fall. I don’t think it would be a monster, brutal winter. Average snowfall is about 45 inches, we’ll get about 60 plus inches,” Quinn said.
Todd Ableman, director of public works, believes that the city will be able to keep the streets safe for students.
Public works is responsible for snow removal as well as prepping the streets to reduce the risks to the public that snow causes.
“What keeps us most busy through out the year is applying either a liquid or solid de-ice, to keep the ice from forming. We don’t do all streets. We try to do intersections and hills,” Ableman said.
The city of Cheney prides itself on how clean the streets stay during the winter but is faced with the challenge of students’ cars being left in the streets during snow removal.
“Some of the problems that we’ve had is that during breaks, students will leave their cars out on the streets unknowingly. All of a sudden, we get a lot of snow,” Ableman said.
The city is trying to develop ways to communicate with students in more effective ways; one method that’s been effective in the past is a text message system.
“One of the systems that we use is called T9, where students get text messages for an emergency system. That seems to work pretty good,” Ableman said.
Another effective method, according to Arleen Fisher, city administrator, is to paint in the snow “tow”.
According to Fisher, within one hour, students will gather their friends, shovel out their car, and move it.
Fisher acknowledges that there needs to be better communication between the students and the city.
“2008 and 2009 [snow storms were] indicative and showed us clearly that we had some communications issues and had not connected the dots,” Fisher said.
The city also encourages students to park in the lots that stay paved throughout the winter months.
“We have small parking lots that we try to maintain. So if there is no room on the streets, you can go down there and park,” Ableman said.
The city asks students that utilize the lots to move their cars once the streets are plowed.
If a student or staff member leaves their vehicle on the streets when plows are present, they run the risk of being surrounded by snow berms left by the plows.