Find Posts By Topic

Getting roads and sidewalks ready for school. Communities lend a hand (or a #SharedShovel) to help reopen schools on Thursday.

Community members, Walter and Undra were out shoveling and salting curb ramps and sidewalks in front of their homes and near the church across the street.

Today was all hands on deck – we need all the help we can get! Parents and kids, local businesses, faith communities, community groups and organizations, and neighbors, joined our effort to shovel local sidewalks near elementary schools. This was a great opportunity to meet and bond with neighbors.


While the weather looked better today, we’re expecting more freezing temps tonight. The snowy slush you walked, rode, and drove on may become ice by morning. Our crews are still out in droves, 24/7, on 12-hour shifts to clear city roads before tonight’s freeze. And while we don’t mean to keep reminding everybody, we think it’s important that you should know the dedication behind the care for the great city we live in.


Our teams have not stopped working since before the first snowflake.


Our main city roads are clear but many wet so we continue to pre-treat the critical routes to prevent ice from forming overnight. We’re also clearing many neighborhood streets around town, especially the ones that lead to schools so that they’ll be safe for families by morning.  

Before and after glamor shots of neighbors across Seattle clearing their walkways for pedestrians.

Clearing the way for safe routes to school.

Our goal is to do everything we can to ensure safe routes for kids if the school district reopens tomorrow.

Many City department directors and staff from the mayor’s office demonstrating #OperationSharedShovel at Graham Hill Elementary on Wednesday afternoon.

We’re working closely with Seattle Public Schools to make sure that roads around schools are safe to drive, ride, and walk on. The district provided us with a list of nine public schools needing the most help:

  • Cascadia Elementary School,
  • Graham Hill Elementary,
  • Olympic View Elementary,
  • Eagle Staff/Cascadia,
  • Sacajawea,
  • View Ridge,
  • Wedgwood,
  • Thornton Creek, and
  • Decatur.

While these schools have been our priority, we’ve also been working in other areas of town too. We’ve:


Plowed near schools.

Crews and contractors have plowed many side streets within a three-block radius of these schools.


Cleared sidewalks near schools.

Hand crews, with the support from additional teams from other Seattle City Departments: Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Public Utilities, and Finance and Administrative Services, focused on clearing sidewalks leading to schools.  

Community members, Dan and Daryl cleared the way for peds for their families and their neighbors.


Our goal is to do our part to help get the roads ready for school, but ultimately the decision about whether or not to reopen will be up to the Seattle Public School district and will be based on many factors besides just the condition of the roadways.  

Community members across the cities were out clearing, salting, and shoveling snow to clear walkways, sidewalks, curb ramps, and storm drains. Pictured: Community members Undra and Walter.


If you haven’t done so yet, please help the city-wide effort of #SharedShovel by shoveling your sidewalks, curb ramps, driveways, and storm drains. 

Sam Zimbabwe, SDOT Director, helped clear walkways and storm drains near Graham Hill Elementary.

Many City department directors and staff from the mayor’s office demonstrating #OperationSharedShovel at Graham Hill Elementary on Wednesday afternoon.


Why don’t we plow every street in the city? 

We’re doing our best to clear the streets that we can plow safely, but there are many challenges that make it impossible to clear every single street.  

Many streets are just too narrow for us to plow safely, especially when cars are parked on both sides of the street. There’s not always room for plows to get through without damaging cars or blocking them in behind piles of snow. So it’s simply not possible to plow these roads without also towing all the parked cars.  

We’re also doing our best to reopen streets on hills which were closed due to ice and snow. But this also presents challenges because some of these roads are too steep to safely operate a plow in icy conditions.  


Learn more about our #WinterWeatherResponse.

Learn more about our city-wide #WinterWeatherResponse. Visit our website. Download our full winter weather brochure for winter weather tips and our plow map – available in the following languages:

See where our plows have been.