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Know your Snow Routes!

Snow on Capitol Hill photo by Chris Maines

Snow on Capitol Hill photo by Chris Maines

As snow & ice heads our way throughout the coming week, our crews will be working non-stop to plow & clear streets!

To maintain access to essential services, we prioritize clearing the most critical routes for transit and emergency response vehicles first. These are the streets used by the most people and which lead to hospitals, schools, and emergency services.

Map of plow routes.

Our winter weather response plan – gold and emerald routes.

Know our Snow Routes and plowing priorities.

These critical streets are broken into two tiers: Gold and Emerald.

Gold Snow Routes

Our gold snow routes provide regional connections. Our goal is to plow and maintain snow and ice-free pavement for all travel lanes within 12 hours of a significant lull in the storm.

Emerald Snow Routes

Our emerald snow routes provide citywide connections. Our goal is to plow and maintain snow and ice-free pavement for one lane in each direction within 12 hours of a significant lull in the storm.

Because our crews are already working around the clock to maintain service on the Gold and Emerald Snow Routes (to make sure our busiest streets are safe for travelers), we do not have capacity or resources to plow and treat all of Seattle’s streets.

What streets have been plowed?

You can keep track of what roads have been plowed in our updated to-the-minute interactive Winter Weather Response Map (for best viewing use Firefox or Chrome). It shows the roads that our crews have serviced within the last hour, the last 3 hours, or are closed. The map also reports incidents that we’re responding to.

Seattle Storm Response Map

Seattle Storm Response Map

Reminders: stay home (if you can), sidewalks, and transit.

Need to travel?

We encourage folks who are able to work from home should do so. If you need to travel to work or shop for groceries, please allow yourself plenty of extra time for travel and consider taking public transit or walking to your destination if possible.

Transit – check for snow routes. 

In the event of snow, King County Metro will likely alter their bus schedule. Depending on ice and snow accumulation, some buses may be put on snow routes, or Metro may put the Emergency Snow Network in effect and reduce the number of bus routes that are operating. Stay up-to-date on bus operations and follow @KCmetrobus on twitter. Check @SoundTransit for Link light rail updates. Thank you, transit operators who are out there keeping us moving!

Shovel those sidewalks.

Last, but certainly not least, we need to all work together to keep our sidewalks clear and safe. Sidewalk clearing is everyone’s responsibility, so please help your neighbors out by shoveling your sidewalk before the ice has the opportunity to form. Make sure that the cleared path is at least 36 inches wide so that people with mobility aids like wheelchairs can get around too. If you see a curb ramp that hasn’t been cleared yet, pitch in to help your community stay safe and moving. Watch the video we developed with Rooted In Rights to hear from neighbors who were snowed in last year.

For information on winter storm preparedness, check out Take Winter by Storm and What to do to Make it Through. Also, take a look at our blog post Winter is Coming, But You Can Take It By Storm for more preparation tips!