This past January, snow and ice was a problem for everyone. The evidence is that most residents were happy with the efforts of our Department of Public Works (DPW) to keep the streets clear and safe given the circumstances; others have questioned why some areas receive attention and others do not. Simply put, it is a matter of priorities. Clearing and sanding a street is not a 10-minute effort. Diversions to less-well-traveled streets can result in unsafe conditions in other higher priority routes.
Take a look at a map. On your internet browser, navigate to www.ci.tukwila.wa.us/maps/snowandiceroutes.pdf. Alternatively, go to www.ci.Tukwila.wa.us, left hand column, maps directory, and select Snow & Ice Priority Routes. Expand the map to see the routes more clearly.
The first priority is to clear arterials roughly defined as the commercial/industrial, multilane roads. These are the main roads that we all seem to end up on as we leave our homes to go to work, to the store, etc. These are the streets that employees of Tukwila businesses use to get to work. The second priority is to clear collector or distributor roads. Collector or distributor roads are low- to moderate-capacity roads which serve to move traffic from local streets to arterial roads. Most often, the street we live on takes us to a collector road. That road will either get us where we are going or get us to an arterial road.
The blue route is the first priority route. Following the map, one can recognize the key roads: East Marginal Way South, Interurban Avenue South, Boeing Access Road up to the Ryan Hill, Tukwila International Boulevard, South 144th Street, Southcenter Boulevard, 58th Avenue South. In the Tukwila urban center, the first priority roads are Tukwila Parkway on the north side, Southcenter Parkway on the west side, South 180th Street on the south side and West Valley Highway on the east side.
The yellow route is the second priority route. The map illustrates that most of us will exit the street that we live on to one of the collector roads.
In January, the weather was particularly bad and first priority routes had to be cleared and sanded more than once. Due to budget cuts, the department was short 1 1/2 full-time employees and ended up using employees from other departments to help. DPW did a great job, considering severely adverse conditions and being short staffed.
After each winter season is past, the DPW reviews what happened and lessons learned. The public is always welcome to contact DPW with questions and observations. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (206) 433-0179.