Ice days: Slippery sidewalks and roads across Capitol Hill — UPDATE

A worker sets about trying to clear the sidewalk near Capitol Hill Station after Monday’s snow

First came a rare Seattle snow day. Now come the ice days. Overnight temperatures in the teens further solidified Capitol Hill’s encasement of ice Tuesday morning leaving roads a mix of slushy and slick and sidewalks dangerously slippery as the Seattle area hopes to thaw from Monday’s layer of crusty snow.

The conditions have left officials little choice but to keep the city partially shut down. Seattle Public Schools announced its campuses would be completely closed on Tuesday with many other schools following suit.


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From SDOT: “Gold snow routes:
These are streets of regional importance for hospitals, buses, large trucks, and major employers. SDOT’s objective is to provide bare and wet pavement over all travel lanes within 12 hours of a significant lull in the storm.
Emerald snow routes:
These are streets of citywide importance for hospitals, buses, and general traffic. SDOT’s objective is to provide bare and wet pavement for one lane in each direction within 12 hours of a significant lull in the storm.” Full map here (PDF)

King County Metro remains on snow routes until further notice and SDOT snow and ice crews are working overtime to keep the city’s streets and sidewalks passable with a “supply of 500+ tons of salt for our 35+ plows.” “We will continue to work as expeditiously and hard for you to be safe and have accessible roads for our buses, first responders, and large employers,” SDOT officials said. “Please prepare for a potential icy commute. If possible, please avoid driving. Tomorrow will be another great day to flex those commute schedules if possible.”

Capitol Hill Station’s Link Light Rail, and Sounder trains are scheduled to operate as usual, as is the First Hill Streetcar.

You can check SDOT’s Winter Weather Response map to see which roads have been plowed. WSDOT traffic cameras can be found here to check out latest freeway conditions. You can also follow @jseattle on Twitter for CHS updates. We’ve collected Capitol Hill traffic camera views here and you can tune into the CHS Scanner for updates from SPD and Seattle Fire.

First responders struggled with the icy conditions overnight and into the morning with some reports of vehicles getting stuck on icy roads.

Closures were in place on E John between 12th and 15th, Denny Way below E Olive Way, and many smaller side streets. Trouble spots were reported at Denny and Boylston, E Olive and Belmont, Republican at Belmont, Thomas at Belmont, Republican at Harvard, 12th and Prospect, Union at Minor, and Pike at Boren — and probably lots of other places if more drivers were attempting to move their cars.

UPDATE: The morning has brought crashes to E Roy and Summit where a semi reportedly hit a car and a truck, and Denny and Boylston where a semi hit a tree just before 8 AM. Meanwhile, the 600 through 800 block of E Denny was reported as a “sheet of ice.”

SDOT says it also has 15-30 hand crews clearing curb ramps for pedestrians. “Please help in this effort as good neighbors and remove the snow and ice from sidewalks in front of your property and if you can, help a neighbor who might not be able to clear their sidewalks,” officials ask.

UPDATE: Progress!

The department has typically used magnesium chloride — “road salt” — with sand for its treatment on streets. How much more the city would need to use to also clear area sidewalks we don’t know. You can read more about the “Environmental impacts of road salt and other de-icing chemicals” here.

The City of Seattle, meanwhile, has posted updates on its department and service closures here.

In addition to the city’s existing overnight shelters, officials have made extra beds available at the King County Administration Building through Wednesday while a City of Seattle “severe weather shelter” is open overnight at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall through Sunday.

Many Capitol Hill cafes, restaurants, and bars closed Monday or operated on limited hours. Expect a similar situation Tuesday. Make sure you show your appreciation when you find an open joint in your part of the neighborhood.

The cold snap is predicted to continue through the week with another winter storm expected to arrive Friday night into Saturday morning:

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6 thoughts on “Ice days: Slippery sidewalks and roads across Capitol Hill — UPDATE

    • If you need more incentive… remember that anyone who injures themselves in a fall on your sidewalk will end up being your financial responsibility.. (or rather your homeowners insurances at least). Those of us who grew up in snowy places know this, but out here it seems like few people around here even own a snow shovel much less use one. Even if the person doesn’t want to sue you, their health insurance will likely pursue having someone else do the paying. Do yourself a huge favor and shovel early – it’s easy to get it up when it’s snow – very difficult once it’s an inch of ice.

      • Technically correct – your it’s your landlord’s responsibility and liability – although…. if he/she hasn’t done it or arranged for it to be done, it wouldn’t it be rather nice and neighborly (and conscientious) for you to clear your sidewalks just so no one falls and gets hurt…

  1. Good time to share this de-icing hint again:
    Water + isopropyl alcohol in a 50/50 ratio and sprayed on your windshield from a squirt bottle will melt built-up ice quickly and cheaply.

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