snow days, winter weather, and complete streets

Rachel walking toward home along BernardToday is our second snow day in a row, after none in since 1996 at the earliest. It's all because about a foot of snow fell Sunday and the roads couldn't get cleared and then another four inches fell last night and today, give or take a little bit. It's not so cold as it was, but the side streets are all but impassable. Our street was plowed by someone from the neighborhood yesterday. I'd never seen him before, but he had a Ford Bronco (O.J. white!) with a plow on the front and his dog in the backseat along for the ride. Unlike the city, once he plowed the road, he unplowed the driveways he otherwise would have blocked. He also didn't cover the sidewalks, another thing the city doesn't concern themselves with.

Rachel and I walked downtown today and had to walk part of the way in what is usually a very busy street. Thankfully only one idiot was driving fast down the hill, which was slick, with slushy snow on top of ice. The sidewalks were buried, not just in fallen snow, but plowed snow which is heavier and deeper and very difficult to walk in. All this had me thinking about complete streets, which means taking into account the needs of pedestrians and cyclists as well as drivers. When it comes to clearing snow in Spokane, it would seem to be all about the drivers. Maybe that can change in the future, and I realize the city can't put people out clearing sidewalks with snowblowers, though it would be nice to make the neighborhoods walkable before making them drivable. But I dream.

On top of it all, we've got another storm coming in tomorrow night. That means no bicycling to work at all this week, which sucks. Maybe I can get some skiing in over the weekend, along with grading essays, if I ever get back to campus, and students get there too. Ah well, life is what happens when you're making plans for bigger things, or however that saying goes. I'll just have to adjust my classes and make do and hopefully students won't get short changed.

More snow pictures at Flickr