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Despite residents’ pleas, Lacey policy is to clear only main roads during snowstorms

A man walks in the roadway because the sidewalks are still covered in snow and ice along Marvin Road in Lacey on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.
A man walks in the roadway because the sidewalks are still covered in snow and ice along Marvin Road in Lacey on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. toverman@theolympian.com

Lacey policy is to clear only main roads during a snowstorm and to forgo removing snow from residential streets because of “unintended consequences,” the city’s public works director said at Thursday’s City Council meeting.

Scott Egger made those comments during a discussion about how the city responded to the recent storms. About 18 inches of snow fell in the area from Feb. 8 through Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

Using four plows — three south of Interstate 5 in Lacey and one north of I-5 in the city — the plows cleared Lacey’s main roads in about 18 hours. They also used about 150 tons of sand, Egger said.

Egger acknowledged that after the main roads were cleared, he received phone calls from residents, asking if the city could clear residential streets. But doing so has unintended consequences because plowed snow on a residential street can block driveways or block cars parked along the street.

“The better service is to let it lie,” he said.

Councilman Lenny Greenstein said he, too, received calls from residents, but he commended the road crews for their work.

“The streets were in great shape,” he said.

Egger also was asked during the meeting whether a resident could plow a residential street.

The city likely couldn’t prevent that from happening, but Egger said the best course of action is to hire someone who is licensed, bonded and insured to do the work in the event that something goes wrong.

Mayor Andy Ryder said he received a call from an apartment resident who couldn’t get out of their parking lot because of the snow. The resident asked whether the city could come clear the lot. Ryder explained that’s the property owner’s responsibility.

Public works has been approved for an additional vehicle, with plow and de-icer, in the 2019 budget, Egger said.

Rolf has worked at The Olympian since August 2005. He covers breaking news, the city of Lacey and business for the paper. Rolf graduated from The Evergreen State College in 1990.

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