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Coeur d'Alene snow plows blocked by street parking

The City of Coeur d'Alene said its snow plows are having trouble with cars blocking the street.
Credit: City of Coeur d'Alene
Photo courtesy City of Coeur d'Alene A past snow-covered street as seen from the eyes of a plow drive in Coeur d'Alene.

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — The city is ready for snow. Now, it’s asking for a little help from residents with its plan to plow it, as reported by KREM 2 news partner the Coeur d'Alene Press.

“We’re starting to have a problem with street parking,” said Todd Feusier, director of Streets and Engineering Department, in a presentation on the snow plan to the City Council on Tuesday.

He said when vehicles line streets, it makes snow removal efforts more difficult. He showed a picture of a snowy street with a parked truck, a mailbox and a driveway.

The plow driver couldn’t help but leave a berm, blocking the driveway, the truck, or both, that would likely upset the resident living there and result in a call to City Hall.

“There’s not too much we can do in that situation when there is a vehicle parked there,” Feusier said.

There isn’t an answer to the situation sure to come up again and again this winter, with 83 inches of snow forecasted by climatologist Cliff Harris.

But Feusier said residents can be part of a solution.

“This is really the message we would like to get out there,” he said. “If the public can just get their cars off the road just for that brief moment so we can go through, we can do it a lot faster and do a lot better job."

The city is ready to roll when snow falls.

It has 21 operators, four loaders with snow gates, four graders, seven dump trucks, three de-icer trucks, two sand trucks and one salt truck standing by.

Five mechanics have prepared the equipment for winter and will keep it running smoothly, Feusier said.

On heavier snow days, crews will work in two 12-hour shifts.

“It takes pretty much everyone,“ he said, noting that even office staff members pitch in.

Condition “Red” means at least 3 inches of snow is on the roads with more predicted.

“As soon as we see 3 inches and more snow on the way, we will be doing a citywide plow,” he said.

Plowing priorities are arterials and hills. Once those are done, they move on to main roads and then residential areas.

If snow is still falling and they see the need, crews will return to sweep arterials and hills again.

“We need to keep those open,” Feusier said.

The city won’t return to dig out cars or driveways blocked by a berm from a city plow. At that point, it’s up to the residents to dig themselves out.

It's why he hopes people heed his call to move their cars so plows can come through.

“When they stack them up bumper to bumper, they have to shovel them out,” Feusier said. “We can’t use the machines to clear out that close to private property.”

Snow gates on the trucks are a great tool he added, "but we have to let the snow go somewhere. We can only carry it so long."

The city gets a lot of calls about alleys, but it does not plow them, Feusier said. Business and property owners are responsible for keeping their sidewalks clear.

He asked that drivers give sand and de-icer trucks plenty of room. Some come too close, their vehicles are sprayed by de-icer, and they later call the city to complain.

“We just ask people to give us a safe distance,” he said.

Feusier said the goal on a snow day is to have the city plowed in 40 hours, but that depends on conditions.

“We always try to finish as fast as possible,” he said.

He said maps.cdaid.org/snowplow/ is where residents can follow an updated plowing schedule.

The snowline number is 208-769-2233.

People with a snow removal issue can leave a message at cdaid.org.

Feusier declined to offer a prediction on what the winter weather will hold when asked to do so.

“I’m not a weather man,” he said. “It looks like it's going to be wet and cooler. To me, that pencils out to snow.”

The Coeur d'Alene Press is a KREM 2 news partner. For more from our news partner, click here.

WATCH MORE: Jeremy LaGoo's 2021-2022 winter forecast: What La Niña could bring to Spokane, North Idaho

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