What is a snow ostrich?

From Jamie Holter in the Seattle Communications office...

When a big storm hits, drivers get frustrated. They are frustrated they can’t go where they want, when they want. They turn to the Web and start sending angry E-mails. So….

I thought it might be a great moment for a quick civics refresher.

The State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is responsible for state highways and interstates like SR 522, SR 18, I-405, SR 520, I-5. Anything with the words highway, state route, or “I” as in I-5 are within WSDOT’s jurisdiction. These are the roads we maintain, clear, build etc.

When a state highway runs through a large city (population 22,500 or more) it becomes the city’s responsibility. For example, Highway 99 runs through the city of Shoreline so the city of Shoreline is responsible for clearing snow on Highway (Aurora Avenue) inside the city limits.

Counties are responsible for roads outside city limits. For example, all the roads near Highway 203, Highway 202 and Highway 18 that are NOT inside the cities of Carnation, Duvall and Maple Valley are King County’s (KCDOT) roads to clear.

Finally, cities are responsible for clearing all roads inside the city limits. For example, Seattle (SDOT) is responsible for clearing and maintaining roads in Ballard, Fremont, Magnolia etc.

So where does the snow ostrich come in? Last week, we got an email from an irate driver who accused us of putting our heads in the sand when it came to snow removal. He said, “Don’t be a snow ostrich!” His frustration was directed at another agency, but he mistakenly emailed us.

Either way - we loved the idea of a snow ostrich so we decided to adopt that as our new winter mascot. We want to make sure NO ONE is a snow ostrich. We want every driver to be prepared for snow and weather.

One of our graphics folks drew this. Print it and put in on your fridge as a reminder to be prepared, check for conditions and plan ahead before you head out.

As for the email, we do read every single one and respond to every single one (good and bad). It's part of Gov. Gregoire and Secretary Hammond's commitment to the citizens of Washington State. So keep em coming!