Monday, January 30, 2012

Spokane gets Atlantic write-up for its snowplows

Posted on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 3:06 PM

It's not often that Spokane gets written up in venerable national magazines without getting poked for being some backwards, backwater city.

But last week, The Atlantic wrote about the Lilac City — on its blog, at least — without making fun of us:

Earlier this month, we posed a simple question to about two-dozen cities of varying sizes and climates: How many snowplows do you have? Pretty straight-forward question, we figured. We expected – naively, it now turns out – that cities would get back to us with a single number. Almost none of them did.

Spokane, Wash., responded that they have 33 plow trucks, 10 graders, five de-icers, 11 de-icer/plows and seven sander/plows.

So it's not exactly fawning journalism, but still! 

The piece is an interesting read on how cities determine how many snow plows are needed during a winter. After crunching its data, the piece's author, Emily Badger, shows that Spokane has 1.16 snow plows per square mile. Compared to Calgary's .44 snow plows per square mile, that's pretty good. But next to New York City's 7.37, it's not.

click to enlarge snowdata_copy_.jpg

In the world of winter weather events, we're famous. But remember, it's just snow, people.


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