Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Saltless in Seattle

Boy, is it ever my good fortune to be in decent health and have a bicycle that, with a knobby tire in back and a road tire in front, enables me to get around pretty much anywhere in the city of Seattle, and more importantly, allows me to stay above the fray in the great salt or no-salt debate of 2008.

Lots of folks around town have their knickers in a twist because Seattle Department of Transportation doesn’t salt the snowy roads which leaves many of them in a far less-than-ideal state for driving around on. On many of the major arterials, you get these two troughs on either side of the street churned out by the wheels of cars, but within these indentations, you get lots of gnarly ice chunks affixed to the tarmac that bounce cars around as they try to navigate forward. Presumably, these chunks are what salt would eradicate, allowing cars to zoom around as is their God-given right.

Apparently, the decision not to use salt is, at least in part, an environmental concern: you don’t want a bunch of salty, oily water running off into the Puget Sound, but whatever the reason, you’d think, by the tenor of the discussion emanating from talk radio, opinion pages, and the internetz that the city fathers had decided to deal with the snow by pouring the blood of sacrificed virgins on it or something.

I’m not sure how I feel about it. Sure, it would be nice if the roads were a bit easier to navigate; for me, the hard packed side streets are far superior to the choppy and congested arterials. On the other hand, I’m loving how the snowmaggedon hasn’t stopped me. I rode all over today finishing up my holiday shopping and continued to bask in the looks of amazement from pedestrians and drivers as I bounced around over the snow and only occasionally slid sideways into the salt-free slush.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh for the sake of convenience we would sacrifice everything. People who argue for salt have no idea of what it takes to actually salt roads. It's not like they stock it at Safeway, nor are there trucks with salters attached, nor plows, nor storage...

3:02 PM  

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