GR priortizes plowing ‘First Attention Routes’

A plow in Grand Rapids. (Jan. 27, 2014)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s one of the questions 24 Hour News 8 hears most after a snow storm: Why isn’t my street clean?

City Public Services Director James Hurt took 24 Hour News 8 through the process of clearing over 600 miles of city streets. First to get plowed are what the city calls First Attention Routes, like Richmond Street NW.

“It carries a lot of traffic,” Hurt explained. “It’s one of the major streets that gets people to the highway.”

“Plainfield would be what we’d call a First Attention. Obviously, Leonard, Monroe, Fuller. That carries large amounts of traffic getting people out of the residential area where they need to go,” Hurt continued.

Then plows move on to the side streets. The neighborhoods are the city’s biggest challenge. About two thirds of the city’s streets — some 400 miles — are side streets, cul-de-sacs and alleys. The 40 routes are divided by day and night depending on the neighborhood.

“The day routes tend to have a lot more density with parked cars on the streets through the night. When we come through during the day, hopefully the cars will be removed,” Hurt said.

“When you’re getting out to the surrounding area of the city, it will be more like a suburban type of neighborhood, not a lot of on street parking. So we can come in there day or not — doesn’t matter,” he continued.

The goal is to make at least one pass on every city street between 36 and 48 hours after a plowable snowfall — if Mother Nature cooperates.

“If it continues to snow, we have to stay on those First Attentions to make sure they’re safe,” Hurt said.

If your City of Grand Rapids street still needs attention, you can call 616.456.3232.

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