Slippery streets challenge Seattleites
In Seattle, Wednesday's snowstorm that wasn't arrived one day late, bringing a healthy dumping of snow that snarled commutes and turned pedestrians into impromptu skiers.
Schools were closed, roads were rinks. And if you were lucky enough to spot a Metro bus, chances are it was going nowhere fast.
In Seattle, Wednesday's snowstorm that wasn't arrived today, bringing a healthy dumping of snow that snarled the morning commute and turned pedestrians into impromptu skiers. Businesses that remained open did so with skeleton crews as few brave — and well-bundled — souls ventured outside.
In West Seattle's Gatewood neighborhood, sled tracks replaced tire treads on steep hills navigated only by the well-equipped or the foolhardy.
Nicole Gainey, owner of Chill, a cozy massage and aromatherapy spa on California Avenue Southwest, kept a wary eye on cars as they serpentined at crazy angles down Frontenac Avenue.
"One year, someone came down and went right through the window," she said. "I don't know why people even try to drive down that."
Even small rises in the road proved challenging for frustrated drivers, who bailed out after a few tries, amusing onlookers who sipped coffee and cocoa from Adirondack chairs at Caffe Ladro.
At Morgan Junction, people were out and about in numbers rivaling the sunniest of days.
"I've seen a ton of people walking, and a lot of people cross-country skiing," said Shane Tracy, who was holed up with three canines at his "doggy playcare" shop, Stella Ruffington's.
Joe Miller, 22, manager of Domino's Pizza at the junction, was down five of his six delivery drivers, but was taking orders for the one brave soul with the Jeep Wrangler who vowed to come into work.
"The average distance is 45 minutes away on a normal day for our drivers, so a lot of them are not even showing up," he said. "My boss offered to buy them chains, reimburse them, but they don't want to risk it."
It took Miller about two hours to get to work by bus, a trip that normally takes about 40 minutes from the Georgetown home he shares with his wife and 14-month-old daughter.
"You get here 'cause you gotta," he said. "I gotta earn a paycheck and take care of my family."
Even justice took a holiday. The King County Courthouse opened late and closed early. The federal courthouse was closed all day.
In the Central Area, Dana Tade, 29, said he heard thunder in the middle of the night, so when he woke up this morning he figured there would be snow. The hilly block on East Yesler Way just west of 23rd Avenue was closed when he drove past at 8:30 a.m., and he decided not to risk the drive to his job as a courier.
He and wife Dominique brought their three kids to that same closed-off Yesler block to sled early in the afternoon. "We're just sledding and getting ready to go do a snowman," Tade said.
At the nearby Douglass-Truth branch of the Seattle Public Library, Deborah Turnbull glided up on cross-country skis. She could have walked the half- mile from her home, but snow was to deep, said the 56-year-old.
"You can get a real glide in the streets," she said. "There's no cars."
Elizabeth Ehrenberg walked the 10 blocks to her job as an intern counselor, where she is learning to be a therapist. Once there she discovered she was the only one in her department who showed up. Ehrenberg, 25, squeezed in a phone session with a patient before the building shut down at noon. By the afternoon, she was considering what to do.
"I have some work I could do, but I might want to go sledding," she said.
Seattle Times staff reporters Michael Behrens, Susan Kelleher, Lynda Mapes and Nicole Tsong contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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