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ODOT expresses "disappointment" in AASHTO guidelines stance

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 19th, 2011 at 10:44 am

"I want to express my disappointment at AASHTO's recent comments... Oregon takes bicycling and walking very seriously."
— Matthew Garrett, Director of ODOT

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has responded to a recent policy stance by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) that some fear would weaken federal guidelines that exist to make sure transportation projects include bicycling and walking facilities.

On Friday, we reported that the League of American Bicyclists had put out a national advocacy alert alleging that AASHTO's Executive Director John Horsley was attempting to dilute federal bicycling and walking guidelines. League Director Andy Clarke said AASHTO's stance was "misguided."

ODOT Director Matthew Garrett wrote Horsley a letter yesterday, echoing the League's concerns. Here's an excerpt from that letter (PDF here):

"I want to express my disappointment at AASHTO's recent comments to US DOT regarding the Department's guidance on accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians in transportation projects...

Oregon takes bicycling and walking very seriously, not just as forms of recreation, but as modes of transportation...

Many Oregon communities have shown that with the right mix of policies and investments, active transportation modes can move a significant number of people, taking pressure off over-crowded roads and reducing the costs of expanding highways and transit systems."

I've been in contact with AASHTO since Friday. They maintain their support of bicycling and walking and feel this whole thing is being misunderstood. I'm hoping to chat with Mr. Horsley and will post his comments soon.

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Comments
  • Ted Buehler April 19, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Good good.

    Hopefully Garrett will not only "express disappointment" but also work behind the scenes to get other state DOTs to oppose the measure.

    40 years ago Oregon was "The Leader" in including bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure as integral parts of highways, and this situation provides a fresh opportunity to shine. If ODOT is interested...

    Ted Buehler

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  • cycler April 19, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    That's great news.

    I wrote Secretary Mullan in MA, but I would be surprised if he came out as strongly in a public letter!
    Would be very interested to hear AASHTO's follow up comments..

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  • mh April 19, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I rarely cheer ODOT, but thank you Matthew Garrett. May you lead a flood of support for active transportation.

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  • Alexis April 19, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    I don't imagine I'll get too many chances to say this, but: Go ODOT!

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  • Steve B April 19, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    ODOT leading the way on this, holy moly! Nice work, Matt.

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  • dwainedibbly April 19, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    That point in the last paragraph, "taking pressure off over-crowded roads", is a point bicycling advocates need to make more often. It's something that the car-cenric can understand.

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  • Jessica Roberts April 20, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Please send thank-you notes to ODOT Bicycle & Pedestrian Program Manager Sheila Lyons (Sheila.A.LYONS@odot.state.or.us). Sheila told me she will make sure they get to Matt Garrett.

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