“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.