The Oregon Department of Transportation has begun an internal process to analyze a safety risk to bicycle users on Highway 30.
After we highlighted how people park their cars in the shoulder of the busy highway near a Forest Park entrance north of Linnton last week, we urged people to flag the issue via the AskODOT system.
It turns out at least one person took the advice and did so.
A few days after our story went up we heard from ODOT Region 1 Public Information Officer Don Hamilton. “In response to an AskODOT query,” he shared via email, “ODOT will conduct a parking prohibition study at that location. This will take up to six weeks to complete, with appropriate action, if any is necessary, to follow.”
Hamilton said his agency couldn’t act without a formal request being made because they are obligated to follow existing laws, “And everything we see happening here is in the parameters of the law.” (Refer to ORS 811.550 (2), “Places where stopping, standing and parking prohibited”.) Hamilton also advised that “People who ride bikes on the shoulder need to use caution in that area, as you do whenever you come across a hazard.”
As for the inquiry, we’ve confirmed that ODOT has the authority to prohibit parking at this location, as long as the regional traffic engineer signs off on it. Hamilton said they will investigate the situation. If one of the several justifications is present, they will consider a no parking zone. Those justifications include:
— Safety: This usually, but not always, has to do with sight distance for vehicles entering from a side street or driveway.
— Congestion: Vehicles parked in the area impede the flow of traffic.
— Damage to the facility: An example might be if parked vehicles are causing the shoulder to slough off.
— Frequent use of the facility for a purpose not intended: This could be any number of things (unauthorized vending, dumping of trash or sewage, etc.).
Hamilton added, “There are of course other factors unique to specific locations that also need to be considered such as does the local jurisdiction support a parking prohibition or would a parking prohibition negatively impact the community.” (Note: There are no businesses or residences anywhere near this area. The parking is used only for Forest Park access.)
ODOT’s internal review of this issue is likely to take up to six weeks. Check back for an update before the end of March.
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